Introducing Linux into the Enterprise

How to save money by using Linux as a platform for server consolidation.
What to Do with All the Extra Time?

So now it's time for some of those cool tricks I promised. Would you believe me if I said that you can build a complete Windows 2000 or NT 4.0 server in just a few minutes under GSX? Or, how about multiple servers at the same time in under an hour? Here's how it works. The first build of an operating systems in GSX takes the usual amount of time to complete and configure, but if you need multiple servers with the same base build or similar configuration, you can copy the files created after the initial build to subsequent virtual server directories. Simply create the new servers in the web admin console as before, copy the server files, then change a few lines of information (such as server name and the pointers to the new server's disk files, *.dsk) in a config file (i.e., win2000.cfg). After that, power on the new servers and change their IP address, machine name, etc. It's a good idea to tarball the files, name them appropriately and copy them off to a DLT, CD burner, etc. Now pat yourself on the back because you built multiple identical servers in minutes. At this point you can customize your servers to be SQL, web, e-mail, etc.

In addition, GSX gives you a fast way to build multiple servers and a much quicker way to recover from a serious crash. In the event of an unrecoverable OS failure (you were backing up, weren't you?), rather than having to rebuild the OS and then restore your data, copy the server files from the tarballs that you created. Now restore your data and calmly say to yourself, "life is really, really good".

So there you have it--a high-powered Linux server that can host as many virtual servers as you have the memory and the horsepower for. I encourage you to visit the VMware site and check out the GSX Server product (there is also an ESX Server product that runs directly on top of the hardware--no OS), and give the 30-day demo a spin. For our purposes, Linux combined with VMware's GSX Server have been a real blessing.

Jeffrey McDonald works as a systems engineer for a California-based Fortune 500 company. He has been working with Linux for the past five years and enjoys promoting Linux.