I'm new to virtual servers - I know late to get in this game, however, I'm in need of some direction.  what can I down load to get myself started on virtualizing servers.  I know VM ware is basically the standard but there are many choices.  Any suggestions on where to start?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)Connect With a Mentor VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
@NRode - Thanks for the introductions!

Many options, and many free offerings, by VMware, Microsoft, Citrix and Oracle.

VMware Workstation is a Type 2 Hypervisor, other Type 2 Hypervisors include, VMware Server 2, VMware Player 3.0, Virtualbox 4.0, and Parallels.

Type 2 Hypervisors are SLOW.  In most reviews and experience, they perform at roughly 30-40% hardware capability.  That means an OS in a VM run off VMWare Workstation will likely perform at best like it has an 800 MHz CPU if you have 2 GHz physical CPU. You install Type 2 hypervisors onto of an existing host operating system.

If you use a Type 1 Hypervisor, you get MUCH better performance. ESX, ESXi, are all Type 1 hypervisors - they (based on experience and reviews) typically get 80-90% hardware capability - so that same VM run off the same 2 GHz CPU should operate more like it has a 1.6 GHz CPU instead of 800 Mhz. Type 1 hypervisors are installed on the bare metal of the server.

Type 1 Hypervisors also include Hyper-V.

So, as for downloads, take your pick....

Type 1 and Type 2 Hypervisor Downloads

Type 2 Hypervisor Downloads for Windows OS

VMware Player 5.0 Free Download [FREE]

VMware Server 2.0.2 Free Download (discontinued) [FREE]

VMware Workstation 9.0 (60 day trial, $199) [EVALUATION]

Oracle Virtualbox 4.0 [FREE] 

Parallels Workstation 6

Type 1 Bare Metal Hypervisors

VMware vSphere Hypervisor (ESXi 4.1) [FREE]

VMware vSphere Hypervisor (ESXi 5.0) [FREE]

Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 with Service Pack 1 (SP1) [FREE]

Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2012 [FREE]

Citrix XenServer

Oracle VM

Xen Hypervisor [FREE]

Parallel Server Bare Metal

and if you want to start with VMware vSphere......(all FREE!), here is my Series of EE Articles I wrote, Step by Step Tutorial with Screenshots

Part 1: HOW TO: Install and Configure VMware vSphere Hypervisor 5.1 (ESXi 5.1)

Part 2: HOW TO: Connect to the VMware vSphere Hypervisor 5.1 (ESXi 5.1) using the vSphere Client

Part 3: HOW TO: Create an ISO CD-ROM/DVD-ROM image (*.iso), and MD5 checksum signature, for use with VMware vSphere Hypervisor 5.1 (ESXi 5.1)

Part 4: HOW TO: Upload an ISO CD-ROM/DVD-ROM image to a VMware datastore for use with VMware vSphere Hypervisor 5.1 (ESXi 5.1) using the vSphere Client, and checking its MD5 checksum signature is correct.

Part 5: HOW TO: Enable SSH Remote Access on a VMware vSphere Hypervisor 5.1 (ESXi 5.1)

Part 6: HOW TO: Create your first Linux Virtual Machine on a VMware vSphere Hypervisor 5.1 (ESXi 5.1) Host Server

Part 7: HOW TO: Create your first Windows Virtual Machine on a VMware vSphere Hypervisor 5.1 (ESXi 5.1) Host Server

Part 8: HOW TO: Install VMware Tools for Windows on a VMware Windows virtual machine on a VMware vSphere Hypervisor 5.1 (ESXi 5.1) Host Server

and if you are feeling adventrous...and want to convert existing physical to virtual servers, I've got articles there to:-

HOW TO:  Synchronize changes when completing a P2V or V2V with VMware vCenter Converter Standalone 5.1

HOW TO:  P2V, V2V for FREE - VMware vCenter Converter Standalone 5.1

HOW TO: Improve the transfer rate of a Physical to Virtual (P2V), Virtual to Virtual Conversion (V2V) using VMware vCenter Converter Standalone 5.0

All you need is a Server or Computer which is on the HCL for VMware ESXi!

Check the VMware HCL (Hardware Compatability Lists) here

Fancy, doing Microsoft, then select Windows 2012 and add the Hyper-V Role, or use Hyper-V 2012 for FREE!
Nick RhodeIT DirectorCommented:
Depends on how large your environment is and how many servers you support.  VMware has a free license for you to use if you want to get some practice.  Typically for small businesses I would recommend vmware essentials which will license 3 hosts (6 cpu's *2 cpu's per host*) paired with veeam essentials for backups.  

A person to look at here would be hanccocka.  He has a ton of articles for the beginner to advanced for when it comes to VMware.  Sample below
WellingtonISAuthor Commented:
Thanks I'll look at all of these.  I really need to get going on this.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
No Problems, Welcome to Virtualisation, there are many Experts here at Experts Exchange to help you on your journey, do not by shy, just Ask Us! if you have a question or unsure.

No Question is a Stupid Question!

All the very best....

BharathKumarRaju DasaraRajuDevops EngineerCommented:

OMG what an explanation................your virtual soul with me....what a knowledge you have .....absolutely awesome...Thanks for helping us.
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