A Word about Licencing
If you are working in a Linux environment then licensing need never be a consideration and, indeed, there are many ready-configured Linux-based VMs available on the internet for free download. As you might expect, however, Microsoft imposes restrictions on the use of its operating systems in a virtual machine environment. In this respect there are alternative licensing scenarios for personal, business and enterprise customers but as a general rule for small networks in home or small business applications a license is required for each installation of an operating system, which means one for the host and one for each of the VMs.
Virtualization has enabled me to build a networked environment which is hardened against failure of both hardware systems and software systems. In addition to these benefits I have a working environment which is cooler (in both senses) quieter and less cluttered than in the past.
Figure 5: The Web-based Management User Interface of VMWare Server.
"...And are you still running WINS servers?" I hear you ask. Well, yes, of course I am. If you have read my first article you may recall that I stated that I have these on my network because I'm mental (according to my wife) and still play with PCs that operate with Windows 98 and Windows 3.11 that don't properly support DNS. Well, that's not really true and my main use for WINS is to improve the performance of the Windows Browser. Since most domain-based networks are corporate, browsing is not necessarily a good thing and administrators prefer to create definitive links (such as mapped network drives) as opposed to allowing users browse all over the place. I, however, want to be able to browse wherever I please, whenever I please, from wherever I please and DNS does not support browsing across subnet and network boundaries. WINS, on the other hand, does.
Figure 6: Windows Browser Statistics.
As you can see from Figure 6 the Windows Browser is able to ‘see' all machines (real and virtual) across both networks. So you see, I'm not mental at all, I'm just a control freak!