For years, the demo image for Microsoft Dynamics GP had been offered as a 32-bit VPC image, which was used as a sales tool for many partners and also helped the ISV community with testing of their products.  But times change, and we have to now change to a 64-bit Hyper-V image.

We had to make this change.  The version of Windows Server that we had to use is 64-bit (Windows Server 2008 R2).  We also historically struggled with other products that required a 64-bit operating  system, such as Microsoft SharePoint.  In order to support a more complete experience across the ever-growing integrated environment, and in order to support a deeper product set, we had to make a break from a 32-bit images.    Finally, 64-bit virtualization is currently the only option available from Microsoft, utilizing Windows Server and Hyper-V.

When we talked to Partners, we heard two distinct stories.  The first group were strong supporters of Hyper-V images, having switched to them already.  The second group were nervous about the switch because they were unsure what it would mean to the hardware and software requirements to run it, and realized that it likely would mean upgraded hardware for their sales teams.

To run the image that we are planning to deliver in December, the computer it runs on will need 8GB of RAM, approx. 200GB of free hard disk space (or an external hard disk with appropriate space and a quick enough interface – preferably USB3), and at least a dual core processor.  These are really the minimum specifications – anything that you do to improve on this will only help you out.  If possible, it is strongly recommended that 16GB of RAM is installed and approx. 300GB of free hard disk space is available.

One concern you may have is setup of the laptop.  Not too many sales consultants desire running Windows 2008 R2 Server as their primary operating system on a laptop.  We realized this, and we will publish shortly a guide to help explain how you can take a Windows 7-based laptop and create a dual-boot-to-VHD (dual boot to a Windows 2008 R2 Server Hyper-V image) scenario.  While it won’t cover your hardware exactly, it will give you insight into the process. 

So, what does all this mean?

For those of you with a newer laptop, typically 2 yrs old or less, you might need to add some RAM, and maybe add an external drive.  Older laptops will almost indeed require additional RAM.  For those of you not yet on Windows 7, you’ll need to upgrade your primary operating system of your laptop to Windows 7.  Then work with the guide to get your laptop ready for the next Microsoft Dynamics GP image, a 64-bit Hyper-V image.  As a benefit, many are reporting better performance with the Hyper-V environment.

Jay Manley