VMware Player Review – Virtualization that’s easy

VMware Player allows for the installation of a virtual machine onto your workstation.  This means of creating a second operating system within your operating system allows you to test or use an operating system of your choice.  The user-friendly interface is truly the easiest virtualization software there is.  Anyone wanting to try Windows 8 or any Linux distro can use this software to test operating systems.   VMWare Player can be downloaded here.

VMware Player is fully customizable and the wizard provides instructions that are well written and with easy to find settings.  Kudos to VMware for providing this excellent piece of software in an easy to use interface.

Remember, once you start the VM,  if you click the mouse in the window, it will take focus.  To release the mouse,  press Ctrl-Alt.

You must also remember to protect any OS in a VM.  (Antivirus information)

The first thing you will need is an .iso of your operating system of choice.

Win7iso

Above is the ISO for 32 bit Windows 7 with SP 1.

Next, install the VMWare Player.   The installation is straight forward and easy even for a novice.

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Now start the VMware Player by double clicking on the icon on your desktop.   In this scenario we created a new virtual machine.

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The New Virtual Machine Wizard walks you through step by step in setting up your operating system.

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The wizard will ask for a location of the ISO or you can install from your DVD drive.  Select the appropriate location at this time (below).

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Enter your product key and information if prompted to do so.  The Easy Install Information automates the installation process.  You can of course customize Windows and reset passwords, enable the Administrator account and change information once the operating system is installed.

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Once the wizard reaches the customization stages for your hard drive, you can adjust this to meet your needs.

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You can select the Customize Hardware button to adjust memory, processors and other hardware.   Remember to give your host machine plenty of memory.   Do not use more resources than you have.  This may cause lockups or other errors upon launching your OS.

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One of the best features is the Network Adapter Advanced Settings.  It allows you to bridge or NAT (Put your OS on a separate network – hidden from other computers on your network).  Bridging your network allows your virtual computer to be ‘seen’ by other computers as though it is a physical computer.   Because you are sharing a network card, you can limited the bandwidth (Inbound and Outbound traffic) of the virtual computer.

You can also generate a MAC address for the computer at this time.

The screenshot below (post install) shows the virtual computer when bridged (on the same network).

network

It is important to keep an eye on the resources of your host computer.  You can do this by using the Windows Task Manager.

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Once you finish, Windows will launch into setup mode.   You will see a message alerting you to other devices that can be used (Webcams and other devices) if they are available.

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As you can see from the screen shot below, the IP address is on the network with my other computers.  This allows the computer to share out documents and to utilize any device within the network.

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The VMware player tools provides drivers and other features.

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Installing the tools

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Once the tools are installed, a restart should be made to the operating system.

Remember the option to use other devices during the setup – items such as the Webcam?  Click on Player when the VM starts and you will see the other devices.

Extra Stuff

You should also run a side by side comparison on the Task Manager’s to ‘see’ how much resources you are using.   As you can see, the host (left) is maxing out the memory of the host computer.   The virtual computer is not utilizing all of the allocated memory.   Therefore the 2Gb of RAM allocated can be tweaked by decreasing the memory if performance is not an issue.

Side by Side comparisons of resources

Once the VM is shutdown, you can adjust the settings in the console.

VMWare Complete

With dozens of tweaks and configurations, one of the best is the defragment, expansion and compact option under the hard disk in the virtual machine settings. (Compact only sorts the graintables but has no effect on size – optimizing your vm)

hard drive utilities

Overall VMware’s Player is an excellent tool that can be used (non-commercially) by anyone wanting to experiment with or run other operating systems.  VMware Player is an excellent virtualization tool that allows users to install and test or run another operating system.   The performance is based on shared resources of the host computer.  The ease of setup is definitely a pro.  Users should make every effort to ensure they have adequate resources on the host computer and the maximum amount of memory and other resources can be dedicated to the virtual machine.

Monitor your servers and workstations with ManageEngine tools

ManageEngine has excellent software used to manage workstations, servers and other enterprise computing needs.   They also have some of the best software tools you can download and use for free. Their free  Windows Health Monitor Tool can be used :

  •  Windows Monitoring including -Windows 2003 & Windows 2008 servers and Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7
  •  Works in Active Directory or in workgroup
  •  Allows you to monitor server resources like CPU Utilization, Memory Utilization
  •  Disk Utilization & Disc Read ⁄ Write details
  •  Bandwidth monitoring – Network Rx ⁄ Tx
  •  Dashboard – Top resource utilization details
  • Monitor up to 10 devices
Other  tools you can download include- SQL Monitoring, SNMP, Active Directory, Exchange, Hyper-V, Sharepoint and more.
~D.Babian

The ABCs of virtual private servers, Part 1: Why go virtual?

If you’re tired of the hassle of maintaining your own server hardware, either locally or co-located, then a virtual private server may be for you. Ars looks at some of the main contenders, and at the advantages of going virtual.

via The ABCs of virtual private servers, Part 1: Why go virtual?.

Verizon, VMware Team Up With Hybrid Cloud Service – DarkReading

Verizon and VMware have joined forces to offer a hybrid cloud computing service that combines virtualization for a private public-cloud infrastructure for enterprises.

Product Watch: Verizon, VMware Team Up With Hybrid Cloud Service – DarkReading.

By ShareThis

With New i7 processors and AMD Processors – Use Go Virtual

Although the free version or Paragon’s Go Virtual is for non-commercial use, this application is an excellent product.  It requires you to load VirtualPC, VMWare or Oracle’s VirtualBox on a computer.  Once loaded, all you have to do is Load Paragon’s Go Virtual on the computer you want, run through the wizard and it will create a VDMK file (a virtualization of the OS you are using).  Once the file is created, you can run through the New Wizard setup on your Virtualization software and point to the file and you then have your operating system virtualized.  With a 32 bit or 64 bit version available, this software will work on nearly any computer.

Benefits?

  • Full Windows OS Support
  • P2V (Physical to Virtual) Migration
  • Migration without rebooting Windows – Hot processing of locked (in-use) hard disks lets you migrate a computer without rebooting and interrupting Windows.
  • P2V Adjust OS by troubleshooting startup problems.
  • Smart Driver Injector
  • Performance – Paragon Go Virtual is nearly 20% faster than other utilities
  • Selection of virtual hardware
  • Migration of offline systems
  • Allows you to have a backup of your operating system (virtually)
  • Test software and tools

With my system, it took approximately 45 minutes to create the virtual file.  Here are some screenshots.

Why Virtualization is Gaining Momentum

Why Virtualization?

Virtualization is gaining momentum with information technology professionals because of the ability to install more than one operating system on an individual host computer.  With hardware becoming less expensive, this type of computing is gaining momentum because of the economy, space and consolidation of resources.  With tighter budgets, this is an ideal way to consolidate servers, save on cost with both hardware and making green computing become a reality.

The global economy is making companies leaner.   Information technology professionals need to be both versatile and have a well rounded accelerated education.  With technology growing faster than any individual can learn,  individual IT personnel will need to learn ‘on-the-fly’ and network with other professionals in order to grow in this industry.

Students and professionals in information technology classes will find that virtualization allows them to learn at an unprecedented pace.  It allows multiple operating systems to be used.  With diverse industry, these students and professionals could be exposed to any many different operating systems.

Advantages

Virtualization allows both programmers and system administrators to test and design networks without the need of having  extra computers available for testing.  Virtualization used in production computers with remote desktop allows administrators to control and configure servers or operating systems without changing computers.

What Programs are Available?

There are a multitude of programs that are available to virtualize operating systems.  Generally I have focused on VirtualBox and Virtual PC.  These programs are free and readily available on the internet.

Who should use Virtualization?

Students, Business Professionals, Home Users and Businesses.  Students can learn different operating systems and learn how to network and test networking and programs, Businesses can use this in production to save cost with hardware and energy.  Home Users can  use virtualization to learn new operating systems or install a new operating system before upgrading.

Monitoring Resources

It is critical to monitor and use resources carefully in the design and implementation of virtual computers.  Hard drive space, memory and CPUs are critical in the operation of virtual computers.  These primary resources determine the performance and availability of virtual computers.

Resources

What is a Virtual Machine?

VMWare

VirtualBox

Microsoft Virtual PC

Microsoft’s Virtualization Website

Windows 7 Beta – Installing and Testing on VirtualBox

Installing Windows 7 on Virtual PC vs. VirtualBox

How to Network Virtual Operating Systems in Sun’s VirtualBox

Answers to Licensing Questions for Sun Micro’s VirtualBox

How to Optimize VirtualBox on Your Windows PC

Learn How to Set Up USB and Networking Options in VirtualBox

How To Connect to VirtualBox using Remote Desktop Connection

VirtualBox Configurations for running Three Operating Systems on a PC

VirtualBox: How to Expand Your Servers with Virtualization

VirtualBox on this Blog.

WordPress articles on VirtualBox and Virtualization

I have written several articles on virtualization.  These articles discuss the how-tos on installation of different operating systems and applications.  Because virtualization is gaining momentum and becoming an important part of computing, students should take Microsoft’s DreamSpark and Linux resources and use them to gain a working knowledge of this important change in information technology.  Technology will not wait on you.

VMWare’s Virtual Appliances List

VMWare’s list of Virtual Appliances appear to be endless.  With over 1300 applicants available, VMWare’s list gives technical details and download information for these solutions.  Virtual appliances allow often turnkey solutions for businesses.

So what is a virtual appliance?  Virtual appliances are solutions (OSs, databases, storage, and other applications) that operate in the virtual infrastructure of an organization.   In layman terms – a pre-built pre-configured software application for virtualization that includes the operating system.

So if you download VMWare, setup a server, download a set of files (Virtual Appliance),  power on your virtual device, and the application is instantly available for use.

  • Virtual appliances can be moved from one VM to another without impacting the user.

An example of this includes a SDK for Amazon‘s which is a web service that provides re-sizable compute capacity in the cloud.  This application is used to interface with Amazon’s EC2 service.

Or Moodle the Online Learning Management System that major colleges and companies use for training is another great example of a turn-key solution.  Moodle is easy to set up and use allowing  you to create courses and technology that goes above and beyond the needs of colleges world-wide.  This version is Ubuntu based and gets security updates automatically.  Here’s a small list of universities that use Moodle.

  1. University of California, Irvine  http://learn.uci.edu/cms/
  2. University of Georgia   http://cantor.english.uga.edu/moodle/
  3. Texas A&M University   https://maysportal.tamu.edu/
  4. MIT Teacher Education Program   http://education.mit.edu/moodle/
  5. Ohio State University Math Department  https://webwork.math.ohio-state.edu/moodle/
  6. Iowa State University  http://tesl.engl.iastate.edu/courses/
  7. Orange Coast College (well-known in California, where I am)  http://occmoodle.occ.cccd.edu/moodle/moodle/

and of course we do….

Bottom-line?   Companies are buying large servers with tons of disk-space, memory and other resources and then loading VMWare or other virtualized server software onto these servers and loading appliances creating more servers for their organization that use less space, less energy, can be managed on one physical machine and have  turn-key applications (Virtual Appliances).

How about a list of Linux based turn-key solutions?  Network Area Storage,  Domain Replacement, Joomla, Moodle, MySQL and more.

VMWare Server 2 for Beginners

VMWare Server 2 is avaiable from vmware.com.  This virtual host is supports a wide range of operating systems and provides a https web interface.  The default username and password is the same as the system it is running on.  While this blog entry is NOT about a complete review, it is to show the basic setup of VMWare Server.   We will post a complete review from installation to running VMWare Server

VMWare Server comes as a 500mb download with a free license key that requires registration.

  • Copy the ISO to your Virtual Machines folder on your hard drive or have the ISO on a DVD/CD
  • Login
  • Create a new Virtual Server using the Virtual Server Wizard
  • You may have to create a datastore using the add datastore link and copy the ISO.
  • Be patient if your ISO does not show up during this process.
  • After following the wizard, start the VM and select console. Install plug-ins as necessary

We will do a follow up and a concise step by step setup.