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1.2 Four VM Sample’s

Let me review the reason for learning about VM’s  before we continue. We use VM technology in my class so that you do not trash your real computer while learning. Every aspect of  the ProactiveUser process is done on a virtual machine. If you take my class I give you a USB drive with everything installed on it. You can take it home after every class and can review the days material. If you create your own USB drive  you have the same results however, you need to install the VM operating system. An example would be: You have a Vista host real computer that will be used with a XP VM client. You will need to install the client XP operating system on your host systems USB drive using Virtual PC 2007. ( this is done in the class and will not be reviewed here).

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Before we review the four VM sample systems that we will cover  let us take a quick look at how my network is setup. The image below is my entire network as it was at the time of this writing.

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At first glance it may not seem as anything unusual exists however, the only computers that are “real” are the two highlighted in yellow all the others are VM’s. The three VM’s highlighted in light gray are being hosted by real computer HDX4ANI. The four computers that are highlighted in light blue are hosted by VIRTUALMOM.  This allows me to have nine computers running tasks with only two real computers. Let’s move on to the samples below.

    1- The test system
    2- Special use system
    3- Legacy system
    4- Archival system
    Plus you Save Money

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The Test System
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Test systems comprise the majority of my VM’s . They allow me to quickly place a new system on line and test something without the cost of hardware or worry of screwing something up.  As I stated earlier my entire class is run on a VM. This saves money and allows users to get back online fast in the event of a system failure (which aways happens).

Let’s take a look a the VM I use in class (“proactivexp”). The Virtual PC Console below (lower left) is one of two I use for configuring all seven of the VM’s you saw in the previous image. Once the console entry is selected the VM start it’s boot process.

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Once the boot process is complete and we have logged in we are presented with a standard Windows XP Pro desktop.  All of the features and capabilities you would expect from this type of system are available.

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If you look at the folder list of this VM you can see it looks just like any computer might look. There are two shared volumes and the list of shared printers.

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Clicking on your network places brings up a list of computers just like it would on any system.  Using a VM or a real computer gives you the same results.

Clicking on the “pu00” my computer icon in the upper left brings up a visual list by icons (if you have the view set that way) of all the drives, shares and folders just. Like a real computer. As you work with VM’s operation will be second nature to you because you will think you are on a “real computer”.

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Let’s take a look at how our VM will perform.  In our XP Pro test system we have several applications installed that may tax the VM like  Photoshop and Cadkey 99 . These will take a lot of cpu cycles if run at the same time.  If you open the task manager you can see on startup  we had 1264828K available out of the 15355472K that was allocated to this VM. A small amout of  Paged memory is also in use. Only 5% of the cpu cycles are used.

Now we have started Photoshop and Cadkey 99 and  we have brought the memory usage up slighty however, the cpu cycles are at 100%. This indicates these appplications are cpu intensive. After a few minutes the cpu cycles will settle down to 50% so the VM’s  will be ready for more applications. When you get with 90% of physical memory or cpu use it is time to start shutting applications down or increasing the memory in the virtual pc configuration file.

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Well that is an snapshot of what using a VM for testing is like.  Your configuration could be anything you like within the limitations of the software just like a real computer. So the next time you  need to see if a configuration will work make a test VM and eliminate the chance of trashing your real system. Once you make a VM you can store it for later use, transfer it to another computer or add/remove applications and save it under another name and simply make a new virtual pc configuration giving you another VM.  This process can be repeated over and over again and you can make VM’s that run a different operation system.

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Lets look a Windows XP Pro special use system next.

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Special Use System

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This VM (“CAD_APPS”) has been designed to solve a problem I have with my CAD systems. I worked on computer based 3D mechanical design systems from 1983 until 1997 and aquired a lot of experience on several systems. Occasionally I need to translate a design for someone or use a design for advertising or training. Well the four applications I use take a lot of disk space and are dated from 1987 to 2009 and will not necessarily run on every version of Windows so I made a master VM on a operating system they all worked on and now I use this VM whenever I need to use them. I can move this VM from one system to another or run it on a server.
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In the above image I transfered a shaded surface model from a 12 year old CAD system into a wireframe model in a 3 year old version Adobe Acrobat. Instead of trying to get these software programs running on a new Window 7 install I just start up the VM Cad system. This bypasses the problem (and costs) of a getting  a twelve year old program that is no longer made working with a 3 year old Adobe product in the new Windows 7.  You do not need to pay for any upgrades Just start up the VM you need. This VM is a Windows XP Pro  system .  Use a  specialty VM if you have software that spans a long life and is still used regularly.

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Legacy System

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My legacy systems are very similar to a Special VM except all the software is from one time period (and still produced). This sample is one I created for all my Intuit application. This eliminates buying upgrades and re-learning applications I already know. I have several clients using this type of VM. If you know how to use everything and it does what you need leave it alone is my belief.  Remember you are at the mercy of big software companies who need there upgrade stream to pay for technical support however, many software providers will supply support at a cost.

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This VM is built around a copy of  Windows 2000 Pro which is 10 years old . It still works fine if you want to build a VM like this. ( I review the technique in my class)

 

 As you can see from the above screen this VM has a old copy of Quicken, Quickbooks ,Family Lawyer and Filemaker installed and they all work fine.  You may think that why not just install the old copies on a new real computer running Windows 7 or Vista and screw around trying to get them working. In most cases this makes no sense being that they already work fine on the legacy VM and you probably will not get them working anyway . Use your new system as a very fast host and only install your latest applications on it. Remember you have to mess with this installation of these old applications every time you get a new machine. This way you just install Virtual PC and you are up and running in a few minutes at most.


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Archival System

This is the most complicated of all my VM’s and I only recommend you do this if you know what you are doing. ( I review this in my class) 

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This VM (“NT4S_SA1p”) was created from a backup of a server that was taken out of service in 2001. All the applications, data and operating system (Windows NT4 Server) are as they were on there last day of use. The VM file was made by turning the old backup of the server into a file compatible with VM’s.  This is done with translators. You could re-install all the original software however, it is  doubtful that you would have every program required.

The applications still run as can be seen below.  Here I have started up a version of Arcserve from that time era and can select a session or files from a session  to be recovered at that point in time. I can restore the required file if I have access to a tape drive that could be mounted to the host and seen by the client.  This may be a problem with some hardware.  You can mount the tape drive on the host and share it (if supported). This will show up as a shared device in the client. The same applies to USB and Firewire. The key here is you have a complete running system that can take you back to a point in time with little work or cost.

The image below is of a 10 year old application that started up first try. If you look at the center dialog you will see the date of May 5 2000. Not bad for a just started up VM that has been created off of a 10 year old backup. How else could you recreate a point in time like this without hardware and software?


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Virtual Machines  Save You Time,   Resources And  Money. Learn To Use Them.

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That is the end of the section on Virtual Machines if you have comments please feel free to let me no what you think.

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DON’T WASTE TIME LEARN TO BE A PROACTIVEUSER NOT A REACTIVE TAIL CHASER!

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copyright © 2010 alienconcepts inc

7 comments on “1.2 Four VM Sample’s

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    Thanks for your needed input. This blog has turned into a test bed for my classes. I will be starting classes again this fall with hopes of people coming. Long term I may try making it a online class you can take. What bothers me the most is not enough people pay attention. They just stumble around chasing their tails. IF YOUR CAR FAILS YOU CAN RENT ONE. IF YOUR COMPUTER FAILS YOU ARE IN REAL TROUBLE UNLESS YOU ARE PROACTIVE.

    Thanks again.

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