Imagine this:

You need to persuade a potential client to use the latest and greatest VMware products. You feel confident that if you demonstrate features like VMotion, HA, VMware Data Recovery and the Cisco Nexus 1000v, you’ll win ’em over.

I’ve been trying to implement such a infrastructure at reasonable cost for a long time now. Using physical servers and infrastructure and accessing it through the Internet (using an access gateway like the Citrix Web Interface or using browser based VMware View) is a costly venture, as you’ll need hardware (including a rack, cooling, servers, shared storage, network infrastructure, not to mention power) and software licenses (including VMware, Microsoft Windows and software for access via the Internet). This doesn’t even include the costs for designing and implementing such an environment and problems you could run into when using the customers’ Internet connection and computer systems.

After reading Duncan’s post about adjusting the minimum required memory for an ESX4-host, I saw the possibilities of a single laptop being used for pre-sales and demonstration purposes. How ’bout that, a single portable machine that runs a couple of ESX4 hosts, vCenter and loads more. Keeping in mind that VMware ESX 4 can even virtualize itself, you can use ESX as a base instead of VMware Workstation. Using SCSI bus sharing (VMotion without iSCSI in my Super-vBox? YES!) between the ESX-hosts, you can utilize almost every cool feature of vSphere. Check out VMware Communities: Running Nested VMs for some information on how to set up the VMX file for the vESX-host.

Using these four blogposts, you can run vESX instances on top of pESX, use SCSI bus sharing techniques to emulate a simple SAN for some shared storage and adjust the constant hunger ESX has for memory to run even more instances of vESX.

Too bad VMware Fault Tolerance needs hardware virtualization, which cannot be transported into the VM. Would be great to demonstrate VMware FT on a single piece of metal. Other features, like VMotion, HA, DRS, DPM and the Cisco Nexus 1000v are great candidates to demonstrate in this manner.