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(Solved) - virtual machine networking

(8 posts)
  • Started 1 year ago by drpepper
  • Latest reply from drpepper
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drpepper
Posts: 19

I am hoping that one of the gurus can provide some helpful feedback on a project I would like to attempt for learning purposes. Please feel free to be brutally honest with corrections and advice. I will view your feedback as a learning experience. I have read and studied the following excellent tutorials (listed in no particular order):
1) VMware player - Share Partitions Between Host and Guest
2) How to Install Windows 8 on VMware Player
3) Portable OS - Carry your OS on an External Drive
4) Why is running your second OS in virtual so much easier than Double Boot?

Before finding these tutorials, I had been researching system requirements and various instructive articles. Additionally I have read the User Manuals for VirtualBox and VMware Player in an effort to gain an understanding of the project I wish to pursue. I was unsure if I need to buy/build another computer for this task or weigh down the laptop with all of this. The ability to run from an external drive makes it sound feasible to continue with my laptop and spare the expense and space requirements of another computer. My end goal is to run a network (NOS + two workstations: Win7 and Win 8) virtually so I can configure/wreck/repair/restore the network without compromising the host machine.

Here are my system specs:
Lenovo B570 laptop
host OS win 7 HP SP1 x64
CPU Intel Core i3 2330M Sandy Bridge 2.2GHz
RAM 8GB DDR3 dual channel 9-9-9-24
HDD Western digital WD3200PVT-24ZESTO ATA 320GB (224GB free) 5400RPM
USB2 ports only
DVD read/write
external drive Toshiba HDTB110XK3BA 1TB 5400RPM

Here are the OSes I would like to run in a virtual machine:
1) Windows Server 2012 Essentials 2012 x64
2) Windows 7 Pro SP1 x64
3) Windows 8 Pro x64

If I am reading specs and system requirements properly, here is my take.

Each of the intended guest OSes has a minimum requirement consistent with my CPU with virtualization and hyperthreading enabled.
Reserving 2GB RAM for each guest OS (leaving 2GB for the host) may not be ideal, but is workable.
My slow (5400RPM) HDD and external HD, coupled with USB2 ports on the computer may be a little slow, but workable for learning purposes.
When the VM is not running, I have all the CPU and RAM capacity available for use on the host.
When all guests are running at the same time, I have only one CPU and 2GB RAM available for the host.

questions so far regarding basics:
Do I have the correct understanding?
If I run the VMs from the external drive, do I need to take care to leave 60+GB free space on the HDD (minimum 20GB for each host), or will all the files/folders reside on the external HD?

Now ... To date, my research has not provided me with useful information about configuration of the VMs.
Can/should all the virtual OSes be installed on a single instance of VMware Player or VirtualBox? separated into two or three instances?
Since I have never used an NOS, I have no clue whether or not the setup order is important. server first, then workstations? vice versa? doesn't matter?

I have plenty of time to tinker with things provided that I have an initial installation platform which will work. I prefer to avoid attempting something which flat will not work because of an improper platform to work from. What else do I need to know?

Thanks for your guidance.

drpepper

Posted 1 year ago
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whs
Posts: 17584

I am glad you could make some use of my tutorials. If you have any questions regarding the tutorials, let me know.

Yes, you can do what you plan running from an external disk. But I highly recommend you get a 120GB SSD . A spinning disk in an external enclosure on USB2 will run like molasses and will be no fun. The SSD will set you back appr. $100, but it is well worth it.

I suggest you install each system on your internal disk first. That will get you a VMware folder in Documents (default). Then move this folder to the SSD and do the next one.

For allocations chose 40GB for the dynamic virtual disk and change the RAM allocation to 3GBs - but if you want to run all 3 virtual partitions at the same time, then only 2GB. That will leave 2GB for the host.

To be on the safe side, make a copy of the VMware folders to some other disk from time to time. That is like an image and you can pull it back in any time you have a problem with one of the virtual partitions. All you need to do then is to Open that copy in the VMware Player control window. It will usually ask you whether you copied the folder and you click on that.

Have fun.

Posted 1 year ago
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drpepper
Posts: 19

whs,

Thanks for the feedback.

I understand your reasoning for using an SSD. The only reason I was considering the mechanical external HD is that I already have it, and there is plenty of free space (>900GB) on it. My thoughts are that if I can't get it all up and running, I have not spent any extra money in the experiment. I may bite the bullet and get the SSD before I begin the VM build.

observations/questions:
I currently have a VM (Ubuntu) on the laptop which I used for an intro to Unix course. I will be removing Ubuntu until I need to use it again. ...anyway... my file structure is My Documents > Virtual Machines >vubuntu > all the files for the VM. Your Portable OS tutorial says, "It will create a folder ... which is the virtual system. When the installation is completed, copy that folder to your external drive." A little later on it says, "You will be asked whether you have copied or moved the folder..."

Reading between all the lines I believe that all the OSes will be on the same VM, hence in the Virtual Machines folder in subfolders. (e.g. vserver, vwin7, vwin8) Upon launching the VM, the library will list all the installed OSes and offer me the opportunity to open one (or more of them to run simultaneously). Is that correct?

The "copied or moved" portion leads me to a question which may be as much Windows related as VM related. I have experimented with other removable media and found that I can create a desktop shortcut to a folder/file within the removable media which survives across reboots. Let's see if I am connecting the dots correctly for both options, copy and move. If I move the folder, it will be necessary to use the installation.exe file you mentioned in the tutorial to launch the VMs from the external drive because they no longer exist on the internal drive. This would simulate moving to a different machine. If I copy the folder (leaving a copy on the internal drive), I can create a desktop shortcut to the folder or vmx file on the external drive to launch the VMs. Is that correct?

When running the OSs from the external drive, do the virtual hard drives exist on the internal or the external drive? The difference will let me know what happens if I transport the external drive to a machine which has limited free HDD space. Using your recommendation of 90GB reserved for virtual hard drive space (30GB/OS), if the virtual hard drives run on the external drive, free space on the host's HDD is not a concern. If the virtual hard drives run on the host's internal HDD, free space may be an issue. For example, if the host has only 50GB free space, there may be issues. I foresee the possibility of failure to launch and run the VMs, or worse yet, overwriting files on the host system. Do I have the correct read on this?

The following questions arise because I have no experience with client/server networking -- only classroom lecture and reading assignments combined with my independent research. Is there anything special I need to know about interconnectivity between the virtual network and the host or Internet? Specifically, will IP address assignment with a VM on the external drive be a problem? (static vs. automatic address assignments, etc.) All of my research to date has returned information about stand alone VM OSes, not a virtual network.

Am I correct in thinking that the virtual network would experience the fewest problems if I use a private 10.x.x.x addressing scheme for communication within the virtual network?

Thanks for your follow up.

drpepper

Posted 1 year ago
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drpepper
Posts: 19

re: observations/questions in above post ... Did I get lost in the shuffle?

Posted 1 year ago
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whs
Posts: 17584

"Reading between all the lines I believe that all the OSes will be on the same VM, hence in the Virtual Machines folder in subfolders. (e.g. vserver, vwin7, vwin8) Upon launching the VM, the library will list all the installed OSes and offer me the opportunity to open one (or more of them to run simultaneously). Is that correct?"

VMware creates a master folder in documents per default. It then defines a subfolder for each system that you install. You can move/copy the master folder or subfolders to any place you like. But you can also define your own folder for a system during the OS installation and put that wherever you want.

"If I copy the folder (leaving a copy on the internal drive), I can create a desktop shortcut to the folder or vmx file on the external drive to launch the VMs. Is that correct?"

Nah, you have to "Open a virtual machine" in the VMware player control window (open the .vmx). Then you start your virtual system from there. Click on it (top left) and then "Play virtual machine" (bottom right). Shortcuts on the desktop won't work. But you can make a VMware Player shortcut on the desktop. That will bring up the VMware control window.

"For example, if the host has only 50GB free space, there may be issues. I foresee the possibility of failure to launch and run the VMs, or worse yet, overwriting files on the host system. Do I have the correct read on this?"

That's not going to happen. And if you run the OS from an external drive, there is no space taken on the host partition.

"Am I correct in thinking that the virtual network would experience the fewest problems if I use a private 10.x.x.x addressing scheme for communication within the virtual network?"

I don't have the faintest idea. I never tried that.

Here again, if you want to run the virtual systems from an external drive, don't even bother with a HDD. You will not like it. SSD is the only way to go. If you don't want to buy an SSD, run it from the internall HDD.

If you are quick, you can get a cheap 256GB SSD today 3/27 at Newegg. $159.99 With Promo Code: EMCYTZT31567.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/.....20-171-741

PS. Next time you have multiple questions, please number the questions. On this retarded forum you cannot make proper quotes, so the answers get very messy.

Posted 1 year ago
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drpepper
Posts: 19

Thanks whs,

gotcha on the numbering ow questions. ... I think you have provided enough information for me to get started after my tests next week.

regards,
drpepper

Posted 1 year ago
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whs
Posts: 17584

OK, if you have more questions, post back.

Posted 1 year ago
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drpepper
Posts: 19

Thanks. It promises to be a challenging task for me as a beginner. I bet I will learn more from it than any two college level courses I have taken so far.

Posted 1 year ago
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