VMWare Host installed on existing Windows 2008R2 server

Posted on 2013-09-06
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-09-09

I have an application that requires to be ran in VMware (cannot be loaded directly on an existing Windows O/S). I was always under the impression that you cannot load VMware Host on an existing Windows platform but was hinted by Symantec support that it is possible. I did some quick web searches but figured that here is the best place to get the straight answer.

I want to install Vsphere on an existing Windows 2008R2 server and then load the Unix based app running VMware in memory. Is this possible??
Question by:bcp_cnsllc
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LVL 14

Expert Comment

ID: 39472190
No. vSphere is made to run on a bare metal machine. Not on top of another OS. You could run VMware Workstation but that is a very different product.
LVL 126

Accepted Solution

Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2) earned 2000 total points
ID: 39472598
It really depends on which VMware Product you select.

VMware Workstation, VMware Server, VMware Player can be installed on Windows 2008, as they are Type 2 Hypervisors.

VMware vSphere (ESXi) is a Bare Metal Hypervisor, and Type 1.

It is not possible to install VMware vSphere on Windows 2008, VMware vSphere must be installed on Bare Metal, e.g. no OS present.

But you could use other VMware Products, if you wished.

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Author Comment

ID: 39472850
The product I am needing to install is Symantec Encryption Management Server (previously PGP Universal Server 3.x). Was told that it may be installed on Workstation but I just dont know what to load onto.

From this article (http://www.symantec.com/business/support/index?page=content&id=TECH149547) and above it appears (as I orig thought) that it wont load BUT according to a Symantec tech he loaded it on Workstation on Windows 7. "As for the Vmware ESXi must be installed on it's own box.  The workstation can run in the Windows environment.  Also, included is an article about Vmware support on the PGP Universal server." But it doesnt look like from the documentation in the link like it will run on Workstation. I will get a call into the PGP Server side and see what they have to say.

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Expert Comment

by:Mohammed Khawaja
ID: 39472895
Look at following links:


This is normal for people creating labs for learning VMware.  This is not recommended for production systems/servers/applications and use at your own risk.
LVL 126
ID: 39472917
Is this for serious production usage?
LVL 126
ID: 39472931
Symantec software will work in both VMware products its whether you want to run under VMware Workstation when performance could be impacted when compared to VMware vSphere ESX!

Author Comment

ID: 39472934
Yes - no choice. Very long story and will strip it down to bare min here, but the Symantec tech that demo'd the DLP Process totally screwed the client and myself. During the demo for the DLP Process was told that didn't need any new servers mult times. Client moving into another building so never budgeted for additional hardware and when got into the install process stopped counting at 4-5 new servers. Only other option is to manually config and manage PGP desktop app but they have over 40 users and while it is supposed to run once they are all installed and config the tech confirmed what I felt in that there will be constant hand-holding.  So when I heard this yesterday I have no choice but to look at it.

Author Comment

ID: 39472941
Understand that but most of what I am seeing is that ESX will not load well on a running 2008R2 - at least workstation "supposedly" has a chance.
LVL 14

Expert Comment

ID: 39473018
If you can use Workstation you would be much better off if you have to run it on top of a MS OS.
LVL 126
ID: 39473019
ESXi *MUST* be installed on Bare Metal and replace your Windows 2008 R2 OS.

Have you considered adding the Hyper-V role for Windows 2008 R2, and hosting the VM, under Hyper-V.

Check if the Guest OS if it's supported under Hyper-V.

If you do not want to replace your Host OS (Windows 2008 R2) with VMware vSphere (ESXi), you cannot use ESXi.

Performance of a Type 1 Hypervisor is superior to Type 2 Hypervisor.

Author Comment

ID: 39473599
Status update. Got VMWorkstation installed on a test 2008R2. Screwing around installing Windows 2008R2 in the VM just to see what kind of hits it will put on the server O/S.

Have a callback sched with PGP techs Monday and will let you know how it goes.
LVL 126
ID: 39473660
VMware Workstation VMs operate very well on modern CPUs.

Memory is often the bottleneck so ensure you have at least minimum of 8GB in the host 4G for VM leaving 4G for host.

More is better also change workstation options to reserve memory for VMs  and set fixed amount. Disk access can be a bottleneck depending upon disk types speeds and raid

Also set to Bridged Net working

Author Closing Comment

ID: 39477925
Still working with Symantec to get it installed and running but looks like it may work. Thanks for the great info.

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