As you may already know the Novell Demo System provides VMware-based demo images for all of Novell's products. The kit is a great timesaver for our employees and partners because it gets technical sales engineers to demo readiness in a fraction of the time it would take to set everything up themselves.
Visit our portal to learn more: http://www.novell.com/demosystems (Novell employee or PartnerNet member account required).
Those among you who use our DVD kit to install the demos on your own hardware will know that the kit has been growing and growing recently, with the current full kit standing at some twenty dual-layer DVDs, and bursting out of the confines of its box. We've been looking at this problem and decided there are two possible solutions: send you a bigger box, or do something to reduce the size of the images.
The good news is our resident technical guru Kevin Smith has devised a method for building the Windows-based images using VMware's Linked Clone technology. Linked Clones are where you create a new vm based on an existing one, so that the new one 'shares' it's base operating system with the original. Perhaps this is best explained by example:
Say I want to create three Windows 2003 server virtual machines to run in the same demo. Ordinarily I'd just install one vm after another, complete with Windows OS and the Novell add-on products, but the problem with that is that I'd end up with three virtual machine images over 6Gb in size each, and would therefore need around 20Gb of disk space to store them.
Now let's start again but using Linked Clones. First I'd install a base Windows 2003 OS with no extra software installed and save that away. Then I'd create my first demo vm as a Linked Clone by pointing a new blank virtual disk at the Windows base as its parent. When this new vm boots it uses the shared OS in read-only mode, and any changes I make to the new vm are written to the linked clone disk. I then repeat this process for demo vm #2 and #3, and so on, and so I end up with just one Windows OS disk occupying it's 6Gb, and a collection of very small (a few hundred megabytes each) disks for my demo vm's. Essentially I've got the same as I had before only now in less than half the storage space, because each demo vm is sharing the Windows OS with the others rather than having its own copy.
For this architecture to work you have to make sure you download the shared base as well as the (small) demo vm's you want to run, and then make sure they are stored in the same parent directory.
Example directory structure for Linked Clones
We will be building all our Windows-based virtual machines this way from now on, and the first shipping examples are the new PlateSpin demos: Forge, Recon, Protect, and Migrate, which all share a Windows base. Here's a copy of Kevin's note from his PlateSpin documentation to show you a live example:
For the VMs to function Win2k3R2EEBaseUTP (Win2k3R2EEBaseUTPJun10.part01 – 05.rar) must be present and must have the he same parent directory. Only one instance is required as the base can be shared amongst all Virtual Machines. It is also recommend you flag the base readonly.
We expect that the number of DVDs we ship will reduce over the next few months as more of the demos are updated to this new design, and that eventually you'll be able to fit everything into the box again!
Disclaimer: As with everything else at Cool Solutions, this content is definitely not supported by Novell (so don't even think of calling Support if you try something and it blows up).
It was contributed by a community member and is published "as is." It seems to have worked for at least one person, and might work for you. But please be sure to test, test, test before you do anything drastic with it.