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Basic usage/setup/license questions from newbie

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I want to setup a home network server that allows for multi-user simultaneous access with custom desktop for each user.  I would say the max user number would be 5.  This is just a means of getting my feet wet with virtualization to see how it works and also consolidate some home network maintenance to a single location. 

Of course, being this small in scope, I would prefer a free option for doing this until such time that I might implement a similar environment for a business. 

Questions.

1) Can this be done for free using vSphere?  And not just for a 30 or 60 day trial period.

2) Will the following specs work for such an environment?

i know my motherboard supports virtualization through the bios parameter.

AMD FX 6120 processor

32 Gb RAM

Single NIC

I thought I saw some documentation that says NIC minimum is 2.  Is this really required for me to setup/install/run vSphere?

If VMWare does not have a solution for me at this time, are you aware of another solution that might best suit this requirement?

I have been researching upgrading to windows 8 pro to get hyper-v or using Citrix XenServer.  Any comments on these technologies?

Any help is much appreciated.

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vMario156
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Hi,

yes you can use the free vSphere Hypervisor for this case.

You can set up as many VMs as your system can handel. There isn´t any free version of VMware View availible, so you have to use the "normal" RDP protocoll to access your desktops.

A single nic works also (of course you don´t have any failover possiblilty).

Regards,

Mario

Blog: http://vKnowledge.net

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vMario156
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Hi,

yes you can use the free vSphere Hypervisor for this case.

You can set up as many VMs as your system can handel. There isn´t any free version of VMware View availible, so you have to use the "normal" RDP protocoll to access your desktops.

A single nic works also (of course you don´t have any failover possiblilty).

Regards,

Mario

Blog: http://vKnowledge.net
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rss181919
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Thanks for your help.

You mention the use of RDP.  Does this mean I have to install vSphere over an OS that supports this, like window ? pro edition?  I currnently have w8 (non-pro) installed on the server (came with it).  If I have to upgrade to pro for this, is would it be better to use w8 pro's hyper V technology.

Or have I totally missed the point of how all this technology works?

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Sonsondei
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I think he means you just install all these Windows virtual machines and enable the remote desktop and give user RDP to each guest VM.

rss181919
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Thanks, I wasn't sure if vSphere was installed over host OS that had it enabled or if the RDP was enabled in each guest OS.  Citrix offers a client app that says it works with various hypervisors including vSphere.  Would this omit the need for RDP in the guest OS setup?

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TedH256
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the citrix solution is another, link VMware View, that manages access to multiple desktops - you can use the citrix protocol or I believe RDP from your client to access the desktop. With View you can use PCoE protocol (best) or RDP

However, since you have niether View nor the Citrix desktop solution, you will simply be creating desktop VMs (that run on your host) and then telling users how to connect to and use them, using RDP (the same way that you connect to and manage virtualized server vms)

For a small setup, this is very easily managed - people have been using esx/vmware in this way for years and years and years.

rss181919
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Thanks for the clarification.

From what I can tell from reading about xenApp and xenDesktop from citrix, you can use them for home use (up to 10 users) for free.  So I might be able to circumvent the need for RDP and get a better performance solution.  I also plan to install some linux guests. I assume Linux has an RDP equivalent but I don't know what it is off the top of my head.

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TedH256
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I believe the 10 uers free thing is true - however (and I have experience with this) the product is much more complicated to install and configure.

A simple vmware host can be up and running easily in 1/2 day max - and then however long it takes you to install / configure one guest vm to then clone. RDP is very simple and in my experience (having installed several View systems, and also having used RDP extensively over the years both in virtual and physical deployments) is perfectly satisfactory from a performance viewpoint.

If you want the desktops to stream video/audio, and do lots of fancy things, or you want to host have a broker to dole out access, or to create linked clone images and then use thinly deployed apps, etc ... then it makes sense to go to view and/or XEN desktop.

But for what you were asking about - I think a simple esx host is by far the easiest and also the best fit ...

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rss181919
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Thanks for sharing your experience with this.  I really haven't looked too deep into citrix setup so it was helpful to get that kind of feedback.

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