SolutionBase: Install VMware GSX Server 3.0 and create virtual machines

This tutorial walks through the installation of VMware GSX Server 3.0 and shows how to set up virtual machines.

VMware GSX Server 3.0 provides an enterprise-class server solution for IT professionals to run multiple operating systems on a single server. This enables you to consolidate your existing IT infrastructure as well as take advantage of underutilized servers. I'm going to show you how to install GSX Server 3.0 and begin creating virtual machines.

New features

With the release of GSX Server 3.0, VMware made many enhancements. Some of them include:

  • Improved security
  • Virtual machine access control
  • Snapshots
  • Automatically start and stop virtual machines
  • Connect to older GSX virtual machines and hosts
  • Improved VMware management interface
  • New Linux kernel support
  • New support scripts
  • Automatically check for product updates
  • VirtualCenter ready

Host system requirements

In order to effectively use GSX Server 3.0, you must meet the rigorous system requirements for the host system on which you install VMware. As you can see from the link, there are also separate requirements for supported guest operating systems and remote clients.

Installing GSX Server 3.0

For the purposes of this article, we will install GSX Server 3.0 on a Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition system. Your first step will be to run the executable. You will be prompted with the Welcome Screen. Next, you accept the License Agreement, and then choose Custom for the installation.

After choosing a Custom installation, you have the ability to choose whether or not you want to install the VMware Management Interface (Figure A). This option allows you to connect to virtual machines over the LAN via Internet Explorer. You must have IIS installed in order to install this feature. Once you have chosen your features, click Next to install the software and Finish when it is complete.

Figure A

Creating virtual machines

Now that you have installed the software, you're ready to create virtual machines. For the purposes of this article, we will create a virtual machine to run an instance of Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition. You have two options when creating virtual machines. You can create them on the server directly, remote from a different server, or using the Virtual Management Interface (VMI) to connect to the machines.

Direct virtual machine creation

From the Start menu, choose Start | Programs | VMware | VMware GSX Server | VMware GSX Server Console. Next, click New Virtual Machine (Figure B) and the New Virtual Machine Wizard appears.

Figure B

Now you can choose the type of install you want (Figure C) and your guest operating system (Figure D).

Figure C

Figure D

After choosing your guest operating system, choose the name and location (Figure E) and the type of network connection (Figure F).

Figure E

Figure F

Now you're ready to create your virtual disk file. You can allocate all of the disk space immediately to improve performance or choose to have it auto-grow to the maximum limit you set in Figure G.

Figure G

Click Finish and your virtual machine is now created. You can place the installation CD in the CD drive and start the virtual machine to begin the installation. Alternatively, you can do the installation with an .iso image by choosing Edit Virtual Machine Settings | CD ROM | Use ISO Image, using the screens in Figure H and Figure I.

Figure H

Figure I

Creating a virtual machine from VMI

In order to connect to GSX Server from the VMI interface, simply open Internet Explorer and browse to the VMI interface (the default path is https://servername:8333). You should see a Web page with a login screen similar to Figure J. You have the ability to connect a maximum of eight VMI sessions at a time.

Figure J

The login page also contains a menu for you to download the VMware Virtual Machine Console from the VMI. This is necessary for you to launch the console from the VMI interface and work with virtual machines.

After you log in to the interface with a valid username and password for the host machine, you can view the Status Monitor page, as shown in Figure K.

Figure K

At this point, you can click Add Virtual Machine and walk through the virtual machine configuration.

End sum

You should now be comfortable with the installation and interface of GSX Server 3.0, and you can begin to create and install virtual machines for testing, development, and/or your production environment.