Microsoft releases a free tool for templating Virtual Server 2005 virtual machines

Nelson Araujo demonstrated one year ago at TechEd 04 a tool, called Virtual Server Deployment Manager (VSDM), for simplying VM management under Virtual Server 2005:

The original Virtual Server administration is very powerful, yet very complex to use. Along with all the power it provides, it is complicated to manage to a regular user (not acquainted with administration processes) and therefore suitable to mistakes. One of the most critical mistakes this infra-structure provides support to avoid is when a user inadvertently modifies or damages other user?s machines.

After that, the system started evolving to include other features. It ended being transformed to a system that deploys Virtual Machines for users based on a newly developed concept of templates. To run this infrastructure, you?ll need just an IIS Web Server, .NET Framework 1.1 and Virtual Server installed. No extra hardware or software is required.

The user interface is clean and simple, providing power to the user and reducing the learning curve to use the infrastructure. Some knowledge of Web browsing and minimum knowledge of the hardware you need for your VM and type of machine is enough to create your own Virtual Machines on it with simple.

The system also includes a client-side system service which runs inside the Virtual Machine. It is used to pass information from VSDM to the Virtual Machine and perform maintenance tasks, like renaming the machine. This a very important task because if you create Virtual Machines based from some image and they startup, Windows network will crash because another name already exists on the network. The VSDM Client prevents that by keeping the virtual machine name in sync with the VSDM database, avoiding network name collisions.

There is no limit on the solution or number of user?s supported. If a restriction exists, it should be on the system that runs the Virtual Machines. As long as the system can support the Virtual Machines execution, VSDM will support it.

VSDM is now available for download directly from Microsoft here.