So, you want to set up a virtualized SharePoint 2010 farm on your Windows 7 host. I’m sure you’ve done your homework and secured a beefy host machine (minimum of 8GB RAM, multi-core 64-bit processor, and tons of disk space for your VMs on a dedicated spindle), and you’ve readied your install media for Windows Server 2008 R2, SQL Server 2008, and SharePoint 2010. Now you’re ready to download your virtualization software to get started.
A word of warning – you won’t be using Microsoft Virtual PC for Windows 7 to host your VMs.
Yes, really. It turns out that Microsoft Virtual PC for Windows 7 only emulates 32-bit processors, even if your host machine is running a 64-bit OS on a 64-bit processor. This really puts a hamper on trying to install Windows Server 2008 R2 on a VM, which requires a 64-bit processor to run.
So, VMWare it is?
Indeed. And if you’re like me, and looking to get away with creating your VMs for free, that means installing VMWare Server software on your Windows 7 host. While this arrangement does seem to work fairly well, it also comes with a few bumps in the road that you will want to consider.
Ye Olde List of Considerations for VMWare Server Running on Windows 7
- If your computer isn’t on a domain, you can use a local administrator account to log into the admin console. I didn’t realize this at first, and had to search for how to log into the admin webpage.
- You’ll need to either use FireFox or Internet Explorer to run the VM console plug-in (as far as I can tell) – sorry, Chrome users.
- If you do choose to use IE, you’ll need to temporarily disable the protected mode for the zone in which your server address lives (for me, it was “Internet Zone”), and you’ll need to add the URL for getting to the admin console to your trusted sites. Once you load up the console (via plug-in you have to download), you can re-enable protected mode for your zone, and it doesn’t seem to gripe about protected mode thereafter (I’m not entirely sure why, but that’s how it went down for me).
Now, Go Forth and Virtualize!
I’m still in the process of getting a SharePoint 2010 development farm up and running in virtual form – I’ll post more findings as I come across them, and perhaps a more refined method for standing up the virtualized farm.
Edit: I have since been shown the light that is VirtualBox. It's an open-source virutal client that works a lot like VMWare Workstation, and it's fast, and it leaves a really small footprint on your host OS. Give it a try, you'll love it!