We have a physical machine that runs VMware and hosts a virtual machine we use for SharePoint deployment testing. The machine is old, so we're looking at using hosted VMs on another server. Is it possible to run VMware inside VMware? This would be for SharePoint testing with an associated SQL server.
Yes, what you're asking is possible. In the image below, you can see one option: An ESXi host is running a Windows 7 virtual machine, which has VMware Workstation 10 running another Windows 7 virtual machine. Note that vSphere will warn you that the additional layer of virtualization will cause performance to suffer.
However, there is a better solution. The free VMware Converter can transform the existing virtual machine on VMware Workstation to a virtual machine running on your ESXi host. If you clone the virtual machine this way, it will be identical to the original virtual machine but it will run with the maximum performance that you can get from your ESXi host. You can provide the SharePoint development team with a user account that has the rights to manage the new virtual machine.
This was first published in November 2013