8 Replies Latest reply on Jan 28, 2005 4:33 PM by dpomeroy

    VMWare Workstation as a service

    ejobrien Novice

      I think it would be a great idea if Workstation could run as a service rather than a client app.


      In a development environment it's very common to have to log off and on as different users etc. and it would be very handy if I didn't have to manually pause or shutdown my VM's to do so.


      Basically I think it would be good if it worked a little like Virtual Server 2005, without the notoriously poor performance and poor reliability of the MS offering.


      I haven't tried the higher end products (ESX or GSX), perhaps they work this way already. However they are a long way out of the price range of regular users. Based on price Workstation is competing directly against MS Virtual Server, and at the moment Virtual Server does offer some nice enhancements over VMWare.


      When I'm running Virtual Server I can just log off and on, or reboot the host computer at will, without ever having to worry about screwing up the VM's. It would be really excellent if VMWare worked in a similar fashion.



        • 1. Re: VMWare Workstation as a service
          sonicbum Novice

          your talking about GSX server, which competes with VS 2005.  VMWare workstation has more features then Virtual PC, GSX has more features then VS 2005, ESX has more features then anything.

          • 2. Re: VMWare Workstation as a service
            ejobrien Novice

            GSX server is a lot more expensive than VS 2005 though.


            GSX Server for 2 CPU: $1,694 US

            Virtual Server 2005 Standard: $499 US


            GSX is a long way out of my price range.


            Perhaps what might be good would be a product somewhere between Workstation and GSX. Perhaps around the $500 US mark with just a bit more power and functionality than Workstation, but not as high end as GSX.


            It seems odd that there's a price jump from $189 to $1,694. I think there could be a large target market that's being untapped here.


            Anyway that's just my $0.02 worth.



            • 3. Re: VMWare Workstation as a service
              devzero Master

              >but not as high end as GSX.


              What is so high end about GSX, if we compare that to VMWare workstation?


              For me - basically, it`s VMWare Workstation with remote-console and scripting API - and some performance tweaks. (basically the same core technology just in different flavours)


              I think, GSX pricing isn`t ok if you set that into relation to the workstation pricing. It`s sort of "artificially expensive", IMHO.


              Am I right here?


              What do others think?



              • 4. Re: VMWare Workstation as a service
                davet Enthusiast

                If you want to run Vmware as service, by using the Windows 2003 Resource kit.


                Run the command prompt from the c:\program files\Windows resource kits\tools

                instsrv VmwareService "C:\program files\windows resource kits\tools\srvany.exe"


                Note: The quotes are necessary and must be entered around the last string.

                1. Test the service by starting the “VmwareService”. \[Start] – \[Control Panel] – \[Administrative Tools] – \[Services]. Locate the “VmwareService”, \[Double click] than \[Start].

                     a. The service should start then stop with the dialogue box shown below.

                2. Close the window.

                3. If the service started/stopped successfully skip to step 9.

                4. If the service did not start the most likely cause is an incorrect path to srvany.exe. To check the path open the registry editor and check the VMware Service key.

                5. \[Start] – \[Run] – \[Command: regedit.exe]

                6. Navigate to HKLM\System\Current Control Set\Services\VMWare Service.

                7. \[Double click] the string value “ImagePath” and correct any errors in the path.

                8. Click \[OK] and test again.

                9. If not already open launch the registry editor. \[Start] – \[Run] – \[Command: regedit.exe]

                10. Navigate to HKLM\System\Current Control Set\Services\VMWare Service.

                Highlight the key “VMware Service” and \[Right click] – \[New Key]. Enter \[Paramaters] (without the brackets) for the key name

                11. Highlight the “Parameters” key and \[Right-click] – \[String Value]. Enter \[Application] (without the brackets) for the value name.

                12. \[Double click] “Application” and enter the command string as below including the quotes;


                The “-x” must be in lower case.

                For example;

                VMware is installed in “G:\VMware\VMware Workstation”

                The Virtual machine is installed in “G:\VMware\Virtual Machines\VM001”

                The VM hostname is “VM001”

                For this example the command string would be (Including the quotes);

                “G:\VMware\VMware Workstation\vmware.exe" -x "G:\VMware\Virtual Machines\VM001\VM001.vmx"

                13. If not already open launch the “Services” control applet. \[Start] – \[Control Panel] – \[Administrative Tools] – \[Services].

                14. Locate the “VmwareService”, \[Double click] then select the “Logon” tab.

                15. Tick the check box next “Allow this service to interact with the desktop”.

                16. Click \[Apply] then \[OK].



                Message was edited by: davet

                • 5. Re: VMWare Workstation as a service
                  ejobrien Novice

                  Thanks very much for the very detailed information. That's really neat. I tried it out and it seems to work fine. I can now log on and off without it disrupting the running virtual machines. Just one other question though...


                  Is there a way to make VMWare automatically suspend all running virtual machines when it closes?


                  This would be extremely handy in lots of situations, particularly with it's running as a service. I could just shutdown the server and not have to worry about suspending each of the VM's.


                  At the moment if I try to close the VMware application the regular way it tells me that I must power off all of the running virtual machines. However if I simply stop the service it doesn't prompt, and does a hard shutdown of the VM's. This is as I expected, but it would be great if it was a little more flexible in the way it handles close requests.


                  Actually I think I might post a dedicated feature request about this. I'm sure it would be an extremely simple thing to do, and it would be so useful.



                  • 6. Re: VMWare Workstation as a service
                    linux-on-vmware Lurker

                    Does this work when fast-user-switching is enabled in Windows XP Home?


                    If so, how does it behave?  Is the application window available to the user you run the service under?  Do the windows open when you initially log in?  Does VMWare want to shut down when you log-off?


                    I am using Workstation at home for a variety of things and currently have an additional user always logged in with the running Workstations.  It would be ideal if I didn't have to manage that extra user but I would like to know the side-effects.


                    Also, which version of Workstation did you get it to work with?  I am using 4.5.2.






                    Message was edited by: linux-on-vmware

                    • 7. Re: VMWare Workstation as a service
                      ejobrien Novice

                      Unfortunately I don't know much about XP-home or fast-user-switching. 2003 Server doesn't have that, and I don't have a copy of XP that I can test with. Actually this may not even be possible with a non-server OS, I had to install the 2003 Resource Kit to get the SRVANY tool, and I don't know if that would be available for other OS's. The things I looked up at Microsoft about it seemed to just mention the server OS's.


                      Don't take my word for it though. It may still work. I guess the best thing to do would be to try. I found the instructions in davet's previous post to be spot on. I simply followed it to the letter and it worked, so you could try the same thing on your system. My feeling would be that as long as the srvany.exe tool is included in the XP Resource Kit then it would probably work with fast-user-switching.


                      When I use it with my system the VMWare window just dissapears when I log of and then pops up again as soon as I log in. It doesn't matter which account I log in to.


                      I think as long as there is a logged in user the VMWare window should be able to show itself because of the "Allow this service to interact with the desktop" option.

                      • 8. Re: VMWare Workstation as a service
                        dpomeroy Virtuoso

                        Since they are adding 4 way SMP to ESX maybe they could add 2 way SMP, and some other features to a "GSX Pro/Enterprise" product at the $1700 price, and then make the current GSX a lower priced product to compete better with MS VirtualServer. Or maybe create a "Workstation Pro" product. Anyway, I agree they should do something to compete with MS better.


                        That being said, GSX offers better performance/features than MS VirtualServer, probably not 3 times as much, but hey, they can say its a better product.