Consolidate Your Physical Machines

PCQ Bureau
New Update

Virtualization is not a new concept, but it's gaining ground fast. This is

largely because organizations are today toiling with the problem of server

proliferation. There are just too many servers in the data center, and the worst

part is their average utilization is very low. This results in a lot of wasted

computing capacity in the data center.


Not only that, but you're also toiling with administrative overheads of

managing so many machines. Server consolidation aims to resolve this problem by

hosting multiple applications on a single server. This reduces the total number

of servers required for the job. Virtualization is a convenient and effective

way of achieving this goal.

There are many virtualization software available for the job, and the two

names that come to top of mind are Xen and VMware. However, in this

article, we will tell you about a third software that's equally
effective-Virtual Iron. We tried out the Single Server Edition of the software,

because it's free.

Direct Hit!

Applies To:
System managers

Server consolidation using Virtual Iron



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Virtual Iron consists of three components: virtualization manager,

virtualization service, and a hypervisor. The virtualization manager manages all

the resources in your virtual infrastructure by running virtualization services,

which then interact with the hypervisor layer , and then finally interacts with

the actual hardware.

Virtual Iron uses all features of the hypervisor, so if your processor

supports VT technology then you can use Virtual Iron for consolidating all your

physical live servers onto a virtual server.

You can download Virtual Iron from the link mentioned in the Direct Hit box.

Download the ISO file and burn it on a CD at a speed of 4X. We will build a

virtual infrastructure using Virtual Iron, and all you'll need is a machine with

an Intel or AMD processor that supports Virtualization technology, atleast one

Ethernet card for networking, 2 GB of RAM, 40 GB hard drive and a CD ROM drive.



Insert the CD and boot the machine from it. During booting process, the

installer checks for supported hardware and shows information about the

underlying system. In the next text-based screen define the IP allocation i.e.

whether you want to get the IP from DHCP server or want to

assign a static IP address.

Choose one (though we chose DHCP) and then click on 'Ok' to continue. In the

subsequent screen, provide administrative password and the default

administrative username which is 'admin.' Next screen will show all the

accessible disks, which include local disk, iSCSI  or FC.

Select the disk where you want to install Virtual Iron. A warning stating

that data from the selected drive will be erased with the new installation pops

up within the same window. Ignore it and click on 'Ok' to continue. Once

installation is done, remove the CD and reboot the machine. You will get a

command based interface showing the IP address of the hosted virtualization

infrastructure; using a Web interface you can remotely manage the virtual

infrastructure of Virtual Iron Single Server edition.


Configuring Virtual Iron Single Server Edition

Before accessing Virtual Iron from any client, make sure that client machine

should have Java Runtime Environment (JRE) installed. In order to access Virtual

Iron, open a Web browser and type in the IP address of the infrastructure that

you created above. The first welcome Web page will show administrative options

such as Administration manager, Virtualization manager and VS tools


To be able to configure this software you have to get the license file. You

get the license file via e-mail, soon after you have downloaded the ISO file.

Now, click on the Administrative manager option, and provide the admin password.


After successful authentication a window displaying various administrative

options opens up. In this window you get a license option where you have to

upload the license file. Once your license is activated, reboot the Virtual Iron

Single Server Edition machine.

Now, create virtual machines on this Virtual Iron infrastructure. For this

access the software from the remote machine and select Virtual Manager option.

Provide the 'admin' password, and you will get the management interface that

lets you manage the entire virtualized infrastructure. From the panel on left

select the hardware icon and the 'managed node' button.


On the 'Info' tab you will see detailed hardware information of the virtual

manager and if you are managing multiple nodes then each node will be listed in

the categories: Ethernet ports, IDE drive, and iSCSI/SATA.

Once you are through with installation and configuration, the latter part

involves creation of a virtual server storage, then a virtual server and finally

launching of the servers.

You can create a virtual disk

from connected storage such as iSCSI using Virtual Iron. If you already have

a virtual machine or appliance disk image then you can use that too

Creating a virtual server inside Virtual Iron

To create a virtual server inside Virtual Iron, select the 'resource center'

icon, and then the node. From the panel, right click on the 'virtual storage'

tab. Here you will get the local hard drive as a raw storage.

To create a virtual storage to be used by the virtual servers, select the

'local disk' and click on 'Create disk group' present at the bottom.

This will open up the 'Creating a logical disk' wizard. Here, provide the disk
group name and click on 'Next.' Assign disk to the disk group by clicking on the

'Add' button and then click on 'Finish.' Now, create a logical disk drive for

the virtual machine.

For this, select the newly created group and click on 'Create logical disk'

button. This will open up a dialog box. Here, provide the name and size of the

logical drive that you want to create and finally click on 'Commit' to finish

the process.

Creating new virtual server

To create a new Virtual server, go to the 'Resources management' option, and

under 'Virtual data center' option select the node where you will create virtual

machines/servers. Right click on the node and from the context menu select 'New

Virtual Server.' In the dialog box that opens up provide the name of the new

virtual server. Once the server gets created, you can see it in the panel on

left. On right you can see the configuration of the newly created virtual


Change the configuration as per your requirements and after finalizing the

server's hardware resources, click on the 'Commit' option. You can similarly add

multiple virtual machines under one node.

Launching virtual server

To launch a virtual machine, select the one that you have created and right

click on it. From the 'Context' menu first select 'Start' and then click on

'Commit.' This will start the virtual machine. If it's a new installation of the

OS, set the boot sequence as CD and place the installation CD in the Virtual

Iron Single Server machine.

Rest of the installation process will be similar to the normal installation.

As soon as installation is done, you are ready with your own virtual

infrastructure using VirtualIron. The best part about using this product is that

it offers periodic backup of your virtual machine images and one can also

restore back the image if somehow anything goes wrong.