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VMs for Development

By Steve Jones,

Here's the scenario: you have gotten a few consulting jobs and have a couple clients. This could be your full time employment, or a side job that you perform away from another employer. You want to watch your budget, ensure you can work efficiently, and handle whatever requirements your clients may send your way. This week's question is:

How do you set up your virtual environment at home?

I think the idea of using Virtual Machines (VM) is a given these days, but do you have one VM with all your tools in it? Do you use separate VMs for each client? What about licensing? Those can be complex questions for many people, especially if your employer does not provide you with multiple license keys.

I hope that you are using VMs as having multiple computers isn't practical these days, especially as the cost of power rises. A relatively small, inexpensive desktop computer can run 5, or even 10, VMs to simulate a variety of environments. I've seen some creative uses of hypervisors and other software to simulate clusters, SANs, and even multiple domains on one host.

Let us know this week if you have some good tricks that can help someone get started with virtual machines, building a lab, choosing hardware, or easily configuring networking for their own learning efforts. Tell us what software you use, and if you don't mind sharing cost data, I'm sure others would appreciate the information.

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Steve Jones