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Hardware Thread, Old Server - to pratice & learn from.... in Technical; server proliant. old 24 port switch. works a treat.I agree with going virtual, but something about having a server next ...
  1. #16
    PEO
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    server proliant. old 24 port switch. works a treat.I agree with going virtual, but something about having a server next to the pc just tickles my nuts

  2. #17
    Sirbendy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SimpleSi View Post
    Do you have any stats to back this up please?

    regards

    Simon
    I have real-world experience of it absolutely flying on single core/older rigs whilst in heavy use for "normal" admin tasks, where VMWare server/player/workstation made it drag like a seals behind, yes..

    In the dual core world, there's less in it. However, I run a "non-domain" single core sempron 3000 as a daily hack, with 1gb RAM. Frequently have 10-12 apps/windows running, plus that if I'm doing a build image or testing something/changing passwords that needs a domain. VMWare really drags the machine down.

    Same happened on my old single core home rigs, and my partners laptop. Startup/shutdown times also suffered badly. All XP as host OS.

    VBox still has a hit, but usually only if I'm thrashing the nuts off it with a sysprep followed by a ghost or similar..the "bare metal" host is still useable though. In "Normal" usage, VBox seems to have no noticeable impact on the machine and will happily sit minimised on my taskbar.

    I have a virtual Domain Admin box running in VBox sat on our P4/3000/512mb CCTV-intranet server...it's a match in speed for our VMWare Server hosted VMs on the Xeon in the back office. Doesn't hurt the CCTV app or apache either..VMware used to lag something awful on it. CPU now sits about 70-85% usage, which is OK, with a memory usage of 675mb.

    I now do all our builds in VBox. If I went multi-core, I'd reconsider VMware maybe..but since it does the same job and is fairly tiny, Vbox wins for now.

    We also hand it to staff with "older generation" laptops, who want the "standalone but with workstation" capability. It's SUCH a nice way of doing it..no more "domain and non domain logins", no more synchronising, no more slowdowns "off network" for the host machinery..just plug in, fire up the VM with shared folders, and off they go in the building.

    On my new home Athlon X2, it's flawless even with games/Photoshop CS3 running on the host. I have a virtual Ubuntu, virtual Server03R2 and Virtual domain/VPN workstation on that.

  3. #18

    SimpleSi's Avatar
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    Thanks for the full reply
    We also hand it to staff with "older generation" laptops, who want the "standalone but with workstation" capability. It's SUCH a nice way of doing it..no more "domain and non domain logins", no more synchronising, no more slowdowns "off network" for the host machinery..just plug in, fire up the VM with shared folders, and off they go in the building.
    Could you explain what you mean by all this - how do you set up your VM - are all your staff building inspectors?

    regards
    Simon
    PS Please take it slow - I'm old and dim

  4. #19
    Sirbendy's Avatar
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    Heh..OK. Might be a bit long though.

    Our LEA (Telford and Wrekin) have always said "laptops on the network - OK. AS LONG AS they have a full "schools workstation" WinXP "build" (OS, AV and apps/settings) as any school machine would.

    Now, this never worked particularly well. Plug the laptops into the school network and login as your school user, and it's fine. Then it starts to synchronise your data with your user area on the server, and vice versa. Then you could take the laptop home and log in using your cached school credentials.

    Now, as I say - it never worked well. You could log in, but it'd slow right down...as a school machine will if you pull it's LAN cable out. It'll run, but like a 3 legged donkey. Drives missing, update servers unavailable, and so on. if you used a new feature in office, it would ask for the disk as the network wasn't there, and so on.

    it was a pain in the bum for YEARS. Staff would bring them back and say "hard disk full (sync folder ran to GBs)", or "too slow", or "unuseable", or "crap". So we started to install the laptops as standalone XP ones instead and told staff "DO NOT plug this into the network..transfer files on USB drive".

    That worked better..XP was quick, Full installs of office ran with no issue. Happy.

    THEN..I demo'd VMWare to the network manager who I share my office with. I was tinkering, and a few months before, TAW had decided in our case to relax the "one LEA workstation build for all machines, issued by TAW" regulation. Normally, their "build guy" makes one sysprepped XP image with schools software etc on, and schools get issued with it. One image, across thousands of random desktops and laptops, full of primary school and secondary software. Not ideal, and it hit a 6gb ghost file size before I said "enough" and aquired a copy of Ghost explorer to reverse engineer the image.

    I did all my testing and experimenting under VMWare Workstation, and NM saw that. Incidentally, I've got my latest image fully finished at 1.8gb, and speed/stability wise it knocks the LEA build into a cocked hat.

    So, he asked me "Can you actually USE that VMWare machine as a "real" network machine that anyone could use..? Will it work on the domain?" etc..

    I demonstated that it'd work perfectly, and was virtually indestinguishable to a "real" machine from a users viewpoint.

    We then decided next time a staff laptop came in, we'd install VMWare Player on it, and give them a copy of this virtual workstation, to see if we could combine the "real" PCs speed and flexibility of being standalone XP, with a virtual PC that could log on in the building and access all the resources etc, as a "normal" schools machine would. The best of both worlds, with the inconvenience of neither.

    We trialled it with a deputy head, on her dual core HP laptop. It worked perfectly - she could use it standalone at home, and once in school, all she had to do was start up the VM.

    We've since rolled it out to the head and other deputies, and to any other teacher that requests it. Some teachers have older single core laptops that baulk at VMWare speedwise..our LEA issued Ergo Ensis laptops are unuseable with it - for those, I keep a mirror copy in Virtualbox format and give them Virtualbox.

    Setting up folders shared between the physical host machine and the VM means staff can drag data back and forth between both easily - they like that.

    We've since shown this to the LEA/TAW team, and they've OK'd it..in fact, they're starting to use it as well.. It's better for us, and better for them from a security and remote support viewpoint, as all our VMs are remotely controllable as a "normal" PC would be.

    As an extension to this, we have a Poweredge server that runs Server 2003/VMware, and hosts 4 virtual "netsupport" room control machines for teachers to use for password changing to control their rooms application and internet use via RAdmin, as well as hosting 3 "Remote access" Vms for people like the head and accounts manager to VPN into from home and work on with full access to our system without any extra bulk on their machines, and a Server 2003 VM that runs our french testing software.

    All 8 systems on there run 24/7. It's eased our workload by giving staff access to print controls, password changes, student areas and Netsupport without us having to promote them to admin levels (don't give the monkeys the keys to the plantation), allowing us more time to concentrate on the "root" of the network and management. It's made our SMT and teachers happy because they can work at home as well as they can in the building without issue, it's saved us expenditure on some base unit's we'd otherwise have had to order, and the energy costs of that.

    We've agreed to look into buying another Poweredge as well for more VM testing..we want to look at Server08, and I'm sure we can find LOTS of other things to use it for..heh.

    VM work is just so nice though...if it goes wrong, just delete the VM and restore the backup copy..no reinstalling, no anything. We hope that in the new building, we get the chance to virtualise most (if not all) of our servers..cost wise and maintenance wise, it seems to be a good solution.

  5. #20

    dhicks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sirbendy View Post
    I have real-world experience of it absolutely flying on single core/older rigs whilst in heavy use for "normal" admin tasks, where VMWare server/player/workstation made it drag like a seals behind
    Would this because VMWare is optomised to make use of newer Intel/AMD processors VM-specific features, and VirtualBox uses a different method?

    --
    David Hicks

  6. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    Would this because VMWare is optomised to make use of newer Intel/AMD processors VM-specific features, and VirtualBox uses a different method?

    --
    David Hicks
    I suppose that's a possibility.. P4/Sempron/Athlon single cores aren't in their first flush of youth.

    VMWare WS download is..what though? 80mbish? VBox is 17.5mb..size and code might play a role..

  7. #22
    richard
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    I've been running VirtualBox on my laptop for a while now, (Pentium M 1.73 GHz and 2 gig ram) and it runs a treat. The only draw back is is the hard drive which is only 100 GB. Luckily I only tend to keep one or two virtual machines on it, 1 XP Pro and a Linux Distro as I tend to test quite a few of them. I have found that VirtualBox runs better on Linux than Windows but either way it seems to run quicker than VMWare either on Linux or Windows.

  8. #23

    SimpleSi's Avatar
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    @sirbendy
    Thanks for all the info- very interesting.

    I'll have to give this VirtualBox a go - is there an easy method of transferring VMWare VMs to it?

    regards

    Simon

  9. #24

    FN-GM's Avatar
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    £31 for that server is good value

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