Regarding running VMware Server on XP, it may not be technically supported but it runs just fine on XP Pro; I ran the beta and 1.0 for many months before going back to the Workstation (I needed the nested snapshots). It's just like the Linux version, CentOS, which is a binary clone of RHEL, will run VMware Server just fine-and without the costs of Red Hat's subscription service. But if you want support (other than news groups or VMware's Community forums), you need to run it on a listed OS.
Another thing about choosing a host OS, with Linux, you can strip the OS down to just the bare minimums which can reduce the overhead of the host OS and you don't have the very poor memory management that Windows OSes have to get in the way either.
Funny thing about replacing the shell with cmd.exe, I've been doing that with my Windows servers for years and I still recomend that to all my clients and a few have implemented it. It is a sure way to add stability to Windows and has the added bonus of removing the temptation for admins to run applications on the company database server or surf the web on the main file server.
"Regarding running VMware Server on XP, it may not be technically supported but it runs just fine on XP Pro; I ran the beta and 1.0 for many months before going back to the Workstation"
It will install and run, but the Management User Interface (MUI) will not install on IIS 5. There are reports of getting it to work by manually configuring IIS, and I have in fact done so as well, but that was beyond the scope of this article.
CentOS is a great little Linux distro, isn't it!? You hit the nail on the head though -- I only listed supported OS distributions (and XP is not one) because I realize that the people reading my articles may not desire to spend the extra time it sometimes takes to hack at a piece of software to make it work. They want it to "just work." The only way to guarantee that with any level of support is by running the software on a supported operating system.
Thank you for reading the article!
This was first published in January 2007