I'm trying to start a small software business. I have the plan, all I need now are some people to implement my plan ( I don't have so much time I'm also working ).

Q: I thought that buying a more powerful PC and create virtual machines for other people to connect to (via a client terminals or something like that) , and work on them instead of a computer for each would be cheaper (both hardware and the electricity bill) and easier to mantain. So I ended up with 2x I5 2500K , 8GB RAM , 1TB hard drive , each.

I'm new to virtualisation so I'm sorry if my question is stupid.

So my question is will I be able to run at least 4 virtual machines with Windows 7 + Visual Studio 2010 on each on my 2 I5s? If yes could you game any direction like what software to use , how to configure it , what client terminal to use.

  • 2
    Just remember that you will need a license for each OS you install on the VMs. Also 8GB of RAM is pushing it on a VM running that many computers since you are already running the host computer too. It may be a bit slow.
    – KCotreau
    Jun 18 '11 at 0:36
  • As KCotreau notes, you are going to want to consider more RAM, and I'd also be concerned about bottlenecks due to having a desktop-grade hard drive sub-system, with only a single drive. Not to mention if one drive crashes, 4 VMs (paid employees?) are down. Jun 18 '11 at 1:40

You would have no problems doing that. You do not actually need to buy Windows Server 2008 R2 either, as you can use the free Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 instead. I recommend using HVRemote to set up remote management (as it has no GUI), as doing it manually is complicated (more so than anything else on Server Core).

If you were to go the Remote Desktop route, using Windows Server 2008/R2 (as a previous answer mentions), check to see whether your licencing for Visual Studio allows it, as some Microsoft software, like Office 2010, refuses to run on terminal services, for obvious licencing reasons, unless you have a volume licence key.

  • +1. This sounds very good actually. Could you please elaborate? How does this work? Is this something similar to XenServer, where you create a virtual machine with an OS inside, per user?
    – rid
    Jun 18 '11 at 0:15
  • @rdineiu: Yes, Hyper-V is similar to XenServer and VMware ESXi. I think Linux KVM is more different, while similar as well, but I do not have any experience with it. You can do as you say with it, but Remote Desktop Services, using different user accounts on the same Windows Server 2008 R2 instance may be a better solution, depending on what you are doing. I use both, but I do not know enough about development workflow and work methods to say which one way would be better for that. Both of these server roles merge together in a number of ways.
    – paradroid
    Jun 18 '11 at 0:46

You could also use VM Ware https://www.vmware.com/
either one (this or WSBS) will allow you to run your 4 virtual PCs

However from the sounds of it you are wanting to run some development in this environment, the performance might not be very good. Plus you still have to have some sort of client PC to connect to it, so I'm not sure that you will save money in the long run.

If you like the idea of virtual and can return the hardware you could also look at Amazon EC2 instances http://aws.amazon.com/ec2/instance-types/ then you wouldn't have a capital expense.


You can install Windows Server 2008 R2 on each of the two machines, then connect with Windows 7 from the clients. No extra software needed. Windows will use the built in Remote Desktop Services.

  • See my answer for possible complications with this.
    – paradroid
    Jun 17 '11 at 23:43

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