November 9th, 2005, 05:31 AM
Patch tesing & VMWARE
My boss says testing windows patches through VMWare simulated systems is not correct and it will never give you correct results. Is this true?
I need to test patches for my organization, If you people can share your valuable comments it will be useful for me .
Thanking you all in Advance
November 9th, 2005, 07:17 AM
Well ... in my experience (I am using VMware GSX Server 3.2 and sometimes workstation 4 or 5) it is almost exactly like patching a regular Windows.
Almost ... There are some differences that can alter your patch behaviour ...
When you install a Windows in a virtual environment, different drivers are used for VGA, NIC, HDD and other important hardware so you have to take the difference in drivers in account in opposite of a regular (non virtual) Windows installation.
Although I never realy had any problems related to this, there is always a possibility that it can alter the patching.
But in most cases the patching (in Microsoft cases) is done to solve software or security errors. In the rare case a patch is released to solve hardware related problems you should/or can always test on a machine with that specific hardware ( if there is a spare one naturally).
There is always the possibility to use Microsoft Virtual PC it is a bit less expensive then VMware. The choice is yours ... but I realy like my virtual network for testing different setups, installing patches and new Service Packs before releasing them in the "wild".
I've never had any problems implementing patches in a production environment after testing them in a virtual setup. (Others may have different opinions ).
This is all speaking of a Microsoft environment ... I did set up some Linux distro's in a virtual setting but that was pure for personal use so no production.
Hope this helps a bit... It's still early here and I didn't get my second cup of coffee yet
If I missed something I'm sure someone will address it
Back when I was a boy, we carved our own IC's out of wood.
November 10th, 2005, 12:10 PM
Your boss is half right. Depending upon the VM solution you have, emulated environments can do unusual things. Bare metal VM solutions however, are perfectly sound for testing patches. These solutions hook the hardware the same way an OS does when operating outside of a VM.
Hop over to the VMWare site and look at their ESX line. I'm thinking that the GSX line does hardware emulation with software but double check that while you're there.
Bottom line. Some VM platforms are perfectly fine for patch testing. I've had nothing but 100% success with the ESX line from VMWare.
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