Windows 7 and Virtualisation

Yesterday I left a comment on a post over on istartedsomthing.  The post was about a job advert for developers to work on virtual hard disks, and it’s implications for Windows 7 functionality.

There seems to be quite a bit of focus on this line from the advert:

"Consider the simplicity of backup using a VHD, or the portability of a virtual disk backed by a single file."

Whilst that’s all very nice, for me the real interesting quote is this:

"Imagine being able to mount a VHD on any Windows machine, do some offline servicing and then boot from that same VHD. Or perhaps, taking an existing VHD you currently use within Virtual Server and boost performance by booting natively from it."

Specifically the last bit. 

If the intention is to include the ability to boot from a VHD, this implies that the platform will be built around, or at least support, a hypervisor like Hyper-V.

Of course this may be a focus for a future server version of Windows 7, but if included in the desktop as well it could make virtual desktops (VDI) and blade workstations a much more appealing prospect for the future. 

Imagine running an office full of desktop machines.  The low end requirements could be met using VM’s hosted on large servers, say 20-30 per server, presented to the user by a thin client.  If a user has a more complex requirement, you could simply move that VM to a dedicated blade workstation.  Hopefully that would use the same thin client and be pretty transparent to the end user – perhaps even VMotion style transparent.  If the user then needs to move office or go mobile just copy their VM to a remote server/blade, or to a standard desktop or laptop. 

It would need some good management tools but it could be quite a nice solution.

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