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Virtual server lab using Windows Server 2003, Exchange 2003, and XP Pro environment:

Posted on 2008-10-17
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I'm planing on setting up a virtual lab for a Windows Server 2003, Exchange 2003 and XP Pro environment , I'm wanting to know what hardware and software I could use to set up a virtual lab on one or 2 computers to simulate a Windows Server 2003, Exchange 2003 and XP Pro environment.

I'm wanting to know what the hardware and software requirements would be for such a project and recommendations for the hardware and software.

Thank you,
DSterling
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Question by:dsterling
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by:jhyiesla
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You could do it on either one or two servers depending on how much hardware you have available and how many free licenses you have. Hardware will also depend on how big you want these environments to be and how fast you want them to run.

For example:
Let's assume two servers one running XP Pro as the Host OS and a second one running Server 2003 as the host. Then on the XP machine load Vmware workstation with XP Pro.

On the second machine load VMware server with two VMs; one server 2003 and one Exchange. I'd recommend at least 1 GB of RAM on the XP machine and a fast core2 duo CPU.  hard disk space is probably not an issue given the  size of disks today.

On the Server machine, I'd opt for at least 2-3 GB of RAM... the more the better. If you want this just for testing, I'd look at a Core 2 Quad CPU.  If this is for longer term or you want to really load up the server and Exchange, you might even look at some Xeon CPUs.  Disk space may be a little more critical here, but again that depends on your use.  If this is something critical look for hardware-based RAID.

Software would include licenses of XP and Server for the Host OS's and XP, Server, and Exchange for the Guest VMs as well as VMware workstation and server.  Although I'm not sure... but XP may run as a VM under VMware server.


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by:dsterling
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jhyiesla:

Thanks for the great answer, I have a couple of questions:
About the IP address, would one NIC work for two Virtual servers/PCs, meaning that if I'm running Server 2003 and Exchange 2003 on the same machine as VMs can I assign them different IPs with one NIC? Also can I put XP Pro on the same machine as the servers using vmware so that all OSs are operating virtually on the same system?

Thank you,
DSterling
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jhyiesla earned 500 total points
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Yes, if you have enough hardware resources you could run all VMs on the same PC.  This would presume that either VMWare workstation or server can accommodate all the OS's and I believe that they can.

Yes you can share all of the VMs through the single NIC.  If they need to touch your physical network you can do that.  You should also be able to set up each one on a separate network that they can see each other but would be invisible to your regular network.  The advantage of this is that you could create a brand new domain making the 2003 server your DC and DNS server (if needed) without impacting your physical network.
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