Network virtualisation allows the recreation of an entire network including multiple subnets, this is required to correctly recreate live deployment scenarios. It can interact with vSphere/Esxi to allow VMs to be moved directly into vSphere, or copied out and stood-up in Workstation; full support to import/export from OVF templates is also supported. This functionality has proved extremely beneficial in pre-staging supporting servers for DR recovery tests as well as testing system upgrades.
Improvements to My Organization
It has given us the flexibility to recreate live server scenarios including the supporting networks and AD domain controllers; these are then used to test upgrades or migrations with no impact on the live servers or network. These actions can then be repeated on the live servers, or the upgraded test VM can simply replace the original server (depending on the service requirements and server role). This can be completed by transferring the test VM directly from Workstation to the ESXI host or vSphere environment. If the transfer is the preferred method, the original VM remains available as a failback.
Room for Improvement
The addition of a built-in virtual router would be a good addition. Currently, I run my own virtual router in order to provide conectivity between virtual subnets.
Use of Solution
I've been using it for several years; VMware Workstation since v6 (released in 2008). Initially, it was just for building test servers for training purposes, and versions 7, 8 and now 9 for creating test implementations of live server deployment scenarios, to assist in resolving live issues or to test change controls.
In v6, it was a 32bit environment with a maximum memory of 4Gb RAM. Therefore, this required a high level of swap out of RAM to disk in order to provide sufficient memory space to run VMs, this occasionally caused system crashes. Since v8 this has not been an issue.
None, Workstation scales to 32Gb of RAM.
Customer Service and Technical Support
No VMware support is provided with Workstation. Technical Support
No VMware technical support is available with VMware Workstation.
The initial set-up is straight forward, however, you need to ensure that virtualisation is switched on in the BIOS.
Workstation is a one off licence payment.
Make sure you have at least four cores available on an Intel i5 (i7 with eight cores recommended) a minimum of 8Gb RAM (32Gb recommended) and lots of internal storage (SSD preferable). Having a virtual SCSI SAN is also recommended if you wish to evaluate vSphere or Hyper-V deployments including shared storage for VM failover.
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