I previously wrote a post HERE where I described using a Gaming PC running VMware Workstation as one virtual datacenter, connected to a MacBook Pro running VMware Fusion running another. I run SRM between them to simulate having two datacenters with a small Gig switch in between. It works well and is a pretty simple configuration.
It’s a pretty easy setup to get up and running. I did it manually but always give a shout out to Autolab created by Nick Marshall and Alastair Cooke. This is an awesome way of automating building a lab in a very small footprint like a nested system. You provide the ISO images and it does the rest. Anyway go here to read more about it: http://www.labguides.com/autolab/
Keyboard and Mouse Sharing
So running either two different OS flavours or two different machines brings the whole question of keyboard, mouse and screen sharing. For years we’ve been able to share screens and keyboards etc using switches in the datacenter and for the desktop.
Of late I’ve been using Synergy Open Source software successfully with both Mac and Windows 7 to use a single keyboard and mouse and multiple screens. Synergy is an open source project that originated in a subsidiary of SGI back in 1996. You can find them here: http://synergy-project.org
I’m not sure how many people are using it but for me having multiple monitors setup correctly is pretty important and Synergy works well when you run multiple systems in one place with a shared network.
When you download it, it’s a breeze to setup and literally takes 2 minutes. You install one of your machines as the server for your keyboard and mouse and the other(s) as client(s). So on the server I just download the Mac software and select this machine as the server. On the other system that happens to be running Windows 7 I download the Windows client and install it. Apply the configuration and start the services on the server. For the client you just select that tick box and provide the IP address or hostname of the server.
Once it’s setup, the movement between systems is seamless and so fast you won’t notice.
I currently run Synergy on my Mac and have a lovely Apple keyboard and touchpad that work perfectly on Windows.
You can chain up to 15 monitors and systems together and use it for multiple display setups should you choose. You can drag and drop the monitors around as you would locally on a system with multiple screens.
Anyway for those who know that’s great and for those who might need this I think you’ll find it increases your productivity no-end for a lab environment, either with multiple systems i.e work and lab, or where you have many servers and want to make things a bit easier.