Will there be any issues installing and then subsequently running a Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 installation on a VirtualBox VM on a Linux host (Ubuntu 11.04 64-bit)? I require Windows Server 2008 R2 for a course I'm taking, and I dont have any systems to install/deploy it onto.

Host Machine Specs:
Ubuntu 11.04 64-bit
350GB Disk Space
Nvidia Quadro system


You'll be fine. I've server 2008 R2 on lesser software.

As far as hosted VMs, the only consideration I really ever give pause is when the child OS (server 2008 R2 in this case) will cause a lot of disk activity.

Paradroid brings up a good point, but I think he was being too broad. It is fine to run a domain controller on a VM. Where you want to be careful is when you have 2 domain controllers on two VMs replicating to each other.

The problem only shows up if you don't shut them down, but rather hibernate/sleep the VMs. When you don't shut it down, it's possible when you resume them that they may be seen as a whole new instance, and can't rejoin the domain, because there is already another server with the same name. Then you essentially have to reformat, because since it can't rejoin, you can't demote it. The other domain controller will have equal issues with replications.

Moral of the story is don't sleep/ hibernate the VMs. If you are in a hurry, then just pull the plug on the VMs, rather than issuing a shutdown. The chances of corruption are much much lower than sleeping/hibernating.

  • It's fine to save state on VMs, but as you say, saving state or hibernating or sleeping DCs is a bad idea. There are also other issues with DCs to take into account though, like not having its time synced with the host if the host joins the domain as well, as that would cause a loopback. After taking these and other issues into account, you can run DCs in VMs, as I do, but I did not think there was any point in going through all the issues when the question didn't really ask about them. – paradroid Jul 27 '11 at 16:02
  • I thought the save/hibernate was a big enough issue to bring up because users will more than likely hibernate the VMs. I haven't run into the time sync issue myself. AFAIK, the child VM will adjust the time before the DC starts running. – surfasb Jul 29 '11 at 0:52
  • I cannot see why anybody would hibernate VMs when the hypervisor can save state, which is much more convenient, as it done automatically. Also, if the child VM DC gets its time from the parent, and the parent is connect to the domain, the parent (and all the other machines/VMs in the domain) will get its time from the DC (which got its time from the parent). It's a complete loop, which could see the whole domain go way off time accuracy. It's a common oversight. – paradroid Jul 29 '11 at 1:45
  • Wow, my terminology sucks. My coworkers have bagged me for using hibernate when referring to VMs. I meant saved state, since Server 2008 doesn't allow you to sleep/hibernate AFAIK. I see what you are saying about the complete loop. I never thought about people joining their host to a DC on a child VM. It sounds ridiculous but I guess that hasn't stopped people before. . . – surfasb Jul 29 '11 at 2:33
  • I don't think it's ridiculous. How else would you easily remotely manage a headless server core Hyper-V host with PowerShell/SCCM/SCVMM? But there are several things to take into account, as I said. – paradroid Jul 29 '11 at 2:52

As long as you do not intend using it as a domain controller, I cannot think of any possible problems you could have. It should be fine.

You will probably find it better to connect to it through RDP, using rdesktop, rather than the VirtualBox console.

  • This basically is going to be a training course on how to use basic Windows Server 2008 R2 services, as well as setting up web services (but not domain controllers). Setting up services includes configuring SharePoint, configuring Microsoft Dynamics CRM, as well as SQL Server, and other software that only runs on Server 2008 systems). how would I utilize rdesktop in order to connect via RDP? And wouldn't the VBox OSE system automatically default to using its own interface/console/screen/window? – Thomas Ward Jul 27 '11 at 15:46
  • As well, setting up and configuring Windows Server is on the list. The later course (part 2) is advanced setup and config, and for that I'll have an actual box ready for Windows Server 2008 R2 ;) – Thomas Ward Jul 27 '11 at 15:47
  • @The: You just need to enable administration through RDP to be able to use it. As it is running in a virtual machine, you can connect to it from the host computer just as you would with any other Windows machine on the network using RDP. – paradroid Jul 27 '11 at 15:49
  • Even as a domain controller, it should work fine - excluding snapshots if there are other domain controllers or anything that can cause sync issues. – William Hilsum Jul 27 '11 at 15:56
  • @William: Not really, as there are several things to take into account. I mentioned some in a comment for another answer, but there are others too, if you are joining the host to the domain as well. – paradroid Jul 27 '11 at 16:06

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