Getting started with virtualization: things you wish you'd known first

Discussion in 'sandboxing & virtualization' started by axial, Sep 23, 2008.

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  1. Sully

    Sully Registered Member

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    You still are thinking like it is a real hdd. It is very easy. You should not have to worry about that stuff. When I say clone, it is a function build into vmWare workstation. You click 'Clone this drive' and it makes a copy of it. So now you have your 'source' vm, and then a copy, or clone of it. You can do it manually by copying the entire vm right from the directory where it lives and pasting/renaming it, then opening it up in vmWorkstation.

    As far as time goes, generally for me on my big machine, maybe 20secs. All depends on your rig, but not very long.

    Take for example. Last night I was working on some changes to my unattended xp dvd. I did the changes, made the .iso, and mounted it in a vm OS. Then I proceeded to install XP, even doing a format of the virtual hdd. The entire process takes maybe 10mins and xp is fully installed. Then I copied (cloned) that vm, and played some. Then I did not like the results, so I deleted the clone, made changes in the .iso and reinstalled again. Last night alone I installed xp into that one vm 8 times. A virtual machine is very fast. So fast when working on a real box it seems to just crawl :)

    Sul.
     
  2. axial

    axial Registered Member

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    <advance slathering...> speed of working within the VM. Hadn't even considered this.

    You're right, I am still thinking of a VM as if it was an uncompressed ShadowProtect .spf image that's taking the same amount of drive space on a different drive and just accessed differently. I was wary that both making it and then maintaining multiples might become a huge time-sink.
     
  3. Sully

    Sully Registered Member

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    Maybe look at it like this. vmWare Workstation is just the environment in which you create hdd space for a vm. It lets you manage your workstations. It lets you start your virtual machines. In short, it is needed to create and maintain them.

    vmPlayer lets you boot a vm up, and (within a window) run the guest OS.

    No matter how you start the guest OS, it is merely a group of files on your hdd somewhere that house the data to run the vm. A typical xp pro image for me is 2.3gb of hdd space, with 17 files, some are logs, some are snapshots, one is the primary vm.

    Since it is a virtual OS, mouting images is very nice, as you have full hdd speed with them. Maintaining the vm's is also easy because, again, they are just a group of files in a directory.

    When you create and start a vm, the workstation IDE shows a standard boot screen, bios and all. It is, exactly like seeing another computer booting in a window. Everything that you know from your real box, is essentially recreated in the virtual box.

    Have you tried vmWare yet? Maybe you should see if there is a trial version to be had. I think you could very quickly and easily get the 'feel' by just creating a vm of Windows 98 (if you have a disk) and putting the disc in your optical and installing. My version of vmWare uses basically a 440bx type virtual motherboard, so 98 goes on very quick and all drivers should be there. This will be an easy and familiar environment to just see how similar a vm is to a real box. Or something like that, to wet your appetite.

    I think once you see vmWare's more (IMO) mature environment, even some of the alternatives might make more sense. At the least it will give you some firsthand knowledge of just what you can and can't do and how easy it is to manage things.

    Sul.
     
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