I know a lot of people already use it, but this is for newbs who might not have the resources to build a lab.
is virtualisation software. In simplified form it allows you to run literally another instance of your computer in a window.. this is NOT like dual booting or emulation, for all intents and purposes the new computer in the window is a separate machine altogether .. it even has its own BIOS ! The beauty of this for us networkers is that all the virtual machines you run can run ANY os (yes without any partitioning etc) and ARE ALL NETWORKED !
So you can set up a lab of many computers using only one ! The only restraints are the amount of RAM you have and disk space (each virtual machine will make just one file that can go up to > 1GB)
I haven't been able to list all the awesome benefits of vmware but trust me, if you're serious about networking, and you cant afford another machine, try this out. I used to use it at home with XP as my main OS and win2k and RedHat 7.2 as virtual machines.. all fully networked. I could sniff traffic between all of them for that under the hood view of the networking.. as well as do things that I couldn't (wouldn't ? do to other machines.. such as do security audits.
Do yourself a favour and go to the website.
I've updated this post with a couple of screenshots :
Screen 1 : Showing my linux box booting up, if I press f2 here I enter the Vmware BIOS. Btw 'trojan.zip' on my desktop is this horrible new trojan thats going around that has a jpg (usually britney.jpg) which is actually an html page that does bad things to your machine. I'll post my analysis of it sometime.
Screen 2 : This is a mandrake box running KDE, I've got an Xterm window open where I'm installing nessus, and you can see the semi transparent menus.
Yeah Vmware is really great, there are a few odd issues about it though (as with any virtualisation). Take the strange problem I've had recently -- I have 3 Red Hat 9 discs, they all pass the media check, but the install in vmware crashes in the middle saying the media is corrupt... I've just used the same CD's to dual boot the box I'm on right now.. no problems.
But its really so convenient.. I am booting WinXP, Win2k, and RH9, and in WinXP I use Cygwin linux emulation and vmware with images for mandrake 9.1, redhat 7.2 and win2k... and I still find most of the time I hit VMware when I need a linux box rather than rebooting or using Cygwin.
I firmly believe that you should be able to handle more than one OS, you can never make a choice between them until you've really given them all an equal chance (something that never happens for most people as they are born and die with windows). It took me a while to take linux by the horns, but now I don't have a real favourite.. its just a matter of whats the right tool for the job.
Oh and one more interesting thing, VMWares chief competitor -- VirtualPC (well it really lags behind but still) is going to be bought over by Microsoft... and apparently the virtualisation might be a part of the regular windows code (typical MS stuffing things in that most people wouldn't need .
This raises a very interesting question -- will microsofts virtualisation allow you to run OS's other than the windows series ? Can you actually imagine a customer getting a microsoft tech support guy to talk them through a FreeBSD install lol it cracks me up.
Anyone have any idea what Bill himself runs on his main pc (if he has one...) ? Can't you just see his face bathed in the blue of the GRUB bootloader hehe
I think tom has a good point. Microsoft will for sure tweak to probably have an XP look to it. Or the box will have that green valley picture when XP first came out. Don't you guys just love that picture, only thing it was missing were sheep out in the middle.
I am looking into vmware so I can run it on my quad processor server and test out all the OS's and learn them all. Plus I can run through them all for when I study for the MCSE/MCSA.
Muchos Gracius for bringing the knowledge of vmware to my attention. I freakin love this forum. Alright my puter gEEks we talk soon. :roll: