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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Hooray For Vmware!

I am excited for computers again! Every once in a while something comes along that really changes the way you interact with computers. You know the feeling, it stops you in your tracks and makes you say, wow.

I remember when I was a kid and I first played a game called "Beach Head" on my Commodore 64. There was a level where you controlled a machine gun and the little computer guys would run at you from behind walls and throw grenades at you.
Every once in a while if you would shoot one of the little men he would yell "Medic!" or "I'm hit!". It was such a strain for that little computer to create the digitized speech that the whole game would slow down for a second or two. But my brother and I were seriously impressed. Wow!

I recently installed Vmware's Player on my little Dell laptop. If you are not familiar with Vmware and their virtualition technology then stop reading this and go to their web site. It is easily the most impressive software I have used in quite a while.

You see, I am going on vacation for two weeks (woohoo!) and will have some time to work on some coding projects during flights. I have been working on a perl/web/mySql project for my website for a while now and am getting close to finishing it. To work on it, I usually log into my remote server using ssh and work away. Works great until you aren't connected to the internet. So I thought, why not create a local server to work on while I am away from the internet?

Usually that would entail downloading a linux distro, partitioning part of my hard drive, making sure the distro has all the drivers it needs for my laptop, setting up and configuring all the tools I need, etc etc. Essentially a lot of wasted, unproductive time.

Last night I downloaded Vmware Player for free. Then I downloaded an appliance called Grandma's LAMP for free. An appliance is a full-blown pre-configured virtual server that is hosted on your machine through the player. Within minutes it was up and running.

All I had to do was go to my web server, tarball all the files for my application and download them to my laptop. Then I just copied them to my virtual
Ubuntu server using the pre-configured samba share and Voila! A completely useable local copy of my entire development environment in two hours! I am seriously impressed. And all without doing any reconfiguring on my little windows xp laptop.

And to top it off, I can take the whole virtual server and the player and copy them to a 2 gig thumb drive. Any computer I stick my USB drive into can host my development server. Wow, indeed.

1 comment:

  1. Let it also be known that the hard-drive crashed while on vacation and was perfectly fine before said Vmware was installed. Random event some might say. Dodgey, buggy, free software say it the wife!