Well, VMware put Server 2.0 (the final release) out at the end of October and I have to see…it looks really good. I haven’t had a chance to compare it to Server 2008 Hyper-V yet (as I need to finish building my Hyper-V box first) however I have to say that between Server 2.0 and VMware ESXi 3.5 update 2 VMware has some very nice virtualization products out on the market. Let’s cover Server 2.0 first before we get into ESXi 3.5. Here’s the specs for the Server 2.0 system:

  • HP Proliant DL380
  • Dual 3.06GHz Xeon CPUs
  • Dual 10/100MB interfaces
  • 6 x 36GB 10,000 RPM SCSI disks w/hardware RAID-5
  • 12GB memory
  • O/S: Ubuntu Server 8.04LTS

Previously I was running VMware Server 1.0.6 on this system but now that VMware has released Server 2.0 I wanted to take another look at it. While the download is big (570MB) it certainly is not too bad and the install went flawlessly. The Server 2.0 detected the 1.0.6 software on the machine, uninstalled it (but kept the settings) and then installed Server 2.0 and configured it using the settings from the 1.0.6 version. All in all, within about 10 minutes I was back up and running. I like the look of the new interface as well — reminds me very much of the clean look of ESXi…and the best part is that it runs in IE8 Beta 2 (well, almost). To login I simply point the browser to the host system port 8333 as shown.

Login page to VMware 2.0

Login page to VMware 2.0

Once you login the amount of information at your fingertips is great.

VMware 2.0 summary page

VMware 2.0 summary page

Selecting a specific machine also gives you an immense amount of detail

Machine information in VMware Server 2.0

Machine information in VMware Server 2.0

You can start machines directly from the summary page or you can start them from the console tab by clicking on the big white arrow

Starting a new VM image

Starting a new VM image

Here’s where IE8 was a bit problematic (and I’m not sure it was IE8 or if it’s also an issue with IE7…I’ll have to test this). I had to do two things to get the console to work under Vista/IE8 Beta 2. First, I had to add the VMware server system into IE’s trusted site list. Second, I also had to be running in compatibility mode. Finally, once those two items were done I was able to install the VMRC plugin and get it to work. I still haven’t tried this under Firefox 3.0 yet and will try that later. Once the machine starts you click in the console window (or at one of the two squares in the console tab in the VMware shown below)

Console options in the Console tab

Console options in the Console tab

The option on the left opens up a new VMRC window as a separate window. The box on the right opens the VMRC in full screen mode (which you can then reduce to a regular sized window). Not sure what the benefit of the two options are but it’s there if you need it. Once the machine starts up you can have multiple VMRC windows running just like you have with ESXi.

VM console - Server 2008

VM console - Server 2008

VMware Server 2.0 Multiple VMRC windows

VMware Server 2.0 Multiple VMRC windows

All in all, I’m quite impressed with VMware Server 2.0. I plan on playing with it for quite a while and will consider whether I will migrate this host server over to VMware ESXi 3.5. Given the small footprint of ESXi (both in terms of disk as well as memory) it may well be the way to go in the long run. I’ll review my ESXi experience in an upcoming post as well as my Hyper-V experience as well.

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