How to Setup a Virtualization Lab (II)

As mentioned at the end of my previous article, the installation of my lab continued with the creation of virtual machines on the desktop computer. But this time I used VMware and VirtualBox to explore the possibility of using a set of virtualized servers across different and competing virtualization technologies.

I insisted on the network configuration details because that is the basis of all the work ahead; a single virtual machine may be important but I want to show how they can work together and therefore the correct network configuration of paramount importance.

Import a Virtual Machine into VMware

I started by installing a VM on VMware Workstation. Better yet, I took advantage of what was previously done and used the generalized .vhd file I left behind! Since VMware does not directly support the use of .vhd files, I had to convert the file from the format used by Hyper-V (Virtual Hard Disk, i.e., .vhd) to the format used by VMware (Virtual Machine Disk, i.e., .vmdk).

The VMware vCenter Converter Standalone utility is a free application which can be obtained directly from VMware’s official site but doesn’t solve the problem as it doesn’t support this type of conversion, although it can convert from other formats and even directly from servers running Hyper-V. But what interested me was to use the work already done and so I resorted to the WinImage tool.

The process was very simple:

I selected the appropriate option from the Disk menu and select the proper source file;


I set a dynamically expandable disk size;

Finally, I chose the format and the final location of the converted file. Notice I had already created a folder with the name I'll give this VM and it was there that I placed the converted file, LAB-NODE3.vmdk.

The conversion process took just over 10 minutes and now I had a disk that could be used to create a new VM in VMware. The LAB-NODE3.vmdk file can also be used as a source to create clones of VMs in VMware but the truth is that VMware includes its own cloning  tool and is therefore a matter of personal choice to do it manually or via the wizard. The creation of the new VM was easy but I will detail the major steps:

I started the installation wizard and chose the new VM typical installation:

Of course I didn’t want to install any OS because I was going to use a disk with everything already done;

Selected the correct OS;

I named my new VM and in the Location box I picked a folder previously created with the same name and where I placed the LAB-NODE3.vmdk file that resulted from the previous conversion process. The system warned me about the existence of another file and I obviously clicked ... Continue;


The disk size didn’t matter but I selected single file to make things easier later on;

Now, after reviewing my choices, I clicked Finish;

The VM was automatically created but I had to change its settings;

I removed the hard-LAB-NODE3-0.vmdk file
And then added the correct one; LAB-NODE3.vmdk;

Keeping the existing format, just in case…

With the deletion of the no longer needed LAB-NODE3-0.vmdk file (hence the choice for a single file earlier), I concluded the import of a VM created in Hyper-V into VMware!

Import a Virtual Machine into VirtualBox

Importing a virtual machine from Hyper-V for VirtualBox is extremely simple because this hypervisor has full support for the VHD format. The steps are summarized as follows:

Creating a new VM giving it the desired name and identifying the type of OS;
Choose the option to use an existing disk. In this case, like I did above, I copied the LAB-DC.vhd file into a new folder and renamed it to LAB-NODE4.vhd

And voila, the new VM is created and can now adjust some of the other options available.

VirtualBox Options
However, I didn’t use this VM because I have also installed Windows Storage Server 2008 in VirtualBox and that was the VM I used, as I will explain ahead.

Let us now see how to connect these new VMs to the network;

Network connection in VirtualBox

In VirtualBox’s VM the network was configured as follows:
  VirtualBox Networks

The option for bridged networking makes VirtualBox connect to the network card without going through the host OS network protocols, as shown schematically in the following figure:

Bridged Networking
That is, the VM will connect directly to the router and request an IP via DHCP.

Network connection in VMware

The network configuration in VMware was:

VMWare Networks  
It is also bridged networking, ie, is exactly the same situation as explained to VirtualBox. The VM got full access to the network and received an IP from the router via DHCP.

The result was a situation where the VMs installed on the desktop can see the outside network and receive IP from the router but cannot directly see the Hyper-V VMs.
External Virtual Networks

Reconfiguration of Virtual Networks

To put all VMs on an equal footing all it took was to change the network settings on the laptop sharing the VLAN connection, giving it network direct access bypassing the Physical Connection.

Host Network Settings Tweaked 
And this was the end result:
  External Virtual Networks

Now all my machines were on the same subnet receiving the IP from the router via DHCP.

Next step: Create a Failover Cluster.

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