- The server has two NIC's. When using vmware vsphere, is there any benefit in connecting both?
Absolutely. You can distribute the network load of multiple virtual machines across the two interfaces, which -- depending on your network topology -- may yield performance benefits. You also get enhanced reliability, since if properly configured your virtual machines will continue to have network access if one of the interfaces fails (or a cable is pulled, or a switch port fails, etc).
- If I get some IP addresses from our ISP is it as simple as adding a route to our router that points the virtual instances's static IP?
Managing network on a virtual machine is typically the same as managing networking on a physical machine, provided you've got your VMware instance configured correctly. VMware typically acts as switch, connecting the "internal" layer network of vmware to your external layer 2 network.
So, "yes" is the short answer.
- Is vSphere really free? Ive registered and installed my license and I have any servers with more than 4 cores.
I think the basic version here. There are fancier features that are available as additional cost options. They become more attractive as your number of physical hosts grows larger.
- I have a server running Windows Server 2008 on an identical HP ProLiant server. How simple is it to convert it to a virtual server?
Converting a physical host into a virtual machine is not especially difficult. For Windows, it usually means installing some new device drivers (since you will effectively be swapping out your video adapter and network cards with new ones). VMware provides a tool to make the process easier but you nesed to purchase it. You obviously need to figure out how to get the data from your physical disk onto a virtual disk image -- tools like Ghost or any of various similar systems can help with this.