How-to Visual Studio 11 ALM VM on ESXi

Last week, Brian Keller released the Visual Studio 11 Developer Preview ALM Virtual Machine along with 6 hands-on-labs. You can read more in the blogpost he made about it. I definitely wanted to try the new features that were introduced with Visual Studio 11 and Team Foundation Server 11. So how easy can it be to just download the Virtual Machine Brian made, fire it up and discover all this amazing stuff.

Just perfect, only one problem for me. I don’t have a running Windows 2008 R2 machine which I can use to run the Hyper-V image. What I do have is a VMware ESXi server with some space and performance left. So.. How to run a Hyper-V image on a VMware ESXi? It’s quite easy, and I’ll explain how this can be done.


Step 1: Download the Hyper-V image
That’s about 12Gb, so it can take a while if you don’t have a fast internet line. When all parts are downloaded, just click on the first item which is an exe file called: “VisualStudio11ALMDeveloperPreview.part01.exe”  This will start a WinRar unzipping, and it will create 3 folders and a file. What you need is the file “BL_WS2008R2SP1x64Std.vhd” in folder “Virtual Hard Disks“.


Step 2: Convert your .VHD to .VMDK
What we did was a manual conversion from the vhd file to vmdk. We did this using a small utility called Winimage. The conversion is really simple. Select ‘Disk->Convert Virtual Hard Disk Image’. After that, select your .VHD file, choose the type of image you want to make (As this VM will only be used for the labs, I took a fixed size one), and the last step is to select the output destination. Here we go, the conversion will start and it will take quite a while to convert.


Step 3: Upload your .VMDK to the ESXi datastore
Now we have the virtual machine in an .VMDK format, we can upload this image to our ESXi host. Once this is uploaded, we can use it as hard disk in our new VM we will create later on. To do that, you have to:

1. Start your vSphere client, and connect to your vCenter
2. Select your VMware host
3. Click “Configuration”
4. Click “Storage”
5. Look at right hand side datastore
6. Right click one of the datastore LUN and click Browse Datastore….
7. Click on the upload button
8. Select your .VMDK image and start the upload 



Step 4: Create new a VM and attach the .VMDK image
The next step is to create a new VM. Just loop the simple wizard to create one. Give it enough resources (The installation guide tells me 6 GB of free physical RAM but 8 GB or more is recommended). The latest step is to remove the newly created hard disk from the list (as we already have one from Brian) and add yours, which you have just uploaded. When ready, just save your VM.


Step 5: Time to play
When the VM is created, it’s time to start it. Normally the VM should boot into Windows 2008R2 without any problems. If you see the login screen, you’re awesome!



PS: I read something that you can also convert your .vhd file using VMWare converter, but we did not try that.. If you did, just add a comment!

PS 2: As Brian just mentioned in his comment: Note that the agile project management dashboards assume that the date is Sept 14 and the time is 8 p.m. If you care about getting the right agile dashboard data then you should look for an option to disable the date/time sync. In Hyper-V this is an option under settings. If you use VMware, you can install the VMware Tool on the host machine, and then disable the checkbox ‘Time sync’ as you can see in the screenshot below. Thanks for the mention Brian!


Thanks a lot for reading and have fun playing! The credits for this post are also for my colleague Frederik Vannieuwenborg


Written by
Alexander Vanwynsberghe
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Alexander Vanwynsberghe

Belgium-based entrepreneur. Into technology, innovation and a bit of cycling and running too. Evangelist for everything related to smart-tech.