Need a good way to virtualize your test machines for testing SCCM deployments? Use the FREE VMWare Server!
Here is my quick guideline for getting started.
- Get yourself some beefy hardware. I’m using an HP Workstation xw6600T (Intel Xeon 2.33 GHz, 12 GB memory, and 320 GB SCSI disk).
- Get an eSATA external hard drive configured for RAID 0 and that has eSATA and/or FireWire connections (such as http://www.wdc.com/en/products/products.asp?driveid=410). Use this to run the bulk of your VMs on.
- Install your OS. I’m using Windows Server 2008 Standard x64.
Note: you’ll need to install an x64 OS if you have more than 3 GB of memory.
<< Update 4/15/11 – Do not use VMWare Server 2 – Win7 VMs will BSOD frequently. Instead, consider using SCVMM >>
- Download VMWare Server 2.
- Install VMWare Server. During the install, it is very important to change the default ports to 80 (for HTTP) and 443 (for HTTPS). This will save you from a headache in the long run.
- Download and install the VMWare vCenter Converter for converting your physical test machines to virtual machines.
Upon completion you will have a ready to use virtual environment; all you need do is convert your physical machines, launch the Server web interface, and add the new VM. Additional information on VMWare Server, for both install and operation, can be found on the VMWare website in the VMWare Server User’s Guide. The other cool thing is that you can remotely access the console for another computer on your network by going to http://systemname/ui