Installing Windows Server 2012 RC on VMware Workstation Step-by-Step

With Windows Server 2012 RC being released just yesterday, I wanted to see if I could still install it on VMware Workstation as I had done with the Beta version before. The good news is that everything works beautifully. Here is a nice picture of my Windows Server 2012 RC running in VMware Workstation 8.

I was also able to install the Hyper-V Server 2012 RC as well without a problem.

There certainly are a few tricks to be aware of in order to get them to install, so please reference my previous article for the detailed instructions.

It probably will only be a matter of time before I put Windows Server 8 RC on my laptop and switch to Hyper-V instead of VMware Workstation, but I’ll probably save that for another day when I don’t have some work to get done!

Installing Windows Server 2012 RC on VMware Workstation Step-by-Step

How to Install Windows Server 8 Beta on VMware Workstation 8

Below are the screen shots that walk you through the process of installing Windows Server 8 Beta on VMware Workstation 8. I have notated the most important things to notice.


Take note, I choose Windows 7, NOT Windows 7 64-bit. I’m not sure it matters, but I believe this will work best for you.

The download is pre-licenses, so you don’t have to enter anything here. However, this will cause problems later if you don’t disconnect the floppy – more on this later.

Click Customize Hardware

Choose the processor that matches your host and enable Virtualize Intel VT-x/EPT (your processor must support this) if you want to run the Hyper-V role on this server. See my earlier blog post on how to make that happen.

Make sure you unselect “Power on this virtual machine after creation”, we need to edit one more thing before we continue.

After you create the VM, go back in and disconnect the Floppy, otherwise the install will fail because the autoinst.flp is missing the product key.








A long while later after a few reboots…

You are now ready to use Windows Server 8 Beta! I have not installed the VMware tools yet, but I’ll probably try later. If you try it let me know what you think.

How to Install Windows Server 8 Beta on VMware Workstation 8

Windows Server 8 Developer Preview will not support the Hyper-V Role while running on VMware Workstation…at least on my laptop

Unless someone knows a trick that I don’t, it doesn’t appear as if I will be able to test out some of the Hyper-V clustering features unless I identify some actual hardware for Windows 8. I had hoped that just maybe VMware Workstation 8 would be able to fool Windows 8 into thinking it was actually a physical server, but so far no dice. This article appears to indicate it will work if you have an Intel Nehalem or Intel Core i7 processor, but my two year old Intel Core 2 Duo T9500 doesn’t seem to be able to do the trick.

I added the hypervisor.cpuid.v0 = “FALSE” to the config file and I changed the CPU settings to use Intel VT –x/EPT as shown below.

But this is what I get when I try to enable the Hyper-V role.

Maybe it is time to invest in a new laptop?

Windows Server 8 Developer Preview will not support the Hyper-V Role while running on VMware Workstation…at least on my laptop

Windows Server 8 Developer Preview Running on VMware Workstation 8

I’m pretty excited that I was able to get Windows Server 8 up and running on my laptop today. I wasn’t really looking forward to having to boot from VHD just to check out some of the features. I really wanted to run multiple copies of Windows Server 8 at the same time so I could check out some of the cool new clustering features, so once again, booting my laptop from a VHD really wasn’t going to give me the experience I needed. I do have some servers running Hyper-V that would have been fine, but I really like having something quick and easy on my laptop that I can fire up anywhere at any time. VMware Workstation has been my go to virtualization platform for my Windows 7 laptop for quite some time due to the lack of a real client based hypervisor alternative from Microsoft.

When I downloaded the Windows Server 8 Developer Preview Edition from MSDN earlier this week I was assuming I was getting an installation ISO. What I discovered was that I actually downloaded a pre-installed VHD. I haven’t gone back yet to check to see if there is an ISO, but from reading the blogs it appears there is an ISO available somewhere, so I probably just grabbed the wrong file. Without a Hyper-V player available for Windows 7 (well, maybe VirtualBox?), I decided to get really crazy and try out the free Starwind V2V Converter and turn it into a bootable VMDK file so I could launch it in VMware Workstation.

I found the Starwind V2V Converter to be very straight forward and soon enough I had a VMDK file ready to launch in VMware Workstation. What I soon found out was that you cannot run Windows Server 8 Developer Preview in VMware Workstation 7; you need the newly released Workstation 8. In VMware Workstation you get a message that begins as follows…

*** VMware Workstation internal monitor error ***
vcpu-0:NOT_IMPLEMENTED vmcore/vmm/intr/apic.c:1903

So, I went ahead and upgrade to Workstation 8 and tried to turn on the converted VMDK file. At first I got a message about hardware being changed and the VM would not start, but after I adjusted the processor so that it match the processor that I have (1 CPU, 2 Core) the VM launched! One other setting you need to make sure to set right is the operating system version. Since Windows 8 is not an option yet, choose Windows 7. Windows 7 x64 doesn’t work – make sure you choose Windows 7!

I tried to install the VMware tools, but that didn’t work out so well for me as I simply got a black screen with a pointer after the tools were installed. Until they come out with VMware tools specific for Windows 8 I would avoid installing the VMware tools for the time being.

Here is my first view of Windows 8. I’ll be writing more about the HA features and Hyper-V next week once I start poking around J

Windows Server 8 Developer Preview Running on VMware Workstation 8

Microsoft Virtualization for VMware Professionals – Free Online Classes – March 29 – 31

Just one week after Microsoft Management Summit 2011 (MMS), Microsoft Learning will be hosting an exclusive three-day Jump Start class specially tailored for VMware and Microsoft virtualization technology pros.  Registration for “Microsoft Virtualization for VMware Professionals” is open now and will be delivered as a FREE online class on March 29-31, 2010 from 10:00am-4:00pm PDT.


What’s the high-level overview?

  • This cutting edge course will feature expert instruction and real-world demonstrations of Hyper-V and brand new releases from System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 Beta (many of which will be announced just one week earlier at MMS).  Register Now!
  • Day 1 will focus on “Platform” (Hyper-V, virtualization architecture, high availability & clustering)
    • 10:00am – 10:30pm PDT:  Virtualization 360 Overview
    • 10:30am – 12:00pm:  Microsoft Hyper-V Deployment Options & Architecture
    • 1:00pm –   2:00pm:  Differentiating Microsoft and VMware (terminology, etc.)
    • 2:00pm –   4:00pm:  High Availability & Clustering
  • Day 2 will focus on “Management” (System Center Suite, SCVMM 2012 Beta, Opalis, Private Cloud solutions)
    • 10:00am – 11:00pm PDT:  System Center Suite Overview w/ focus on DPM
    • 11:00am – 12:00pm:  Virtual Machine Manager 2012 | Part 1
    • 1:00pm –   1:30pm:  Virtual Machine Manager 2012 | Part 2
    • 1:30pm –   2:30pm:  Automation with System Center Opalis & PowerShell
    • 2:30pm –   4:00pm:  Private Cloud Solutions, Architecture & VMM SSP 2.0
  • Day 3 will focus on “VDI” (VDI Infrastructure/architecture, v-Alliance, application delivery via VDI)
    • 10:00am – 11:00pm PDT:  Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) Architecture | Part 1
    • 11:00am – 12:00pm:  Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) Architecture | Part 2
    • 1:00pm –   2:30pm:  v-Alliance Solution Overview
    • 2:30pm –   4:00pm:  Application Delivery for VDI

  • Every section will be team-taught by two of the most respected authorities on virtualization technologies: Microsoft Technical Evangelist Symon Perriman and leading Hyper-V, VMware, and XEN infrastructure consultant, Corey Hynes

Who is the target audience for this training?

Suggested prerequisite skills include real-world experience with Windows Server 2008 R2, virtualization and datacenter management. The course is tailored to these types of roles:

  • IT Professional
  • IT Decision Maker
  • Network Administrators & Architects
  • Storage/Infrastructure Administrators & Architects


How do I to register and learn more about this great training opportunity?

  • Register: Visit the Registration Page and sign up for all three sessions
  • Blog: Learn more from the Microsoft Learning Blog
  • Twitter: Here are a few posts you can retweet:
    • Mar. 29-31 “Microsoft #Virtualization for VMware Pros” @SymonPerriman Corey Hynes
      @MSLearning #Hyper-V
    • @SysCtrOpalis Mar. 29-31 “Microsoft #Virtualization for VMware Pros” @SymonPerriman Corey Hynes
    • Learn all the cool new features in Hyper-V & System Center 2012! SCVMM, Self-Service Portal 2.0,
      #Hyper-V #Opalis

What is a “Jump Start” course?

A “Jump Start” course is “team-taught” by two expert instructors in an engaging radio talk show style format.  The idea is to deliver readiness training on strategic and emerging technologies that drive awareness at scale before Microsoft Learning develops mainstream Microsoft Official Courses (MOC) that map to certifications.  All sessions are professionally recorded and distributed through MS Showcase, Channel 9, Zune Marketplace and iTunes for broader reach.

Please join us for this fantastic event!

Microsoft Virtualization for VMware Professionals – Free Online Classes – March 29 – 31

How to Install Service Packs into a Cluster while also Minimizing Planned Downtime

I answer this question often enough that I thought I should probably but a link to it in my blog.

This article tells you everything you need to know. However, what you may not realize is that by following the instructions in the article you are minimizing the amount of planned downtime while also giving yourself the opportunity to “test” the update on one node before your upgrade both nodes. If the upgrade does not go well on the first node, at least the application is still running on the second node until you can figure out what went wrong.

This is just one of the side benefits that you get when you cluster at the application layer vs. clustering at the hypervisor layer. If this were simply a VM in an availability group, you would have to schedule downtime to complete the application upgrade and hope that it all went well as the only failback is to restore the VM from backup. As I discussed in earlier articles, there is a benefit to clustering at the hypervisor level, but you have to understand what you are giving up as well.

How to Install Service Packs into a Cluster while also Minimizing Planned Downtime

Are VMware’s vSphere Disaster Recovery Options Really Better than Microsoft’s options for Hyper-V?

Every time I read a blog post, or open a magazine article about virtualization and disaster recovery I see the same thing….VMware has a more robust DR solution than Microsoft. Well, I’d like to challenge that assumption. From the view where I sit, this is actually one of the areas where Microsoft has a major competitive advantage at the moment. Here is how I see it.

VMware Site Recovery Manager

This is an optional additional add on that rides on the back of Array based replication solutions. While the recovery point objective is good due to the array based replication, the RTO is measured in hours, not minutes. Add in the fact that moving back to the primary data center is a very manual procedure which basically requires that you re-create your jobs in the opposite direction; the complete end to end recovery operation of failover and failback could take the better part of a day or longer.

Microsoft Multi-Site Cluster

Virtual machine HA clustering is included with the free version of Hyper-V Server 2008 R2, as well as with Windows Server 2008 Enterprise and Datacenter editions. In order to do multi-site clusters, it requires array based replication or host based replication solutions that integrate with Windows Server Failover Clustering. With a multi-site cluster, failover is measured in minutes (just about the time it takes to start a VM) and can be used with array based replication solutions such as EMC SRDF CE or HP MSA CLX or the much less expensive host based replication solutions such as SteelEye DataKeeper Cluster Edition.

Not only is failover quick with Hyper-V multi-site clusters, measured in just a few minutes, failback is also quick and seamless as well. Add in support for Live Migrations or Quick Migration across Data Centers, I think this is one area that Microsoft actually has a much more robust solution than VMware. Maybe it does not included automated DR tests, but when you consider you can failover and failback all in under 10 minutes, maybe an actual DR test performed monthly would give you a much better indication of what to expect in an actual disaster?

If you want a Hyper-V solution more like SRM, then there is an option there as well, it is called Citrix Essential for Hyper-V. But much like SRM, it is an optional add-on feature and really doesn’t even match the RPO and RTO features that you can achieve with basic multi-site clusters for Hyper-V.

What do you think? Am I wrong or is there something I just don’t get? From my view, Hyper-V is heads and shoulders above vSphere in terms of disaster recovery features.

Are VMware’s vSphere Disaster Recovery Options Really Better than Microsoft’s options for Hyper-V?

Will Windows Failover Clusters (MSCS/WSFC) Become Obsolete?

I was recently asked whether MSCS/WSFC will become obsolete due to 3rd party HA solutions. I think there will always be a market for 3rd party HA solutions, but many of the enhancements delivered with Windows Server 2008 have reduced the need to explore alternate HA solutions.  I think the greater threat to MSCS/WSFC is HA solutions provided by the virtualization vendors, such as Microsoft’s Hyper-V failover clusters (which actually uses WSFC) and VMware HA.  These solutions provided by the virtualization platform provide protection in case of host failure, although they currently do not have visibility into the application that is running within the VM. 

The real question is what kind of failure do you want to protect against? If physical server failure is your primary concern, then in some cases where MSCS may have previously been deployed, you will see Hyper-V Clusters or VMware HA being deployed instead.  In other cases where MSCS/WSFC may have seemed like overkill or was incompatible with the OS or application, you will instead see clustered VMs being deployed because it is easy to install and it supports all applications and operating systems. The mere fact that more workloads will be running per physical server will make it imperative to have some kind of clustering solution so that the failure of a single server does not bring down your entire infrastructure. In many cases, this clustering solution will be provided by the virtualization vendor.

Hyper-V Clusters and VMware HA are easy to implement and have a broad range of support as the protected VM can be running any OS or application.  The tradeoff is that you lose the application level monitoring included with MSCS/WSFC.  There will always be a class of applications that need application awareness, so MSCS/WSFC or other HA solutions that manage application availability will always be needed to ensure that the application is available, not just the server itself. With that being said, MSCS/WSFC will not become obsolete, but you will see it deployed alongside other cluster solutions provided by the hypervisor vendors..

Will Windows Failover Clusters (MSCS/WSFC) Become Obsolete?