This is the first part in what will be an ongoing set of articles on setting up and getting ready to do development. Before one begins to do any sort of development there needs to be somewhere to do it. With the advent of modern computers and the amazing amount of horsepower that they now contain virtualization makes a great way to set up a perfect, portable environment that gives a developer an incredible amount of control over their work environment.
There are many different virtualization options available now that processors support virtualization directly on the hardware and the aforementioned abundance of computing power. Linux and Windows users can choose from qemu, KVM, VirtualBox, VMware Player/Workstation/Server, Parallels and Xen (Windows misses out on KVM and Xen).
Out of that list, VMware has been in the virtualization business for a long time and as a result have wonderfully robust codebases for virtualization. It is because of this I will be setting up VMware Server, a free-as-in-beer product that allows a user to create virtual machines. The added benefit is that the end user can easily move this VM from machine to machine and even between VMware products.
Download the Software
The first step in setting up VMware Server is to head to VMware's website and download a copy of the software. VMware has a ton of different software packages available and a lot of information is buried deep in the site, but to find VMware Server just click on 'Products' and then 'Server Virtualization Products'
Click on 'VMware Server' over on the right-hand side, and then on 'Download.' You can either download the current stable version of the 2.0 Beta. I'm being adventerous (and so should you!), so click on the link that says 'Looking for Server 2.0 (Beta)? Click here' to be taken to the download page for version 2.0.
We're getting close, I promise. Click on the 'Download' link, fill out all your personal information, agree to the EULA, and you will finally be presented with the ability to download the software. Download the version appropriate for your OS (I will be using Windows for the moment), sit back, and wait as this is right around 500megs. Make note of the serial key at the top of the page, you will need this at the end of the installation.
Install VMware Server Once the file has been downloaded, launch the installer. Click on 'Next', read and agree to the EULA, and set the install location.
You will then be asked for the default location for the virtual machines (VMs). Make sure that you have plenty of hard drive space wherever you set this path as your VMs will take up a ton of space if you have a lot of them. I will be setting them on an second drive installed on the PC and I would recommend against a USB drive as this will slow down the VM performance.
You will also be asked to set up the domain name and port numbers. VMware Server allows for remote administration of your VMs and will use this information to set up this functionality. I recommend leaving it at the defaults.
You can also uncheck 'Allow virtual machines to start and stop automatically with the system' to stop VMware from starting at boot. Click 'Next' once you have set up all this information.
Select the areas that you want to shortcuts to appear, and then you will be able to start the installation. Depending on the horsepower of the PC this may take a while. Near the end of the install you will be asked to install network drivers that are not signed; just go ahead and click 'Continue Anyway' to allow all the necessary components to be installed whenever this box comes up.
After all of the software is installed enter the serial key that was given to you on the download site and restart your PC.
When the PC comes back up there will be a new icon on your desktop for VMware Server. Double-click on it and your browser will launch. A security warning will appear complaining about an SSL Certificate error. For Firefox 3 you will need to add an exception to allow the VMware Server page to appear, but for IE7 just click on through.
VMware Server uses the host's authentication for logging in, so type in the username and password for your Windows account. You will be presented with the main screen form VMware Server. From here you can create new virtual machines, check on the status of existing machines, start and stop them, and interact directly as if you were using a keyboard/mouse/monitor directly attached to them.
From here we will install our OS. Check back for part 2 where we go through installing OpenBSD 4.3 .