Virtualizing your computer . . . LIVE!!!

I like virtualization. I first tried software virtualization for testing programs, but I have had problems with that. Then I was excited by using MS Virtual PC, and even more excited when it was made free.

I have been watching Jason Powell’s virtualization topics with a lot of interest and his post last week about the Free VMWare Converter really got my attention. We have a server on my desk that is about to be wiped out so I thought I would use it as a test platform. It worked great, but my shortcuts caused a hassle.

Once I got the two systems set up I was able to create an image of a running and active computer across over the network without causing it much bother. The two systems were on the same gigabit switch and I had reduced the subject’s size by cleaning out old files and unintalling useless programs. In the end it was about 8GB in size and this took less than an hour to move.

I started with VMPlayer, but the virtual computer thought it had 2 processors so the player would not play it. I installed VMServer, and I was able to edit the file to just want 1 processor. I didn’t find VMServer very interesting for what I wanted to do so I uninstalled it and reinstalled VMPlayer.

In the end I decided that I preferred the interface for Virtual PC 2004 (because I am much more accustomed to it) and started looking for a converter. This VMDK to VHD converter, however, didn’t do the trick. That is when I ran out of time.

I would like to virtualize the computer that runs our air conditioning system and the one that manages our magnetic locks. These are low intensity systems that need to have backups ready to toss into place at a moment’s notice. Fortunately we had a new air conditioner control computer set up and ready to go when the old one (preparing to celebrate nearly 8 years in service) died this week.

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