The USB not in Hyper-V thing is annoying. It actually made me stop and consider my alternatives for a desktop. I have 8GB and want to use it, so I'm going 64-bit. The question is which OS. As I see it, I have a few choices:
- Vista 64 and VM software
- Windows 7 x64 and VM software
- W2K8 and Hyper-V
- XP 64 and Virtual PC
- Ubuntu 64 and VMWare (or some Linux flavor)
I've given each of these some thoughts below.
Windows XP 64
In looking over these alternatives, I'll discard Windows XP 64. I want to move forward, and this appears to be a flaky 64-bit, early alternative OS. Missing drivers, various issues, and it's old. I'll need to leave it soon, drivers aren't being written for it, etc.
I run Vista Ultimate on my laptop, and while it's OK, it's a pig, and overall I think it's a small POS. Not a big, honking, steaming, pile, but a small one. I don't like it, what little I've seen of Windows 7 makes me think it's better, and so this is my last choice. Actually after going back to XP. I still have a 5GB file on my Vista laptop I can't delete. It "calculates" for at least 20 minutes before I give up.
Windows 2008 Server
W2K8 is my current choice. It's installed and I'm partially into driver set up. However the Hyper-V not supporting USB makes me question Hyper-V. And if I'm not using Hyper-V, why use Windows server? Win 7 starts to make sense (or Linux).
Windows 7 is interesting. I hear wonderful things about it, from a number of people that have just moved to it as their primary OS. It's not often that beta software from MS is baked. SQL 7 was, a few others, and this seems like it's there. I just get this guy feeling from the people I know running it and I am very, very tempted to do this. Once I have a desktop, this will likely go on my laptop, so I'll have a consistent environment.
There is some concern about the upgrade to RTM, but a few people have moved from the beta to RC using the Windows Easy Transfer, which gives me confidence in moving later.
Joe Webb, a fellow SQL Server MVP, runs Ubuntu on his laptop. I saw this last year at a conference and was intrigued by it. He loves it, and it's cool looking. He seems very productive and that's a priority for me. He doesn't appear to have to mess with it a lot from my talks with him, and that's what I want as a host OS. Something that just works.
On my laptop, I think I'd just go with Joe's setup and VMWare. However on my desktop the issue is that I run 3 monitors and I'd like to continue doing that. In a few searches, numerous people have had issues getting multiple monitors working on Linux and they jump through some hoops. I haven't found anyone running 3 or 4 monitors, and I don't want to be the guinea pig on this one. The last thing I need is to document a 3 monitor setup on Ubuntu and have all the Linux kids emailing me with questions.
VMware v Hyper-V v Virtual Server
The more I think about this one, the more I am thinking that either VMWare or Virtual Server is the best choice. Why? One of the things I've done, and would like to continue to do, is move a VM from my desktop to my laptop as needed, usually on some USB drive. This sounds like I can't necessarily move them around. This blog post says also that Virtual Server doesn't support 64-bit images.
If that's the case, then it seems like VMWare is my best option. I get one free license for being an MVP. I am happy to buy a 2nd if that works for me. The alternative is to not move VMs around.
That's a consideration, especially as I don't do it a lot, and potentially I could set up some other way to do this.
The 64-bit thing is definitely something I want since I get 64-bit stuff to test at times, and I'm sure I'll get more as time goes on. So I want to be sure that I am Hyper-V or VMware.
What do I do? I'm really not sure. I think that Ubuntu, Vista, and XP are out. So do I go with Win 7 as a workstation or W2K8? I think for now I'll go with Hyper-V and W2K8 since it's already installed and it's not any worse than Win 7 in my mind. The USB thing I can deal with, and worse case, since my stuff is backed up with LiveMesh (which works with Windows 7), I can easily rebuild and move things if needed.