virtual desktop infrastructure

 

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For my first How to Video for 2014 I will be starting off on a 3 part series of EXSI Server on VMware Player. For those who do not know what VMware’s EXSI Server is I will give a brief overview. EXSI Server is an Enterprise Type 1 hypervisor used for guest virtual machines that run directly on a host server’s hardware without requiring an additional underlying Operating System. What most people already know is that normally this is not inexpensive server software and for the whole enterprise setup with all the different add-ons like VCenter, Vsphere, and so forth. This is not something that a person who either wants to learn about EXSI Server or a Small Business cannot afford. Even trying it for 60 days is not usually enough time to decide how to deploy or even configure a Virtual Environment for your IT Infrastructure, let alone if you want just learn how to use to take a Certification Test for VMware.

What is nice about what I am showing you in this how to Video you can basically have your own little VMware Virtual Lab for free (This excludes the physical machine host of course) that will not cost a dime out of either your pocket or that of your Small to Medium Business IT Infrastructure. The pure bonus is that everything shown can be easily applied to a physical environment when you are ready to do so.

Below are some reference links that I mention in my Video…

VMware Website

www.vmware.com

VMware Hardware and Software Compatibility guide

http://www.vmware.com/resources/compatibility/search.php?deviceCategory=software&testConfig=17

EXSI Server on VMware Player Part 2 – The Conversion

EXSI Server on VMware Player Part 3 – The Upgrade

Installing and the Basic Configuration of VMware Player

 

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The Death of VMware Server

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Well, not actually dead anyways; however it has been officially Not Supported by VMware since June of 2011 and the last actual update to the core installation of VMware Server was back in October of 2009 with the last version release being Ver. 2.0.2 . While this is still a great Virtual Appliance for the Home or Small Business IT to run older operating systems (especially since it is free, you just need to register with VMware) within the last several months VMware Server has been showing its age. With the release of the Windows 8 and Server 2012 Previews and the improvement within Virtual Technology supporting the newer Operating Systems that are being released across all OS platforms it’s now time to move on to another Virtual platform than can do all the wonderful things that made VMware Server such an invaluable Virtual appliance, yet remain cost effective (Meaning it’s free).

What about VMware Player?

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The mini me and free version of VMware’s big time Desktop Virtual Appliance VMware Workstation; VMware player was originally designed to only “Play” the virtual machines that had been created by VMware Workstation. Starting with version 3.x of VMware player you could also now create your own virtual machine with player (Of course none of the extra goodies like snapshots, cloning, and so forth is still not available) which makes it a great Virtual appliance for interactively trying out different Virtual Machines. As far as being a replacement for VMware Server it still lacks certain features to make this a viable solution as listed below…

– Cannot start as a service.

-Cannot start or stop virtual machines upon startup or shutdown of the Operating System.

– No Remote Web page Access.

– No snapshots or cloning features within the Appliance.

– The Host of the Virtual appliance must be interactively logged on in order for the virtual machine to continue to still work.

– Cannot play more than 2 Virtual Machines concurrently without taking a hit in performance.

How about VMware’s Free Personal Edition of EXSI Server?

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Believe it or not there is a Free Licensed Edition of VMware’s main bread and butter bare metal embedded hypervisor EXSI Server. While naturally this is a watered down version of the fully featured product being limited to 1 physical processor , 32GB of physical RAM, and 8GB of vRAM per Virtual Machine this will basically do all the things VMware Server did and more. The only real drawback to this option is even through this is free you now have to come up with the extra hardware in order to run it. The EXSI server software is actually a Linux kernel variation that loads onto a separate physical machine and is managed on a separate client machine by a client application called vSphere. If your operating budget can afford the founds for purchasing the separate PC or Server to run the EXSI Server Software (You will need a machine that has at least a Quad Core processor and 8GB of physical RAM to be able to run at least 4 or 5 virtual machines) then by all means do so. While in the long run this may have been VMware’s plan is filling the hole to retiring VMware Server for the Home or Small Business IT on a budget this may not be the solution that you are looking for.

Enter Oracle’s Virtual Box

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Virtual Box is a free Virtual appliance for Personal use that is similar in features to VMware Player which also includes on top of those features offered by player the ability to take snapshots and make clones of virtual machines out of the box. Thanks to a blogger by the name of Matthew Hodgkins from Down Under he has managed to take the out of the box Virtual Box appliance and combined all the extra home brew add-on’s by various contributors for Virtual Box and turned it into a very informative 2 part How to Articles. These Articles basically turns your instance of Virtual Box on your Home Server comparable to what VMware Server use to offer to include…

– Host Virtual Machines on Windows Home Server 2011

– Manage your Virtual Machines using a Web Interface

-Login to managing your Virtual Machines using WHS 2011 User Accounts

– Remotely RDP into your Virtual Machines even if they are Linux Machines

– Shutdown Machines automatically upon shutting down your WHS 2011 Server

– Start Virtual Machine automatically upon booting up your WHS 2011 Server

For those interested I highly recommend visiting Mr. Hodgkin’s website and instating the information in the 2 part how to article available below…

How to run VirtualBox on WHS 2011 – Part 1 of 2

How to run VirtualBox on WHS 2011 – Part 2 of 2

While Matthew wrote the articles specifically for Windows Home Server 2011 this can be easily tailored for any of the Windows Vista\2008 Operating Sytem Variants from little to no change to the original configurations mentioned in Matthew’s articles. This would also include Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 and Microsoft’s new line of Small Bussiness Server.

So who is the Heir apparent?

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Like I stated earlier VMware planned for its free personal edition of EXSI Server to be VMware Server’s replacement but in the long run I believe Virtual Box (Once configured with the additions detailed in Mr. Hodgkin’s articles) is truly the new lord of the Virtual Jungle in both features and in cost effectiveness (Again, meaning it’s free). However, if your IT budget can afford the Hardware for it the Free Personal Edition of EXSI Server is a really close second.

Acknowledgements – I would like to thank Forum Member Andy Bison for making me aware of the Free Edition of VMware’s EXSI Server, which until then I thought VMware only offered the 60 day trail of EXSI Server. Again I would like to thank Mr. Matthew Hodgkins for all the effort and hard work he put into his very informative 2 part how to articles.

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VMware vSphere 5 Certification For Top-of-the-Line Iomega Network Storage Products Creates an Ideal Combination For VMware View Virtual VDI Deployments.

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Here is the press release:

SAN DIEGO, November 30, 2011 – Iomega Corporation, an EMC company (NYSE:EMC) and a leading innovator in data storage solutions for small and medium businesses (SMBs), today announced that the complete line of the Iomega® StorCenter™ PX series network storage products has been certified as VMware Ready™ for use with servers running VMware vSphere® 5, creating ideal cost-effective storage solutions for VMware® cloud infrastructure and virtual desktop deployments at small and mid-sized businesses and distributed enterprises.

“Qualifying our top-of-the-line PX series of network storage products for VMware vSphere 5 enables Iomega customers to use the newest and best technology from VMware,” said Jonathan Huberman, president of Iomega Corporation. “It’s been our goal at Iomega to bring the cost advantages of VMware cloud infrastructure and virtual desktop deployments to SMBs and distributed enterprises. This is another important milestone in the overall value and capabilities of Iomega network storage solutions for serious business use. Bringing enterprise level applications to SMBs and distributed enterprises as part of rock solid, economical Iomega network storage solutions is what being part of EMC is all about.”

“Iomega has been instrumental in delivering virtualized storage solutions for SMB customers and has demonstrated a robust solution for SMBs deploying VMware View,” said Parag Patel, vice president, Global Strategic Alliances, VMware. “Now with VMware vSphere 5 certification for the Iomega PX series, customers can use the latest VMware technology on the network storage products that opened up the market for small installations.”

News Summary:

The Iomega PX series of network storage products has been tested and certified as VMware Ready with VMware vSphere 5 as both iSCSI and NAS/NFS storage targets.* This certification means that users can take advantage of VMware vSphere features on Iomega network storage platforms designed for small and medium businesses and distributed enterprise locations with up to 250 users.

VMware vSphere 5 is the foundation for desktop virtualization, and Iomega’s support of solid state disks (SSDs) with its StorCenter PX series of advanced network storage products provides a unique and compelling value to customers with small installations.

The recently introduced Iomega StorCenter PX series network storage product line now listed on the VMware hardware compatibility list includes the desktop models – the four-bay Iomega® StorCenter™ px4-300d and the six-bay StorCenter px6-300d – as well as the rackmount models – the Iomega® StorCenter™ px4-300r and flagship StorCenter px12-350r.

The certifications with both NFS and iSCSI enable users to leverage the flexibility of Iomega network storage and the capabilities of VMware vSphere 5. Certification with iSCSI enables servers running VMware vSphere 5 to use the latest version of VMware VMFS in VMware vSphere 5 on top of block storage to capitalize on benefits such as improved scalability and performance, and reduced space usage by small files. Certification with NFS lets users deploy Iomega’s native file-based replication technology for backup or offsite data protection of virtual machines. Both storage options enable customers to fully utilize advanced VMware vSphere 5 features that require network shared storage. In addition, Iomega network storage devices also support CIFS for storing production data from virtual machines running Microsoft Windows.

About Iomega StorCenter PX Series Network Storage Devices

The Iomega StorCenter PX series features four models that are available in diskless, partially populated and fully populated configurations that allow users the freedom of choice and economics to grow their network storage capacity as needed. These include the new four- and six-drive desktop Iomega StorCenter px4-300d and px6-300d models, with up to 18TB** of storage, and the rackmount models – the Iomega StorCenter px4-300r and flagship StorCenter px12-350r network storage array – which offer up to 36TB of storage capacity. All StorCenter PX series models have SSD capabilities for high I/O performance.

All of Iomega’s StorCenter NAS devices utilize the acclaimed EMC LifeLine™ software, a fully-developed Linux operating environment that incorporates select EMC world class storage technologies typically available only for enterprise-level customers.

Availability

All of the Iomega® StorCenter™ PX Series models are available worldwide. Pricing starts at £750.

The Iomega StorCenter PX Series includes a standard three-year limited warranty with free unlimited phone technical support up to 9 hours a day, five days a week. Optional service plans include Iomega’s Enhanced Service Plan which includes 24×7 phone support with Express Advance Exchange (1-2 days) and can be extended to a five-year warranty (Enhanced Plus Service Plan).

For more information on Iomega’s complete line of StorCenter network storage models, including pricing for all models, please go to www.iomega.com.

[button link="http://connecteddigitalworld.com/2011/11/26/review-of-the-iomega-storcenter-ix2-200-network-storage-cloud-edition/" style="info" window="yes"]Check out our Review of the Iomega StorCenter ix2-200 Network Storage Cloud Edition[/button]

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