Monday, March 23, 2009

Hopscotch in the 64-bit Minefield

So it's no secret I've been playing with virtualization, Windows, Linux, IA32 and amd64. Virtualization looks the part, but so does a 24-bit color depth 1280 x 1024 bitmap of a fake desktop. You can't do much with either.

Microsoft has given us WOW64, allowing us to run old x86 (IA32) software on new 64-bit operating systems. It's so seamless you forget you've got it: until you try and install ISA Server 2006.

Getting Windows Hyper-V Server up and running on a headless box... well, let's just say I'm not that patient. I eventually settled for Hyper-V role on a full-fat Windows Server 2008 Enterprise Edition install, with crash-carted DKM. It doesn't appear to run on anything except the 64-bit version, either. Even then, loads of caveats await:
gigabit network card? you'll have to use a ridiculously slow emulated "switch" instead.
multiple cpus? not!
scsi drives? think again.
usb? umm... for some reason nobody in the world has ever thought of plugging a usb device into a server. i was the first. i'm so proud!
Granted, all these restrictions are imposed on the non-MS (see ubuntu) and older guest operating systems like Windows XP, but isn't half the pitch behind virtualization about getting rid of old physical kit and consolidating servers?

Flex Builder 3? Oh yes. But not for Linux. No wait... there's a free alpha version but it's not compatible with 64-bit.

VMWare ESXi? Check your hardware list first.

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