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  1. Junior Member Registered Member
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    Default WMware workstation pro (college student)

    Hello all, short time lurker first time poster.

    I'm currently about to graduate with my bachelor degree in computer networks and cyber security from UMUC this summer. While my classes have been great, I'm looking for a bit more hands on before I enter the IT field. I understand that even though I'll be graduating with my degree, I'm most likely headed to the help desk to start my career. My former life (minor league baseball) dosent exactly hold much weight in the IT field. With all that being said I have a question about VMware workstation pro 12.5.

    I've gone through the trial and set up a few systems during one of my classes that seemed very beneficial to my learning. My questions revolved around, would buying workstation pro 12.5 @$250 be a good investment for someone like me?

    Knowing that I'm most likely headed to the help desk, my idea was to try and build a small network inside of workstation pro, complete with AD, a few servers and workstations so I could practice the environment. I've noticed a lot of job posting asking for experience with certain OS/servers and I want to get practice in. Are there any draw backs to this setup? Would it even be worth my time setting all of this up?

    I think my laptop should be able to handle the load as I've installed 44gb of ram and have lots of disk space. I know that workstation can also assist me in practice my penetration skills, since thats what I used the trial for.

    Thanks for any advice.
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  3. Senior Member
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    #2
    VMware is generally considered the best VM software. I wouldn't be surprised if you didn't use some of the features in the pro version but if you can stomach the difference between normal player, I would go for it. I would also go to Microsoft's Dreamspark, register with your school email and get some of the OS's to play with for free.
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  4. Senior Member
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    #3
    If your school has a contract with VMWare Education you can have all the VMware tools for free. If not, I would just spin up Oracle Virtual box or VMware Player.
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  5. Senior Member
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    #4
    NO. Use virtual box. It's free.

    https://www.virtualbox.org/
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  6. Senior Member
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    #5
    Congrats on your pending graduation and welcome to the TE community - it's great to see that you are starting to think about labbing and gaining some hands-on experience. For most people VMPlayer should suffice. It's free for non-commercial use and it can run the scenarios you mentioned. I do like VM Workstation Pro for the fact that I can share VM's in my lab, access my ESX server labs, and perform snapshots. And there are a few other little features that are convenient as well. But that said - I used VMPlayer for many years on my desktops and laptops before I decided to get VM Workstation Pro.

    If you do want to get a VM Workstation license which you can afford - there is the gray market - just do a search on eBay. I am not a proponent of using gray-market licenses for commercial use but bending the license terms for personal use and education is a slightly different matter imo.
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  7. Senior Member
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    #6
    Quote Originally Posted by jelevated View Post
    If your school has a contract with VMWare Education you can have all the VMware tools for free. If not, I would just spin up Oracle Virtual box or VMware Player.
    X2 if you are looking to save some money go for Virtualbox or VMware Player. Another couple options would be VMUG Advantage ($200 a year which includes 1 year eval licenses for many Vmware products including VMware Workstation). You could also use ESXi nested inside of a type 2 hypervisor (the other products that have been mentioned) which is what I'm doing now.
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  8. Senior Member
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    #7
    Save yourself the money and go download Virtualbox.
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  9. Senior Member
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    #8
    As others have mentioned VirtualBox is full featured and free. VMPlayer is free as well, but might lack some features. I started off labbing with VirtualBox, but eventually switched to VMplayer, then build an ESXi server and got a copy of VMWorkstation. The reason I made the initial switch was that everywhere I went or worked they used VMWare products, no one used VirtualBox in work environments. I wanted/needed to know VMWare for production environments. Instead of just using a virtualization solution to run my lab, it became part of my lab.
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  10. Senior Member
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    #9
    Absolutely agree with @BlackBeret. I had similar experience.

    I don't really get the hang-up around Virtualbox vs VMWarePlayer. Just try both and pick the one that works for your lab. And if someone needs a Workstation Pro license - there are cost-effective ways to acquire a license.
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  11. Questionably Benevolent Moderator Slowhand's Avatar
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    #10
    You've already gotten some pretty good answers regarding software - go for Virtual Box to save money, use VMware Workstation Pro when (and if) you're ready to spend that kind of money - so I'll wait to give my two cents on that until the end. What I'd like to focus on is your career-goals: if you're interested in desktop support, look at certs and training for Windows 10 and possibly CompTIA A+ and Network+ to start. It's not a bad way to start your career, but you don't have to stay in that particular wheelhouse if you don't want. . . nor do you even have to start there. If your interests are more networking-focused, you could start looking at your CCNA and shoot for a NOC Support type of job, or you could think about studying up for your MCSA or RHCSA/LPIC and start gunning for a Junior Sysadmin level job, maybe thinking about cloud (Azure/AWS) or virtualization (VMware) down the road. There are lots of options, even more specialties to pursue, just don't go limiting yourself to what you think you have to start with. . . err, well, unless you're limited by the job-market, but that happens to all of us.

    As you're starting out, think about what interests you and start there with your studying and tinkering; but also keep in mind what the job-market looks like. Most software you need for training is either free or can be downloaded as a trial for free, so nothing is really off the table. I agree with most people here, don't spend money on VMware Workstation Pro to start out with when Virtual Box is free, but you may want to get yourself a VMware license later on, since it is the industry standard for virtualization. In time, you'll be spinning up VMs to test out Windows Server, Windows 10, Linux, etc., like a pro. For now, though, start focusing on two things: the skills for the entry-level jobs available in your area right now, and the long-term goals of what you want to do a few months to a few years from now. Maybe you have to start with whatever you find, maybe you don't, but one thing is absolutely certain: you don't have to stay put for long if you're willing to level up those skills and add some certs to your resume.

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  12. Member
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    #11
    Whoa, whoa, whoa. You're a student, get the academic discount with your .edu for $150 not $250.

    VMware in Education

    Oracle VirtualBox is rubbish and does not support nested virtualization. Here a 9-year ongoing request thread with VirtualBox fans requesting nested virtualization, soothed only be a symphony of crickets:

    https://www.virtualbox.org/ticket/4032

    If you want to get things like VIRL ($70 for students last I checked) you must use Workstation or Fusion Pro. Once you work out the kinks it's seamless. I am a Mac person, but when I use Office Applications like Word, Excel, or Visio, I just open up Windows 10 from my Fusion Pro app and it's just another Window - no latency or problems. Works perfect. There were bugs at first but once you get the whole VMware Tools thing and don't accidentally scale your VM to 200% graphically you'll be good. You will be able to virtualize any Linux distribution and can even have nested versions of Windows where you can go to town learning PowerShell.

    Full disclosure if it does not already show, I've already drank the Kool-Aid for VMware. But it's my career (VMware admin/engineer) and is a enjoyable one. Learning Workstation is a great start and a fine end if you want to stop just there and not dive into vSphere. The look and feel of it compared to VirtualBox though... do yourself a favor. Get a trial of Workstation, get used to it, then have some drinks and use VirtualBox for a good laugh. VirtualBox has some niche applications with Oracle's brand of SQL and some other things I know nothing about, but it's a total headache for normal end user stuff. For one, the bidirectional clipboard is simply unreliable with most distributions of anything.

    Edit: I would have to check but I think having 44 GB of RAM on a laptop without having Workstation on it is illegal in some states. Will have to get back to you on that one.
    Last edited by dialectical; 04-27-2017 at 02:46 AM.
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