Installing a guest operating system session

This excerpt from "Windows Server 2008 Unleashed" provides a step-by-step guide to installation of a guest operating system session on Windows Server 2008.

One of the key tasks noted in the previous section is to begin the installation of a new guest operating system session. The guest operating system installation is wizard driven and provides the administrator with the ability to configure settings for the guest session, and to begin the installation of the guest operating system software itself. A guest session could be a server-based session running something like Windows Server 2003 or Windows Server 2008, a client-based session running something like Windows XP or Windows Vista, or a guest session running a non-Windows operating system.

Gathering the Components Needed for a Guest Session

When creating a guest operating system, the administrator needs to make sure they have all of the components needed to begin the installation. The components needed are as follows:

  • Operating system media -- A copy of the operating system is required for the installation of the guest image. The media could be either a DVD or an ISO image of the media disc itself.
  • License key -- During the installation of the operating system software, if you are normally prompted to enter in the license key for the operating system, you should have a copy of the license key available.

Other things you should do before starting to install a guest operating system on the virtual server system:

  • Guest session configuration settings -- You will be prompted to answer several core guest session configuration setting options, such as how much RAM you want to allocate for the guest session, how much disk space you want to allocate for the guest image, and so on. Either jump ahead to the next section on "Beginning the Installation of the Guest Session" so you can gather up the information you'll need to answer the questions you'll be asked, or be prepared to answer the questions during the installation process.
  • Host server readiness -- If you will be preplanning the answers to the questions that you'll be asked, make sure that the host system has enough RAM, disk space, and so on to support the addition of your guest session to the virtual server system. If your requirements exceed the physical capacity of the server, stop and add more resources (memory, disk space, and so on) to the server before beginning the installation of the guest operating system.
  • Beginning the Installation of the Guest Session

    After you are ready to begin the installation of the guest operating system, launch the guest operating system installation wizard. This is done by doing the following:

    1. From the Actions pane, choose New, Virtual Machine.
    2. Click Next to continue past the initial Welcome screen.
    3. Give your virtual machine a name that will be descriptive of the virtual guest session you are creating, such as AD Global Catalog Server, or Exchange 2007 Client Access Server 1, or ISA Proxy Server.
    4. If you had set the default virtual machine folder location where guest images are stored, the new image for this virtual machine will be placed in that default folder. However, if you need to select a different location where the image files should be stored, click Create a New Folder for the Virtual Machine Files, and select Browse to choose an existing disk directory or to create a new directory where the image file for this guest session should be stored. Click Next to continue.
    5. Enter in the amount of RAM you want allocated to this guest image (in megabytes), and then click Next.
    6. Choose the network segment to which you want this guest image to be initially connected. This would be an internal or external segment created in the section "Virtual Network Manager" earlier in this chapter. Click Next.
    7. The next option allows you to create a new virtual hard disk or use an existing virtual hard disk for the guest image file. Creating a new virtual hard disk creates a VHD disk image in the directory you choose. By default, a dynamic virtual disk image size setting is set to 127GB. The actual file itself will only be the size needed to run the image (potentially 4GB or 8GB to start) and will dynamically grow up to the sized noted in this setting. Alternately, you can choose an existing hard disk image you might have already created (including an older image you might have created in Microsoft Virtual Server 2005), or you can choose to select a hard disk image later. The options for this configuration are shown in Figure 37.5. Click Next to continue.
    8. Figure 37.5 Virtual Hard Disk creation or selection option.

    9. The next option, shown in Figure 37.6, allows for the installation of an operating system on the disk image you created in the previous step. You can choose to install an operating system at a later time, install an operating system from a bootable CD/DVD or ISO image file, install an operating system from a floppy disk image, or install an operating system from a network-based installation server (such as Remote Installation Service [RIS]). Typically, operating system source discs are on either a physical disc or ISO image file, and choosing a CD or DVD or an associated ISO image file will allow for the operating system to be installed on the guest image. Select your option, and then click Next to continue.
    10. Figure 37.6 Choosing the installation mechanism for the guest session.

    11. Review the summary of the options you have selected and either click on Previous to go back and make changes, or click on Finish if the settings you've chosen are fine. There is a Start the Virtual Machine Once This Wizard Is Finished check box that you can choose that will launch the guest session and begin the guest session installation process. If you need to make changes to the settings, you would not want to select this option yet -- just click Finish so that you can make configuration setting changes and start the installation process after that.

    Completing the Installation of the Guest Session

    The guest operating system installation will proceed to install just like the process of installing the operating system on a physical system. Typically, at the end of an operating system installation, the guest session will restart and bring the session to a logon prompt. Log on to the guest operating system and configure the guest operating system as you would any other server system. This typically has you do things such as:

    1. Change the system name to a name that you want the virtual server to be. For many versions of operating systems, you will be prompted to enter the name of the system during the installation process.
    2. Configure the guest session with an appropriate IP address. This might be DHCP issued; however, if you are building a server system, a static IP address is typically recommended.
    3. Join the system to an Active Directory domain (assuming the system will be part of a managed Active Directory Domain Services environment with centralized administration).
    4. Download and apply the latest patches and updates on the guest session to confirm that all patches and updates have been installed and applied to the system.

    The installation of the guest operating system typically requires yet another reboot, and the operating system will be installed and operational.

    Use the following table of contents to navigate to chapter excerpts


    Windows Server 2008 Unleashed
      Home: Deploying and using Windows virtualization: Introduction
      1: Understanding Microsoft's virtualization strategy
      2: Planning your implementation of Hyper-V
      3: Installation of the Microsoft Hyper-V server role
      4: Becoming familiar with the Hyper-V administrative console
      5: Installing a guest operating system session
      6: Modifying guest session configuration settings
      7: Launching a Hyper-V guest session
      8: Using snapshots of guest operating systems sessions
    ABOUT THE BOOK:   
    Windows Server 2008 Unleashed covers the planning, design, prototype testing, implementation, migration, administration and support of a Windows 2008 and Active Directory environment, based on more than three and a half years of early-adopter experience in full production environments. This book addresses not only what is new in Windows 2008 compared with previous versions of the Windows Server product, but also what is different and how the similarities and differences affect an organization's migration to Windows 2008. Chapters are dedicated to the migration process from Windows 2000/2003 to Windows 2008, how to properly use Group Policies in Windows 2008, and tips and tricks on managing and administering a Windows 2008 environment. Purchase the book from InformIT.
    ABOUT THE AUTHORS:   
    Rand Morimoto has been in the computer industry for more than 30 years and has authored, co-authored or been a contributing writer for dozens of bestselling books on Windows 2003, Exchange 2007, security, BizTalk Server, and remote and mobile computing. Michael Noel has been involved in the computer industry for nearly two decades and has significant real-world experience with enterprise information technology environments. Michael has authored several major publications, such as SharePoint 2007 Unleashed and Exchange 2007 Unleashed Omar Droubi has been in the computer industry for more than 15 years, has co-authored one of Sams Publishing's bestselling books, Windows 2003 Unleashed, and has been a contributing writer and technical reviewer on several other books on Windows Server 2003 as well as Exchange 2000, 2003 and 2007. Ross Mistry is a seasoned veteran in Silicon Valley and has spent more than a decade in the computer industry. As a principal consultant and partner with Convergent Computing (CCO), he had the opportunity to work with Windows Server 2008 for three years before the product was released to the public. Chris Amaris is the chief technology officer and co-founder of CCO. He has more than 20 years' experience consulting for Fortune 500 companies, leading them in the selection, design, planning and implementation of complex information technology projects. Chris worked with Windows 2008 for three years before its release to the general public.

    This was last published in February 2008

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