Hi folks,

after using this site as info-source, i need your help for a very own question.

my company is planning the use of software packaging, we're evaluting the big players (flexera and wise) but i really dont know what kind of hardware i should use.

regular workstation with vmware to virtualize and simulate different workstations?

something like a hp workstation (xeon cpu, massive ram)?

we also have an esx-farm, do some of you use virtual machines that are in an esx-farm?

any information is welcome!

best regards

daniel
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Daniel,

current setup is

2 HP workstations with 4GB Ram, Athlon Dual Core 4400+ processors
One of em is the packaging machine.
The other one has VMWare ESXi on it for Virtual Machines

I also have a version of VMWare Workstation installed on the packaging machine here, for those rare cases where I need USB passthrough for devices, since this is not supported in ESXi.

As for Wise vs Installshield, I think you'll find a number of posts on the forums here expressing concern about the future of Wise. If I were you I'd go with InstallShield...

PJ
Answered 06/02/2010 by: pjgeutjens
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Hi PJ,

your setup with the HPs sounds similar to my thoughts. I prefer the use of "local" hardware and VMware Workstation instead of using the existing ESX-Farm, your local usb argument is very helpful against the opinion of our cio :)

what about solid state drives? does it make for a "regular" packaging / repackaging sense to use these expensive drives (I/O performance in virtualized environment)?

My favorite will be Flexera AdminStudio, product support from a company whose main technology is software packaging will be "better" than support from a big player (with different technology trees) like symantec

Would be great if others also post their hardware and experiences!
Answered 06/02/2010 by: jarazul
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Daniel,

solid state drives, dunno if that's worth the investment, I've never found disk IO to be a limiting factor in my packaging work really.

As for the ESXi vs Workstation argument. remember ESXi is free, where as Workstation costs. It's not horribly expensive, but still. Maybe you'll want to buy either one Workstation license, or set up one physical machine, that can be easily reverted to a clean corporate image, for those cases where you need hardware during packaging

PJ
Answered 06/02/2010 by: pjgeutjens
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I concur entirely. I would also say that you should get as much RAM and disk space that you can. You'll find you collect VMs like they're going out of fashion.
Answered 06/02/2010 by: VBScab
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Another argument for not having solid states :)
Answered 06/02/2010 by: Rheuvel
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ORIGINAL: jarazul
I prefer the use of "local" hardware and VMware Workstation instead of using the existing ESX-Farm, your local usb argument is very helpful against the opinion of our cio :)

You will also need to be able to revert and take snapshots, lots of snapshots, depending on your ESX-farm setup this may be an issue.

There are also a small number of packages that can not be packaged on a virtual machine, so while it may not be necessary it is worth considering what will be available to you in this situation.
Answered 06/02/2010 by: Colbey
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You will also need to be able to revert and take snapshots, lots of snapshots

This is actually the (main) reason why I'd recommend ESXi over VMWare Server, multiple snapshots. Also having each packager run his/her own ESXi allows them to manage their own VMs. No need for central management of a corporate grade ESX server.
Answered 06/02/2010 by: pjgeutjens
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Hi folks,

thanks for your ideas and experiences. Our ESX Farm has some capacity (for me :P) left. I think i'll use different VMs in the ESX Farm and for those rare cases where i need a physical machine, i keep a corporate standard client in my office, maybe with vmware workstation maybe not, i have to test it.

For the ESX's VMs I prefer RAM > CPU > HDD. Maybe i can arrange that i'll use non-SAN drives, they're expensive. Regular (SAS etc.) drives will be enough.

Maybe this week a decision will be made, i'll keep you uptodate.
Answered 06/08/2010 by: jarazul
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I'm using Wise VMs on a vCenter server through View from a Linux thin client using PCoIP. Works out great. Allocating a larger than normal portion of the vCenter RAM/CPU/Disk resources to my packaging VMs is *MUCH* easier than to go through the whole PO/approval process for physical hardware needed by VMware Workstation. Especially if you just want a little extra power to package a very large app. Just move a slider bar, enjoy the boost and move the slider back when you're done.

I've got 4 monitors on the thin client, so can set 1-2 for whichever packaging VM(s) I need to use and use the remaining monitors to access my personal VM. With thin clients accessing VMs I can log in at another desk, another site or from home (Windows or Linux). All of them display my current desktop(s) w/ snapshot support and they are available wherever I want them to be with zero performance loss. The only degredation on a slow connection is the "delayed focus" effect as it progressively streams video. Processing is equally fast everywhere. Total sweetness!

I definitely recommend going virtual as much as you can. The flexibility can be leveraged tremendously!
Answered 06/10/2010 by: VikingLoki
Second Degree Brown Belt

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