A way to avoid using the virtual hard disk files would be by using Hyper-V which has the ability to attach physical hard disks directly to virtual machines. That means I can set the physical hard drive as offline to the host operating system and dedicate it to the virtual machine os, giving the vm os direct and dedicated read/write access to the drive. Using the physical disk access you can avoid using the virtual hard drive “coffins” to store your files, and instead, the files are stored normally, directly on the physical hard drive that can be plugged in and read by any computer. This allows you to reap the full benefits from Windows Home Server’s Drive Extender technology that I have discussed in a previous post.
Hyper-V sounds like a great solution with the exception that I would have to give up using my TV tuner on this computer since only the host os has direct access to the tuner cards. Hyper-V does not support USB passthrough devices like VMWare ESXi does which eliminates the possibility of using a USB tuner. So in order to get TV tuner functionality I would need to get something like the Silicondust HDHomerun network tuner, but it is still possible and something that I would be willing to settle on for the time being.
BUT when I tried to install Hyper-V it said that my CPU does not support virtualization, which for AMD is the AMD-V technology. I was under the impression that I would be able to run Hyper-V without AMD-V but I would not be able to run 64-bit guest operating systems, but that was obviously not the case. I was completely unable to install the Hyper-V role in Windows Server 2008 without cpu virtualization support.
On to ESXi…