Everything you need to know about VMware Workstation, from guest systems to network configuration. VMware software lets users run multiple operating systems (and their applications) simultaneously on one computer. Technically reviewed and developed in cooperation with VMware, Inc., The Book of VMware is a comprehensive guide to installing and running VMware. It includes sections on device emulation, configuring guest operating systems, networking, and troubleshooting.
Review By: Danny R. Faught 06/23/2010"The Book of VMware" documents version 3 of VMware, Inc.’s VMware Workstation product. VMware allows the user to run one or more “guest” operating systems on a single computer at the same time as the "host" operating system. This product has a following among software testers, because it can reduce the amount of hardware required to run tests on different operating systems, even allowing the different operating systems to be networked together as if they were separate machines. For example, you can run Linux on a Windows host, Windows on a Linux host, and even different configurations of one operating system on top of the same type of operating system as the host. Other possible guest systems include the BSD variants, Solaris, and a few others.
The only documentation that comes with VMware is the online help file, plus a knowledge base on the company’s website. This book is an independent source of additional documentation on how to use the product. The book covers all host and guest operating systems supported by VMware version 3, giving system administration tips for tasks frequently performed by VMware users.
"The Book of VMware" discusses installing the software on Windows and Linux, and gives an overview of the virtual hardware environment. It covers each supported guest system, giving the most coverage to the ones that are the most popular. The book has two chapters on networking, which is a subject that frequently frustrates VMware users, plus a chapter on transferring data via other means. The book wraps up with some random troubleshooting hints.
I wish I had had a book like "The Book of VMware" to help me through my early frustrations, as I began using VMware Workstation with version 1.1. While the book proves to be a decent reference, I'm disappointed that it covers only version 3 of the software, and VMware is now selling version 4.
However, the book is still useful for version 4 users, as it details some very useful features that I didn't realize the software supported. For example, I read in the book that I could mount an ISO image as a virtual CD-ROM device in a guest OS. This came in very useful when I encountered a disk media error while trying to install Linux. Thanks to the information provided in the book, I was able to mount the ISO image across the network from the machine that I had used to burn the CD. I continued the installation without a hitch, perhaps even faster than I would have using a real CD, and Linux never knew that I had altered the CD-ROM configuration mid-stream.
The book still doesn't cover everything that I'd like it to. While the book offers details about three different networking configurations, it doesn't offer readers instructions about how to tell VMware which networking option to chose. However, I was able to find a simple answer to this question in VMware's online help. Even with the book, networking is still a likely source of frustration for VMware users.
The general writing of the book is rough around the edges and vague in a several places. My favorite example is the phrase "usually never" on page 120. But overall, the book is a suitable reference for the often-mysterious VMware.