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For a particular project that is coming up, I am trying to expand my knowledge of Linux, so I am going to set up a Linux system at home. Rather than dual booting, I am thinking about putting SQL Server on a Windows Virtual Machine with Linux as the host at least until this project is over when I will probably switch back to Linux. So, I have a couple of different, but interrelated questions:

How well does this work? This is only a test machine at home, so I can easily accept a fair bit of degradation, but if it is going to be a horrible reduction in performance I will dual boot instead.

Is there a particular virtual machine manager I should look at to go this route? Since this is my personal machine, price is an issue but I am quite happy to pay a reasonable amount.

And finally, given the choice of VMM, is there a particular Linux Distro I should be looking at?

[This has been cross posted at Ask.SqlServerCentral.com . I think it may be appropriate at both sites. ]

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

Most modern virtualisation software is very good and you only have a minimum performance hit compared to running physically - in some scenarios, it can actually achieve greater benchmarks.

For Linux, I would have to recommend Virtualbox.

You should be able to install SQL Server Express edition on XP, this should be free other than the standard Windows licensing costs - however, search Microsoft.com and you should find a VHD / trial of a version of Windows that will work inside a virtual machine.

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If you have a newer processor that supports hardware virtualization then you can look at kvm running under Fedora for your virtual machine. Otherwise, VMware Server and your distro of choice.

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