Professional Virtual Server Book Published

Ben Armstrong, (AKA Virtual PC Guy), has published a book on Microsoft Virtual Server 2005.

Currently available on Amazon and Barnes&Noble (as well as at your favorite local reseller).

You can also download the example code from the book at the Publisher's website.

Some of the critical features you'll learn how to take advantage of include integrated backup support, offline virtual hard disk manipulation, and the Virtual Server COM Interface. You'll also discover how to get the best performance out of your virtual machines while creating a secure system. And you'll find expert tips and techniques on how to use Virtual Server for general development and debugging of applications.

What you will learn from this book:

  • All about the new features of Virtual Server 2005 R2 SP1
  • Steps for creating a virtual machine library for rapid and flexible deployment
  • How to build applications that control and interact with Virtual Server using Visual Basic.NET, C#, and ASP.NET
  • Ways to perform a P2V migration using Microsoft tools
  • Methods for clustering and configuring virtual machines
  • How to automate virtual machine operations using VBScript and PowerShell

Chapters are as follows:

Why Virtualize?
This chapter provides information on the various reasons why you might want to look at server virtualization, as well as making recommendations about configurations that might not be suitable for server virtualization.

Getting Started with Microsoft Virtual Server 2005
Here the details of how to install Virtual Server and get everything up and running are provided, as well as using the advanced installation options.

Virtual Server Basic Concepts
The basic concepts of virtual machines, virtual hard disks, virtual networking and emulated hardware are covered in this chapter.

Installing Guest Operating Systems
This chapter provides detailed instructions for installing Windows Server 2003 and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 inside of virtual machines, including installing Virtual Machine Additions.

Creating a Virtual Machine Library
Having a good virtual machine library strategy is critical to efficiently using Virtual Server.  Here I outline different strategies and discuss how to create template virtual machines for Windows NT 4.0, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista and Linux.

Understanding Virtual Machine Performance
I love this chapter, it provides details of processor, memory, networking and storage performance; as well as how to optimize each for best performance.

Monitoring and Managing Virtual Machines
This chapter outlines the basic tools and methods for management of virtual machines.

Keeping Virtual Machines Up to Date
This chapter discusses different strategies for keeping virtual machines up to date with the latest patches.  It also details how to configure a Windows Server Update Server and a YUM server inside of virtual machines.

Keeping Virtual Machines Secure
Here I talk about all of the necessary steps to take to ensure that virtual machines are secure, and remain secure.

Securing Virtual Server
Next I move on to talking about what is required to secure the physical installation of Virtual Server itself.

Backing Up Virtual Machines
This chapter discusses a number of different approaches that can be used in order to back up virtual machines, as well as highlighting the pros and cons of each approach.

Physical to Virtual Migration of Servers
This chapter is all about how to use Microsoft's Virtual Server Migration Toolkit (VSMT).

Manual Physical to Virtual Migrations
This is another of my favorite chapters, as it provides all the information necessary for you to perform a manual physical to virtual migration - including information on driver and configuration changes that need to be made.

Clustering Virtual Machines
This chapter discusses how to cluster virtual machines using emulated SCSI or iSCSI, and the reasons why you would want to use either configuration.

Clustering Virtual Server
Here I provide detailed information about clustering Virtual Server using the HAVM.VBS script and Windows Server clustering.

Using the Virtual Server COM Interface
This is the first chapter on developing against the Virtual Server COM interface, and it discusses the basics needed to connect to the COM interface under various development environments.

Scripting Virtual Server
Another favorite chapter of mine, Scripting Virtual Server provides sample VBScripts that demonstrate how to use pretty much every method and property of the Virtual Server COM interface.  As well as providing some interesting general use sample scripts.

Using PowerShell to Control Virtual Server
Next I drill into scripting Virtual Server with PowerShell.  On top of covering the basics, I demonstrate how to use PowerShell pipelining and function capabilities effectively with Virtual Server.

Developing Managed Applications for Virtual Server
This chapter steps you through the process of creating a simple managed application that allows you to control the state of virtual machines, view statistical information about virtual machines, and interact with them through an embedded VMRC control.  Code samples are provided in both VB.NET and C#.

Developing ASP.NET Applications with Virtual Server
Here I show you how to build your own 'self service' website, where users can create and destroy virtual machines using preconfigured virtual machine templates, all without needing to have administrative access to the actual Virtual Server installation (or any virtual machine knowledge at all).

Application Debugging with Virtual Server
Finally I discuss how to use Virtual Server to help with the development and debugging of other applications.