Robert's Virtual

Building a Virtual Network - Part II

VMWare Server 2.0 user interface overview

VMWare Server 2.0 uses a web interface to manage virtual machines. The UI is laid out well and not difficult to navigate. We won't go over each and every piece of the UI, but will hit on the ones that are important to make immediate use of your virtual network. Here are the four major areas of the UI.

  • Menu Bar - Collection of menu selections and tool bar icons that give some basic management functions. All functions provided here can be managed elsewhere.
  • Inventory Pane - Listing of your host machine and the created virtual machines. You first select one of your VM's before you can manage or obtain any stats for it.
  • Tabbed Pane - Consists of the Summary, Console, Tasks, Events and Permissions tab. We're mainly concerned with the Summary and Console tabs.
  • Status / Commands Pane - This area allows you to take snapshots of and configure your VM, add hardware and install VMWare Tools. Also, you can get some basic info on the state of the selected VM.
    VMWare user interface
    VMWare User Interface
  • Lets go over a few notes of interest.

  • Status and Command Pane
    - This takes a restore point of your VM. Be advised it doesn't keep an inventory of several snapshots, only one. So, each subsequent snapshot overwrites the previous. Let's say, for example that you want to experiment with display options in Ubuntu, take a snapshot beforehand. Should you render the display unusable, a snapshot will save the day.
    Configure VM - Clicking this brings up some useful tools to manage the VM via the General, Power, Snapshot and Advance tabs. We're interested in the Power and Snapshot tabs. Two items on the Power tab that are usegful are the BIOS setup and Advanced on areas. When checked, the "Enter BIOS setup ..." will enter the VM's BIOS on next boot. Useful if you want to force the VM to boot from CD. "Synchronize guest time ..." check box will sync guest OS with the Host. Good for keeping clocks in sync. On the Snapshot tab you can lock the current snapshot, preventing it being overwritten.
    Configure VM dialog
    Configure VM

    Add Hardware - This is where you can add additional hardware to your VM, Most hardware has a "Connect at Power on" checkbox. If left unchecked, your newly added hardware won't be "seen" by the guest OS.
  • Tabbed Pane
    Summary Tab
    - Allows you to view and edit existing hardware. When the VM is running you will not be able to make any changes, however you can still view hardware devices.
  • Console Tab - This is where you activate an interactive session with your VM. Clicking anywhere in the pane powers on the VM, clicking again opens up the VM for editing. Also, there are two areas on tab that will open the VM in normal or in full screen mode.
    the console tab
    Console tab

Now that we are comfortable with VMWare's UI let's delve deeper into networking ...

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