Hello again. It's been about a year since I spent time posting to this forum, back when I was playing with getting nested VMs working within ESX 3.5 VMs, running inside VMware Workstation, see here:
I admit I haven't thoroughly scoured the web or this forum for roughly similar posts, as I've been busy traveling a lot for my job lately. But I have found that vSphere runs quite well within VMware Workstation 6.52, including advanced features like vMotion. And like many folks I meet, I am also trying to prepare to get my VCP status updated to vSphere soon. What better way than to have a traveling "vSphere in a box" lab with me.
Last week, I presented "vSphere in a Box," at the IBM System x Conference in Chicago. Basically, I demonstrated, how to "Run vSphere on a laptop, to demonstrate and test vCenter, ESX4/ESXi4, VMotion, HA, and DRS"
After a brief discussion, I did a live demo, booting all 4 VMs (ESX, ESXi, vSphere, and OpenFiler) live in front of the audience on a ThinkPad W700 quad core. But I also allowed attendees to test drive the identical VMs running from an external USB 2.5" drive on a modest ThinkPad T61p with 4GB of RAM (Intel VT-d processor function enabled in the BIOS). A quick look at the demo I did of VMotion, just after the presentation, can be seen here:
Of course, I give credit to very recent xtravirt.com whitepapers, which detail how to get it the 4.0 releases of ESX and ESXi working. I built upon these 2 more VMs, using the OpenFiler iSCSI appliance, and a W2K3R2 32 bit virtual machine with vSphere. I was using Vista x64 as the host operating system. The trickiest part was getting OpenFiler configured exactly right, and I hope to publish these exact steps soon.
But pretty much the gist of the steps are pretty well documented at this post:
What I'm thinking about is doing a complete, in depth install and configure walk-thru, in August or September. Here's what I'm thinking so far:
ThinkPad W700 with Quad Core CPU and 8GB of RAM, running Windows 7 RTM, with VMware Workstation 6.5.2, running these 4 VMs
1) ESX 4.0
2) ESXi 4.0
3) Openfiler 2.3 x86 Virtual Appliance:
4) Windows 2008 R2 Standard, with vSphere and VMware Converter plug-in
-assuming vCenter and vClient can be made to run on W2K8R2, albeit unsupported of course
-another big is IF I can get Workstation to get along with Windows 7, see this URL for potential issues:
For now, I'm simply trying to gauge interest in my soon publishing a complete guide to running this "lab" configuration. Depending upon the timing of when I can get to this project (Windows 7 RTM released tomorrow, Windows 2008 R2 RTM next week, customer travel keeping me tied up most of August, etc.), I may be able to use the preferred RTM version of VMware Workstation 7, we'll see.
I also realize there's many ways to do shared storage, but I do use iSCSI occasionally for my "day job" and I'd like to stay away from "artificial" methods (like SCSI drive sharing) that are not likely to be similar to production configurations I help customers deploy. Ideally, simulated fibre storage would be "nice," but I'll stick with free and fairly simple Openfiler for now. I haven't yet tried OpenFiler for NFS shared storage, not sure of speed/performance, but likely a lot easier to set up than iSCSI. And while I own a physical NAS that does NFS, it's not with me all the time, so I'm also trying to keep to local network connections only, no external infrastructure or internet required. Again, "in a box" is the focus, the whole thing fitting on a $80 32GB NTFS-formatted USB key for easy portability
So, thoughts, suggestions, better ideas? Has somebody already documented a complete step-thru (Camtasia video or screenshot by screenshot guide) of the procedure to set all this up?
I should mention that numerous posts about networking issues and perhaps other compatibility issues with running VMware Workstation 6.5.2 under Windows 7 are the reasons i was thinking about waiting for the next version of VMware Workstation.
For example, not a big secret that ESX gets even easier to run in a VM in future workstation releases, for example, found this quote discussed elsewhere
"Support vSphere 4.0 and ESX support"
Professionals can now run these technologies as a guest system to verify the manner in which they are suited to your organization. ESX at this point is supported only on processors that support hardware-accelerated virtualization (all Intel Core 2 and above, AMD Athlon 64 X2 AM2/Phenom and above).
Did a fresh install of Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit on my ThinkPad W700, and the same vSphere in a box environment does work. But there are some caveats, the biggest being that I went with beta Workstation code for Windows 7 support (after reading about issues with running 6.5 on Windows 7).
So I'll likely need to wait a bit before I can comment more...
FYI, I finally got around to recording a Camtasia video with audio voiceover (allows rapid dragging of timeline slider to any point in the video):
It shows VMware Workstation 7 on a ThinkPad T61p with 4GB RAM and Windows 7 x64, running:
1) ESX 4.0 (with host only networking)
2) ESXi 4.0 (with host only networking)
3) OpenFiler 2.3 (for iSCSI shared storage, with host only networking)
4) vCenter 4 on Windows 2003 Standard SP2 x86 (with host only networking, and a 2nd virtual NIC on NAT for downloading appliances)
Of course, this has gotten much easier these days, now that the ESX operating system type is listed within VMware Workstation (so no longer do you need to tweak vmx files manually), but there may still be value to folks in seeing a demonstration of vMotion between nested ESX/ESXi VMs, to get an idea of the sort of performance they can expect.
I've also attached the presentation I did in July of 2009, with some more details (Page 10 says Windows 2008, but Windows 2003 was instead used).
Please post any comments or feedback right here in this forum, thank you!