so i’ve played with the vmware ESX 3.5 and 4.1 deployments, which are pretty cool although a pain to manage as you have to run the thick client from a windows box, which gave me the opportunity to also mess with vmware fusion, which i’ll get to later. the ESX systems are pretty nice, but lacked some features that i thought would be givens; notably cloning/copying virtual machines. apparently you CAN do it, but it isn’t intuitive or quick, or at least not enough that building a template system and using that to spin up new servers was any better than my kvm method. and to be fair, it looks like the new versions they are rolling out can do exactly that.
other than that, the ESX stuff is pretty cool, and the hardware it runs on is pretty varied – i was able to use an couple of old dell servers that i had laying around.
i also tried setting up the non-ESX server that vmware puts out, but it refused to install at various points. further research showed that the installer scripts needed some fairly involved modifications to get past where i was stuck. i never was able to finish building that implementation out, but i’m still trying. honestly if building it is that hard, it might not be worth doing.
vmware fusion was pretty nice. i’ve used parallels in the past when i need to run a windows app, but that was a while back and i no longer have that setup. it was nice, but i usually don’t like having to jump into a VM just to run an app, so as much as i applaud vmware for making fusion work well, i have to criticize them for not having a mac version of their management software.
funny story : a day or so after i did all of that, i had to log into a machine that is only accessible by modem. i recently upgraded to os x lion, which apparently hates the apple modem i have, so i had to use my keyspan to connect to a USR hardware modem, and the windows environment i had from vmware was able to work great with that setup. so, yay.