Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Magic of VMs

Something that Faan said in a comment to one of my posts stimulated a memory I'd like to share. In that post, I mentioned that I'd kind of interested in trying Microsoft Outlook 2007, but I'm too chicken to do it, because I don't have enough faith that if I didn't end up wanting to buy it, I'd be able to uninstall it without gorping up my Outlook 2003 installation, which I still rely upon.

He mentioned that a good way to evaluate a product without having that product go mad through your production data is to use virtual machine software, like VMware. In my estimation, this is brilliant.

And that's where the memory comes in. On my most recent trip to Europe, I had some time with my good friend Carel Jan Engel. Among the many stories we traded, Carel Jan gave me an excellent solution to the age-old problem of the awful transition period you have to go through when you replace your laptop computer.

In the Old Days, when you got a new computer, you had to install all the stuff that used to be on your old computer onto your new computer. This typically required me to spend weeks with both laptops sitting in front of me, so I could have access to all the license keys and so forth that I needed to install everything onto my new machine. Then there was the issue of re-customizing all your toolbars and everything that makes your apps yours.

Carel Jan excitedly told me the story of how he had just bought himself a new laptop, and all he had to do was bundle up the old Windows VM from his old machine, and copy it to his new machine. Presto! No more laptop upgrade purgatory. Brilliant.

Looks like I'll have one more purgatory to survive, and, if I do things right, that will be the end of it for this lifetime.

1 comment:

robert said...

You should probably also mention the downsides: performance, applications that do not work in a VM, etc. Why not just Ghost the disk?