Contents tagged with VMWare

  • Tips for doing SharePoint demos on virtual machines

    Tags: SharePoint, Windows 7, SharePoint 2010, Windows Server 2008, VMWare, Windows Server 2008 R2

    It's Friday and thought that I should share some small tips on how to make your SharePoint demonstration experience better. I assume that you have a quite powerful laptop with virtual machines running SharePoint.

    I used to do my demos directly in the virtual machine, in full screen mode. This requires that I have all the necessary client components installed such as Office, SharePoint Designer, the Windows Server Desktop Experience feature enabled etc. All this of course take resources such as memory and CPU from the virtual machine. Also Internet Explorer consumes CPU cycles and if you're using Firefox in the demo you get another memory hog in your virtual machine.

    A better approach is to use you local workstation as the client, In my case I have Windows 7 and VMWare running (yea, I like to promote them...) the virtual machines. This allows me to show a more realistic case when doing demos.

    The Network

    Networks The first tip here is how to configure the network for the virtual machines. I normally have one AD server and one SharePoint server which are connected using a separate network, so that I can use static IP addresses. Then I have a secondary network on the SharePoint VM which is host-only with known IPs, that is I can access the VM from the client using a browser or an Office application. I also have a third network on the VM which is connected to the Internet. I only enable this third NIC if I need to access web services and such from my VM.

    Then I add entries to the hosts (...\system32\drivers\etc\hosts) file with the IP numbers from the host-guest network so that I can use domain names instead of IP-numbers.

    Authentication

    I never have the host and clients on the same domain. My laptop is connected to my company's domain and the VMs all use their own directories. To get rid of annoying authentication prompts I use the Windows Vista/Windows 7 feature to store credentials - the Credential Manager.

    Credential Manager

    The Credential Manager allows you to save Windows credentials for a specific Internet or network address. Just add the name of the server, which you added to the hosts file, and then your default user username and password. Voila! You can now directly from your client/host browse to your virtual server using a good looking URL and without any authentication prompts.

    Firefox, Safari and other obscure browser does not use this credential manager and I use them to log in as other users.

    If you don't do this and log on to your server from the web browser you will be asked for the credentials every time you open an Office document from the server or when you open the site using SharePoint Designer.

    If you use these small tips you will have a much better experience when doing demos, developing or configuring your SharePoint virtual machines.

    Have a nice weekend!

  • My SharePoint 2010 development rigs

    Tags: SharePoint 2010, VMWare, Virtual PC, Windows Server 2008 R2

    SharePoint 2010 is one greedy beast and you can’t settle with your plain old laptop; first of all you need a x64 bit environment and second of all you need some RAM. Developing for SharePoint 2007 required just a 32-bit machine, less than 4 gigs of RAM and Virtual PC and you could do most of your work without complaining to much. SharePoint 2010 requires some more thought through development environment .

    First of all you need a 64-bit platform and at least 8GB of RAM, that’s what I’m having now on my HP EliteBook 6930p. So far this machine has worked really smooth; I run Windows 7 as the main OS on it.

    Second, you can’t use Virtual PC – it’s 32 bit only! So if you like to live in the Microsoft world you have to install a Windows Server OS on your laptop of use Windows 7 VHD boot. I want to have access to my desktop applications and my main OS so I’ve walked down the VMWare path a couple of months ago and I’m currently using VMWare Workstation 7 – it’s an awesome virtualization software and I am not going back!

    Third, you need disk space – go get some USB or ESATA hard drives. If you are going to have a single setup of your SharePoint 2010 virtual machine – this may not be necessary, but if you are like me and like to be able to create snapshots, have multiple clones, non-expanding virtual disks then most probably your internal laptop disk won’t last long.

    I have two main sets of SharePoint 2010 development rigs right now:

    • A single virtual machine approach
    • A multiple virtual machine approach

    Single Machine Approach

    The single virtual machine SharePoint 2010 is an easy option; it’s a Windows Server 2008 R2 machine with 4-6GB of RAM and it runs everything from Active Directory to SQL Server to SharePoint to Visual Studio 2010. This rig is great if I want to do something quick.

    Multiple Machine Approach

    This rig is more complex, but also offers a better flexibility. VMWare Workstation offers you to create teams of virtual machines and I’ve set up a team of three servers:

    • 1 Windows Server 2008 R2 Core running Active Directory with 512 MB of RAM
    • 1 Windows Server 2008 R2 running SQL Server 2008 with 1024 MB of RAM
    • 1 Windows Server 2008 R2 running SharePoint 2010 and all apps with 4096 MB of RAM

    I find this multiple machine approach to be better performing, although it takes longer to start up and to shut down. Creating the Server Core machine with AD is probably the best thing about it, took me some time to get acquainted to the Server Core environment, but with some PowerShell love it worked like a charm.

    Only drawback with the VMWare team approach is that you can’t run your machines in Unity mode.

    I will try a third option; AD on Server Core on one machine and the rest on a single server – I think it will work great as well.

    Other machines

    I also have a Windows 7 virtual machine, that is joined to the domain and a Ubuntu Linux machine – which I’m using for demoing Office Web Applications and the SharePoint 2010 interface.

    All these setups are made with clean and compressed snapshots so that I easily can clone up a new empty environment whenever I need it.

    How is your SharePoint 2010 development environment?

  • Developers, prepare for the 64-bit revolution

    Tags: SharePoint, SQL Server, Virtual Server, Hardware, Windows 7, SharePoint 2010, Windows Server 2008, VMWare, Virtual PC

    The day has come when Microsoft officially started to talk about the next version of Office 2010 clients and SharePoint Server 2010 (no longer Office SharePoint Server). We have since some time known that SharePoint 2010 will be supported only on a 64-bit platform, just as Exchange 2007.

    The new stuff revealed yesterday (as preliminary) are that not only is 64-bit required, it will only be supported on the Windows Server 2008 64-bit platform (including R2) and it will require that you have SQL Server 2008 on a 64-bit platform. There are some other interesting facts that you should check out also in the post (and on about 1.000 other blog posts), but this post is not just about these news.

    The interesting parts of this announcement is that now is the time to learn the 64-bit platform for real and especially Windows Server 2008 R2 and SQL Server 2008, not everything is the same; registry hives, file system, settings, know when to use int (Int32) or Int64 etc etc. You can start now, it's no time to wait! Make a decision to only install your new SharePoint installations on the required SharePoint 2010 hardware, make sure that you have that in your development environments and on your virtual machines. Yes, it will in many cases cost you a bit in new hardware.

    I think that this is the time when 64-bit really will kill the 32-bit era.

    As a bonus I can tell you one thing that I didn't know was achievable. My main laptop runs 32-bit Windows 7 and not 64-bit due to that it does not have the 64-bit driver support for the peripherals and I usually use(d) Virtual PC to virtualize my development servers. Downside with Virtual PC is that you guest machines can only be 32-bit and I don't want to have a Hyper-V laptop in 64-bit mode so I thought that I had to get me a new laptop (which is due for later). I was preparing for the worst of having a dual boot. Fortunately I did a test using VMWare Workstation today and found out that as long as you have a 64-bit capable hardware (which I have) you can host 64-bit guests on a 32-bit host OS. Did you know that, I did not! So I will spend this evening preparing my new development VM's. If you are in the same situation as me, stuck with a 32-bit OS for some time, head on over to VMWare and run the 64-bit compatibility checker and then dump Virtual PC and get VMWare Workstation.

    Welcome to the 64-bit world!

About Wictor...

Wictor Wilén is a Director and SharePoint Architect working at Connecta AB. Wictor has achieved the Microsoft Certified Architect (MCA) - SharePoint 2010, Microsoft Certified Solutions Master (MCSM) - SharePoint  and Microsoft Certified Master (MCM) - SharePoint 2010 certifications. He has also been awarded Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) for four consecutive years.

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