Installing FreePBX on a Virtual Machine

I’m completely green when it comes to FreePBX and linux in general, so please forgive my ignorance.

My office has a Rhinobox, running FreePBX v2.6.2.5 (!) I would like to upgrade before the inevitable happens, however I’m not sure if I can accomplish what I would like. So I have a few questions, and I’d love some help!

First, I have a Mac Mini going spare, running OSX 10.6.8. It has a 500GB hard drive, 4GB of RAM. I have installed VMWare, and installed the Distro, but it failed at trying to find the MySQL stuff. Should I even bother trying to install this Distro in this environment?

Our current data network is separate from our VoIP network. What considerations would I have to make for connecting the VM Distro to the existing telephone network?

Thanks for your help - I’m eager to learn this stuff from the ground up - does anyone know of teaching resources for PBX systems in general?