ISA Server 2006 SE SP1 in VirtualBox

I’ve run ISA Server for example in VMware ESX/ESXi, VMware Workstation, VMware Server, Virtual PC 2004/2007 or Hyper-V.
I’ve been playing lately with VirtualBox 2.1.4, which may be a nice replacement for VMware Workstation. A great “feature” of it is that is free for personal use. ;)
So I thought to try to run ISA Server in VirtualBox.

Interesting, Sun Microsystems is listed as a vendor who has “formally committed to participate in the Server Virtualization Validation Program”:
See Support policy for Microsoft software running in non-Microsoft hardware virtualization software:

But I’m not worry about all these right now, I’m just playing in my lab, there is no “mission-critical” project or so(I remember the times when I used to run ISA Server for testing and learning in VMware or Virtual PC and ISA was not supported in such “environments”…).

To be honest, the creation of my quick bellow test lab went smoothly, with no problems. I’ve done some basic tests, like VPN remote access, Internet access for a VM behind ISA, publish a web server etc. I did not encounter any major issues.

Some info about VirtualBox:

Related links: (I can’t resist throwing this one in).


A Quick Look at VirtualBox

VirtualBox is pretty simple to use as it has a clean interface:


Some options:


There is a Virtual Media Manager which is used to manage virtual Hard Disks, CD/DVD images or Floppy images:



Within VirtualBox’s Preferences we can set options like: location of the virtual HDDs, VMs’ settings/logs files, the Host Key, or the Language:



VM’s settings file uses XML:


It’s easy to add a new VM, just hit the New button and follow the Create New Virtual Machine wizard.
Let’s do that for a Windows XP VM:


Wide guest OS support(select Microsoft Windows and Windows XP):




Setting the amount of RAM:


We are going to add a new virtual hard disk, click the New button and follow the Create New Virtual Disk wizard:


Storage Type:


Virtual hard disk size:


Click Finish within the Create New Virtual Disk wizard:


And we’re back within the Create New Virtual Machine wizard where we can select the newly created virtual disk:


Click Finish within the Create New Virtual Machine wizard to create the VM:


And now we can edit the Settings of the newly created VM:


Say edit the Network settings:


Select a Host Interface, and we will able to access from our VM the network to which the physical NIC is connected to(and the Internet if we want to and it is possible to do that from our host), as the VM will receive for its virtual NIC an IP address from this network(the virtual adapter will be attached to the real network):


Or an Internal Network. Here we can select an exiting Internal Network(like LAN1 which was created by me before) or create a new one by simply typing the desired name of this new Internal Network.




Ok, we’ve seen some option, we are going to see others bellow, let’s proceed to our lab.


The Lab

I’ve installed the “VirtualBox 2.1.4 for Windows hosts AMD64” on a laptop running Windows Vista Ultimate x64 SP2 RC(don’t get confused by the “AMD64” word, it works with “Intel64” CPUs too-not the most fortunate expression, but I suppose you get my point-). I don’t have any other virtualization product installed on this machine(like VMware Server or VMware Workstation).



Here is the “network diagram”:


Through the host interface ISA is able to access the Internet.
There isn’t much, a basic lab, just to see ISA Server 2006 SE up and running in VirtualBox: an ISA VM with two NICs(domain joined), a DC VM behind ISA connected to an internal network, and a test Windows XP VM connected to the same host interface as ISA’s external NIC.
I did not “tune” or “customize” too much these VMs, just set the amount of RAM and specify the network adapters, the rest of the settings are pretty much “default”.

The lab up and running:


Let’s take a quick look at each VM.


Windows 2003 DC VM

The Details of the Windows 2003 DC VM, Windows Server 2003 x32 EE R2 SP2 was installed on this machine:


The General Basic settings of the DC VM:


The General Advanced settings of the DC VM:


The Hard Disks settings of the DC VM:


The Network settings of the DC VM, as can be seen one network adapter is enabled on this VM, attached to an Internal Network(I’ve named it LAN1):


The DC VM up and running:


Some options for the DC VM:




ISA Server 2006 SE SP1 VM

The Details settings of the ISA VM, ISA Server 2006 SE SP1 installed on Windows Server 2003 x32 SE R2 SP2:


The General Basic settings of the ISA VM:


The General Advanced settings of the ISA VM:


The Hard Disks settings of the ISA VM:


The Network settings of the ISA VM, as can be seen ISA was configured with two virtual NICs, one attached to the wired physical NIC of the laptop(this virtual NIC will serve as ISA’s external interface)-this virtual adapter is attached to a real network, and ISA will have Internet access- and one attached to the Internal Network named LAN1(this virtual NIC will serve as ISA’s internal interface)-remember that the DC VM was connected to the same Internal Network-:



The ISA VM up and running:



Windows XP VM

The Details settings of the XP VM, Windows XP Pro x32 SP2 was installed on this VM:


The General Basic settings of the XP VM:


The Advanced Basic settings of the XP VM:


The Hard Disks settings of the XP VM:


The Network settings of the XP VM, as can be seen the XP VM was configured with a virtual NIC connected to the wired physical NIC of the laptop(remember that the ISA VM was connected to the same Host Interface):


The XP VM up and running:



All right, that’s all for now. I need to play further with ISA in VirtualBox(and have some fun with the ISA EE and NLB). :)

Comments (6) -

  • hi adrian,
    i also played a lot with virtual box the last 2 month. what's realy fine: under vb you can run 64bit-guests, i am missing this option in virtual-pc 200*! but there is also a disadvantage for me: there isn't an easy way to import virtual machines (not the virtual disks) on another pcs (only via xml-hack). btw, that's the reason, why i won't use virtual-box in my trainings/consultings.
    greets, Jens Mander...
    • Hi Jens,
      Yes, the lack of an easy way to import or export VMs may represent a problem.
      Still, I found VirtualBox fun for personal use(it's free anyway). Personal, most of the time I use VMware ESXi within my lab.
      By the way, Virtual PC sux. Smile

  • hi adrian,
    a little update: since version 2.2.0 you can im- and export vm's in open virtualization format (ovf). nice function, i missed that. but virtualbox is running a bit unstable on my vista and crashes sometimes (v.2.2.2).
    greets, Jens Mander...
    • Hi Jens,

      Thanks for the info.

      I've upgraded myself today to version 2.2.2 r46594 and I can see the import/export options.
      Also they modified the networking modes. Still, the networking annoys me a little bit bit, as it seems to not be possible to switch a NIC from a "lan" to another "lan" on a live VM, like with VMware, an option I need sometimes during my tests(I would not want to use multiple NICs on my VM and connect and disconnect them to get this "functionality").

  • hi adrian,
    yeah you are right, for example in virtualpc you can switch the nics "underneath" the vm-lan-connects without shutting down the vm.
    i also didn't found a possibility to interact directly with the guest-desktop (drag&drop of files) even when the guest-additions are installed.
    the last 2 month i played a lot with virtualisation-software, 'cause i am looking for a solution for my future tmg-consultings and -trainings. esx & hyper-wii Smile are a bit oversized for some of my training-partners. now with ovf vb is really a nice alternative! now i am checking if the im- and exported vms are running stable on different computers, than i will construct my environments for future use.
    keep on writing on your informative and great blog!
    greets, Jens Mander...
  • As tested, you may also Implement ISA 2006 SP1 NLB on:

    OS: Windows Server 2003 EE
    Virtual Lab: Oracle Virtual Box
    ISA 2006 SP1


    -Domain Controller - AD, DNS
    -2 Servers for ISA 2006 SP1 NLB

    1. Install ISA FIrewall Service and Configuration Storage Server (CSS) on both nodes
    2. Download and run RemoveallNLBSettings.cmd from Microsoft :
    3. Download and run the kb938550.wsf script from This is to enable Multicast in ISA 2006 SP1.
    4. Enable Integrated NLB on the array.
    5. Test failover


    1. Before joining the 2nd node to the array, create access rules between arrays, setup default Replication Arrays and Manage Servers etc.
Comments are closed