Managed to take the time to prepare a list of things that you need to know before buying vmware workstation which I consider your first step into virtualization. Hope you find it useful.
1 – Multiple os instances on the same
The first point I want to make here is that you can run multiple instances of an operative system on the same computer, that means that you are not running a sort of emulation on vmware workstation, you are actually running separate instances that are completely independent from each other.
This is an advantage over other other virtualization solutions for the end user that emulates the operative system running on the virtual machine and, in some cases, if one of the emulations fails the others also get affected.
2 – Specific Hardware
Unlike other vmware products that may require a specific hardware to install on or to run on, Vmware workstation doesn’t have an specific requirement other than enough hardware to run the base operative system and the virtual machines that will be hosting.
For example, in Oder to install ESXi and have proper support from vmware you are required to use hardware that is included on vmware’s compatibility guide. Workstation doesn’t have such need.
3 – You still need a base OS
Vmware workstation runs on top of an operative system like windows or Linux just like any other application.
So, for you to be able to run workstation you still need to have a base operative system unlike ESXi that is an operative system by itself.
4 – Limited resources
You have limited hardware resources in order to run your workstation’s virtual machines. That limit is set by the amount of free resources (memory, CPU and disk) that you have available on your desktop or laptop.
You also need to remind that hardware resources are also shared with the base operative system and with any other application that runs on top of it so take a closer look on your available hardware.
5 – Long list of supported Operative systems
Unlike other virtualization software for the end user vmware workstation supports a huge list of operative systems.
The las test version of Vmware workstation supports the following operative systems can be found at the vmware compatibility guide
6 – Compatibility with other vmware products
One of the things that I like the most of vmware products is the compatibility between each other and workstation is not the exemption.
During virtual machine creation you can set the compatibility level of the vm so if you need to move it in the future to another vmware product you can do it without problems.
In some cases you can also change the compatibility level of the virtual machine after it has been created but certain limitations exists because depending on the change that you need to make you will also need to change some configurations inside the guest OS.
7 – Licenses requirements
On thing that anyone need to know before buying vmware workstation is that an operative system license is required for each and every powered on virtual machine.
That means that if you have 3 powered on Windows 2008 vms you will need 3 Windows 2008 licenses. There are some options that you can use like buying one specific licenses of Windows 2008 and it will allow you to run as many vms that your hardware can with the operative system.
Those licenses are not available on every country so please contact your Microsoft partner or reseller in order to get the proper license agreement your your lab.
8 – Hardware Maximums
vmware has improved workstation’s hardware limits. The latest version maximums are:
Support for 16 vCPUs
8TB SATA disks
64GB of RAM
20 virtual networks
9 – Snapshots and clones
One of the best features of vmware workstation for a home lab are snapshots. With snapshots you can set a point of time for your vm before starting to make changes.
If anything goes wrong you can always go back to that snapshot and, basically, go back in time which is something good in a lab or test environment.
The other excellent feature are clones which allows you to create a virtual machine install al the software you need and then clone it any time you need. Cloning a vm with all the software required installed only takes a few minutes depending on your disks speed.
10 – virtual networks
vmware allows you to create different kind of networks depending on your special needs. this is extremely important if you are working with multi -tiered applications where a front end and a back end is needed. The most common types of virtual networks that are in use today are internal and externals.
Internal networks allows virtual machines to communicate with each other but not with the outside network. If you need the vms to communicate with the external world the vms will have to use an external network.
This article was also published on tumesadeayuda.com.ar under the title 10 cosas que deberías saber antes de comprar vmware workstation.