Monday, February 15, 2010

Howto: Installing VMware tools in a Linux VM

Installing VMware tools in a Linux VM take a few more steps than on a Windows VM. This is done the following way (tested on VMware Workstation 7 and Ubuntu Desktop 9.04 VM appliance).
  • install the guest OS (click here to see if guest OS is supported)
  • to exit the gui to simulate no X server: sudo service gdm stop and then alt+f1 to get console
  • right click the VM and choose install/update VMware tools. This will connect the cdrom with the VMware tools ISO file (if files are not already available, they will be downloaded) but you still need to mount the cdrom manually: sudo mount /dev/scd0 /media/cdrom (if folder don't exist, create it first)
  • copy the tar file to /tmp folder and untar it: tar -xvf VMware-tools-vXX.tar.gz
  • ls to the untar'ed folder and run sudo ./
  • start the gui: sudo service gdm start or simply startx
  • verify that VMware tools are running: sudo ps -auxwww 'pipe-symbol' grep vm (look for /usr/bin/vmtoolsd and you will also find the balloon driver vmmemctl). You can also check if the vmtools startup script has been put into the startup folder /etc/rc0.d/
link to VMware KB article on installing VMtools (alternatively this KB article)

Update 2011.10.28: When installing VMware tools in Linux Redhat Enterprise 5.6 the installation failed as it needed gcc and some kernel developer packages. I ran the following commands and then reran the tools installation again after ./

yum install gcc
yum install kernel-devel
yum install kernel-xen-devel

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Example of an HA error - and a fix

The other day, I got an HA error when trying to add a new host into a cluster. It was weird, as the host was identical to the others - same model, same installation procedure, and everything. In VirtualCenter, the error looked like this:

This piece of information did not help much in relation to troubleshooting.

The only thing that was different with the new host was that is was configured from the service console (COS) as its NICs were DOA. I had used my own guide for this, so I thought I was in good shape ;-).

A more descriptive error was to be found in the VirtualCenter agent log file on the host (/var/log/vmware/vpx/vpxa.log). Grepping for the word "error" gave the following output:

errorcat = "hostipaddrsdiffer",
errotext = "cmd addnote failed for primary node: Host misconfigured. IP address of ... not found on local interface"

Earlier on, I had changed the IP address, as the first one assigned was already in use, but I'd forgotten to change the IP address in the /etc/hosts file. After doing that and restarting the network (service network restart), everything worked fine.

As a side node, I can mention that it can be pretty confusing manoeuvering through the various log files. Check this post by Eric Siebert for further explanation of VMware log files on VI3.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Differences between Windows Server 2008, SP2, and R2

So what are the differences between win2k8, win2k8 SP2, and win2k8 R2? These naming conventions and differences between versions are a constant cause for confusion. So here's the short take:

Win2k8 was first released with SP1. Later on came Win2k8 SP2.
Win2k8 R2 is the new version of the OS that introduces several new features. It has the look and feel of Win7, it is only x64 bit, and Hyper-V Quick migration (~VMotion) is introduced.

There's no SP2 installed on top of win2k8 R2. R2 is a clean install or you can upgrade from SP2 to R2. In any case, the SP2 will disappear and it will only be called R2.

The reason for pointing this out is that it was a bit different with win2k3. Here, you installed SP2 and then you installed R2 on top of SP2 and the result was win2k3 SP2 R2 - so service pack and R2 at the same time.

I found this comparison somewhere and I quite like it (not quite sure how correct it is, though..)

Windows Vista SP1 ~ Windows Server 2008 SP1

Windows Vista SP2 ~ Windows Server 2008 SP2

Windows 7 ~ Windows Server 2008 R2