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VMWare server host OS

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December 29, 2009 7:02:28 PM

I'm looking to get this job where they are a mostly Linux shop, but I'm extensively MS certified (maybe I'm just certifyable?) and I need to learn how to make/build virtual and physical Linux servers. I already have a code for a VMWare Server installation and the ideas of what kinds of servers I would like to build for practice. I also have played around and installed Linux on my secondary machines from time to time. I just couldn't find anything useful to do with them at the time.

Which Linux distro would be good for this hardware and use?
Athlon X2 6400+
Asus Nforce 590SLi MB
6GB DDR2-800 memory
Geforce 8800GTX video (not really needed for a server, I know, but I don't have a spare video card.)
150GB Raptor + 160GB WD IDE

I plan on running the host OS from the 160GB IDE drive (I got it out of an old external HD my company was throwing away) and running the virtuals from the Raptor. The VM's I want to run are as follows:
1. Windows Server 2008 R2 Domain controller
2. Windows Server 2008 WDS and WSUS
3. Linux MySQL server (for my later security and programming classes)
4. Linux Apache Web server (for my later security and programming classes)

I've considered Fedora, Ubuntu, and Gentoo, but I don't know enough about each to know which to choose. I'm and old DOS user, so I'm not afraid of the command line, but I need to know more of what I'm doing to do this.

Oh, and the host will also do double duty as a firewall/NAT/router/DNS caching.

More about : vmware server host

a b 5 Linux
December 29, 2009 10:05:57 PM

If you like cutting edge software and want something for desktop use then Fedora and Ubuntu are both good choices. You can run VirtualBox, VMWare, KVM, Xen or other virtualization software on top.

If you're looking for something with long term support RHEL based systems would be a good fit but they're not very good on the desktop.

So, I'd suggest Fedora and or Ubuntu for the host OS with a variety of operating systems running virtualized. You'll want to try as many guest operating systems as your get your hands on, like all the major Linux distros (RHEL, cent os, debian, mint, *buntu, SuSE, mandriva, *dora, etc, etc), *BSD, Solaris and whatever else you're interested in.

For better GUI performance you'll want to grab the proprietary nvidia drivers from rpmfusion if you choose fedora or the same drivers for ubuntu.

Good luck :) 
a b 5 Linux
December 30, 2009 9:01:16 AM

Good advise from Linux_0, I'll throw my suggestions in...

If you're sysadmin / server based and already MS Certifiable then maybe this is a god chance to round off your server side skills. CentOS is a binary compatible RedHat (built from the same code) but without RedHat support. It would allow you to get some exposure to a commercial grade Linux and would not be that much harder to get up and running than a more desktop OS. It's worth remembering that both Fedora and Ubuntu have kernel modifications to tailor them to desktop usage so they might not give the best as a host OS for VM's. Both however would do what you want.

Failing that, and if you're after geek points get it up on BSD. You mention later security classes, that's a good place to start.
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December 30, 2009 12:51:14 PM

Well, I already downloaded Ubuntu Server (it's different from the desktop version in many ways) that I know the company I'm interviewing with uses. They use the 8.04 LTS build. I haven't installed it yet, though.

I'll take a look at the CentOS and see what I can find to download. It could be useful too. Perhaps I'll use it as the host or as one of the virtuals. Thanks for the suggestion. I'll be playing with this system all weekend, since we have a 3 day weekend.

It means less WoW, but I'm kind of burned out on it right now anyway.
a b 5 Linux
December 31, 2009 1:59:42 AM

Why don't you use Fedora 11 or 12 or 9.04-desktop amd64 for the host and then install 8.04-server LTS as a guest? You'll probably be better off.

Good luck :) 
a b 5 Linux
December 31, 2009 9:58:50 AM

dgingeri said:
Well, I already downloaded Ubuntu Server (it's different from the desktop version in many ways) that I know the company I'm interviewing with uses. They use the 8.04 LTS build. I haven't installed it yet, though.

I'll take a look at the CentOS and see what I can find to download. It could be useful too. Perhaps I'll use it as the host or as one of the virtuals. Thanks for the suggestion. I'll be playing with this system all weekend, since we have a 3 day weekend.

It means less WoW, but I'm kind of burned out on it right now anyway.


8.04 has LTS which is a 2 year support window, you have about 3 months left on 8.04 as the Ubuntu version numbers are Year.Month and they they do two a year. You are right in that the server build is different which does negate my server argument a bit but I'd still look to CentOS if you are serious on the Linux admin side. As Linux_0 says you can always make it a guest, the nice thing about VM and not having to horde old HW just to have a play :) 
a b 5 Linux
December 31, 2009 3:46:53 PM

I'll second what audiovoodoo said. You should avoid the older versions as your primary operating system because you're not going to have any updates or patches or anything new added.

Install something new for your primary host operating system and install all the older versions you want to try in a virtual machine as a guest operating system.

With Fedora 11 or 12 or 9.04-desktop amd64 you'll have working audio and video and most new hardware will be supported and you'll be able to upgrade to the next version, with some of the older releases that's not always an option.

Good luck :) 
January 3, 2010 10:33:10 PM

I tried Ubuntu 9.10 and 8.04. 8.04 installed and worked correctly as a main OS, but wouldn't install VMWare server because it was missing "version.h" in the includes folder. VMWare's installer said I needed to recompile the kernel. 9.10 wouldn't even install.

Fedora 12 installed and seemed to work ok, but VMWare Server wouldn't fully install and it wouldn't tell me why. No error messages, just nothing would work. it seemed to copy all the files, but nothing else. The services wouldn't run.

I'm trying to download CentOS, but Every mirror for it will download 309MB, then quit. I've tried 14 mirrors so far. They all quit at the same darn place.

I'm getting really peeved at this. If nobody is going to produce a Linux version with any consistency, then it certainly isn't ever going to be widely adopted. The folder structure and files should be consistent. The lack of options and graphical interfaces on installers will also keep Linux from being widely adopted. (I had to type in the path to the "Includes" folder repeatedly, causing much frustration. a simple browse interface to tell it where to go would save tons of time and frustration.) Anyone who says "if you can't use a command line, you're just stupid" are obviously the stupid ones. Typing in "usr/src/linux-includes-2.24-26/includes" and other variations fifty times, only to have the program reject it, is a waste of time and incredibly frustrating.

Linux still has a long way to go to be really useful, and it seems nobody is doing anything to solve these problems. There are things wrong, very wrong, with Linux's design that need to be corrected. If you guys know any Linux developers, let them know there are still serious problems with Linux.
a b 5 Linux
January 4, 2010 1:00:49 AM

Your characterization is unfair.

Just because you had issues with VMWare doesn't mean it's Linux's fault.

Virtualbox installs and runs in no time at all.
a b 5 Linux
January 4, 2010 1:10:16 AM

Additionally, many organizations around the world have been successfully using Linux for a very long time and would disagree with you.

The NYSE and LSE use Linux in mission critical environments. Various government agencies and the military also use it.

Semper Fi :) 
January 4, 2010 1:55:10 AM

I said 'wide spread use'. Meaning replacing Windows Server or especially as a consumer OS. It will not make it as a consumer OS until the features match Windows XP.

It has its uses, sure, but it is difficult to use and maintain, inconsistent in various implementations, and lacks many features.

The fact of the matter is that Linux is far from a finished OS.
a b 5 Linux
January 4, 2010 2:12:15 AM

I've never had a problem for 2^4 years.

One could argue your statements about Linux apply to ME and Vista more so than Linux.

Semper Fi :) 
January 4, 2010 7:23:56 PM

I won't deny that Vista shouldn't have been released as it was. They were rushing it at the end. WinME probably shouldn't have ever been released, either, but for different reasons.

I found an article that lists some additional steps needed to get VMWare to work with Ubuntu. VMWare makes no mention of these. Although the article mentions 9.04 for these steps, I believe they would also be the case with 8.04.

sudo apt-get install build-essential linux-headers-`uname -r`
sudo apt-get install make
sudo apt-get install gcc

https://help.ubuntu.com/community/VMware/Server

I guess I'll be burning the midnight oil on this little project tonight. We'll see how well it works.
a b 5 Linux
January 4, 2010 10:45:01 PM

http://www.virtualbox.org/wiki/Downloads is much easier to install.

On Fedora and Ubuntu / Debian you just install the rpm or deb and run a simple command to install the kernel module.

VMWare can be difficult sometimes.

Most professional Linux shops prefer Xen, KVM and other technologies over VMWare.

Good luck :) 
a b 5 Linux
January 4, 2010 11:04:33 PM

http://download.virtualbox.org/virtualbox/3.1.2/Virtual...

# su to root

su -

# install the rpm

rpm -i -v VirtualBox-3.1-3.1.2_56127_fedora12-1.x86_64.rpm

# leaving root

exit

# run it as a normal user

VirtualBox

# if your kernel module needs to be installed or re-installed you will get instructions to run the single command required to do so

On debian or ubuntu you can wget the appropriate .deb

sudo su -

dpkg -i filename.deb

exit

VirtualBox

Good luck :) 
January 4, 2010 11:30:13 PM

yeah, well, I can't do that. I need to learn VMWare on Linux specifically. There is a job I want to get where I would be working with a majority of Windows Server machines, but also some Linux machines running VMWare for software testing. I have all the other qualifications except VMWare on Linux. (I have worked with VMWare on Windows Server 2003 many times before.) The face to face interviews start some time this week, and I want to show that I took this initiative to learn what is needed for the job.

If I can show them a screen shot of VMWare with a couple virtuals that I set up over a few days, I'd have a better chance to get the job. (They'd show me their own procedures on setting up Linux, and likely help me through a few of the little things I'd run into.)
a b 5 Linux
January 5, 2010 5:22:42 AM

It'll be a lot easier to use Fedora or cent os and the VMWare server rpm to get it working quickly.

Download the rpm.

rpm -i VMware-server-2.0.2-203138.x86_64.rpm

Snap your screenshots and you're good.

Then later on you can work on ubuntu because it'll be more time consuming.

Good luck :) 
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