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At the moment, we are running a test bench with several desktop computers that are reimaged every time we need to test on a different operation system. Also because different versions of our software is tested on each image, we have to install our software every time we want to test it.

The problem we have had with going with a virtualization technology is that our software is depending on directx/opengl and 3D acceleration, and this has not been something that virtual machines have excelled at.

With the release of SP1 for Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V has gotten better 3D acceleration support, so we are looking into virtualizing our testbench using this.

Our test scenario would most likely be something close to this:

  1. Remote into the hyper-V server and load the test VM needed for the current tests
  2. Remote into the VM and install the new version of the software
  3. Run the tests

It would be nice, but not essential, if our support team could remote into the VMs to match the users OS+software combination when doing support.

Does anyone have any experience with this kind of settup with hyper-v?

Edit to clearify:

  • We were thinking of running a bunch of VMs of a single server, 20-30 (not all at once of course). They will be loaded/unloaded as needed, but there is a high posibility of 3-4 running at the same time.
  • They will be used to test our desktop applications, preferably remotely.
  • Our application will be installed/loaded into the VMs on a need basis. So a base image with snapshots or duplication would be nice way to do that.
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What 'kind of setup' are you asking about? One where you have a VM (or more) on a host, you start it, load software into it and use it? – Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Feb 24 '11 at 23:17
Added some clearification :) – Thomas.Winsnes Feb 24 '11 at 23:30

I think this is one of those cases where, while the VM is faster, it will never completely replace testing the software on real hardware. The best bet IMO is to split up your testing. See what tests can be unquestionably tested on the VM and then test the software on dedicated hardware to check for driver compatibility issues.

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The ability to snapshot virtual machines and (maybe) roll back to an earlier configuration should massively reduce the need to image machines (and maintain those images). Hyper-V can handle many snapshots to the same VM.

Unless your application has tight connection to hardware (eg. using specialist interface cards) you should be able to test everything in VM guests. With hardware assistance the small (1–2%) overhead of virtualisation is much smaller than the variation you'll find in customer hardware anyway. Just be aware that saturating the underlying hardware will impact performance tests (when required you might need to stop other guests for a period).

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