VMware is utility software that allows you to run multiple operating systems, or multiple instances of one operating system, on a single hardware platform.

Like all software, service and technology products, though, the VMware manual is pretty cut and dried, limited to how to install and run the service. And for many years, marketing and sales people have carried laptops equipped with VMware products, NetWare server and client software so that they could easily demonstrate network operations without having to tote hundreds of pounds of equipment. But getting the most out of it can require quite a bit of experimentation - just ask anyone who has used it for presentation purposes over the years.

Now, though, there’s help available. Rob Bastiaansen has written “Rob's Guide to Using VMware” (so far, at least, there’s no series of “Rob’s Guides”) which is available at the link below both as a downloadable PDF file and as hard copy. As Bastiaansen says, “This book continues where the VMware manual stops: real life.” And that’s pretty much the case.

VMware has also been a Novell partner for some time. In fact, VMware’s ESX and GSX were both shipped, as evaluation versions, with NetWare 6.5. These products are extremely useful for setting up a test lab when you have a lack of equipment and a dearth of budget money to “waste” (the CFO’s term) on equipment and software with “no business purpose” (the CFO again).

The major areas covered are:

- Fast track to VMware Workstation for new users.
- Virtual Machine configuration and optimisation tips.
- Network configurations for network address translation and routing.
- Tips for Windows and NetWare in VMware.
- Physical-to-virtual conversion with low-cost tools.
- Clustering for NetWare and Windows with shared disks in VMware GSX Server.
- Clustering for NetWare and Windows based on iSCSI for VMware Workstation.

What’s not in the book is Linux, though Rob does cover it as a guest operating system - the bare minimum, but little else. He promises that there’ll be a Linux edition of the book coming later, but for now this is all about VMware for NetWare and Windows.

VMware can be a very useful tool for a NetWare network manager, or class instructor or marketing/sales professional. This book can help you make it that useful tool.

OUR VERDICT

This book covers the real life use of VMware and is recommended.