Normally when I first hear about a new technology I jump right on it. I am always installing new software to try things. Yet, for some reason I have never installed a virtual server technology. I’ve never done anything with any virtual machines. Heck, in I have had the link to the free version of VMWare server bookmarked for almost 3 years but until this week I had never even tried to install it. What’s up with that?

As I mentioned in my prior blog posting however I have decided to dive into the land of virtual machines. My first effort was to download and install VMWare Server 2.0. It is a pretty sizable download and it runs via a web-interface and is built upon tomcat. It is kind of a beast. I installed it and got it running but it was painfully slow for me. Then, when I tried to connect to my virtual machine from within Chrome I was told to download and install a plugin but the whole server seemed to crash. Also, the normal instructions for a VMWare image didn’t work (clicking on the .vmx file) Instead I had to copy the image files into a directory under the “virtual machines” directory created by VMWare Server.

After the crash I decided to uninstall VMWare Server 2.0 and try something else. I had thought about checking out VirtualBox when I had installed Ubuntu on it’s own partition so I decided to see if a version existed for windows and sure enough one did. So I installed it and then installed Ubuntu inside a new VM. Well, I tried to. It took me about 3 or 4 efforts to get the install to actually work. And when I say installs that means re-installing VirtualBox as well. Heck, VirtualBox itself just seemd to hang on installing a few times. Finally I managed to get Ubuntu 8.1 installed but any interaction with it was painfully slow and laggy. I also couldn’t work with it in anything greater than 800x600 resolution (though I didn’t get to try the guest user tools). I tried to update the ubuntu install but it took over 13 hours to not even complete the update download (on a strong connection) so I finally aborted and decided to try something different.

A co-worker had a copy of VMWare Server 1.8 handy that I decided to install. It isn’t webbased and a few other co-workers have had some good luck with it. It installed without a problem and the ubuntu image I already had worked just fine. Now I’m finally able to start working with Ubuntu inside my VM so I can begin to dig into CruiseControl.rb - I will detail how I get that all setup in a later post. Stay Tuned.