Creating VMware Server 2.0 Virtual Machines
So far this book has focused on installing VMware Server 2.0 and gaining familiarity with the VI Web Access interface. The purpose of VMware Server is, of course, the creation of one or more virtual machines running guest operating systems. The VI Web Access management interface makes this task easy through the use of a wizard interface which guides the administrator though the step by step process of configuring and creating new virtual machines.
Accessing the Create Virtual Machine Wizard
The Create Virtual Machine wizard is launched from within the VMware Infrastructure Web Access interface (for more information on accessing and logging into VI Web Access read the chapter entitled A Guided Tour of the VMware Server 2.0 Infrastructure Web Access Interface).
Once logged into the VI Web Access interface, the New Virtual Machine wizard may be invoked in a number of different ways:
- From the Virtual Machine menu option select Create Virtual Machine
- With the host selected in the Inventory panel, click on the Create Virtual Machine link in the Commands section of the Summary or Virtual Machine page of the workspace.
Creating a New Virtual Machine
When loaded, the Name and Location screen of the wizard will appear as follows:
On this screen, the virtual machine should be given a suitably descriptive name such that it will be easily distinguished from other virtual machines running on the host. In addition, the datastore of the virtual machine (where files such as the virtual disk images will be stroed) also needs to be specified. By default a single datastore will have been specified during the VMware Server installation process. To add additional datastores simply click on the Add Datastore link in the Command section of the host Summary workspace and configure the desired storage location.
Once the virtual machine has been named and assigned a datastore, click next to configure the guest operating system type as illustrated in the following figure:
The guest operating system is selected by family and version. For example, once Windows operating system has been selected, the specific version must then be selected from the drop-down list. It is important to note that even if a guest operating system is not listed, it does not necessarily mean it will not run within VMware Server 2.0. In fact, it is usually sufficient to select the closest match from the list. In the case of unsupported Linux distributions, identify the kernel version (current versions are 2.4 and 2.6) and whether the operating system is 32-bit or 64-bit, and then make an appropriate selection from the Other Linux options. For a complete list of officially supported guest operating systems, refer to the Officially Supported VMware Server 2.0 Guest Operating Systems chapter.
Product compatibility is another issue which needs to be considered during the virtual machine creation process. VMware has, over the years, provided a number of different versions of virtual machine hardware VMWare Server 2.0 uses version 7 by default for virtual machines, which provides new features such as 8Gb of memory and up to 10 network adapters per virtual machine. One disadvantage, however, of using version 7 of the virtual machine hardware is that it will not be possible to migrate these virtual machines to VMware environments which use older versions of the virtual machine hardware. For example, a VMware Server 2.0 virtual machine running on virtual machine hardware version 7 will not be able to migrate to a host running VMware Server 1.0 or, for that matter, the current release of most other VMware products. If compatibility is of grater priority than the features offered by virtual machine hardware version 7, then it is best to select version 4 on this screen of the wizard.
Virtual Machine Memory and CPU Settings
Once the name of the virtual machine, and type of guest operating system have been defined, the next screen allows the CPU and memory settings for the virtual machine. It is on this screen that the virtual machine's share of the physical resources of the host computer are defined. The values specified here will dependent on a number of factors. Firstly, the settings will to a large extent be governed by the amount of physical memory and and CPUs available on the host. Secondly, the resource requirements of any other future or currently running virtual machines on the host must also be taken into consideration. In order to assist in arriving at suitable memory settings, the wizard will display recommended, maximum and minimum sizes based on a number of factors including available host resources and the selected guest operating system.
After memory has been assigned to the virtual machine, the number of CPUs or CPU cores to be made available the virtual machine may be configured. Once again, the optimal setting will depend on the CPUs available on the host together with the requirements of both the host operating system and any other virtual machines: