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VMWare Test Environment Best Practices

We are considering replacing our bank of test lab computers with VMWare for each of our testers.  Is anyone using a network storage area as a repository of VMWare images?  As each image is fairly large we would like to keep these images in a central location such as a network file share. 

Are there issues with multiple testers running VMWare against the same image stored on a network share?  Or should each tester copy the VMWare image to his or her machine before using it?  As some of them are 1.5GB or larger, we would like to avoid having to copy them across the network each time a tester wanted to use a different image.

Furthermore, can anyone that is using VMWare in a multi-developer/multi-tester shop expound on what you consider to be some of the best practices for using VMWare?

Mike Hopkins
Monday, July 21, 2003

Hmm.. how many test environments do you plan to have? Lesse, a typical 80 GB drive is more than 50 environments at 1.5 GB each. Really? That many? I can't imagine that this has scaled to the need for a SAN.

And, as far as I know, you cannot run two VMs against the same image.

Brad Wilson (dotnetguy.techieswithcats.com)
Monday, July 21, 2003

You probably shouldn't try to architect this system the way you would a disk-less lan. Multiple images for VMWare test centers, a few images for diskless lans. In both diskless lans and VMWare environments you can have read only images. But you'll need temporary storage somewhere (local drives preferably) to store what changed if you don't want to lose it. If you have 100Mbps networks and you don't mind spending 5 to 10 minutes booting up each test environment it's all good.

Li-fan Chen
Monday, July 21, 2003

VMware has an option for a read-only filesystem, where all writes then go to a temp file.  To the user it appears as though the system has full read write access.

At the end of the session, the user has the option to save his writes, or discard them.

Happy to be working
Tuesday, July 22, 2003

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