Information and articles about VMWare Workstation, VMWare Server and VMWare Player
VMWare is a company specializing in virtualization products which allows guest "virtual machines" to run inside a host operating system. They have a number of products including the free VMWare Player and VMWare Server applications, and paid for applications such as VMWare Workstation.
I have been using VMWare Workstation since 2003 to run Microsoft Windows XP inside my Linux host computer so I can continue to run applications such as Adobe Photoshop and test websites with Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox on a native Windows platform. It's also extremely useful for testing out Linux distributions without having a dedicated computer to install them onto.
I returned to using Windows in 2008 but continued to use VMWare for testing IE and running my development Linux web server; from 2010 I switched to OSX and continue to virtualize Windows for testing web applications on Internet Explorer.
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VMWare Fusion on Mac OSX allows you to shrink virtual disks easily for Windows virtual machines right from the graphical interface (Virtual Machine -> Settings -> General -> Clean Up Virtual Machine) but there isn't the same option to do this with Linux, so you need to do it from the command line.
I use VMWare Server on several different computers to run virtualized Linux webservers for developing websites and for testing various versions of Internet Explorer. I recently needed to reduce the size of a Linux virtual disk to fit it onto a USB stick to copy to another machine but simply deleting files does not reduce the size of the disk image. This post links to another article offsite which shows how to do this and adds a couple of notes about it.
VMWare Server 2 uses a web browser based system called VMWare Infrastructure Web Access to manage virtual machine configurations etc. This post is simply a reference for the address and port to access the web console.
I recently replaced my Windows Vista desktop/host machine with Windows 7 Release Candidate and switched from VMWare Server version 1 to VMWare Server version 2. Version 2 uses a web based management interface and each virtual machine can be accessed in a separate remote console.
I needed to connect a USB printer to one of the virtual machines and was surprised to not see any USB devices shown in the "Devices" drop down box in the remote console.
Just over a year I posted how to install VMWare Tools on a Linux Guest Virtual Machine which specifically looks at installing VMWare Tools for Red Hat / CentOS. I recently set up a Debian 5 Lenny virtual machine using VMWare Server and installed the VMWare Tools and the process is fairly similar but I had a couple of issues due to it being a base install with no compiler so thought it a good idea to post how to install VMWare Tools on a Debian 5 Virtual Machine.
VMWare Server 1.0 doesn't support the same set of features as the more recent versions of VMWare Workstation and VMWare Player, so you may not be able to open virtual machines created with more advanced features. However by simply modifying the configuration file you may be able to start up the virtual machine anyway, as shown in this post.
VMWare Workstation and the various flavours of VMWare Server allow you to install a package called "VMWare Tools". These VMWare Tools contain various methods of communication between the guest virtual machine and the host and in general should make the guest VM run better. This post looks at how to install VMWare Tools on a Linux guest machine, specifically on a CentOS guest (and therefore should be the same for Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Fedora and their derivatives).
VMWare Server Console allows you to connect to a VMWare Server virtual machine running either on your local machine or a remote machine. The remote machine might be on your local network or located somewhere on the Internet. This post looks at how to deal with the error message in the VMWare Server Console "unable to connect to remote host: cannot connect to remote host x.y.z.a: connection refused" when trying to connect.
I run VMWare Workstation on a Linux host machine with multiple virtual machines as my day to day desktop environments: one with Linux as my primary desktop with email, development environment, web browsing etc, and the second with Windows XP to run applications like Adobe Photoshop, CD label printing, and to test websites in Internet Explorer.
I have VMWare Workstation running in full screen mode, and there's a nifty little auto-hiding toolbar that sits at the top of the screen with access to the VM settings and to be able to switch between the other virtual machines.
I use VMWare Workstation 6.0 for testing out various Linux distributions either to run live CDs or install a full operating system without having to have a dedicated computer for that specific purpose only.
While playing around with a Linux distribution in VMWare Workstation the other day, I realised I needed to drop to the console, log in as root and do something from the command line. So I hit Ctrl+Alt+F1 expecting this to do it in the virtual machine, but it instead dropped my host operating system to the command line console. Not quite what I was expecting, but as I quickly remembered, Ctrl+Alt has special meaning in VMWare Workstation as a way of releasing keyboard and mouse control from the guest and returning it to the host.