Virtual Machine on server question

Discussion in 'Windows Server Systems' started by Heeter, Oct 29, 2007.

  1. Heeter

    Heeter Overclocked Like A Mother

    Messages:
    2,732
    Hey all,

    In your opinion, what would be some good uses for virtual machine setups.

    Just wondering if it's worthwhile,


    Thanks,

    Heeter
     
  2. DwarfData

    DwarfData OSNN Addict

    Messages:
    135
    Location:
    Lancashire, UK
    Hi Heeter,

    We use VMWare Virtual Server (It's free :nervous: )extensively at work.

    For each project we will create the entire development environment within Virtual machines, from SQL Server, Web Servers, Application Servers, down to even the machine that the developer uses to program on using Visual Studio or Eclipse.
    Using this method we can ensure that the development environment is not affected by anything the developer wishes to install on their own machine.
    Also, VMWare allows you to take 'snapshots'. This allows you to make a change to the machine, and if it all goes wrong you can roll-back to the snapshot.
    I've also heard of some companies using it for Patch Testing. They will ensure that things like Microsoft patches will not have any adverse affects on their client environment.

    /DD
     
  3. Heeter

    Heeter Overclocked Like A Mother

    Messages:
    2,732
    Hi DwarfData, Once a vm environment is properly setup, can an image be taken from the vm and applied to a new server tower?

    With how you described what you do with a VM, I am wondering if I setup a linux server in vm window, then If I can transfer an image of it onto a new tower?


    Heeter
     
  4. DwarfData

    DwarfData OSNN Addict

    Messages:
    135
    Location:
    Lancashire, UK
    Hi Heeter,

    The images can be transferred from one physical host to another without a problem. When you do this, VMWare detects that a different host is being used and asks if you wish to create a new ID for the Virtual Server or keep the current one. This ID is used internally by VMWare and I recommend, in general, creating a new ID.
    The way we work is to have several 'Master' virtual machines. These each have different configurations. eg. Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2000, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003 with SQL Server, Windows XP with Office installed, etc. Usually each month we will run Windows Update on each of these master virtual machines. We will then take copies of the master images, start them up and then SysPrep them. These are then designated as Base images which any one in the Dev team is free to use. They will copy the required base image onto one of the physical servers and start it up. They can then give the virtual machine a name as they wish, and configure according to the project requirements.

    /DD
     
  5. DwarfData

    DwarfData OSNN Addict

    Messages:
    135
    Location:
    Lancashire, UK
  6. fitz

    fitz Just Floating Along Staff Member Political User Folding Team

    Messages:
    4,076
    Location:
    Chicagoland
    Lots and lots of things you can do with vmware. Last time I used the free server version, it only allows one snapshot per virtual machine. If you using it strictly for testing and/or development, I would recommend the workstation version as the things it can do with snapshots and branching snapshots are incredible.
    VMWare server is nice to run some production machines one (we run a DC out in our DR site in a VMWare Server instance). During our DR Testing, we take a snapshot, then disconnect the server from our production network and onto our DR world and we have an instance DC that we can break in our DR testing.. when testing is done, we rollout the snapshot, reconnect the networks and it's back to being a live DC.

    We also run a couple of VI3 Enterprise hosts and if you want to get into full blown virtulization, there is NO better product right now..

    And, as Dwarf mentioned, if you are wanting to move your server from one host to another (and still want to run it in vmware on both servers), it's quite easy to just move the vmware files to the new machine and register it on the new machine. If you are going for a V2P (Virtual to Physical) conversion, that is possible as well, although I haven't done that conversion with a linux box, I have done it successfully with windows servers. You can also look at a P2V conversion (physical to virtual) in which case I'd recommend the VMWare converter product (they have a free version of that as well)