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Can you install a VM in a VM?

Posted on 2014-11-05
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Last Modified: 2014-11-05
I have a set of proprietary tools that are NOT compatible with any Server OS's.  A customer has set up a Server 2012 VM under VSphere for my office to use to support equipment on the customer's site.  My intent was to install VMWare Workstation on this system, set up a Win 7 VM client and port over our tools.  This is very close to what we do on our tech laptops, the Host OS is Win 7 Pro 64 bit, we install VMWare Workstation and a Win 7 32 or XP client for our toolset,

I totally neglected the concept of not being able to install VMWare Workstation in the Server 2012 VM client on this system.  I could swear I had read of others doing the same thing, but I even tried installing VMPlayer in a Win XP Pro SP3 VM client on our own VM Server in our office and that failed to install as well.  I do not have the error messages from our customer site, but here I got the following in the installation log:
    <begin snip>
    Property(S): SOURCEDIR = C:\DOCUME~1\User\LOCALS~1\Temp\vmware_1415215788\
    Property(S): SourcedirProduct = {E452E727-86B8-4233-8CC3-41FD817AFAFF}
    Property(S): ProductToBeRegistered = 1
    MSI (s) (2C:7C) [14:32:32:801]: Note: 1: 1708
    MSI (s) (2C:7C) [14:32:32:801]: Product: VMware Player -- Installation failed.
    <end snip>
Any thoughts or am I out to lunch again?

Thanks!
Ray L.
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Question by:raylab
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Accepted Solution

by:
Lee W, MVP earned 250 total points
ID: 40424842
You can try other virtualization platforms - Xen for example or Virtual Box. It may be an issue with the host VMs config not allowing certain hardware emulation that prevents it.  (That said, DO NOT expect good performance if you manage to do this).
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LVL 118

Assisted Solution

by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE)
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE) earned 250 total points
ID: 40424849
You can install VMs with VMs, or what we call Nested Hypervisors!

But performance is less than what you would expect on the Host Hypercvisor, and it's not supported.

It is possible, if you pass Intel VT through to the VM.

See here

http://andysworld.org.uk/2011/09/29/installing-microsoft-windows-8-on-vmware-esxi-50-using-nested-hypervisors/

We did this, because originally ESXi 5.0 did not support WIndows 8.0 Beta and RCs. so we installed a VM in ESXi 5.0, and then installed VMware Workstation, and then installed Windows 8.0 in a VM in Workstation!

It does work!

Also, we are now up against the next challenge because we now have to allow access to Windows Phone Emulator for Windows Phone development, BUT the Windows 8.1 Workstations are VDI, so we also have to have NESTED Hypervisors in Production, because Windows Phone Emulator for Windows Phone requires Client Hyper-V to be enabled for the Phone Emulator to function!

We have deployed this to 500+ VDI workstations!

So it does work!

BUT, you need to ensure you have the right CPUs in the Host, do not use EVC, which masks the Intel VT functions, use virtual machine 10 virtual machines, and pass Intel VT Hardware from Host CPU to VM!
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Author Comment

by:raylab
ID: 40424876
Thank you!  I realize it is not the best solution, but not all of our customers will provide a VM Host with Win 7 32 Bit, but they insist on the full set of our tools.  Many of the tool programs are proprietary and only run on XP or Win 7 32 and will NEVER be upgraded to Win 8+ nor any 64 bit environments.  Until we can get them to upgrade the obsolete hardware that is dependent on the obsolete software we are in a bind...
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LVL 118
ID: 40424885
I'm going to have to disagree with Lee!

Is your question really solved ????

What version of vSphere are you using....

let me know, if you want to continue......and we can "reset" the Selected Answers!
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LVL 95

Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 40424899
What are you disagreeing with?
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LVL 118
ID: 40424900
@Lee

We have Nested Hypervisors working well under VMware vSphere.

It does work with the correct configuration, and versions of VMware vSphere, which the OP has not given any configuration information on.

The errors encountered on installation is not an Intel VT issue.

and VMware Player should not be used in a commercial environment, against the EULA.
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Author Comment

by:raylab
ID: 40424912
I'm going to have to disagree with Lee!

Is your question really solved ????
>>>Not until I get the IT at the customers' site to help me resolve what ever was blocking me from installing my VM inside of his...

What version of vSphere are you using....
>>>I will be there next week and try to find ou.t...

let me know, if you want to continue......and we can "reset" the Selected Answers!
0
 

Author Comment

by:raylab
ID: 40424917
and VMware Player should not be used in a commercial environment, against the EULA.
>>> You are correct, I wanted a quick and cheap test.  I cannot get a 30 trial of Workstation cuz I already had one, and have purcased a few WS licenses...
0
 
LVL 118
ID: 40424927
Find out the following:-

1. Server Make and Model

2. Host CPU

3. VMware vSphere (ESXi) Build version.

4. Is vCenter Server Web Client in use ?

VMware Workstation does work in a VM, inside a VM.
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Expert Comment

by:Uni Kitty
ID: 40425005
I have a photo to prove it. Desktop running Workstation inside a VM, launching the VI client and connectiong to an ESX host! (this was 4.0 circa 2009)

Desktop running Workstation inside a VM, launching the VI client and connectiong to an ESX host
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LVL 95

Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 40425083
I never said it couldn't be done, just that performance expectations should be appropriate and the inability might have to do with configuration of the hardware VM Host.  Which actually seems to concur with your comments.
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