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HW Requirements for VMWare Setup

Discussion in 'Virtual Computing' started by Rover977, May 23, 2008.

  1. Rover977

    Rover977 Byte Poster

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    Hi, I am looking to setup a VMWare rig to run the following five guest OS’s as VM’s :-

    Windows Server 2003 Enterprise (Domain Controller)
    Windows Server 2003 Enterprise (Domain Controller)
    Windows Server 2003 Enterprise (Member Server)
    Windows Vista (client OS)
    Windows XP Pro (client OS)

    initially, plus other possible OS’s later. (This is for my studies for MCSA on W2K3 for which I am currently running OS’s on separate machines).

    I am just wondering what success I may have in trying to run this setup with the following spec of machine :-

    2.5GHz Pentium 4, socket 478, (Northwood core)
    2GB PC3200 DDR SDRAM
    2 x 80GB hard drives
    NVidia GeForec 4 MX 440 64MB RAM graphics adapter
    300W PSU
    Host OS : Win XP Pro + SP2

    I have checked the system requirements for VMWare Workstation v6.0, and they state a minimum CPU speed of 733MHz and 2GB of RAM, though obviously the number of virtual machines running will be a consideration also.

    The above machine will actually be an upgrade from a Celeron 1.8GHz/256MB RAM system, and will cost around £120-£150.

    Question is it is worth making this upgrade to run the above VMWare setup, or should I be looking instead at buying a new Intel Core 2 Duo/Quad system (or AMD equivalent), ie. will it all run just a bit too slowly on the above system and therefore not be worth spending money on the upgrade.

    Many thanks in advance for any advice.
     
    Certifications: A+, Network+, Cisco CCNA
    WIP: Maths
  2. onoski

    onoski Terabyte Poster

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    Originally by: Rover977;

    Question is it is worth making this upgrade to run the above VMWare setup, or should I be looking instead at buying a new Intel Core 2 Duo/Quad system (or AMD equivalent), ie. will it all run just a bit too slowly on the above system and therefore not be worth spending money on the upgrade.

    In the long run it would be sensible to go for the Intel Core 2/Quad system or the AMD equivalent. The point however, with regards to running vmware is that both systems would be more than suffice.
     
    Certifications: MCSE: 2003, MCSA: 2003 Messaging, MCP, HNC BIT, ITIL Fdn V3, SDI Fdn, VCP 4 & VCP 5
    WIP: MCTS:70-236, PowerShell
  3. zimbo
    Honorary Member

    zimbo Petabyte Poster

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    Ok if those machines are all going to be running all at once then you will have problems cause even those specs wont handle all of them at once. So this is what i did.. i got and old pc - 500-700mhz and about 1gb of RAM - maybe a less - 512 and 256 modules is what i had actually on that i had XP as the host OS and it ran Server 2003 and XP as the guest OS at the same time then the rest - actually same as yours on my Main PC. Its important to know that each guest os requires its own RAM so usually add up all the RAM requirements of each guest and the host to see if you have enough RAM.
     
    Certifications: B.Sc, MCDST & MCSA
    WIP: M.Sc - Computer Forensics
  4. Crito

    Crito Banned

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    If you're going to buy new hardware make sure the CPU and chipset support Intel-VT or AMD-V.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/X86_virtualization

    I was very dissapointed to find out my bran-spankin'-new HP with an Intel Core Duo and Vista 64-bit didn't support the feature set. :cry: My older AMD X2 4400+ does though.
     
    Certifications: A few
    WIP: none
  5. Phoenix
    Honorary Member

    Phoenix 53656e696f7220 4d6f64

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    does the chipset support a Core 2 Duo mate? all Core 2 Duos should have VT extensions (in fact some of the Pentium Ds support VT, a shame your Core Duo doesn't, but they didnt exactly stick around long :)

    if your chipset supports C2D you can pick one up pretty cheaply
     
    Certifications: MCSE, MCITP, VCP
    WIP: > 0
  6. Crito

    Crito Banned

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    From Wikipedia article above:
    Mine is a Core 2 Duo T7500 2.2 Ghz. I'm really not sure if it's the CPU, chipset or something HP disabled in the BIOS that's the problem though.
     
    Certifications: A few
    WIP: none
  7. Modey

    Modey Terabyte Poster

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    Not all of the C2D chips do actually support hardware virtualisation. Certainly the E4300-E4700's don't.

    You can use the linke below then filter by 'Virtualisation Technology'

    http://processorfinder.intel.com/List.aspx?ProcFam=2558&sSpec=&OrdCode=

    Some good info here also :- http://users.erols.com/chare/current_cpus.htm

    I have read some discussions a while ago that suggested that some software based solutions can be faster when the hardware assistance is disabled.

    My E4500 C2D doesn't support it, but seems to have no problem running several machines quickly but I have slapped extra ram in there (4GB) and optimised my setup quite a bit(OC'ed to 3.2Ghz). I have VT on my work laptop and once I had flashed the bios to enable the support for it I enabled it in Virtual PC 2007, but it didn't feel any different to me.

    I would imagine it has a far more significant impact on a server running enterprise class virtualisation software than it would on a desktop system running something like Virtual PC or VMWare Workstation.
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCP, MCDST, MCSA 2K3, MCTS, MOS, MTA, MCT, MCITP:EDST7, MCSA W7, Citrix CCA, ITIL Foundation
    WIP: Nada
  8. Modey

    Modey Terabyte Poster

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    Yeah, if your motherboard doesn't support it, then you won't be able to make use of it. Some mobo's that do support it have an option to turn it on/off. I have also come across some (like on my work laptop, and my own laptop) that both support it, but don't have any mention of it in the BIOS.
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCP, MCDST, MCSA 2K3, MCTS, MOS, MTA, MCT, MCITP:EDST7, MCSA W7, Citrix CCA, ITIL Foundation
    WIP: Nada
  9. The_Geek

    The_Geek Megabyte Poster

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    Well, here's my rig running VMware:
    AMD XP3200+ chip
    Asus A7N8X Deluxe mobo (WHOPPING 400 FSB)
    ATI 9800XT
    3 gig ram
    Five 500gig WD hard drives (I'm an MP3 junkie)

    I can run up to 5 virtual machines (any combo server/workstation) without any issues.
     
    Certifications: CompTIA and Micro$oft
    WIP: PDI+
  10. Rover977

    Rover977 Byte Poster

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    Thanks guys for all responses, much appreciated. I’ve decided to run it on the rig I’ve currently got and see how it goes with the RAM/CPU upgrade, but when it comes to upgrading to a new system I’ll certainly be looking out for which CPUs support the virtualization extensions. I’ve found running w2k3 for cert study purposes has only required 256MB RAM and 7GB disk space per OS. The biggest demand on hardware will be running Vista with the Aero interface - for which I will need a better graphics card.

    I’ll not get a C2D in this system as its only a socket 478 m/board, so I’ll have to settle for highest P4 that is compatible with it.

    Many thanks again for all info.

    :)
     
    Certifications: A+, Network+, Cisco CCNA
    WIP: Maths

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