I’ve been experimenting with the VM aspect of our assignment and I have some tips that might be of use to you. At least one of these wasted several hours for me…
1) Adrian already said this: experiment with and understand the difference between Bridged and NAT network connections. This is vital knowledge.
2) If you happen to choose Ubuntu as your Linux VM beware – I think I found a bug in Windows VMWare Workstation 7.1.0. If you do not initially set up a bridged connection you cannot change this to bridged latterly. Both VMWare and Ubuntu will tell you that it worked, but no network connectivity is possible. Instead, delete your virtual network adapter and add a new one from scratch. Set it to Bridged then power on the VM. Not bridged works perfectly.
3) You need to think about how you intend to use your virtual environment. Probably you will want to fire up your VMs on several host machines (maybe a home PC, laptop, Lab PC etc.). Therefore put your ISOs, VMs (.vmdk etc.) AND the VMWorkstation/Fusion installation files on your portable HDD/USB key. This way you can install your VM software on whatever client you need to use (subject to permissions) and continue to use your VM images.
4) If you use your VMs on more than one machine, be sure to gracefully shut down your VM image each time you finish work. When you open your VM on a new client it will ask you if you copied or moved it. Say that you moved it and VMWare will create new hardware harnesses for your new client computer. Don’t try to restore a snapshot unless you really have to, because the different in host hardware will probably prevent vital things like LAN access from working properly.