Wednesday, December 5, 2012

VMWare Workstation Notes

I was able to get VMWare software for testing purposes and decided to give VMWare Workstation a try.  I normally use and am a big fan of Virtualbox.  My initial reaction is that I like VMWare Workstation a lot.  I downloaded and installed VMWare Workstation 9 for Linux on my Ubuntu 12.04 system running on a Macbook Pro.  The installation went without a hitch, though after the first update, post installation, I was required to enter my license code again.  This was a minor annoyance.

I wanted to simulate a configuration consisting of a firewall with two network interfaces and a single client operating system.  I chose pfSense for the firewall and Windows 7 Professional for the client.

Virtual Network

I had to customize the pfSense virtual machine, since it needed to have two network interfaces.  The first interface for the WAN would use NAT (Network Address Translation) to access the outside world.  The second interface would use an internal network for communication between virtual machines.  The Windows 7 guest would only have one interface on the internal only network and can access the internet through the firewall.

Installing pfSense was similar to Virtualbox, but Windows 7 was much easier.  When I used the wizard to create the virtual machine, VMWare Worsktation identified the ISO image as Windows 7 x64.

Windows 7 Detected

Since Windows 7 was detected, the installation defaulted to an Easy Install.  The next screen asked for the Windows Product Key, version of Windows to install, user name and password.  The installation automatically fills this in and installs the VMWare Tools.

Easy Install Information

I also like the all in one style of virtual machines.  Each VM and other screens are tabbed and easy to switch between.  This is especially important during testing where switching back and forth between VM's occurs often.

Tabbed Views
Since I had only two virtual machines running, it was easy to switch VM's.  Another tab that is available is the My Computer tab that shows each VM in an icon view.  The icons are adjustable in size with a slider in the lower right of the screen.

Icon View in My Computer
The Windows 7 VM was also able to run full screen since the VMWare tools installed as part of the Easy Install.  Overall I'm impressed with the latest VMWare Workstation and it may become my default workstation virtual solution.

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