Monday, November 3, 2008

VMware Server 2.0 Review - What a disaster

I've been a big fan of VMware Server, as I've described in earlier posts. Yesterday I tried to install VMware Server 2.0 and I have to say that they've screwed up the product so badly that they are making Microsoft Virtual Server look good in comparison.

First of all, the new VMware Server 2.0 is a 500MB download. Yes, that's HALF A GIGABYTE for a virtualization product. In contrast, Microsoft's download is a paltry 29MB.

Many installations of Windows can't handle an MSI file that's so large and so the product won't install. The instructions in the Release Notes, which are not accessible to Google, describe a fix that can't be done on a Primary Domain Controller, so I spent two hours trying to find an alternative. (The server is just a development test bed, so there's no issue with VMware hurting performance.)

When I tried the link on my desktop for connecting to a virtual machine, I got a 404 error. That's it. There's no link anywhere to documentation or support. Turns out that this 500MB download included Apache, Tomcat, and other resource-hogging applications. This is a far cry from the sleek install of the 1.0 product.

I did a little more reading and learned that all connections to VMware Server 2.0 are done through the browser. This is not good news. That's how Microsoft's product works, and it's miserable. One of the best features of VMware was its client interface, which was lightweight and fast.

To add insult to injury, the installation of VMware Server 2.0 broke my network connectivity. The network interface won't accept any incoming connections. File sharing, remote desktop - everything is broken.

So my review of VMware Server 2.0 is two thumbs down.

Soon I'll need to install Windows Server 2008, which isn't supported by VMware Server. As an alternative, I'll probably investigate Microsoft's new Hyper-V offering.

Postscript: I spent three hours trying to restore network connectivity for the server and finally gave up. I wiped the drive and restored from an image-level backup. Acronis TrueImage saves the day again. Happily, this had the side effect of reverting to the prior installation of VMware server.

1 comment:

  1. Wow that sounds really bad...

    I'll try Sun's VirtualBox too then