VMware makes things easy

August 16, 2008 at 2:45 pm Leave a comment

Within the last few days, I’ve decided to re-purpose an old server.  It’s a Dell SC400 with a 1.8 Gig Celeron, 1.5 GB of RAM, and two Raptor 36 GB 10,000 RPM SATA drives.  It’s sole function in life is to run VMs.  I have only two VMs on it, one running ClarkConnect to host a intranet site and a mail server, and one running ZeroShell to handle the Radius authentication for my wireless network.

Getting rid of ClarkConnect was a pain.  I had slowly been weaning myself off of having a local mail server, and finished that job this morning (using Google Apps, I’m now hosting my mail on Gmail, but the ending address is my own domain that I’ve owned for years).  The Intranet site was moved to a bit of spare webspace we have from years back, though we might have been able to host it with our ISP, but I’d rather not tie myself down to a single provider like that.

Now, don’t get me wrong – ClarkConnect is a pretty good package.  I’ve used it for years with a minor bump in the road here and there, but overall it has done well at the task I had given it.

For ZeroShell, I have a Soekris that I may end up using for it (currently my gateway), but since I don’t want to wipe out my current gateway in case this new plan goes south, I figured I’d try to get ZeroShell to run under VMware Fusion on my Mac.  VMs created with the mac seem to be a bit differently laid out, directory-wise, but the same files are all there.  After copying the VM files over, I tried to start it up.  It complained about permissions.  Thinking that perhaps I should just create a new VM and point to the disk files from the existing VM, I tried that method.  When selecting the disk file, it told me that it was created with an older version of VMware and that it could convert it.  I selected to Convert, but was again told there was a permission problem.  Finally, I did a “Get Info” on the directory and saw that my user had only Read permissions.  I changed it to read-write, along with the individual files, and then I was able to simply start the VM up without problems.  I should have paid attention to the first permission warning, I suppose.

At any rate, I booted up, and VMware asked me if I had moved this VM or copied it.  Since it was now on a different machine, I figured moved would be the right answer. (Oddly, it didn’t define things very well).  It booted up the rest of the way, but I was unable to browse to ZeroShell’s web interface.  I checked the Settings and noticed that it still had my old VMware Network settings.  I simply changed it to bridging, and hit refresh in my browser, at which time it was up and working (no reboot needed!). So, it could have been a little easier, but I can’t really blame VMware for my permissions issue.

The beautiful thing about VMware is that if you need to upgrade hardware, just get the new hardware, install VMware on it, shut down your VMs, copy them over, bring them up, and you are done, back to normal full operation.  Alternatively, you end up having to re-install all the software from the old machine onto the new one, get all the configurations and data copied over, etc.

Anyhow, the only VM I need is up and running, so now it’s time to shutdown my old machine and start installing Untangle.  I’m mainly interested in it for the Proxy and Antivirus scanning features, but it has tons of goodness, from looking at their website.  Here we go!

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Entry filed under: General, Networking.

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