Virtualization has a lot of benefits. Especially when you are messing with windows machines. It is far easier to have a template machine and clone it on-demand instead of setting up a new window installation every time or using disk-cloning software.
However, no matter how easy one attempts to make his life, windows will react on that. Here is what is an unintentional (I hope so) effect of windows protection and AI:
Assume that you have a virtual machine under XEN and you want to use it as template, so you create a nice image using dd for future use. Now, this machine is up and running for some months.
You then want to create a duplicate of this machine, so you create a new XEN config, a new logical volume and you restore the template image on the logical volume. You then create the domain.
You access the console using vnc and attempt to login. At this point windows ask for activation so you tell them “OK.. activate over the network”. At this point windows detect an IP address conflict (the other machine is running). Network activation fails because windows have disabled the network card and you can’t login to fix this because you need to activate them first… That’s obstacle #1
In order to fix the problem you shutdown the original machine to avoid having a conflict. Then you switch to the clone and attempt to re-activate them… Since the network interface is disabled (or the address is not applied) activation fails again… That’s obstacle #2
Then you say “OK… I’l perform a reboot”, only to find out that “shutdown” is grayed by default for windows 2003 server… That’s obstacle #3
Finally you shutdown the machine the “hard way” and restart it. Then you attempt to login again and windows ask you “why did the machine shutdown unexpectedly?”… That’s the irony…
So yeah… managing windows is fun 🙂