Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Running Virtual Machines in Windows Azure Virtual Machines

If you want to leverage the existing Windows Azure Virtual Machine infrastructure to run older/legacy VMs such as Windows XP and Windows Server 2003, fortunately, you can do just that!

Here is an article that describes how to do just that:

As you can read from the post, only Oracle VirtualBox will support running in a Windows Azure Virtual Machine.

However, there are also a few points when setting up the VirtualBox VM that are not mentioned:

  1. You should install the Oracle VirtualBox Extension Pack in order to ensure everything works regarding mouse and keyboard input etc.
  2. You will probably need to add a Windows Firewall exception in the Windows XP machine or turn off the Windows Firewall completely
  3. You need to set up the VM using NAT in order to use the Port Forwarding feature.  You can set up NAT either in the Preferences of Oracle VirtualBox or configure it on a machine-by-machine basis.  Using other networking options will not work.
  4. When you set up NAT, you will need to configure the Guest IP address as the target for Port Forwarding.  If the Guest IP address is not configured, Port Forwarding may not work.
  5. You may also need to set up the Remote Display feature in order to get RDP to work correctly (Display-->Remote Display)
Leveraging the Windows Azure Virtual Machine infrastructure is very handy if you need to do some testing on older legacy Windows OSes until you phase out support for them completely.  As many IT users know, numerous applications still only work on Windows XP which is why it has been so difficult for Microsoft to completely drop support for Windows XP for so many years.

As an experiment, I decided to see if I could also get Windows 7 or Windows 8/8.1 running on VirtualBox inside of a Windows Azure VM and I got the error message "AMD-V is not supported".  Therefore, you can only run older legacy OSes on VirtualBox inside of a Windows Azure VM.

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