Vivek Agarwal’s Portal/Java Blog

An IBM Gold Consultant’s weblog about IBM, Lotus, WebSphere, J2EE, IT Processes, and other IT technologies

Joining the virtualization party late but better late than never!

Posted by Vivek Agarwal on August 28, 2007

I have been hearing the virtualization buzz for a couple of years now, but have never really tried it. About a month back, I decided to give virtualization a whirl and downloaded the free version of VMWare – VMWare Server. VMware Server installs on a variety of operating systems including most flavors of Windows and Linux, partitions a physical server into multiple virtual machines, and allows you to run Windows/Linux on these virtual machines. I currently have it installed on my Vista laptop and I love it – VMWare, not Vista just to be clear! I have been creating VMWare images left, right and center. I created development images of WebSphere Portal v6.0, WebSphere Portal Express v6.0, and Lotus Quickr 8.0 on Windows XP. I have another image running XAMPP for Windows – a great package for getting jump started with Apache HTTPD 2.2.4 + Openssl 0.9.8e, MySQL 5.0.45, PHP 5.2.3, PHP 4.4.7, phpMyAdmin 2.10.3, and Zend Optimizer 3.3.0 on Windows. I installed XAMPP to get going with phplist – a vibrant open-source tool for newsletter management. And just today, I was playing with installing Debian Linux on another virtual machine. All in all, I have gone vm-crazy! 🙂

Not only have we been creating individual developer virtual machines, but are also setting up our new test servers using VMWare. I am really sold on virtualization in the test/development environment for many reasons including –

  1. Simplifies running multiple test environments on a single system even if those test environments use the same resources – for example, same ports.
  2. Simplifies backup of test environments.
  3. Simplifies creation of copies of test environments – for example, if you have a virtual machine running WebSphere Portal, you can easily copy it off to another developer laptop giving that user his/her own copy of WebSphere Portal.
  4. Enables us to easily provision new test servers as needed – this is true for base virtual machines running a specifc OS or complete Web/App Servers.
  5. Simplifies the installation of multiple operating systems on a single system for test/development purposes

As we use it more and more, I might get comfortable enough to consider running it in a production environment – or maybe a customer will force it on us! Virtualization is a powerful tool in the tool-chest of an enterprise software developer and if you have not examined it yet, you are wasting time!

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