Monday 20 April 2009

Introducing VMware 2.0

I think it is for about a year now that VMware launched the next release of their free Server product, release 2.0. Until now I stuck with the 1.0.x release. There were a few reasons for that. One of the main reasons was that the difference in footprint is 400MB! Where 1.0.x is a little over 100MB in size, for 2.0 it is around 500MB. And I find that quite a lot.
But also the interfacing is different. The new release does not have a console, but is completely browser based. It comes with a Tomcat based (if I'm not mistaken) UI.

Last week I had to install it on two 64-bit Windows Vista machines. And it turned out that the 1.0.x releases were not supported and did not function on these machines. I thought I read somewhere that there were also issues with VMware Server 2.0 on Vista x64. But it turns out that 2.0 is supported on those environments and so I just tried.

I found that installing VMware Server 2.0 on Windows Vista x64 is a piece of cake. And it runs fine. There are a few minor differences with 1.0.x. The main is that itn works with so-called datastores to get to the Virtual Machines. You can't browse on the servers filesystem directly. But you can add other datastores that point to a certain location on the hosts filesystem.

Today I installed VMware Server 2.0.1 also on my laptop with OpenSuse 11.0 x86_64. It went succesfully too. For Linux there is a seperate RPM for 64-bit hosts, like mine.
You can do a "rpm -Uhv VMware-Server...." to install without uninstalling the old vmware server. It does an uninstall of the old version during the install of new one.
On Linux you still have to run after that. At the end it asks for a management user. By default this is your root user, but you can give up another OS user.
On Windows it is apparently the user that also installed it.

After connecting to the Server UI, you can connect with the management user. The password is the same as the OS password of the user.

With the 1.0.x release of VMware I had problems with my wireless adapter. It did not support bridging the virtual ethernet-adapter. It could be solved by recompiling the VMware player 2.0 VMNet module into the 1.0.x server. This lead in some kernel compile errors that were solvable (see elsewere on this blog). But the VMNet module of VMware Server 2.0 does not have this problem. So wireless bridging works out of the box.

The Console opens after clicking on the console tab of a Virtual Machine. It opens in a new window that you can maximize to full-screen. For firefox it installs an add on on the first access. The console window has a bar on top side of the screen to access the most of the screen functions. I find that very handy. More convenient than the 1.0.x console in full screen.

I tried a youtube movie of Jean Michel Jarre (my favorite) and sound works fine too.

Again I'm impressed with this great Virtualization Tool.


Marco Gralike said...

One of the big drawbacks, IMHO, regarding VMware Server 2.0 is the use of Tomcat. No due to TomCat, but it introduces a browser / application server stack that sometimes gets lost in updating the configuration files etc. The "old" client server software didn't had this issue, at least, not as much. The new web based mechanism already cruppled more than one VMware environment on my laptop...and yes its footprint is extensively bigger than the version 1.x package...

Martien van den Akker said...

Hi Marco,

I think you're right. The architecture change was one of the other things I had to come over with to take the step to version 2. I think for enterprise applications it is an understandable change. But less for desktop applications. I wonder how it is with Workstation?