Q

VMware doesn't rule out Microsoft's Virtual Appliance

VARs have to support a wide range of vendor products and knowing all of them is important. So how can VARs take advantage of Microsoft's Virtual Appliance if the enterprise support they settled on is VMware? Expert Harley Stagner can show the way.

I would like to be able to take advantage of the rapid deployment that the new Virtual Appliances from Microsoft offer so that I can concentrate on demonstrating or learning the new Microsoft technologies that these appliances are based on. However, my company has decided to standardize on VMware as its virtualization platform. Can I convert the vhd format to the vmdk format so that I can use these virtual appliances in VMware?
That is a perfectly legitimate question since most organizations like to standardize on one technology. You are in luck because Microsoft has apparently decided to play nice with VMware for the moment. They have allowed VMware to list the Microsoft Virtual Appliances on VMware's VMTN Appliance Marketplace. The listings are just links to the Microsoft download site; however, having the appliances in one repository makes it easier for VMware users to get their appliances. Also, as the instructions say in the Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 Virtual Appliance and other Microsoft appliances on the site, VMware Workstation, Server, or Player will open the .vmc file (Microsoft's Virtual Machine Configuration file) and convert the virtual machine automatically.

If you have plans to use the Microsoft Virtual Appliances on VMware ESX Server 3.x, then you can also use the Virtual Machine Importer tool that is freely available from VMware in order to convert the Microsoft Virtual Server appliance into a VMware format. Also VMware Converter 3.0 is in beta now. This product is supposed to import from a variety of formats as well and should be even easier and more intuitive to use than the Virtual...

Machine Importer tool.

If you are standardized on VMware products and still want to take advantage of the new Microsoft virtual appliances, then you have plenty of options for converting them to a VMware format. Hopefully, this is a sign of more interoperability features between competing products in the future. This will help all parties involved.

This was first published in January 2007

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