|Posted on Sunday, November 18, 2007 - 03:47 pm: |
The servers we use in every pod are virtual (not physical) machines. Virtual machines are implemented in software and run as an application on top of a host (main) operating system. A virtual machine can be running Windows, Linux, Unix or other operating system and functions just like a physical machine. Since a virtual machine runs a complete standard operating system, all the configuration steps and setup on a virtual machine are identical to a physical machine: network configuration, services setup, operating system changes and software installation, all these are done the same way on a virtual machine as on a physical machine.
The biggest advantage of using virtual machines versus physical machines is that it is possible to run multiple servers on one physical hardware. Most laboratory assignments requiring the use of servers typically need two or more servers. Rather than using multiple hardware servers, we can use several virtual machines. All the virtual machines in one pod can be conveniently accessed through one terminal connection to the host machine.
In some situations we need our servers or virtual machines to be connected to different subnets in the network. The virtual machine configuration allows selecting how every machine will connect to the network. The physical host running the virtual machines has a number of Ethernet adapters each with its own network connection. Each of the adapters can be assigned (mapped) to any virtual machine running on the host. By assigning an adapter to a virtual machine we can determine how the machine will connect to the network.
The following steps describe how to run a virtual machine for the first time:
1. Connect to the physical server in the pod you have reserved. (If having difficulty connecting, review the guide on how to connect to a pod server.)
2. Make a copy of a preinstalled and configured virtual machine. Open Windows Explorer and go to “My Computer \ MachineShare \ Virtual Machines” folder. If you don’t see the MachineShare shared drive, refer to the note below. The Virtual Machines folder contains a number of folders named after the operating systems; for example, “Windows XP SP2”. Each of the folders contains a complete installation of a virtual machine with the corresponding operating system. To run a virtual machine, you need to copy the folder containing this machine to your own folder. For example if you need to run Windows XP machine, copy “Windows XP SP2” folder from the MachineShare to your Z: drive. It is recommended that you copy your virtual machine to the Z: drive in order to be able to later access it from any other host in the lab.
Note: MachineShare shared drive is automatically mapped to your file system tree when you log in. During the log in, you should see a pop-up window asking your permission to run a script which will do the mapping. Answer “Open” to allow the script to run. Alternatively you can search for the MachineShare file name under “My Network Places” in the Windows Explorer.
3. Start VMware application on the host. In VMware, select File – Open and go to the folder where you have copied your virtual machine; select the VMware configuration file in this folder and click open.
4. Select a network adapter for your virtual machine. In the VMware window click “Edit virtual machine settings” and then “Ethernet”.
Under “Specific virtual network” drop-down menu select the adapter you want your virtual machine to use. Refer to the online pod diagram to determine where in the topology each of the adapters is connected. When finished with the selection, click “OK”.
5. Start the virtual machine. In VMware click “Start this virtual machine”. If you receive some pop-ups during the startup you can accept the suggested values to continue.
If the virtual machine requires a username/password combination to log in, refer to the README file in the “My Computer \ MachineShare \ Virtual Machines” folder for the default combination. To send Ctrl-Alt-Delete at a Windows login prompt, press Ctrl-Alt-Insert, or in the VMware menu, select VM - Send Ctrl+Alt+Del.
6. Set IP address and start using the virtual machine. Assign an IP address to your virtual machine the same way you change an IP address on a physical machine. Test the connection between your virtual machine and any other device in your pod.
If you need another virtual machine, you can either copy it from the MachineShare folder or your own folder. Please remember that every virtual machine consumes RAM and CPU resources; look under the task manager of the host machine to see how much resources are available.
When finished using a virtual machine, it is recommended that you shut it down the same way you turn off a physical machine - through the operating system command. Closing the VMware window with a running virtual machine may result in corrupting the virtual machine. When no longer needed, you can delete the virtual machine by completely deleting its folder.