(Long time no post … sorry! we have been really busy!)

Last week we released a new SharePoint 2010 Beta Virtual Machine.  (GET IT HERE)

This VM contains a bunch of pre-configured products including SharePoint 2010, Office 2010, SQL, Exchange, Office Communications Server & Visual Studio + a bunch more.

We will also be releasing an RTM version of this VM when that time comes (stay tuned).

This image is great if you want to get up and running with SharePoint/Office etc… and dont want to go through having to install and configure the products yourself.  They are also really good for giving demos.  We use these VMs for all the demos and shows we do.

As you might imagine running all those products requires a pretty beefy machine to run them.  Specifically you will need 8GB of RAM and Windows Server 2008 R2 with the Hyper-V role configured.

Here are my hint and tips for running this VM:

  • Use Hyper-V R2.  We built the VM for Hyper-V and there are optimizations specific for Hyper-V.  Although it is possible to convert the VM to other virtualization solutions, we haven't tried those out.
  • Run the VM off a 2nd hard drive.  Don't run the VM off your primary OS drive.  The VM is pretty IO hungry, so a fast disk is best.  A fast SSD like the Intel x25 gives the best performance.  The key is fast random reads and writes rather than sequential reads and writes.
  • You only need the 2nd VM provided if you want email/exchange integration enabled.  Don't start it unless you want email up and running.
  • Don’t try and recreate the VM from the VHD.  You must import the VM into Hyper-V.  The reason is that some services in the VM are tied to network adapters & if you recreate the VM from the VHD the hardware IDs of the NICs will change and things wont work right.
  • The first time you boot the VM it can take some time for the VM to finish detecting your CPU, NIC & some other devices that are specific to your hardware.  You might notice networking wont connect right away.

Finally … make sure you follow the instructions on the download page to the letter.  They are important and are there for a reason.

Happy VMing.

-Chris.