One of the companies making hay while the concept of virtualization shines is Vmware. They are closely followed by Micorosoft. I personally have had a chance to work on Vmware products, namely Vmware Workstation, Vmware ESX Server, Vmware Virtual Center and Vmware Lab Manager. I am not into lab administration but some how I have this love for computer hardware and labs.
I will describe how to resolve common errors which Vmware users face but at a later point of the time. First for the benift of those who don't know much about this technology, let me explain you in a nut shell what different products do.
Vmware workstation: You can install this software on your personal desktop or laptop which has some or the other operating system already installed, say Windows. Now using vmware workstation you can creat a virtual machine which will live on your host operating system (windows). In this virtual machine, you can have any other OS you want, for example linux. This Virtual machine works as a seprate machine in it self. You decide how much hardware resources you want to allocate to this virtual machine. This is a very good way for people who seldom require working on two different operating systems.
Vmware ESX server: This is a better and much advanced version of Vmware workstation. This is mainly usefull for organizations and not much for individual users. Unlike Vmware workstation, VMware ESX server does not need any host operating system. it installs directly on the hardware. Once the ESX server is installed, you can create "n" number of Virtual machines on it, with different operating systems of you choice. The number of virtual machines will but off course depend on your hardware and the performance you want from the virtual machine. However, it is very easy to increase RAM and CPU allocation in a virtual machine at any point. I have a server with 16 GB RAM, and on that I am hosting more than 12 Virtual machines at any given point of time. All you need is some extra GBs of hard disk.
Vmware Virtual Center and Vmware Lab Manager:
These two software are basically used by lab admins to administer the virtual lab infrastructure. One can do anything and everything from these softwares like creating, deleting, cloning, migrating virtual machines, License management, etc.
The most amazing feature Vmware products offer is the snap shot feature. If you thought that you cannot go back in time, then Vmware has some other thoughts for you. I just love these feature. Once I have my virtual machines with all the softwares and settings I need, I just take a snapshot of the same. After that I can revert to this snapshot any time I want to, even if I get BSOD on my virtual machine. This feature has made me some what fearless at work. I know, that even if I screw up, I can get back to the last stable check point anytime I want to. I just need to keep taking snapshots at regular/correct time.
Another feature I looooooovvveee in Vmware is of cloning. It makes life so simple. You can clone any virtual machine or create templates of virtual machines and then deploy any number of virtual machines you want to from these templates. It hardly takes 15 minutes for me to get a new virtual machine using cloning.