VMware workstation

Discussion in 'sandboxing & virtualization' started by Triple Helix, Jul 18, 2009.

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  1. Triple Helix

    Triple Helix Webroot Product Advisor

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    Anyone using VMware Workstation? http://www.vmware.com/download/ws/

    Do you feel it's that much more better and easier than MS Virtual PC? And is there a coupon code to get it cheaper than $189.00US?

    Thanks for any info and the pros and the cons of it! :thumb:

    TH
     
  2. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    Can't say for now, but back when I first got started it was much easier then MS Virtual PC. If you are serious it's still the cadillac.

    Have no idea about coupons. As to pro's and cons, only con is maybe price. One of the huge pro's for me is the snapshot ability, and no limit save disk space.
     
  3. Sully

    Sully Registered Member

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    All I can tell you is that I have vmWare WS 5x, and it is without a doubt the best purchase I ever made. Better than any version of MS software, better than any game, better than any tool or utility. I have used it so much, in so many ways, with so few problems, that I cannot complain one bit about the price I paid for it back then. It is so good, that I would gladly pay for another version today (providing I had the cash lol).

    I have only dabble with other vm machine softwares. All I can say, is having use vmWare WS, and vmWare server series of differing versions, it is pretty hassle free, and you do get what you pay for.

    Of course, I sound like a fanboy, and I suppose you might call me that. Yes, the software is just that good. Enterprise scenarios, you got me, I dont' use vmWare in that setting.

    Sul.
     
  4. thathagat

    thathagat Guest

    well..........VMware Workstation is more “feature rich”,it offers products like ACE, VirtualCenter, and ESX server,Snapshot manager offers ability to freeze systems in time, keep track of these different system images, and move forward and back between them. You can even branch off system snapshots and create new snapshots,VMware Team features allow you to group virtual systems together and start/stop them all at the same time,Support for 64 bit Guest Operating systems if you have a 64 bit processor,Supports dual processors on virtual machines,Supports USB devices,VMWare WS adds with 6.5 is 3D acceleration of Windows 2000 or later guests on XP or later hosts (if you have DX 9.0c or later hardware on the host *and* the equivalent end-user runtimes installed on host and guest) as an option. This is unique to VMWare and opens up "virtual gamestations" as a possibility (can't do that with either VirtualPC or VBox)
    MS Virtual PC 2007 has a very big plus.....its free:) i haven't used it so nothing much about pros and cons
     
  5. Raza0007

    Raza0007 Registered Member

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    MS Virtual PC does not compare with Vmware workstation. Vmware WS is a far superior product.

    Among virtualization software, if you had asked me 1.5 years ago, I would have easily recommended Vmware workstation, but now I will have to say that Sun's Virtualbox is almost as good as Vmware workstation and it is free for personal use too. At the rate Virtualbox is improving, I can predict that it will outperform Vmware WS in 6-12 months.

    So, if you are looking for a good virtualization software give the freeware Virtualbox a try.
     
  6. demonon

    demonon Guest

    I have tried vmware workstation and virtualbox 3.0.
    Vmware has it's pros, but virtualbox is getting better with each new version.
    I think if you just like to run vm's once in a while and it's not really your job, then virtualbox is a better choice.
    My personal experience is that I like virtualbox more.
     
  7. aigle

    aigle Registered Member

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    Does virtual box has the ability to go back and fourth into snapshots?
     
  8. Raza0007

    Raza0007 Registered Member

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    The last information I had, you could not jump back and forth between snapshots in Virtualbox. You could just revert to a previous snapshot. They have recently released v3.0 of virtualbox and I do not know whether they have added this functionality in the new release. If not then I am sure they will add this important and necessary functionality to virtualbox soon.
     
  9. aigle

    aigle Registered Member

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    I am very much suprised and rather disappointed that so far they are unable to implement this feature while this feature is very important for software/ malware testing indeed. It should not be so difficult to add, i guess.
     
  10. Aaron Here

    Aaron Here Registered Member

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    As I've never used any virtual machine software (but definitely interested), would someone please explain the concept of virtual snapshots? o_O
     
  11. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    Hi Aaron

    First with Vm Ware Workstation, you literally are working on a separate computer. It boots up and shuts down just like a real machine. If you add a disk drive, you have to go thru all the steps that you would adding a real disk drive to your computer, with the windows format, and inititalization etc.

    The snapshot refered to in VMware VM machines, is like a rollback Rx snapshot on steriods. It literally saves the state of the machine. So you can totally change software, and then revert to the state before by going to that snapshot. Only difference is no reboot. But here's the steriod part, and NO regular rollback software can do this.

    You can totally format the disk drives, destroy them, delete stuff completely, and then go to another snapshot, and the system is back like it was.

    This is great for testing malware. For example. I take a snapshot, and then run the Killdisk trojan. It wipes out the disk, where recovery would be a bit tedious. I just go back to the snapshot, and like magic the system is back where it was when I took the snapshot.

    Pete

    PS Another thing I love is say I want to do something with the real system disks and am not sure what I am doing, what prompts might appear and what I can mess up by doing something wrong, I'll first do it in the VM machine, and that way, if I do screw up, absolutely no harm done. This way I can learn what to do, what not to do, etc.
     
  12. Meriadoc

    Meriadoc Registered Member

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    nice description.

    I work in vms all the time, Workstation is strong and extremely versatile.
     
  13. Sully

    Sully Registered Member

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    Snapshots are awesome. Try doing this any other way:

    Create .iso of XP install cd/dvd.
    Mount .iso into the virtual cd drive.
    Boot virtual box.
    Start install of the mounted .iso.
    Run through setup, until first reboot happens.
    Now -- stop the vmware machine -- the same as unplugging your physical box, to not reboot.
    Create a snapshot of the vm box.
    Boot up, continue with next OS install portion.
    On next reboot, again make a snapshot. (or anywhere inbetween if you pause it)
    Now you have 2 snapshots, at a different stage of installation. Now you want to modify the .iso, or you want to install new things, try new reg tweaks, etc etc etc. All of this you can build more snapshots on into new layers or new configurations, starting with the first one.

    I tell you, I learned more about how to tweak my OS install from using vmWare than any other method I ever tried. And this is just one of it's uses. I use it routinely to test firewalls and rollback apps, pretty much anything that won't work in Sandboxie, goes into vmWare.

    Simply an amazing product. I think I will look at that vm from Sun though just to check it out.

    Sul.
     
  14. Aaron Here

    Aaron Here Registered Member

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    Thanks guys, that's totally awesome. What about the required resources to pull off this magic?
     
  15. Triple Helix

    Triple Helix Webroot Product Advisor

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    Yes really Thanks to everyone and there suggestions! :thumb:

    TH
     
  16. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    Got to have them. I build 1 to 1.5 gb machines, so right there thats a minimum that needs to be set aside. I also generally give my machines two 20gb drives so that a drive requirement. My main machine which resides on another drive currently is using 52.6gb of disk space.

    But it runs fine on XP Pro SP3 machine with 4gb ram. Could do it with 3.

    Pete
     
  17. Sully

    Sully Registered Member

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    I have ran vmWare WS on amd athlon xp 2100 with 1gb ram and very ample hdd space. I have ran it on 500mhz machines with 256 mb ram. Not that you want to, but it depends on what you want to do. My current machine is c2d e6750 with 4gb ram and raid0 1.5tb hdd and single 750gb hdd. I don't even notice vmWare boxes are doing anything unless I am installing an OS in more than one at a time.

    I would say most likely unless your rig is more than 3 years old, there should not be a problem.

    Sul.
     
  18. lodore

    lodore Registered Member

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    my current machine has a quad core intel processer and 6gb of ram.
    windows vista slowed down lots when i tryed to running virtual machines with only 2gb ram total. so i picked up 4GB for £40
    are you thinking of getting a new machine to run it on or use a current machine?
    eiether way what are the specs likely to be?

    i can run multiple virtual machines with no problems.
    once i get windows 7 i will be able to run them even better.
     
  19. Mrkvonic

    Mrkvonic Linux Systems Expert

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    I have no issues running 3 512mb guests on a 2gb machine, but that's about it. Memory will be less of an issue, disk speed is your bottleneck. If you can space out virtual machines onto several physical disks, you'll gain significantly in performance.

    I always run vms from a second disk or an external one, does magic to responsiveness.

    Memory allocation is only valid when is use, so don't be afraid to overcommit.

    In general, if you don't have badly configured os with anti-virus thingies or whatnot, your host will have a very small footprint and run rather fast and you'll be able to run multiple vms easily.

    xp guests will do nicely with 512mb, windows 7 will work ok with 768mb and most linux distros will work very nicely with 512mb or even less, with the exception of few.

    Mrk
     
  20. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    Hi Mrk

    Are you sure of that for VMware Workstation machine. For sure the guest is only using what it needs, but I've watched the host, and once booted it uses around 1100K all the time.

    Pete
     
  21. m00nbl00d

    m00nbl00d Registered Member

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    I've been a long user of VMware Workstation, and I have nothing negative to mention, besides the price. :D

    I've also tried Microsoft VirtualPC and Sun VirtualBox. But, those two are nowhere near VMWare Workstation.

    For example, and I'm not sure whether or not it has been solved in Sun VirtualBox, but if you install Windows Vista and want to create a shared folder between Host (in my case it was also Windows Vista) and Guest, then you'll need to first install SP1 in the Guest O.S. Otherwise, you won't be able to. I don't know if it was a bug or something done by design, and if a bug, if it has been or not solved.

    I also didn't like the fact that I couldn't drag & drop between Host and Guest.

    Microsoft VirtualPC, well, I always had the feel that it was extremely slow. Maybe it was just me.

    Anyway, sometimes when we wish to make use of something with quality, we need to pay for it. If it is a paid product, that is.

    I also like one more thing about VMWare - connecting VMs together. I don't know if VirtualPC and VirtualBox allow it?
     
  22. Mrkvonic

    Mrkvonic Linux Systems Expert

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    Did you mean 1100K or 1100M? I'm using Server and it has a few drivers, all of which take very little RAM. Only when virtual machines are launched does the memory usage go up, for those machines vmware-vmx processes, if I'm not mistaken.

    VMware will give the "full" allocation of memory to the virtual machines, but they will only use some of it, especially if you have more than one machine of the same type, they will share resources and swap among them if you run out of memory.

    If you run, let's say 4 XP virtual machines, each 512mb, they will only use effectively maybe half that. VMware will take care of the memory allocation to each host as needed and take from those not committing full memory.

    If you use pagefile (or swap) in virtual machines, then you will also trash the disk more, but still be able to take more than the actual physical ram.

    You can run an experiment ... the best thing :) You have 4GB? Start 5 virtual machines each taking 1GB and see what happens ... Of course, space them out to several disks, otherwise this will run very slowly ...

    Cheers,
    Mrk
     
  23. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    Hi Mrk

    Your right 1100M. I see what you are saying regarding the allocation.

    Pete
     
  24. Triple Helix

    Triple Helix Webroot Product Advisor

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    Yes I got to say that after 1 day it is awesome I didn't think it work that fast and that well!
     
  25. andyman35

    andyman35 Registered Member

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    I agree totally,Virtualbox is now an outstanding product and still improving with each version.:thumb:
     
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