VMware Server 1.0.2 is available now. It fixes quite a few bugs; some of them are security-related. The upgrade is certainly recommended. I'd like to take this opportunity to say that we are quite content with VMware Server. This certainly is the best free virtualization solution in town. We have been using it in a productive environment since the version 1.0 came out. We have two physical servers running Windows Server Enterprise 2003 R2; each hosting a couple of virtual servers.

One server hosts two Windows servers and two virtual Linux machines, one SuSE 9.0 and one SLES 10.0. One of the Windows servers runs our external DNS server which doesn't need much performance. However, the other virtual Windows machine runs Sophos EM Library, which can get quite busy if new anti-virus signatures or anti-virus clients have to be deployed on our 550 clients.

The two Linux machines run Open Source content management systems, one Eprints and one Typo3, both using MySQL as database system. No problems with them so far in a virtual environment.

The other physical machine hosts WSUS 2.0. As you might know, WSUS uses an SQL Server which not only stores information of all the Microsoft patches, but also information about the clients. WSUS can consume quite a few recourses at times. There is another virtual Linux machine on this host running SLES 10.0 with a CMS which we programmed ourselves.

We've still plenty of space on our two hosts and plan to move several other servers to this virtual environment in the near future. You have to do some rethinking with a couple of things, like when you have to reboot the host system, but all in all we're quite content with this solution.

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By the way, my primary concern is not server consolidation. What I like most, about server virtualization, is that you can easily move a complete server with all its applications to another physical server if problems arise. I also like that you can create a snapshot before a major update. You work more relaxed, if you know that you can go back to a stable state with just a mouse click.

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