use vmware to create a virtual mix environment for learning

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by edwinx, Aug 18, 2011.

  1. edwinx macrumors member

    Jul 6, 2010

    Is it possible to create a mix environment of osx and windows clients and servers using vmware? providing I have enough ram in my 2010 macbook pro?

    I want to use it just to learn the concepts of a whole network without buying physical machines.

  2. ehoui macrumors regular

    Jan 27, 2011
    Probably. How many clients? What are they running? These are the determining factors.
  3. ChristianVirtual macrumors 601


    May 10, 2010
    That's not a problem at all. I have some Ubuntu Server and WindowsVista running under Fusion on my iMac.
    When you set VM up you might choose a bit less memory and graphical power to save resources for the host and other VM.
    But overall it's a good approach and helpful.

    But you need really enough memory in your MBP, 8GB
  4. edwinx thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 6, 2010
    I was thinking 1 windows server 2008, 1 windows 7 client, 1 lion server, 1 lion client.

    Are there any disadvantages to doing this way vs using real machines?
  5. speacock, Aug 19, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2011

    speacock macrumors member

    Jul 26, 2011
    OSX client not officially supported, nor Lion

    You can run just about any version of Windows under Fusion so Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 are fine.

    At this time Fusion supports only Snow Leopard Server not Lion and no version of OSX client/desktop. I'm guessing Lion server support will be added fairly soon, but the limitation on OSX client is an Apple licensing one not a VMware or technical one. OSX client works perfectly well, but Apple don't allow it and therefore VMware block you from installing it, meaning you have to do some manual faffing about to get it working (there's plenty of documentation on how to do it on the internet, but it's a bit of a pain and the result is less than reliable).

    You don't mention whether you want to run all these simutaneously, but if you do, then you'll probably need at least 8GB RAM, preferably 16Gb if you want it to be reasonaby snappy (I'm assuming the MBP is one of the i5/i7 models not a C2D, which could be a bit underpowered for doing this all simultaneously).

    Your easiest route might be to use the local OS on the MBP to be the OSX Lion client and VMs for the other three (OSX Server, W7 & WS2008). That way it's all supported, all legal and you need less RAM (8GB should be sufficient).

    Disadvantages are:
    Relatively slow performance (but probably perfectly acceptable for your stated requirement)
    Clutters up your laptop with lots of large VMDKs
    Not fully representative of real hardware
    Functions that rely on features like 3D graphics may not work or may be slow

    However, these are typically massively outweighed by the advantages, which are:
    Easy reversion using snapshots (fantastic in a training or test & dev environment)
    VM portability from one system to another
  6. edwinx thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 6, 2010
    I have a i7 MBP but with 4gb (will upgrade to 8gb).

    that's great news, I'll give this a shot after the ram upgrade. I only want to use it to learn about networking concepts (dns, routing, sharing, permissions, etc). I was worried that some things cannot be done in a virtual environment or behave differently compared to a real life.


  7. speacock macrumors member

    Jul 26, 2011
    One other thought

    You're welcome, just one thing, if you do create the mixed environment I mentioned with the real laptop acting as the Lion based client OS and the others running in VMs, you'll find it easiest if you set the VM's networking mode to 'Bridged' rather than the default of 'NAT'. It just means everything looks like it's on the same subnet and avoids any complications that NAT would throw in. Of course if you want to test NAT too, them the VMware NAT is as good a way as any of seeing how it works and what constraints it imposes.
  8. edwinx thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 6, 2010
    thanks for that tip.

    1 more q though, how should I handle osx server? should I buy lion server or SL server? and then later if needed, pay to upgrade to lion server?

    I still have my SL disc so I will try to create a SL VM to play with too.


  9. speacock macrumors member

    Jul 26, 2011
    Tricky question

    That's a tricky questions.

    I'm not sure you can buy SL Server anymore, they seem to have withdrawn it from sale now they've released Lion Server.

    The other thing is that they've changed the pricing quite dramatically. The old SL Server was £500 I think (Not sure where you're based but $ pricing will be roughly the same amount but with a $ sign rather than a £ sign, we get a rough deal here in the UK) while the new Lion Server is only £35. I'm not sure if there's any special conditions on that such as it being an upgrade only price, but there doesn't seem to be. My guess is that it just wasn't selling a lot before and they are trying to make it compete with Windows Home Server which is about £70.

    Given that Lion Server is so cheap, you could buy a copy and see whether it will install inside VMware Fusion 3.1, I'd guess that it won't until it's officially supported by VMware, but it's worth a go (I'd be interested to know the answer if you do try).

    If it doesn't, then you may be entitled to use what are commonly know as 'downgrade rights'. This is a condition in the license agreement that allows you to use an older version of the software you have bought, so you buy Lion but install SL. I'm afraid I don't know whether this exists in the Lion license so you'd have to check and then you'd have to find a way of getting hold of the SL media.

    There were news stories towards the very end of the Lion Beta programme that the license agreement for Lion client was going to include virtualisation rights on Apple hardware, but it's all gone very quiet about this since, so I'm guessing this was only for the Beta, not for the RTM version of Lion.

    Hope that helps.
  10. willieva macrumors 6502

    Mar 12, 2010
    One advantage of setting everything as NAT is you can easily control the ip & MAC addresses of the vm's you setup. Makes associating machine names and ip address very easy.

    Being in NAT means all the vm's and the host machine look like they're on the same subnet, it's just not the one created by the router.
  11. edwinx thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 6, 2010
    I totally forgot about the price difference between SL and Lion. I will go the Lion route instead.

    I found some links in google on how to get Lion installed in VM ware but not having too much success with the instructions.

  12. edwinx thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 6, 2010
    Thanks, I'll give both a shot and see which one I like or is easier for me.

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