Yes before anyway says it, this is a little left field but for those of you who don’t know, I actually started off my IT career as a Unix Administrator so old habits just die hard. To cut a long story short, as a parting gesture from Avanade. I was able to blow the remaining balance of my gadget balance, which was spent getting the bits I needed to complete a new server at home. To try to reduce my carbon footprint and thanks to mathematical genius and fellow ex-Avanade’r Dr Phil Mizzi, who has proved to me that each server on is worth about a coffee a day to run, it’s time to rationalise at home. There were a few options for virtual platform, Virtual Server from Microsoft and VMWare server. I’d already decided that the performance increase that I got from the VMWare products made them the preferred choice. Also the option to be able to install VMWare on linux, thus reducing the resources was a big bonus when it came to getting an entire network running on Virtual Machines. I’ll post the guest servers config in a later post once I’ve got them nailed down, but this post concentrates on firstly how rusty I’ve gotten with Linux and some of the pitfalls to do with getting VMWare Server installed on the “UNSUPPORTED” Fedora 8.
WARNING THIS NOT FOR THE FAINT HEARTED !!!
Hear’s how I did it :-
- Install Fedora 8. There seem to be a few variations on this but my host OS had some extras such as apache, sendmail, samba, dns to name a few, the critical packages I’m going to list below.
- Once you have the server up and running ensure the following packages are installed. The easiest way to do this is to use the “Yum” utility which is available in X-Windows & via the shell. You can also use “rpm -q” to query if it’s installed.
- kernal source
- xinted (yeah it’s a bit of worry this isn’t installed by default)
- If you have opted to use a Linux kernal with the “Zen” visualisation compiled into it, this WILL NOT work with VMWare. Trust me on this I spent 2 days figuring this one out for myself until I realised that I had a 2nd kernal boot option which worked. There should be an option under the boot loader to boot with a kernal without “Zen” compiled into it. I’d recommend at this point you modify the boot loader to have the Fedora Core as the default boot option.
- Get your free VMWare Server license key from VMWare, you will need this soon.
- Download and install VMWare server from here. Do NOT run the configuration tool yet. I personally installed the tarball but from the few listing’s I found on the web they recommended the rpm. I must be a bit old school, I always prefer the tarball’s as if I need to I can always debug them if required where is I wouldn’t know where to start debugging an rpm Install. For those who don’t know how to extract a tarball it’s pretty easy, just use the following command:-
- the flags in this stand for “Zip”, “eXtract”, “Verbose”, & “File” which needs to be followed by the filename.
- Download and install the latest vm-ware=any-any-update from http://knihovny.cvut.cz/ftp/pub/vmware/vmware-any-any-update115.tar.gz. Extract this (as described in step 5). Run the setup.pl in here (./setup.pl).
- Run the VMWare configuration tool, you will prompted to run this once the updates have completed sucessfully.
- REBOOT. Remember that VMWare does a recompilation of the kernal during the configuration process, failing to re-boot at this point will cause problems. Yeah I know this goes against the norm of linux never needing reboots.
- Log back in and start building you virtual machines your in business.
That’s how I did it, feel free to share any other experiences anybody has with this. The end goal of my install is to have this PC running as a headless server, so I now have a few more things to do such as getting vnc going, moving all my old dev work onto the webserver and looking things down. I will share what the progress is over the next few weeks, but so far I’m very impressed as I’ve got a machine that has an idle footprint hovering around the 200-300 Meg of RAM usage which allows plenty of grunt for running the guest machines. This post http://www.alivedata.com/2008/01/fedora-8-and-vmware-server.html, proved to be my saviour.
So far we have uptime of 2 weeks on this server and all seems well. Also VMWare’s support for Server 2008 seems to be pretty stable. The real test will come in the next few weeks when I commission the new network and find how reliable things are. Stay tuned to find out more.