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
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.