Thursday, June 15, 2006 

VMware update

What I've discovered playing with VMware server.

The wikipedia entry is actually more informative than the VMware website (or I was more patient tonight). From wikipedia:

  • the difference between VMware Player and Server: VMware Player, a free virtual-machine host, can run virtual machines made by other VMware products, but cannot itself create new virtual machines.
  • how to lock your VM network adapter to one MAC address: disable all networks/adapters other than bridged and edit each virtual machine's .vmx file to change "ethernet0.address" to a unique MAC and "ethernet0.addresstype" to "static". Make sure to also remove the "ethernet0.generatedaddress" entry entirely. Setting the MAC Address Manually for a Virtual Machine goes into more detail.

At first I was a bit puzzled that I could power up my Trustix VM - and it'll be visible on my network via ping and SSH. Yet when I logged out of the host OS the VM would disappear. According to the forum post "VM powers off by itself...." this is caused by connecting to the host OS via Remote Desktop. A better alternative is to power up my VM via the VMware Server Console.

VMware Server is a true client/server app. Your virtual machines execute on a server somewhere - and you can connect to administer/view the machines from another PC using the VMware Server Console. For me this required opening up port 902 on my host OS.

Connecting to the VM Server. Trustix VM viewed from my main PC.

Now that my VM is running continuously - I can do all my Linux mucking around from an SSH client. So I don't really have much need to connect via the VMware Server Console.


Monday, June 12, 2006 

Trustix + VMware Server

Queen's birthday long weekend - and I've found another quick geeky project to play with at home. This one was quick (I swear!). I've being contemplating recently how I'd go about setting up a small business network with the essentials - web/mail/file/proxy server plus the very necessary extras like back-up and spam/virus filtering for email.

The offerings from the open source world are pretty impressive (without getting into a debate over paid-for / free software). Which led me to the Trustix Linux distro - from their website:

Trustix Secure Linux is a distribution for servers with a heavy focus on security and stability. One of the main features of Trustix is its small size which combined with easy updating by the automated secure software updater swup, makes it a smooth and inviting system to administer.

Having been away from the Linux world for 10 years and having never been an expert - the idea of a 'minimal' distribution appeals to me. An 'everything plus the kitchen sink' distro just means more things that could go wrong, more potential security holes, and more applications to patch/update.

Got an install up-and-running on my 'test' machine. In the mood for experimenting I downloaded the free VMware Server, and a Trustix install ISO file. The virtual PC can be set-up to boot straight from the ISO image, and install Trustix effortlessly. I know of a few people working with production servers hosted in VMware. I can see the advantages - I can now easily move my Trustix install between PCs running VMserver. Making it possible to run several servers on one physical machine - and move them off onto more physical machines as the additional resources become needed.

Documentation is a bit thin on the ground, the TrustixWiki covers most of the scenarios I'm interested in. So now its time to roll up my sleeves (stop saying 'I bet this is easier in Windows') and think about the features I want on my new server!