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SharePoint Virtualization Testing

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Microsoft SharePoint is designed to be collaborative and hosted online, either on the Internet or on an intranet.  In either scenario, the universal factor is the server.  It is designed to function on server hardware and a server-class operating system (specifically Windows Server 2008 R2).

When developers, IT professionals, or even business users want to test SharePoint configurations and applications, they must run an instance of Server 2008.  That means either installing it on their local computer or using some form of virtual machine.   According to the Microsoft knowledge base, there are three virtualization software products to choose from: Microsoft Virtual PC, Microsoft Virtual Server, and Windows Server 2008 Hypver-V.

Some third-party hypervisor products and third-party virtualization products will work as well.  The currently supported third-party virtualization providers are: VMWare, Cisco, Hitachi, Citrix Systems, Red Hat, Novell, Riverbed Technology, and Stratus Technologies.  You can also use the free virtualization software, Oracle Virtualbox, but it is not officially supported.

One of the challenges  to keep in mind is that a 64-bit system will run virtualization of 64-bit and 32-bit operating systems, but a 32-bit system will not run a 64-bit virtual operating system.  This means that if you are trying to test SharePoint on your laptop, you will need to have the right compatibility.  Most people do not want to install Windows Server 2008 on their laptops, so virtualization is an excellent way to  perform the testing or training you need, without having to wipe Windows 7 or another OS from your computer.  After testing, you may also decide to use virtualization in production environments to save on the cost of purchasing hardware.

Sources: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/909840
http://stovereffect.com/2010/09/07/is-virtualization-supported-for-sharepoint/

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One question

  1. John says:

    My choice of virtualization software is Dell. It offers great functionality and I can choose among lots of solutions they provide on their website http://content.dell.com/uk/en/business/virtualization

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