The new version adds the ability to store snapshots of the virtual computer's complete state, including RAM and all hard drives, and instantly jump back to the snapshot whenever you want. Now, instead of having a blank Win 98 machine ready to boot up at any time, I have a blank Win 98 machine that is already booted and logged on, ready to restore at any time. This actually saves a significant amount of time while doing configuration testing.
I have one complaint about the new version: for some reason, there's a new CMOS, whatever that means, which meant that when my old VMs woke up, they had to rediscover all their hardware from scratch. This was a major nuisance with Windows 98, resulting in a flurry of Plug 'n' Play hell. I gave up, throwing away my Win 98 OSes and recreating them from scratch, a serious annoyance (especially since I have VMs running in languages which I don't understand, so I can't really tell what they're yelling at me about.) The Windows 2000 and Windows XP VMs seemed to handle all the Plug 'n' Play rediscovery transparently.
Last Friday afternoon, you may have noticed that this site was down for 10 minutes or so while we rebooted the server a few dozen times to apply the latest Microsoft patches, flash the bios, reseat some memory, etc. It occurred to me: what if, instead of running a conventional server, you ran your server in a VM? So everything my server does would actually be running in a virtual machine on the server. That has five interesting implications:
Anyway, VMWare has a server product, about which I know very little, but it probably lets you do all this and more and I think it's going to be an increasingly standard policy of good system administrators to build servers as VMs for all but the most CPU-intensive applications.
You’re reading Joel on Software, stuffed with years and years of completely raving mad articles about software development, managing software teams, designing user interfaces, running successful software companies, and rubber duckies.
I’m Joel Spolsky, co-founder of Fog Creek Software, a New York company that proves that you can treat programmers well and still be highly profitable. Programmers get private offices, free lunch, and work 40 hours a week. Customers only pay for software if they’re delighted. We make Trello, insanely simple project management, FogBugz, an enlightened bug tracker designed to help great teams develop brilliant software, and Kiln, which simplifies source control. I’m also the co-founder and CEO of Stack Exchange. More about me.