This is my first post in a VMWare forum.
Has anyone successfully installed Cisco Communications Manager 6.0 (or earlier) on VMWare Fusion? I am particularly intereted in installing several instances of CM 6.0 in virtual machines running in Fusion but also curious about anyone's success with Cisco CM 5 or Cisco CM 4.
I am currently studying for CCVP and need to build a lab of several Cisco Communication Managers. The options are:
1. Buy several psyisical servers and install Cisco CM 6.0 natively on them.
The disadvantages of this option are very high cost, too much space required, noisy environment, and high energy consumption, which equals higher electic bills.
2. Buy one beefed up Intel-based server (such as a Dell Poweredge 840) that supports up to 8 GB of RAM and comes with two 250 GB hard drives in its low-end configuration. With Kingston 2x2 GB RAM upgrade, I should be able to install a Linux distro (probably Ubuntu or Fedora) as a host OS, a VMWare server (free), and then install a few instances of Cisco CM 6.0 as guest OS's (less than $150 for an NFR version). This solution would run me around $1000 for the hardware and software. In the future, I can add 4 more GB of RAM and install a couple Cisco Unity instances (hopefully, by that time Cisco will come up with Linux-based Unity so that I won't have to pay for a copy of Windows Server that current Unity runs on).
The main disadvantage of this solution is the fact that I have to cough up a $840 on the hardware that I can use only for the lab purposes. I also have to run a CAT5 cable to the room which I am planning to use for my studies for it lacks a pre-installed CAT5 drop.
3. Buy an Apple laptop (I am hoping for a rumored ultra-portable due in January, but either Macbook or Macbook Pro will do) and fill it up with 3rd-party RAM up to its limit -- currently 4 GB. Purchase VMWare Fusion and install several instances of Cisco CM 6.0 on it.
The advantages of this solution are:
a. I will finally be able to justify buying a MAC, which I can use both for this lab and for other purposes.
b. I can study anywhere and not only in the designated room in my house.
c. I can bridge VMs' network adapters to Mac's wireless card to connect to my existing network of Cisco routers, switches, gateways, and IP Phones, so I don't have to install any additional CAT5 drops in my house.
I have read scarce reports of people installing Cisco CM 6.0 on VMWare Workstation and VMWare Server. I am yet to find out if anyone has successfully installed it on VMWare Fusion. Even though I do want a Mac badly, I cannot justify buying one when I already have a decent Dell laptop and desktop unless I can run my lab on it. Neither of my Dells is capable of having 4 GB of RAM, and I am apprehensive to pay for marginal upgrades to 2 GB on either machine and having to acquire a bigger HDs for either one of my Dells because I will most likely not be able to install 3-4 Cisco CMs on either Dell. So, I would only buy a new Mac if I can use it to build this lab of virtual Cisco CM 6.0s. If this is something that I cannot do on a Mac, I will have to go with the Dell Poweredge 840 option -- not my favorite option but the most affordable one of the three.
Any thoughts would be greately appreciated!
Cisco CM sounds pretty specialized the only shred I can add is that Fusion shares a common VMM with Workstation 6, all of the virtualization features are "under the covers" without all of the Workstation UI. If Cisco CM works in Workstation, it should work in Fusion. Did you say you tried Cisco VM in Workstation 6 or Server on your Dells? That same VM you could copy right over to Fusion on OS X and run it.
It makes sense that if I can first install CM 6.0 on VM Server, I should then be able to import the VM to Fusion. The only thing I really concerned about is if the bridging capability of virtual interfaces to the physical interface (copper or wireless) is as robust in Fusion as it is in VM Server. The Cisco CMs running in virtual machines in Fusion would have to communicate with one another and with physical devices located outside the host system, such as IP Phones, gateways, routers, etc. IP Phones will actually be registering to the CMs running in Fusion virtual machines. So, if the bridging capability of CM's virtual interfaces is flaky, my lab is not going to work very well. It is not going to be any sort of production environment, but it must be a stable lab environment upon which I can continue to build my lab once I finish my CCVP and move on to CCIE. Money is not really a big issue, but I want to get something that can serve a purpose rather than just a beatiful Mac.
In Server you can select exactly which interface to bridge, but the default is to auto-detect the bridge. In Fusion, by default it auto-detects between wired (en0) and wireless interfaces (en1). If you want to force a specific bridging the UI is not there. Forum user has written a nice whitepaper describing how Linux on Workstation's abilities are available in Fusion, but it does require you to get into the scripts themselves. For reference that paper is here:
On a usage note, I use bridged mode over wireless for VPNs, running VMware's VirtualCenter (wired connection), connecting to a VM via Remote Desktop (both client/server) and joining a Windows domain. For these functions it works well. One user here had some trouble with a specialized stock application downloading data sets, that's about the only thing I can think of which may be unresolved. Otherwise I think networking is "robust".
OTOH, there is a giant thread about the 'stability' of wireless (including a hot fix) that you should review: