So I recently created a VMware application with Ubuntu to test some of my Drupal sites offline. You can easily install Ubuntu by downloading one of their Images, I recommend 8.04.4 LTS (Hardy Heron) as it comes with Php 5.2. Anything after Hardy Heron comes with PHP 5.3 which causes issues with Drupal 6. If you are using Drupal 7 or newer, than it probably wont matter. But as most of us our probably on Drupal 6, I thought I would mention this.
So just download the server version and run through the installation. It's pretty straitforward and at one point it will ask if you want to install optional services. Install the LAMP, OpenSSH, and anything else you will want. Now you should have a running server with a basic LAMP install running. You will want to edit a few things so that it plays nicely with Drupal.
Drupal uses a bit of memory, so let's increase this first. Edit your php.ini and my.cnf files.
# nano /etc/mysql/my.cnf
Search for max_allowed_packet, there will be two occurrences, increase the limit to whatever you see fit, I push mine to 128M.
# nano /etc/php5/apache2/php.ini Read more »