- Crowded Data Centers and Service-Rich Software
- Virtualization: The "New" Kid on the Block
- Step 1: Download a Virtual Image of Your Required Operating System
- Step 2: Download and Install VMware Player
- Step 3: Run the Operating System Image
- Step 4: Shut Down the Operating System Image
- Step 5: Configure the Virtual Image for Networking
Step 1: Download a Virtual Image of Your Required Operating System
The first thing you need is an image of your required operating system. The best resource I’ve found for a variety of free Linux images for VMware is the Thoughtpolice offerings. You can (most likely) download a VMware-ready image of your required Linux variant from this site. The one I’ve selected for this article is ubuntu-server-7.10-i386, but you can use any of the images on the site. The only difference is that the instructions that follow might need to change a little depending on your choice.
One thing you’ll notice about these Linux images is that they’re pretty massive! The ubuntu-server-7.10-i386 image is a whopping 193MB. Once your download starts, it might be time to treat yourself to coffee.
The second item you’ll need is a piece of software called a player—in fact, VMware Player. I like the use of terminology here: The player is used as an execution platform for the virtual operating system. In effect, VMware Player renders or executes the virtual operating system machine.
As an alternative to VMware Player, you can use VMware Server, which provides the same facilities as VMware Player as well as other features such as the ability to create new virtual machines.
Remember that the Ubuntu image is a fully-fledged operating system that you can run and interact with either locally or across a network. It’s worth thinking a little about power: Such an operating system image also can be used as a means of distributing software that’s been fully preconfigured.
There’s another point to note about virtual operating systems concerning software licenses. Because the VMware images on the Thoughtpolice site are all open source, there’s no need for commercial licenses. However, that isn’t true if you want to host Microsoft Windows in a virtual machine! Images are available for Windows, but they come with 30-day evaluation periods.
When you start to look at virtualization technology, you need to change your mindset a little: Hosting a complete version of Linux inside the Windows desktop takes a little practice! But after a time it seems the most natural thing in the world.
Anyway, the VMware player you choose depends on your needs. For this article, I want to keep it simple, so I’ll stick with VMware Player.