Getting More from VMs
As technology components get more powerful, we're going to start seeing a tidal wave of virtualization. I was happy to read Michael Otey's Top 10: "Tips for Virtual Server 2005" (February 2007, InstantDoc ID 94289), and I understand that 10 is the new 7, but I want to suggest a few more tips for getting the most out of virtual machines (VMs). One, look at the hardware settings for your VM and remove or disable any hardware components you don't need. Floppy devices, USB controllers (currently supported only in VMware), serial ports, and parallel ports are all devices that you might not need—at least not full-time. You can also set things like the optical drive to not connect on startup. These devices can take up virtual CPU cycles from the system for maintenance. Two, you could also change the performance settings of the guest Windows OSs. On the Advanced tab of System Properties, select Performance, Settings. Set to "Adjust for best performance." Unless you write magazine articles, give public presentations, or prepare corporate documentation and need screenshots to match exactly what the audience will use, turn off the cute and glitz. Doing so affords performance gains especially in Windows Vista and also isn't a bad idea in general for production servers. Three, disable the screen saver! Four, reduce the color depth of your display and remove the desktop background. As CPUs speed up and incorporate their own virtualization enhancements, it might not seem necessary to eke out these last CPU cycles, but we could all use a little more conservation in many aspects of our lives.
Saving Vista Backup Image Files
I have a question for Ed Roth regarding his article "Vista's New Backup and Recovery Technologies" (April 2007, InstantDoc ID 95240). In the article, Ed states that, using Windows Complete PC Backup and Restore, "You can save the backup image files on local hard disks, DVD-R media, and network shares in which the share is specified as a Universal Naming Convention (UNC) path." I don't see the network shares option. Can Ed please explain how that is possible?
For some reason, Microsoft won't allow you to specify a UNC target location for Complete PC Backup and Restore by using the GUI. The only way I know of to save your Complete Backup image to a network share is to use the WBAdmin utility, as I discussed in the article. I've heard of some odd permissions issues when saving backups to network shares on older OSs, but I didn't experience any trouble in Windows Server 2003 or Windows 2000 Server.
Edge Transport Servers as Domain Members
In his article "Backing Up Exchange Server 2007" (May 2007, InstantDoc ID 95527), Brien Posey states that an Exchange 2007 Edge Transport server can't be a domain member because it uses Active Directory Application Mode (ADAM) to give it a local directory replica. This isn't correct. An Edge Transport server can in fact be a domain member. Heck, even Microsoft IT adds each of its six Edge Transport servers to a dedicated AD forest in the perimeter network. This makes it easier to manage the servers and plays better with MOM. I agree that you should never add an Edge Transport server to the corporate forest on the internal network, but that's another thing.
Thanks for your feedback, Henrik. The sentence you refer to, "More precisely, the Edge Transport role can't be a domain member, and it uses Active Directory Application Mode (ADAM) to give it a local directory replica," should instead state, "The Edge Transport server should be placed into a dedicated forest and must not be a member of your production forest."
The 64-Bit Question
Paul Robichaux omitted one major piece of information in his reply to Bill Baltas in Letters@windowsitpro.com, "Exchange 2003 or 2007: How to Choose?" (April 2007, InstantDoc ID 95380), which is that Exchange 2007 requires a 64-bit OS. Even with Windows 32-bit on Windows 64-bit (WOW64), many drivers or applications won't install or run correctly. The jump from 32-bit to 64-bit is no less a challenge for the user community than moving from DOS to Windows NT was in the early 1990s. It took Microsoft seven years to release a 32-bit OS after the first 32-bit platform was introduced. To quote Paul Robichaux: "This is incomprehensible, given how long the public beta was available." I've had to borrow machines to test 64-bit Vista with my company's applications. Our development machines can load Vista (barely), but without network drivers or video over 800 X 600, I can't adequately test it. My point is that it's hard enough to make development changes to support Vista, but to also have to support a 64-bit alternative? That is incomprehensible.