Archive for the ‘Virtualization’ Category

VMWare Server Tips

VMWare Server on Linux (VMWare Server 1.04 on Ubuntu 7.10 Server)

– Physical Network Interfaces that will only be used by VMWare Guests:

Even though you may have a physical interface that a Host will not use, you need to set-it-up in /etc/network/interfaces. This will activate the network interface for the Host, which will only then allow the Guest system to utilize it. I am sure there may be a more elegant and secure way to accomplish this – I just haven’t had the time to do it myself. So, as a work around, I assign a static IP address, with a 32-bit subnet mask. This activates the interface, without providing a IP capabilities on the network.

There is probably a better/ more secure way to do this… let me know.


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VMWare auto-start

You want to make sure your Virtual starts automatically when your server boots up?

drop to a terminal:

sudo nano /etc/rc.d/rc.local

add the same command you would, as starting from the command line:

vmwar-cmd /fullPATHtoVMWAREfile/thevm.vmx start


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When you are running VMWare on your desktop, you are likely doing it for testing (or, like me, for running XP so I can use Outlook – please point me to a good FAST Outlook replacement – Evolution, Kontact, Thunderbird aren’t there yet).

But when used on a server, for ‘production’ purposes, you are likely running it ‘headless’ (without a keyboard/mouse/monitor) and don’t use a GUI – you want everything manageable remotely, or by the command line.

VMWare can be remotely managed, via a remote console, or you can install their web management tools. But, if you have SSHServer running on your Linux server (who doesn’t), you can easily make changes via the command-line.

Quite simple, it’s


Just type that at your terminal prompt, and you will see a helpful response. Google it for more info, I’ll touch a few items here:

start a Virtual Machine:

vmware-cmd /pathtoVMhere/vmfile.vmx start

stop a VM:

vmware-cmd /pathtoVMhere/vmfile.vmx stop

check the current status:

vmware-cmd /pathtoVMhere/vmfile.vmx getstate

Configuration changes:

sudo vmware-config.pl

Register a VM: 

vmware-cmd -s register /pathtoVMhere/vmwarename.vmx

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This is for VMWare Server 1.04 on Ubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy Gibbon):

– From a terminal prompt, I would first create a directory to store VMWare, and from that directory:

– download VMWare Server http://www.vmware.com
as of 11/07/07, you can execute the following command to download version 1.0.4:
wget http://download3.vmware.com/software/vmserver/VMware-server-1.0.4-56528.tar.gz

– download the required patch to make it work at:
wget http://knihovny.cvut.cz/ftp/pub/vmware/vmware-any-any-update115.tar.gz
(if this link doesn’t work, just google for the VMWare Any Any patch)

– register for licenses for Linux on the VMWare website

– install the needed build tools (you may already have them)
sudo apt-get install linux-headers-`uname -r` build-essential
this installs the build tools, and kernel headers for your linux version. NOTE – if you update your kernel, you will need to repeat these steps

UPDATE(11/13): you need to install this set of tools instead, if installing to a vanilla server build:
sudo apt-get install linux-headers-`uname -r` libx11-6 libx11-dev x-window-system-core x-window-system xspecs libxtst6 psmisc build-essential xinetd zip unzip
when prompted for X11 display settings, just select 800*600 and move on

Apparently, some functions with VMWare Server 1.04 now look for X11 extensions. X11 is the windowing system on Linux (the GUI). For a server platform, you likely only have a command-line interface, as I did one time (which is how I came across this). My installation had errors, and then failed when typing in the license key, as it was looking for some of these libraries. Hopefully, there may be a better work around then loading up my server with unneeded X11 libraries – until then, run the above to setup VMWare server on a GUI-less server.

– run the following commands:
tar -xzf ./VMware-server-1.0.4-56528.tar.gz
(VMware-server-1.0.4-56528.tar.gz – replace with the name of the file you downloaded from VMWare)

tar xvzf ./vmware-any-any-update115.tar.gz
(vmware-any-any-update115.tar.gz – replace with the name of the file you downloaded for the anyany patch)

– Change to the directory where VMWare extracted to:
cd vmware-server-distrib– Run the installer:
sudo ./vmware-install.pl

Choose the defaults to each question, until the end when you are prompted: “Before running VMware Server for the first time, you need to configure it by invoking the following command: “/usr/bin/vmware-config.pl”. Do you want this program to invoke the command for you now? [yes]”

Type: no and press enter to quit the installation

Type: cd ../vmware-any-any-update
(vmware-any-any-update – replace with the name of the folder created when you extracted the patch. Type ls for a listing of the folder)

sudo ./runme.pl

This time, when prompted to configure, select the default of yes.

Now you will configure the network interfaces. Select the defaults. You can customize your virtual networks as you wish. I may go into detail on that later.

As of version 1.04, I still had to do the following:
You will then need to edit a file to make VMWare work properly:
sudo vi /etc/pam.d/vmware-authd

File will look like this:
auth sufficient /usr/lib/vmware-server/lib/libpam.so.0/security/pam_unix2.so shadow nullok
auth required /usr/lib/vmware-server/lib/libpam.so.0/security/pam_unix_auth.so shadow nullok
account sufficient /usr/lib/vmware-server/lib/libpam.so.0/security/pam_unix2.so
account required /usr/lib/vmware-server/lib/libpam.so.0/security/pam_unix_acct.so

change it all to this:
@include common-auth
@include common-account

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Virtualization 101

This page is under construction, but to get you started, here is my 2 cents thus far:

There are a few major technologies in the Virtualization (on Linux) world. VMWare, Xen, and KVM (and KQemu, Qemu).

The long/ short of it – you’ll want to end up on KVM, but will probably use VMWare Server in the short term.

VMWare – the VMWare Server for Linux works well enough and is freely available, but with licensing restrictions. It is nicely compatible with images created on Windows hosts.

Xen – I thought this was the way to go, but then Citrix stepped in (red flag). Now, with KVM a part of the Kernel, I wouldn’t recommend it.

KVM – This is fairly new, but the technology is going to grow over time. The advantage KVM has is that it is a part of the mainline Linux Kernel. It is based off of the QEMU project (which is excellent for testing, but painfully slow in practice). KVM basically takes QEMU into the Kernel (yes, KQEMU can also be used). It is compatible with VMWare Server created VMDK disks. It requires IntelVT or AMD-VT? (Virtualization) support on your processor.
If you have a computer that supports the Virtualization extensions, KVM is where you want to go. If not, you can use QEMU, and migrate to KVM when you get a new system.

However, I have found (thus far) that KVM/ QEMU are a pain in the @ss to get working correctly. On the other hand, VMWare Server is rather simple (by comparison) once it is installed.

In truth, I am currently using VMWare Server only. But I have been testing QEMU and KVM for sometime. I have been converting my VMWare systems from 2GB split SCSI files, to single IDE files – these are compatible with KVM/ QEMU

UPDATE (10/24):

So, I have finally made SOME progress with KVM.  I am running Ubuntu 7.10 desktop (Gutsy Gibbon) with KVM installed (downloaded from source KVM-48 and compiled per instructions – I got some errors, but it worked).  I was able to install Zenwalk desktop, using KVM (instead of QEMU).

What did I learn?  It appears that the issue I was having was specific to the Ubuntu installer!  Not the host, but guest.  I was running Ubuntu as my host system, and installing Ubuntu into a KVM guest, but it would fail on boot from the CD image.  There is a change you can make to the boot commandline (blacklist something or other..) that will allow the installer to boot.  But, after installation is compelte, the system beings booting, and then drops you to some alternate Debian command line.  I read something about a VGA problem with the Ubuntu bootloader… I don’t know.  All I know is that when trying to install Zenwalk as a guest, it worked fine.  I’ll next try with XP, and I am sure that will work OK too.

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