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VMWare Server 2.x thoughts

I've some servers with VMWare 2 installed on linux machines, my latest v2 was installed on a debian x64 (AMD64) host, as you can read from my previous posts I've done some mods and I'm quite happy about it, see:

HOWTO: VMWare Server 2, Disable Web Server Interface
Install VMWare Server 2 on a Debian Lenny AMD64
Access VMWare Server 2 remote virtual machine with VMWare Player

And so on...

I've used VMWare server for a while and I'm quite happy about this product and its wonderful "bare metal emulation", I only need bare metal emulation and this is the product I want. If you need to run a big business you obviously go with ESX (now vSphere) but if you'd like to run your private net without too much hassles or you're just using virtualization in a small company like mine ESX/vSphere is not so cheap.

Many of us are still using VMWare Server because is a reliable and stable solution, it was the first solution here and it's still here to stay, few thoughts recently make me angry about it, nothing strange, just the most common disappointments for a normal linux user:

  • Webserver, service and WebInterface sounds cool but it's not. If you like the Keep It Simple Stupid approach (KISS) and you only want services you really need in you machine (despite of its compute power) you're probably against this new "feature" installed with VMWare Server 2.0. Web interface relies on Tomcat webserver but it's ugly, slow and impossible to use for heavy duty machines
  • Virtual Interface Client (VIC) was the way to go to access your Linux VMWare Server installation, it's not so well documented and features for accessing VMServer are quite hidden but it was working fast and it's nice to have it but...
  • Again next trouble: VIC is available only on Windows platforms. It could be a problem if you've a linux only environment (or plan to have it), yeah you can run it with WINE on linux but I don't wanna mess with WINE libs on my machine and as many of you I prefer a REAL linux client. VMWare promised a lot of time ago a Linux version is "planned" but nobody has already seen it here. Time passed by and we're still waiting (grr...)
  • At the time if you don't like WINE libs in your linux workstation the only way is to have VIC installed on a Windows Machine (Apple "cousins" have the same problem)
  • New vSphere architecture sounds promising and a challenging world but OpenSource doesn't seems to be planned there... VMWare Server is nice but no new updates and neither the expected VIC client
  • Virtual Infrastructure Client (VIC) is now vSphere Client (the new VIC), guess what ? Windows only... and still worse... if you need it running these are its requirements: .NET 3.x framework needed and J# redistributable package. I Hope they're planning a totally new client even for linux, but it doesn't seem they're planning a new port from this product. They need to build a totally new one if they wanna get a rid of .NET framework and J# (this is not a portable project !)
  • Again... when installing new vSphere Client and trying to connect to a VMWare Server installation... it doesn't work ! if you read their official specs (here) it not even supported, this makes me really upset. After reading a lot of forums and threads (like this one from their community forum) I'm totally disappointed by their politics (but read the good news below)

By now I still continue to keep their product running in my opensource+vmware environment but I'm really watching around and making experiments with VirtualBox / KVM / XEN / ... and I'm really planning effects of moving away from them.

What I actually need is bare metal emulation and VMWare it's still the best but I'm looking other competitors as well


NOTE: At the end of this blog finally a good news. vSphere Client is "not supported" by VMWare Server but "not compatible" is wrong, in fact I've it running (still on a Windows machine grr...) and connected to VMWare Server
with a little trick check my next blog here:

Accessing VMWare Server with vSphere (the unsupported way)

 

 

Andrea (Ben) Benini

 

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