So which VM package should we use?

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So which VM package should we use?

Postby TerryE » Tue May 27, 2008 2:28 am

I know that this forum is about OOo, but VM use is becoming endemic in our world. I use VM technology in two main areas:
  • Our forums run on a SAMP configuration, and because I am old-school IT pro, I treat the forums as a controlled "Production Environment". Any patches, mods and ad-hoc stuff gets done first on a LAMP VM configuration that runs on my Laptop (and Drew's PC). This is a 25Kbyte RAM and a 1Gb System + 2Gb Application HDD running Ubuntu 8.04 over VMware server.
  • I also have a development sandpit that I have an OOo development build on. This is currently Ubuntu 7.10 and again a split Sys+Apps setup (this time 4Gb + 8 Gb) over VMware. I have fully scripted the build process from getting the sources from OOo to having a full OOo 2.4 build that you can mod and debug. (You need to leave in overnight to complete the first time, but it takes only one unattended command).
I have developed these over three version cycles from using someone else's pre-build "appliance" to building my own system configuration tailored to the specific use. I have had to do this in the case of Ubuntu 8.10 because you need to tweak the VMware tools and relink kernel drivers to get them to work under Ubuntu 8.10. I now want to update my OOo dev configuration and put it up on http://www.OUCV.org so that anyone else who wants to do OOo 2.4 (extension) dev or even OOo 3.0 testing and QA can download the base kit (~600 Mbyte) and run an install command overnight to get a fully configured test environment up and running. The main advantage here is that it will be a standard test environment, and all of the magic around getting the b***dy ./configure + build to complete will have been done for you.

So my current proposal for this latter environment is Ubuntu 8.04 Gnome over VMware Server (but also able to work in VMware player). In terms of Virtualisation S/W big three (VMware, VirtualBox, MS VirtualPC, I have already pretty much discounted MSVPC because it really only works well for "Windows on Windows". Most of my own experience is on VMware, which I like as a product (which free but not Open Source). I would very interested in feedback and comments on both the choice Linux flavour and Virtualisation S/W.

PS if you want some background on how virtualisation works, can I recommend two articles the first is an intro to virtualisation Virtual Machines & VMware, Part I written in 2001 but still very relevant. The second is a fascinating albeit heavier article on how virtualisation technologies are currently implemented: A Comparison of Software and Hardware Techniques for x86 Virtualization
Ubuntu 11.04-x64 + LibreOffice 3 and MS free except the boss's Notebook which runs XP + OOo 3.3.
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Re: So which VM package should we use?

Postby ccornell » Tue May 27, 2008 9:04 am

TerryE wrote:I would very interested in feedback and comments on both the choice Linux flavour and Virtualisation S/W.

I am currently using Kubuntu 8.04, and am generally not so pleased with it - it has a bunch of fiddly little issues that are annoying me. I will be moving back to opneSUSE with the 11.0 release. I've been using openSUSE since 1998... with various excursions into Ubuntu, Gentoo, RedHat, PCLinuxOS, DSL, etc., etc., and I always end up back with openSUSE. Overall, Linux is Linux, and the differences in a running (current/mainstream) distro are minimal, so whatever L is selected in the LAMP stack is fine.

As for VM, I use both VMWare and VirtualBox with a strong preference towards VirtualBox (which is nothing to do with my employers :-) I preferred it long before Sun bought it). I find VirtualBox to be faster, lighter, and more suited to my needs... but that's me. I can and do use both VMs interchangeably.

MSVPC is out since I do not use Windows at all at home or at work.
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Re: So which VM package should we use?

Postby TheGurkha » Tue May 27, 2008 2:48 pm

I have used VMWare at work (where it is still used) and VirtualBox at home. Nothing wrong with VMWare, but I prefer VirtualBox.

I have found VirtualBox to be fast (as far as my little laptop can handle it) and 100% reliable so far. The Guest Additions enhancements make it a winner for me. They allow you to move the mouse in and out of the virtual PC back forth with the host OS without having to do any special 'let go of the mouse' keystrokes, and you can have an arbitrary sized virtual PC window - and everything in it scales!

If you really want to you can have 'seamless' mode operating where you see your host desktop with the host OS apps running on it, and the guest OS apps running in windows as though they were hosted in the same desktop, with the guest desktop removed, but the (say) Ubuntu task bars still visible!

You can also have folders on your host shared by the guest. All in all it's a doddle to set up too.
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Re: So which VM package should we use?

Postby TerryE » Wed May 28, 2008 7:18 pm

OK, I know have that LAMP test system running in headless VBox. I had to rebuild the system image from the ground up to get Ubuntu 8.04 JeOS to work under VBox. Also the Networking isn't as flexible as VMware, as the NAT setup requires you to manually map host ports onto guest ones. For those that are interested here is my build log:
Code: Select all   Expand viewCollapse view
HOST> Configure VM with New 1Gb HD0 and CDROM->jeos-8.04-jeos-i386.iso
HOST> startvm

GUEST> <<Do standard JeOS install>>
       Host = ub804jeos
       User = test Password test
       then reboot
GUEST> sudo su
GUEST> apt-get update
GUEST> apt-get install openssh-server

HOST> VBoxManage showvminfo ub804jeos -details
      VBoxManage setextradata ub804jeos "VBoxInternal/Devices/pcnet/0/LUN#0/Config/guestssh/Protocol" TCP
      VBoxManage setextradata ub804jeos "VBoxInternal/Devices/pcnet/0/LUN#0/Config/guestssh/GuestPort" 22
      VBoxManage setextradata ub804jeos "VBoxInternal/Devices/pcnet/0/LUN#0/Config/guestssh/HostPort" 2222
      VBoxManage startvm ub804jeos

# All further VM management can now be done through SSH to test@localhost port 2222 -- end of shitty console
# Now install all of the other kits that we need to run the phpBB stack

GUEST> sudo su
       apt-get install wget at bsdmainutils command-not-found-data \
            cron file time logrotate psmisc info man-db nano ed hdparm parted \
            ftp telnet w3m iptables iputils-arping iputils-tracepath \
            lshw lsof mtr-tiny net-tools ltrace strace apache2 php5 perl perl-modules \
            php5-cli php5-ldap php5-mcrypt php5-memcache php5-gd \
            postgresql-8.3 postgresql-client-8.3 php5-pgsql phppgadmin bind9 \
            virtualbox-ose-guest-modules-2.6.24-16-virtual \
            virtualbox-ose-guest-utils
      shutdown -h now

# Temporarily attach old System disk to xfer config files

HOST> Configure VM map VMware ub804jeosSys.VMDK to HD1
      startvm

GUEST> sudo su
       mkdir /app
       mount /dev/sdb1 /app
       cp /app/etc/apache2/sites-available/jeos  /etc/apache2/sites-available/jeos
       cp /app/etc/apache2/apache2.conf          /etc/apache2/apache2.conf
       rm /etc/apache2/sites-enabled/000-default
       cd /etc/apache2/sites-available/
       ln -s jeos                               ../sites-enabled/000-default
       cd /etc/apache2/mods-enabled
       ln -s ../mods-available/expires.load
       ln -s ../mods-available/headers.load
       ln -s ../mods-available/info.conf
       ln -s ../mods-available/info.load
       ln -s ../mods-available/mime_magic.conf
       ln -s ../mods-available/mime_magic.load
       ln -s ../mods-available/rewrite.load
       ln -s ../mods-available/ssl.conf
       ln -s ../mods-available/ssl.load
       cd /app/etc/postgresql/8.3/main
       cp pg_*.conf postgresql.conf              /etc/postgresql/8.3/main
       chown root:root                           /etc/postgresql/8.3/main/*
       shutdown -h now

# Attack new App Disk and temporarily attach old App disk to xfer App files

HOST> Configure VM with New 1.5Gb HD1
                   map VMware ub804jeosApp.VMDK to HD2
      VBoxHeadless -startvm ub804jeos

GUEST> sudo su
       fdisk /dev/sdb  #(and set up as single partition)
       n/p////w        #(/ = CR)
       mkfs.ext3 /dev/sdb1
       mount /dev/sdb1 /app
       << adduser to create webservd account >>
       mkdir /tmp/app; mount /dev/sdc1 /tmp/app
       cd /tmp/app
       cp -a apache2 bin log postgresql work apache2 /app
       shutdown -h now

HOST> unmap VMware ub804jeosApp.VMDK removing HD2
      VBoxManage showvminfo ub804jeos -details
      VBoxManage setextradata ub804jeos "VBoxInternal/Devices/pcnet/0/LUN#0/Config/guestwww/Protocol" TCP
      VBoxManage setextradata ub804jeos "VBoxInternal/Devices/pcnet/0/LUN#0/Config/guestwww/GuestPort" 80
      VBoxManage setextradata ub804jeos "VBoxInternal/Devices/pcnet/0/LUN#0/Config/guestwww/HostPort" 81
      VBoxHeadless -startvm ub804jeos

BROWSER> connecting to http://localhost:81/en/forum connects to the forum
         You need to go into ADM->Server Management and change the domain to localhost, port to 81
         Watch out, if on redirection you get thrown to user.services.openoffice.org, then just
         overwrite the domain with localhost:81.  Clear the cache and everything starts working

I don't like the manual build process for the App Disk. If we go with VBox, I will include a script to build this from a blank disk and our offsite backups on OUCV.org.
Ubuntu 11.04-x64 + LibreOffice 3 and MS free except the boss's Notebook which runs XP + OOo 3.3.
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Re: So which VM package should we use?

Postby TerryE » Sun Jun 01, 2008 1:28 pm

I have just passed to Drew the beta version of my VBox LAMP build. This splits the system into two VDIs, one for the system disk and one for the phpBB application. The kit itself only contains 7z compressed System Image (~ 90Mb) and small script to create the VM with this and a blank App VDI. On first power up, you run a script which downloads the latest set of Forum backups from OUCV and creates a copy of Forum as at last night for testing. Drew and I will continue to refine this, but if it is stable I will archive all my VMware kits in the next week or so.

If any of the other Admins or Volunteers is interested in a copy then speak up.

As I have mentioned in the past, Sun strictly control who has System Admin access to the usOOo server: fixed number, minimum level of expertise, provenance and be willing to sign and comply with the paperwork. One of the reasons that I am all doing this is to enable ANY volunteer to work on and contribute to the forum. The only constraint is that they must first develop their changes in their own sandpit and use Drew, Clayton and I for Release Management into the Live Forums.
Ubuntu 11.04-x64 + LibreOffice 3 and MS free except the boss's Notebook which runs XP + OOo 3.3.
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