linux n00b

Installing ESXi 4 in a Home Network

Posted in Virtualisation by downforce on October 22, 2009

NOTE: I actually wrote this back on 16th August but did a Save Draft instead of Publish … DOH!

Background

I’ve run my linux server + Windows VM for a couple years now and the Windows VM does as much as the Linux host does. Coupling this with some issues with VMWare Server 1 on latest kernels and failed attempts to keep VMWare Server 2 stable, I decided to take the plunge into ESXi and virtualise my Linux machine too!

Initial Research

So my initial research indicated my NIC was fine but I can’t use linux software raid, which is how my linux box has been setup! Oh noes, oh well, time to get a hardware RAID controller. The cheapest one on the VMWare HCL is the Adaptec 2405, and found one 2nd hand for around 60% of the cost of a new one.

Problems Problems Problems

1. Virtualising my linux box. The VMWare Standalone Converter can’t convert Linux machines running mdadm/software RAID. BOO. Time to copy my important files off one of my RAID1 array to another single HDD.

2. Can’t initalise the disk. This is the problem and solution: http://ict-freak.nl/2009/03/14/vmware-failed-to-get-disk-partition-information/

3. Accessing the ESXi box via remote SSH:
http://professionalvmware.com/2009/05/26/unsupported-console-and-ssh-on-esxi-4/

4. Can’t access my non-mdadm drive in ESXi. RDM (Raw Device Mapping) is the answer. Here is the solution I used: http://www.daenks.info/2009/07/using-vcb-to-backup-entire-vms/

After solving all these issues though, I have to say, that moving to ESXi was the best thing ever. I’ve only had 1 problem since installing it and that was due to the USB drive becoming corrupted.

That was easily fixed by creating a new USB boot key and copying the local.tar.gz file from the old to new key. Boot up and wallah, good as new! Now I have a backup copy anyway 🙂

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