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Windows 7: Virtual Machine booting from a network location

08 Oct 2009   #1

Windows XP
Virtual Machine booting from a network location


I am looking at a solution to tap into the portability of virtualization across hardware. i.e. if I have my development environment as a VM, I can access it and bring it up from any machine on the network. This will enable me to be not attached to any physical machine and allow me to access my development machine seamlessly from anywhere if it is stored in a network location. I have mainly two questions around such a setup.

1) Is there anyway of hosting the VM without incurring the expense of both the host operating system and the guest operating system? The only functionality of the host operating system to host the VM.
2) Is it viable from a performance stand point to have a VM booted up on a machine from a vhd placed at a network location?


My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Oct 2009   #2

W7 X-64 RTM,SUSE 11.1, XP PRO SP3 as a VM, VMware ESXi

Hi there
have a look at vmware ESXi - this essentially loads a minimal OS on which you can specify storage areas etc for your VM's.

You need to manage the vm's however in this situation from another machine on your network (create etc), however once they are up and running you avoid all the overhead of a Host OS.

Look at thne EXSi stuff on vmware -- its free but you still need a license -- sent by email from vmware.

Note of warning - this stuff is NOT trivial to set up properly as its really intended for enterprise operations and "server farms" but there isn't in principle any reason why you can't run ot on a decent piece of hardware.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Oct 2009   #3

Windows Vista Business / Windows 7 Ultimate

I would look at Hyper-V as opposed to ESXi in this car. Hyper-V R2 is very robust and totally free.

ESXi is pretty locked down until you purchase it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

08 Oct 2009   #4

W7 X-64 RTM,SUSE 11.1, XP PRO SP3 as a VM, VMware ESXi

Hi there
ESXi ISN'T locked down - you can get a FREE version which works just fine.

The MS offering might be OK as well -- I would tend to prefer at this stage the vmware stuff simply because they've been in the game longer and their stuff seems to work just fine.

However whether its MS or Vmware the answer to the OP is that there ARE mechanism for using VM's without the overhead of a host OS.

"You pays your money and takes your choice ..."

My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Oct 2009   #5

Windows Vista Business / Windows 7 Ultimate

ESX is certainly the choice for a business/enterprise implimentation but the trial period for the full experience of ESX does end, and there are features missing in the free version.

Yes, there are things missing in the free versions of HyperV, but i think that HyperV R2 free is easier to use and doesnt have any funky expirations and such.

Either way its up to him, and either one will work for what he needs.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Oct 2009   #6

Windows 7 Professional x64
Similar Problem - My solution

To the OP,

I had a similar quandary. I'm not in the IT field, but it has always been a keen interest of mine. For work I require the use of one those programs XP Mode was intended for. I personally wasn't impressed by XP Mode. Here is my solution:

-Download Sun Virtual Box (completely free).
-Install the SVB program on your host.
-Set up a new virtual machine, when creating the VHD choose a mapped path somewhere on your server (of course make sure you have full read/write access to that path on the server).
-Start up.

Fairly simple. I'm running a 1Gb home network, and I haven't noticed any lag. One other thing I did was turn on shared folders within my VM and I save all of my work to a folder which is on my server, but outside of the VHD, if that makes sense. That way I can access my files to send to colleagues without having to boot the VM. I've been able to run my Guest on both my main desktop, or using my laptop, as a Host. Just for kicks I even copied the .Vhd file to each Guest's physical HD, and it works there, too.

Sorry if that's a bit confusing. I'm sure you can sort it out. Or feel free to post any question you have and I'd be happy to try to assist.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Virtual Machine booting from a network location

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