End Of Life Coming To Old Microsoft Virtualization Products

Windows XP gets all the headlines, but some old Microsoft virtualization products are going end of life in the coming months too.

Virtual PC 2004 gave us a desktop-based virtualization product from Microsoft. VPC came from the Connectix acquisition. It was a paid product at first and then went free. I ordered 3 copies of it for my team on the day it was released! I doubt many are using VPC 2004 any more, but extended support is ending on 8th April, 2014, the same day that Windows XP goes bye-bye. Something tells me there’ll be a few shots of whiskey consumed in a certain quiet corner in Redmond Smile

Virtual Server 2005 was Microsoft’s first server-based virtualization product. VS2005 was also a paid-for product, and I also bought it on the first day of release to help the company I worked for at the time reduce the physical server count.  VS2005 and VS2005R2 became free products, and were eventually replaced by Hyper-V, a true type 1 hypervisor. If you are still using Virtual Server (2005 or 2005 R2) then you need to plan for extended support ending on 13th January 2015.

In case you might be wondering, XP Mode is also going end of life. This Windows 7 “hack” for Windows XP compatibility runs Windows XP, and therefore it is also going EOL on April 8th 2014.

Virtual Server 2005 Virtual Cluster

I was recently working on a customer site where they used Virtual Server 2005 for their test environment (excellent!).  They had a production Exchange cluster but had not simulated in test because they believed it was not possible to recreate in Virtual Server.  I remembered seeing some sessions at TechEd on the subject but had never actually done it.  A quick google gave us step-by-step instructions on how to get this done.

Clustering in Virtual Server 2005 makes use of the virtual SCSI adapters.  You set node one to ID 7 and node 2 to ID 6.  Then create a fixed size virtual disk and set it to use a shared SCSI bus.  Connect both virtual machines using SCSI bus 0 and then you can implement your cluster as you normally would.

The client was well impressed with the virtual Exchange cluster they had at the end of the engagement.

I’ve done some googling and it appears you can do something similar with VMware Server by mucking around with configuration files.  I also found this on the VMware site but I haven’t tried it yet. 

If you want 4 node virtual clusters then you need to use the Microsoft iSCSI Initiator and the demo release of StarWind or WinTarget.