Virtualization Pro

Aug 18 2008   8:14PM GMT

VMware Server 2.0 Release Candidate 1 offers hot new features

Rick Vanover Rick Vanover Profile: Rick Vanover

The VMware Server 2.0 RC1 version, released on July 1, has six new features previously not available in the beta releases. These features include:

-The use of Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) for snapshots of Windows VMs
-More efficient communication between the host and guest or between the guest and multiple guests on the same host using the Virtual Machine Communication Interface (VMCI)
-The ability to add new disks to running VMs
-Guest VM direct SCSI support for devices such as a tape drive
-Additional browser support for VMware Infrastructure Web Access to include FireFox 3
-Redirection of devices on the guest VM to the web client

I had a chance to install the RC1 version, and the new features are welcome additions from the previous betas. One of the new features that I want to touch on is the ability to add a new disk to a running VM. This feature allows an administrator to add storage to the VM’s inventory with the normal options of disk size, disk type and the option to use an existing .VMDK file. The figure below shows the wizard within the web interface to add the hard disk to the running VM:

Figure 1

Once the wizard is completed, the drive is available to the operating system. At that point, different operating systems handle the arrival of a hard disk differently. The figure below shows the new hard drive on Windows Server 2008 after a rescan task:

Figure 2

In the example used with the VM above, the hard drive can be added and used in the operating system immediately. Other VMware products, such as ESX have had this functionality, but it is the first time for the Server product. This feature is a welcome addition to the free product series as many organizations use VMware Server in a live workload capacity.

More information on the VMware Server 2.0 RC1 version can be found in the release notes on the VMware website.

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