Written by Ryan J. Gordon on
Last week in my programming class, I spent much of my time working on a server for a shop client. Paul and I were both assigned with the task of setting-up, configuring, and managing a Dell Poweredge 1950. Our goal was to successfully configure for hard-drives (2 in RAID 1 together, the other 2 each in separate RAID 0), and then install VMware's ESXi 5.5 server operating system on it. Upon installation of the ESXi, we then setup the vSphere Center Control software on a machine and setup a LAN between it and the server. At this point, we needed to install Windows 7 on a virtual machine and configure it as a template for future VMs. The template was configured to maximum performance, with all non-essential services stripped, the paging file disabled (16 gigabytes of RAM renders it completely pointless), hibernation disabled, indexing disabled, and other changes.
Working with the server was an interesting experience, issues recognizing all the RAID drives, installation issues with ESXi, among other things, were but a few of the obstacles that we had to overcome. The first attempt we made at installing the ESXi operating system failed in a spectacular downward spiral of caught exceptions and incompatibility. When we attempted to install it for the second time, we used a custom image provided by Dell themselves. This time, the installation hanged on a RAID controller driver. After remedying this, we finally got ESXi successfully installed on the server.
Configuring the vSphere Hypervisor software was trivial, and only took a matter of moments. We connected the Hypervisor machine to the server and set them up on a LAN with the Hypervisor machine as 192.168.1.1 and the server as 192.168.1.2. Creating the Windows 7 template was a simple matter of manipulating Windows, and due to my in-depth familiarity with the operating system it was relatively simple and was not much of a struggle- however, it was a bit tedious.
At this point, version 1.0 of the server configuration was finished. The next step is to set-up the other VMs and make any needed revisions.