I always go on about the virtues of VMWare. While I think it’s cool as hell that I can run different OS on a single computer, it finally dawned on me that I can use it for one of its intended purposes, server consolidation.
I had a network layout like so where I had several older, smaller PC’s serving a single purpose scattered throughout my network. This can get to be a headache to manage, not to mention expensive on the old electricity bill. Fortune has smiled on me, however, since I happened to have acquired a beefier Dell Poweredge server some time ago. While it is antiquated by today’s standards, it will work nicely in consolidating all these little floating PC’s I had doing menial tasks such as SSH serving and Squid proxying.
Using the free VMWare Server release, consolidating couldn’t be any easier. Simply set up a VM for whatever machine you choose, and either image that VM from the existing machine, or setup a fresh instance and migrate data/processes over. In my case, I chose the latter due to some goofiness with the existing setups and some broken package upgrades (not too bad considering some of these machines have been running processes for several years, and have gone through a few major distro upgrades).
Once setup, the VM instance can be set to startup when the host machine starts up by setting the startup option under the VM settings, Option Tab, and Startup/Shutdown option. That’s it.
Well, that’s not exactly it; I did run into 1 serious problem. Apparently the VMWare Registration Service kept failing to start. When I checked the Event Log, I would see the following error:
The VMware Registration Service service depends on the VMware Authorization Service service which failed to start because of the following error:
After starting, the service hung in a start-pending state.
What the hell is this? After some searching, and not finding any real applicable suggestions, I did manage to come across a decent solution on the VMWare forums (sorry, I don’t have the exact post). Basically, if you set the VMWare Authorization Service and the VMWare Registration Service to manual startup, you can set a scheduled task like below to run on System Startup. This corrected the issue for me. The actual Schedule Task Run command is as follows:
cmd /k "ping -n 61 localhost & net.exe start "vmware registration service""
Now, I have the Virtual Machine running under the 1 server, avoiding the need to have several machines scattered around my domicile. It definitely cuts down on the amount of heat generated, however the server itself is pretty loud. But, I can’t complain, maintenance is much easier now, and if you’re in the same boat, a decent server can be had on E-Bay for under a grand.