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I am setting up a home lab for studying network infrastructure and user right management.

I dont know if I should use a Linux or Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2 to run the VMWare Workstation on the HOST machine ?

Or I should use VMWare ESXi Server only (as the main goal is to provide multiple Guest machines) ? (It seem I dont have the hardware to run the project smoothly with ESXi)

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The main host have an Intel i3 / RAM 4GB.

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Virtualbox is another option instead of VMWare.virtualbox.org –  slm Jan 4 '13 at 13:52

2 Answers 2

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Part of you choices come down to financial ones:

If you want to do things cheap, either:

  • Use either ESXi server. (Free). Needs to run on the real hardware, it will not run inside a VM.
  • Or use a Free OS (GNU/Linux, FreeBSD, etc etc) and Vmware player. Vmware player is free, but you can only run one VM at the time.
  • Or use Different virtualisation software (e.g. virtual box, qEmu, etc etc.)

If you are willing to pay:

  • OS) You get the option to run win7 (cheap but not free) or server 2008 (not cheap!) as OS. Might be worth it if you feel more comfortable with that environment.
  • VM software) You can get Vmware workstation, which is a step up from just the player, but which is not free.
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Thanks you - I already have all the windows and vmware software with license (I am in "stage" in a company) So the "best" Host OS will be Windows Server 2008 R2 ? (assuming I can install any OS open-source or not) –  J.E. Jan 2 '13 at 16:40
    
If they have a spare 2008 license and the VM host is supposed to act as a permanent server: Then yes, go for server 2008 or server 2012. That should match their infrastructure, which will make it easier to maintain after your stage (internship? Not sure, dutch is my native language) has finished. --- Warning: assumption that they are a MS shop. If their servers are Unix based than I recommend that, just avoid unneeded additional operating systems. --- Also, FTP? Really. I guess they also use stone tablets. –  Hennes Jan 2 '13 at 16:48
    
Yes for "internship". So ok, I will install Windows Server 2008 r2. –  J.E. Jan 2 '13 at 16:50

Linux or Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2 to run the VMWare ESXi Server

ESXi is the host OS. It doesn't run on anything else, except from bare metal hardware.

Then, as per your diagram, you then install the guest OS's, for each role, on to the ESXi server.

RAM 4GO.

I'm assuming you mean "4GB". Bearing in mind, the ESXi itself might use 600MB (which isn't much granted!) but, with this possibly increasing, you won't have much RAM left for VM's. So it is going to struggle with 3GB for 4 or 5 VM's. It all depends on what resources you give each VM without grinding them to a halt..

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Probably 4 Giga Octed (French for byte). –  Hennes Jan 2 '13 at 16:25
    
True, I edited the original message. –  J.E. Jan 2 '13 at 16:26
    
I'm assuming you mean 600MB :) –  JoshP Jan 2 '13 at 16:31
    
Sorry, yes 600MB~ of ram. but we're talking estimates here. Edited –  MPuckey Jan 2 '13 at 19:01

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