VMware Cloning and Debian/Ubuntu udev Rules

When cloning Ubuntu 8.04 VMs under VMware, the /etc/udev/rules.d/70-persistent-net.rules file would get an entry for eth1 pointing at the newly-assigned NIC MAC address, leaving the original eth0 entry in place. This would cause networking to not work (i.e. “we’re having notwork problems haha”) and we’d have to manually edit this file, remove the old eth0 entry, and rename eth1 to eth0. PITA!

When we switched to Xen during our brief trial, this wasn’t necessary. We figured the Xen templating process had some smarts. Now that I’m playing with ESXi again, this issue reared its ugly head again. It turns out the file 75-persistent-net-generator.rules has an entry to exclude Xen NICs from getting an entry in the 70-persistent-net.rules file. Sweet! Adding the following line after ENV{MATCHADDR} is assigned causes the same effect:

ENV{MATCHADDR}=="00:0c:29:*|00:50:56:*", ENV{MATCHADDR}=""

It would be nice to use the same exclusion rule as the Xen entry, but substituting “vmware” for “xen” didn’t do the trick, and there’s little point wasting time trying to find out what the right string would be.

Enable SSH Access to VMware ESX Hosts

Completely unsupported and an easy way to pooch your server and its VMs without even trying, possibly getting yourself fired in the process, it is nevertheless desirable to be able to SSH to your VMware ESX/ESXi hosts. This dangerous feature is disabled by default, but her’s how you can enable it:

  1. Go to the ESXi console and press Alt+F1
  2. Type: “unsupported” (Note: there is no prompt for this, just type and hit ENTER)
  3. Enter the root password and hit ENTER
  4. At the prompt type “vi /etc/inetd.conf”
  5. Find the line that starts with “#ssh” and delete the leading “#” (use “x”)
  6. Save by typing “ZZ”
  7. Do a “ps | grep inetd” and make note of the inetd process id (first number)
  8. Issue “kill -HUP <pid>” where “<pid>” is the inetd process id from above to restart the management services (or reboot if that’s an option)
  9. Enjoy your new SSH capabilities

These instructions were shamelessly stolen from this famous article, but updated because their restart command didn’t work for me.

VMware ESXi 4

Virtualization is something I am obsessed with, and we started using VMware ESXi 4 at work today. I was reading some stuff on ESXi 4, specifically how to create linked clones, when I came across some idiot who said they were running ESXi in a virtual machine under VMware Workstation; as if! This caught my attention, and minutes later, after having spent countless hours over the last year or so trying to get ESXi 3.5 and 4.0 working on some unsupported hardware at home, I have ESXi 4.0 running!

I tried to get it to talk to my iSCSI target of my local OpenFiler NAS but it didn’t work for some reason, so I used NFS instead. I am installing Ubuntu 8.0.10 but it’s awful slow, and this on an Intel i920 processor  with 9GB RAM, 4GB of which is allocated to the ESXi VM. I didn’t expect much but I didn’t expect this. (Note: this was easily fixed, see my comment below)

The only caveat in getting it running was making sure that I selected “Other Linux 64-bit” for the ESXi VM, and editing its .vmx file to add the lines:

monitor.virtual_exec = "hardware"
monitor_control.restrict_backdoor = "true"

Without these, ESXi will not allow you to start any VMs. It’s also important that the NIC be an e1000, likely because that’s one of the few NICs supported by ESX, but that was what I got by default using the above setting.

My intent as mentioned earlier is to play with linked clones. We have a project to create a set of semi-public workstations and I want them to be thin clients (e.g. Thinstation) that connect to a set of VMs running XP such that logging off or disconnecting will revert the VMs to a snapshot. Straightforward enough, but a PITA for maintenance where each VM would require its own large, redundant disk image. Linking each VM to a single image will use minimal disk space, plus when we update that common disk image with new anti-virus defs, Windows updates, etc, rolling out the changes will be as easy as replacing the linked disk. A discussion of how this will work is here, at the bottom of the discussion.

Good Riddance, Facebook

I deleted my seldom-used Facebook account today. Mike had mentioned that he recently got rid of his, and I read an article this morning about how careful you need to be etc which got me thinking.

Quickly browsing the people that I was linked with before committing to this action confirmed my thoughts. There are innumerable mindless comments strewn about “not sure what I should do today”, “thinking I should get a truck”, “got so drunk last night” etc. Pretty much what you’d expect from adolescents, but these are grown adults, seemingly starved for attention. By and large, nothing I’d be interested in reading. A couple people had some somewhat-useful technical comments but I can’t bring myself to wade through the noise. Plus seeing the privacy-compromising personal information that some of my dearest put on display in such a careless, cavalier fashion absolutely horrifies me. Good luck trying to get a job when a potential employer can so easily find this stuff. Then there are the sad old people (some even older than me!) who try to use Facebook to stay in touch with young ones. Do they really enjoy seeing pictures of their offspring drinking, doing drugs, vomiting, being passed out, or reading about same?

Note that simply deactivating your account doesn’t do much, since Facebook keeps all your personal information active should you ever log in again. This means your name and personal details are still there for others to see, you are tagged in photos, etc. It’s not really any different than simply not logging in, a clever ploy by Facebook to not give up your valuable personal information.

The link to permanently delete your Facebook account while logged in is http://www.facebook.com/help/contact.php?show_form=delete_account. Hopefully this post will motivate people to clean up their acts or delete their own account and get their lives back.

Camping Again

Lisa and family are camping again this long weekend. Last night was a very nice evening where I rode my
motorcycle to their site, Mike cooked dinner, Stephanie and Eric and Chloe came for a visit, we walked to the store, then came back and has a fire. We left around 11pm. Normally we stay later but I didn’t want to wake up the whole place with my bike, which was really dewey and hard to start. Still, a very nice day. Hopefully today willl be just as nice. It’s supposed to rain all afternoon but clear for the evening. I have a ton of work to do but plan to relax out there again tonight.