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Download: Install VMware GSX Server 3.0

By Mark W. Kaelin Editor ·

Virtual servers and virtual machines has been a buzzing concept for quite some time now, but the question remains; do you, as a working IT professional, use virtual server technology? How do you use it? Is there something we can add to this download to help members set up their virtual machines?

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Virtual Machines for demo and testing

by david.willson In reply to Download: Install VMware ...

Nothing can beat the virtualization of systems, server or workstation, for testing software or presenting demos to clients. In the environment I work in, we have several developers in constant need of clean computers to test new software builds on, buggy third-party software to integrate and support issues to deal with constantly. To this point nothing has dealt with the need of constant changes like VMWare and Virtual PC/Server.

On the other hand, in the case of demos to clients, nothing beats a high-end laptop to host a complete 3-4-server setup to demonstrate how the packages, server and integrations work like virtualized servers. VMs are much more easily managed than disk images and are portable without the vagaries of hardware dependence of system cloning. We have constantly run mini networks of domain controllers, file and application servers, database servers and client workstations from single laptops for demos.

I can't wait for my 32GB 1.5TB 8-proc server with VMWare ESX to virtualize my support and QA environments ....

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ESX Server flexible as your imagination

by ddodge In reply to Virtual Machines for demo ...

ESX server is more expensive, but allows you to get better performance. You can do physical to virtual clusters thereby saving additional server hardware. Multiple VMs can access the network thereby reducing network infrastructure. you can reduce cooling, power, rack space and centralize management. Using virtual Cneter to manage two ESX servers, you can migrate VM's between servers or use Vmotion to migrate running VMs if you have a SAN storage holding the virtual disks.

Doing Domain migration? Build NT4 BDC in virtual, disconnect from network, build closed loop inside the box network, promote BDC, build Server2003 and dcpromo and then test domain migration, without breaking anything.

We P2V'd a W2KDC/Exchange server into virtual, upgraded physical hardware and installed W2K3 and E2K3 and then moved mailboxes from virtual to physical. customer was happy as they didn't have to buy new server. Virtualizing isn't for every application or circumstance, but you can deffinitely leverage not having to keep looking for more hardware money every time you want to try something.

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VM's - absolutly!, the professionals tool

by afhavemann In reply to Download: Install VMware ...

We use VMware Workstation and Virtual PC for testing various configurations of Novell servers. A server isn?t always a ?File? server, sometimes I need a bridge to another network or want to use it for a fast backup. I have as many as 20 different configurations for testing updates and configurations. This also lets me get familiar with some of the components I normally never use, but might if I were comfortable with them in a production server.

It also lets me try things I would never risk in a production environment such as odd tree configurations, determine the resistance of a tree to damage by simulating a hacker attempting a penetration, do merges and prunes and so on.

I have one VM server setup to exactly mimic our primary including logins but with standardized passwords (no expiration). The VM server is on a standard XP machine with 4x250gb SATA drives and 2gb ram. It sits on the network running a utility to copy critical and changed user files to the SATA array at 1-5 minute intervals. Should we have a server issue, I can bring up the VM server in less than one minute, log everyone back in and continue with less than a 3 minute loss window. Yes, there are better ways; we should have a cluster, but being a small government agency with a small it budget, we can?t afford much. This solution works very well and costs next to nothing.

To the users, there is no difference in network performance; though to be fair, our servers are rarely running at more the 55-60% load and the XP machine has more disk and memory that the primary server so the VM server is actually faster.

I can also infect a VM with a virus, Trojan or just try stupid things that I wouldn?t do with a real machine. This works out because the VM can be set to non-persistent state so that any changes to the VM are temporary and are discarded on shutdown. It?s a lot of fun (and very educational) to hit a Windows XP VM with multiple virus and Trojan attacks and see how hardened it must be to survive. No other method is as educational or safe.

Virtual Machine technology has been around for many years (emulators), but only in the last few have PCs with enough horsepower to take advantage of it come to market. I routinely use VM to run a Linux desktop, even an old Windows 98 VM for certain tasks. In one location I use (yes, really!) a DOS VM to run a job so old it just can?t run in a Windows environment. It?s been slated for recoding but it works so well in a VM (perfectly, in fact) that no one?s bothered to schedule it.

VMware or Virtual PC are terrific tools for the professional, and every professional should own and know how to use them.

We have even considered building an XP VM and installing it as the desktop on workstations. The VM reverts to ?as installed? at every shutdown. If it breaks, shut it down and everything is back to day one, every change discarded. VM get a virus, shut it down and restart. The host OS has no network components installed at all, it can?t log on, browse the Internet or anything. Only the VM has network capability and nothing on the VM survives a reboot. So maybe this won?t work for home PC?s but for the office, where everything?s on the server, it might work. The only thing holding us back is the cost of Virtual PC or VMware.

Oh, and by the way, according to Microsoft (yes, we checked), the official word is that it?s OK to run two copies of Windows on the same PC (on for the host and one for the VM), at the same time with only one purchased license. You do not need multiple licenses for multiple instances of Windows so long as their running on the same machine.

A VM with XP installed and activated can be copied around just like any other data, so one standardized setup copied to everyone?s machine would do the job.

Now, if we only had the money to buy a hundred copies of VPC or VMware (sigh).


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Good tool

by cold13 In reply to Download: Install VMware ...

I use MS Virtual PC to run a Linux distro for security analysis.

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You bet I use Virtual Servers

by charlie.cunningham In reply to Download: Install VMware ...

I use Microsoft's Virtual Server 2005 frequently to test or demonstrate server based capabilities such as SQL Server 2000 Failover Clustering. Using a Virtual Server environment allows me to engage in testing and configuration simulation that would be very difficult, and cumbersome to the point of impractical, at best without VS.

Charlie Cunningham

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why bother?

by jmschattke In reply to Download: Install VMware ...

A REAL PC bare bones system, which will have dedicated hardware, can run as little as $200. Emulation cannot hope to incurr so little performance drain that the barebones system will not beat it. But we have no idea how low we can go on a dedicated system to match, because there is no data on performance of the virtual machine, degradation with multiple virtual servers under load, or any real-world application compatability, memory leakage or cross-virtual machine compatability issues.

With window's demonstratably loose memory model, I hardly want a test app writing randomly into my main production system's RAM; I'd want a LOT of assurance, that it could not happen, under determined test software. I am certain that the Virtual PC could crash or lock the VPC core, which would at the least kill all the virtual servers on that machine.

Claiming that the virtual machine is easier to manage and cheaper than a dedicated box is silly - it is the software that takes the set-up time, the hardware failure rate is trivial, and the backup time would be exactly the same for a virtual or a real system.

If you really have a number of minor apps and cannot bring yourself to put anything that isn't on the bleeding edge in your server room, you can host the minor apps on a single system, where you will have at least as much stability as the virtual machine, less cost, and less administration.

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Don't knock it till you try it!

by ataylor In reply to why bother?

Ummm...VMWare has it on lock. I'm not sure if you have tinkered with ESX 2.5 but honestly in the environment I manage it's simply awesome. What other software allows you to move live Citrix servers and Exchange servers from failing hardware to working hardware while clients are still accessing the systems and the users don't even notice?

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Runs on OS X as well

by tigertale In reply to Download: Install VMware ...

Working for a software vendor that sells and supports Windows Deployment software, Virtual PC is idea as I can have a 'clean' OS available (empty Registry) to test different functionality in each of the windows versions we support.

Too bad the author didn't mention (that I saw) that VPC also runs on a Mac (it is a separate license). I run VPC on my dual processor G4 desktop that I use for development and test.
VPC is a tradeoff between flexibility and performance.

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how i can get vmware gsx to try it

by naz4php In reply to Download: Install VMware ...

how i can get vmware gsx to try it

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