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Old 29-06-2020, 03:17 PM   #1
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VMWare Workstation Player

Hi,

I am a getting a new laptop and exploring the possibility of abstracting my home desktop from my hardware to allow "lift and shift" to any hardware including use of AWS in future. The motivation is really my laziness to reinstall all my programs and files everytime I upgrade my machine.

I am looking to install either VMWare Workstation Player or VirtualBox but at this point here VMWare seems to be the better option

Desktop running on Win 10 Home.
To run Workstation Player
VM 1: MacOS
VM 2: Win10

Scenario 1:
Change laptop means I just simply snapshot and install on new PC with Win 10 and Workstation installed?

Scenario 2:
Backing up simply means taking snapshots?

I understand snapshot is only available in Workstation Pro. Likely I will purchase it when I need to upgrade in future.

I'm open to alternative setups
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Old 29-06-2020, 07:26 PM   #2
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Hi,

I am a getting a new laptop and exploring the possibility of abstracting my home desktop from my hardware to allow "lift and shift" to any hardware including use of AWS in future. The motivation is really my laziness to reinstall all my programs and files everytime I upgrade my machine.

I am looking to install either VMWare Workstation Player or VirtualBox but at this point here VMWare seems to be the better option

Desktop running on Win 10 Home.
To run Workstation Player
VM 1: MacOS
VM 2: Win10

Scenario 1:
Change laptop means I just simply snapshot and install on new PC with Win 10 and Workstation installed?

Scenario 2:
Backing up simply means taking snapshots?

I understand snapshot is only available in Workstation Pro. Likely I will purchase it when I need to upgrade in future.

I'm open to alternative setups
Generally virtual machines setup pertaining to the way you wanted it wouldn't work especially well for you. The main issue is GPU performance will be subpar due to lack of PCI/GPU passthrough offered for most Type 2 hypervisors.

VMWare Workstation and VirtualBox are Type 2 hypervisors. You may read up on the hypervisors types differences here @ https://searchservervirtualization.t...-2-hypervisors

First of all, under Apple EULA, you are not suppose to run Apple Mac OS X on top of non-apple products. Next even if you do virtualise Mac OS X on Apple products, the performance is subpar because Mac OS X on Parallels Desktop and VMWare Fusion doesn't offer good graphical performance. Mac OS X will not work OTTB on VMWare Workstation on Windows host without a unsanctioned patch to VMWare Workstation. I could be mistaken, but Mac OS X will not work on VMWare Player. If what you are pursuing is stability and ease, then Mac OS X will be best on Apple products.

Windows 10 is fine as virtual machine, but don't expect any graphical performance to be top notch without at least GPU passthrough. Even GPU passthrough will have slight performance degradation, but acceptable if you are trying to achieve consolidated computing experience.

In your case, GPU/PCI passthrough is best achieved using VMWare ESXi. However VMWare ESXi is a baremetal Type 1 hypervisor, meaning you will not boot up your laptop into a working desktop environment. Type 1 hypervisor are designed more for servers in headless server environments. Even Type 1 Hyper-V are mostly to function as a headless setup, despite Windows Server isn't exactly GUI-less.

So far, my experience with virtualise environments on both Windows Server and Mac OS X, anything not dependent on PCI/GPU is fine. Graphical performance is heavyweight, so any good modern desktop experience will always feel subpar with caveats.

Both your scenarios are common and nothing new, but just be noted on what you are missing out in the process of pursuing such setup.
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Old 29-06-2020, 07:51 PM   #3
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Hey thanks for your insights. Ya there is likely a performance hit on type 2 hypervisor.

So theoretically I would tier out my applications based on performance

Eg
Tier 1: performance sensitive apps/Games would be running on host OS. Reinstalling games on new machines is relatively easy since most gaming records and data is kept online

Tier 2: non performance sensitive apps on VMs that I will have to reinstall on a new machine
I was hoping to run this thru type 2 and lift and shift if needed.

I wonít be commenting on the EULAs coming from the hackintosh community.

On a side note you know of any backup solution that facilitates lift and shift to a new hardware without the need to reinstall the whole works?
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Old 29-06-2020, 09:25 PM   #4
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... On a side note you know of any backup solution that facilitates lift and shift to a new hardware without the need to reinstall the whole works?
I am not aware of such backup and restore solution unless the hardware spec don't change. The main issues will be drivers for the target hardware. That is why virtualisation exist to provide consistent abstraction of the hardware for portability.

If your OS has support for multiple hardwares or provides for automatic update of the drivers in the case of a newly detected hardware component, then existing backup and restoration solutions will work. Windows generally have lesser of such issue, unless the hardware configuration change is too drastic and affects even the booting processing.

Actually it would seems you are trying to tackle a multitude of issues with an unified solution, which obviously doesn't yield good results. Unfortunately the technological industry has not arrive at a homogenous platform yet, so expect some tinkering along the way. Otherwise stick with norms and common denomination for best portability, not best performance.
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Old 30-06-2020, 12:54 AM   #5
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Yea realize what Iím trying to do is more enterprise grade similar to using vsphere.

Was thinking since workstation works with vsphere which would be extensible with VMware cloud on AWS allowing me to lift and shift easily, vdi or even burst to aws if necessary.

Certainly sounds like a fun experiment. Thx again for your tots on the matter bro.
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Old 30-06-2020, 03:29 AM   #6
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Yea realize what Iím trying to do is more enterprise grade similar to using vsphere.

Was thinking since workstation works with vsphere which would be extensible with VMware cloud on AWS allowing me to lift and shift easily, vdi or even burst to aws if necessary.

Certainly sounds like a fun experiment. Thx again for your tots on the matter bro.
If that is what you wanted to do, by all means, venture.

Just a note. You can't image Windows 10 Home edition in AWS. M$ licensing issue. In fact I was under the impression only Windows Server is allowed, but it would seems https://gist.github.com/peterforgacs...07b2283cd31777 indicate otherwise, still feel to find out more on it.

AWS Support Server Migration Service if you need. In any case, all these are one-way ticket. It will be a separate server in the cloud. IMHO the intention for such solution are more for migration and disaster recovery, rather than trying to be flexible. Of course, how you decide to make it cost effective for you is up to you.

Another will be https://aws.amazon.com/ec2/vm-import/. Tried this before in the past, but it ain't hassle free. You will always need to deal with drivers issues since AWS instances are not going to be the same as what you using locally.

Using your first post as a gauge, I somehow feel the objective has deviated, not unless that is what you intended. Throwing in Vsphere wouldn't be just a single system architecture. You will be dealing with at least one ESXi bare metal server, as well the Vsphere vCenter separate system. My venture in the past is merely just ESXi alone, and that serve my purpose for awhile.

Venture apart, I think you will need to give some thoughts on what you are trying to achieve. The initiate idea of just a laptop running VMware Workstation, doesn't have Vsphere involved. The solution between VMware Workstation and Vsphere (with ESXi) is for development between environments made possible. If you start out with your VM guests running in your workstation, it would seems weird to deploy the guests into ESXi unless you don't intend for the guest to continue running in your laptop. vSphere migration into AWS is yet another level.

If you are at the stage of exploring using a virtual guest to allow for easy migration from one physical machine to another, without resorting to reinstallation of the applications, all the discussion before wouldn't be an ideal fit. It's like using an axe to kill a chicken.
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Old 30-06-2020, 10:39 AM   #7
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I did something similar for Wordpress/Woo CMS so right now I'm fully abstracted from the IaaS layer. That said that was way easier. I can only imagine if today consumers can lift and shift their laptop. I mean enterprise did it, mobile OS did it so why not consumer pcs?

I've taking a MVP approach so will just fulfil what I need to tier out my applications that requires lift and shift and offer extensibility to AWS. But you are spot on on using an axe to kill a chicken though. The solution will be pretty since it's enterprise grade but too heavy/costly for consumers.

Peeped into the VM WS community chats and looks has its fair share of issues too. Exploring free eSXi as well.
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Old 30-06-2020, 12:21 PM   #8
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I did something similar for Wordpress/Woo CMS so right now I'm fully abstracted from the IaaS layer. That said that was way easier. I can only imagine if today consumers can lift and shift their laptop. I mean enterprise did it, mobile OS did it so why not consumer pcs?

I've taking a MVP approach so will just fulfil what I need to tier out my applications that requires lift and shift and offer extensibility to AWS. But you are spot on on using an axe to kill a chicken though. The solution will be pretty since it's enterprise grade but too heavy/costly for consumers.

Peeped into the VM WS community chats and looks has its fair share of issues too. Exploring free eSXi as well.
Demand and supply. There is very few of such enterprising requirements in the consumer space, and also, there is no good solution to it that comes cheap either. If there is no big $$$ in the consumer space for such requirements, there is no reason to dump in all the research and support into that area. Not surprising at all.

Enterprise space is norm because companies normally pay top $$$ for such kind of implementations and the business requirements and risk can stomach it.

Mobile wise is different. Today the common platforms are simply Android and iOS. Windows mobile is out, Blackberry is not in focus, Linux mobile OS is still an emerging odd ball. If your mobile space is as convoluted as the general desktop/laptop space, it will be a lot more difficult too. That being said, between one android to another, the changes are not all that big. If you are shifting from Android to iOS or vice versa, the migration wouldn't entirely smooth unless you stick with some common services. Mobile environments are still very well controlled, quite unlikely all the bells and whistles and different configuration you can have in the general computing arena.

If you are just treating AWS like yet another virtual hosting company, then what you are trying to do still works. However that is just a very narrow use case of AWS. Throw in a larger architecture that involves multiple systems and involves multiple managed services, the scenario will be quite different.

For example, I wouldn't be setting up my own database on any instances unless there is a clear advantage as oppose to using fully managed RDS. My own bespoke solution will choose S3 to persist long term data as oppose to storing them in DB, or files, or setup my own NAS/SAN solution. Neither will I be using my own email system if I can use SES or other email providers outside of AWS like mailchimp/mandrill. When architecting in manual cloud environments like Azure and AWS, I will make use of their scaling out architecture instead of static instance solutions. For those whom prefer dockers chooses ECS, prefer Kubernates choses EKS and so much more.

In the end, the one-to-one migration from VMs into cloud is not all that simple, and neither will you stop at it if you truly wants to embrace the cloud platform, right ?

For consumers, such techniques aren't attractive for there is little use cases for it. Most consumers will not even want to run their environments in the cloud remotely yet. That is like going back to thin clients with mainframes. Cloud initiative is definitely doing that, with introduction of solutions like Chrome OS, but Chrome OS isn't big time yet. Cloud providers offer solutions like AWS Workspaces, Azure WVD, the good old Citrix VDI, but all these are more for corporate consolidation to modernise the on-prem infrastructure, not a consumer space initiative.

Until we have some technology more compelling and homogenous to offer, I don't foresee consumer going back to the mainframe days yet. It may happen for general computing eventually. We have already observd the gaming industry is going this direction; Steam, Google Stadia, Geforce Now, Project xCloud are moving towards it.

So you see, for ease of use for consumer, it is not likely system migration. It's back to the good old mainframe days. Thin clients, thick servers in the cloud.

For your own knowledge, I think you can venture for your own use case, but I really doubt it is the eventual direction for everyone, since it is so much easier to just have a system that works in the cloud with high network bandwidth everywhere. I feel it is the direction for metropolis, while it will take quite awhile in the suburbs.
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Old 13-07-2020, 02:17 PM   #9
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Was spending the weekend deploying WS. You are spot on on the "Thin clients, thick servers" model. Cloud wise I will likely just save my snapshot on Glacier for offsite purposes.

This seems to be the only workable solution for now. Thanks again for your insights
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Old 13-07-2020, 05:06 PM   #10
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Was spending the weekend deploying WS. You are spot on on the "Thin clients, thick servers" model. Cloud wise I will likely just save my snapshot on Glacier for offsite purposes.

This seems to be the only workable solution for now. Thanks again for your insights
Glacier ? S3 you mean ?

Will it be applicable to you, run a Windows server or Linux server in AWS EC2. Off it when you don't need it ? When you are not running the server, you are only charged for the cost of the EBS volume. Lets assume you need 100GB of space in Singapore region, that will be USD12/month.

If you learn some basic AWS API commands which could be easily coded on an unix environment via shell script, or if you prefer using Python or JS SDK. You can easily start/stop the instances, perform EBS snapshot and then deprovision the instances, provision by recovering from EBS snapshot. EBS snapshots are stored in S3, you will be paying a lower cost at USD5/month.

The difference approaches is how responsive you get your machine start and stop remotely.

For computing power, you can choose on-demand, or spot pricing. Spot has it caveats, but generally works for me for short workload.
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Old 15-07-2020, 12:03 AM   #11
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Yup glacier is subsumed under S3 now. Essentially I'm looking only at VM import/export for cheap off-site storage. About a buck per tb. I'm strictly using this as a consumer and not doing this for horizontal scaling purposes so won't be heading towards EC2.

The original intent really is to abstract myself from my hardware hv a off-site snapshot.

peeling thru VMware workstation documentation at the moment to see if I can automate the off-site snapshot.
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Old 15-07-2020, 03:31 AM   #12
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Yup glacier is subsumed under S3 now. Essentially I'm looking only at VM import/export for cheap off-site storage. About a buck per tb. I'm strictly using this as a consumer and not doing this for horizontal scaling purposes so won't be heading towards EC2.

The original intent really is to abstract myself from my hardware hv a off-site snapshot.

peeling thru VMware workstation documentation at the moment to see if I can automate the off-site snapshot.
be noted that while glacier is subsumed under s3, it is purely technical feature and marketing. the cost to retrieve from glacier still exists as before. Retrieving from glacier before 90 day maturity has penalty and not immediate too. If it is for archival, that is fine, but if it is for thinking glacier cost less, you will be surprised
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Old 22-07-2020, 10:11 AM   #13
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If don't wan any VMware or anything.
U just backup and restore back to any machine using arcronis.
Is it a paid software but u can get it at 2sgd at taobao.

I got mine there and working great.
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