Saturday, November 29, 2008

VMware Server 2.0 under Ubuntu Intrepid Ibex

Following my Ubuntu Linux router upgrade project, and my "Ubuntu Hardy Heron under VMware" post, I felt it was time to swap things around and run VMware Server 2.0 under Ubuntu Intrepid Ibex (8.10).

The goal is to run one of the virtual machines I need to keep running quite often on my Shuttle K-4500-N2 which is being used as my router and left running all the time anyway. While it's not exactly a high-performance machine, it should suffice for the virtual machine I'm looking to move, which operates fine with only 256 MB RAM. This will allow me to keep my regular desktop powered off more, and save some power.

vsock Installation Issue

The first issue I had with the host installation under Ubuntu Intrepid Ibex was an issue with building the "vsock" module:

None of the pre-built vsock modules for VMware Server is suitable for your
running kernel.  Do you want this program to try to build the vsock module for
your system (you need to have a C compiler installed on your system)? [yes]

Extracting the sources of the vsock module.

Building the vsock module.

Using 2.6.x kernel build system.
make: Entering directory `/tmp/vmware-config0/vsock-only'
make -C /lib/modules/2.6.27-7-generic/build/include/.. SUBDIRS=$PWD SRCROOT=$PWD/. modules
make[1]: Entering directory `/usr/src/linux-headers-2.6.27-7-generic'
  CC [M]  /tmp/vmware-config0/vsock-only/linux/af_vsock.o
  CC [M]  /tmp/vmware-config0/vsock-only/linux/driverLog.o
  CC [M]  /tmp/vmware-config0/vsock-only/linux/util.o
/tmp/vmware-config0/vsock-only/linux/util.c: In function âVSockVmciLogPktâ:
/tmp/vmware-config0/vsock-only/linux/util.c:157: warning: format not a string literal and no format arguments
  CC [M]  /tmp/vmware-config0/vsock-only/linux/vsockAddr.o
  LD [M]  /tmp/vmware-config0/vsock-only/vsock.o
  Building modules, stage 2.
  MODPOST 1 modules
WARNING: "VMCIDatagram_CreateHnd" [/tmp/vmware-config0/vsock-only/vsock.ko] undefined!
WARNING: "VMCIDatagram_DestroyHnd" [/tmp/vmware-config0/vsock-only/vsock.ko] undefined!
WARNING: "VMCI_GetContextID" [/tmp/vmware-config0/vsock-only/vsock.ko] undefined!
WARNING: "VMCIDatagram_Send" [/tmp/vmware-config0/vsock-only/vsock.ko] undefined!
  CC      /tmp/vmware-config0/vsock-only/vsock.mod.o
  LD [M]  /tmp/vmware-config0/vsock-only/vsock.ko
make[1]: Leaving directory `/usr/src/linux-headers-2.6.27-7-generic'
cp -f vsock.ko ./../vsock.o
make: Leaving directory `/tmp/vmware-config0/vsock-only'
Unable to make a vsock module that can be loaded in the running kernel:
insmod: error inserting '/tmp/vmware-config0/vsock.o': -1 Unknown symbol in module
There is probably a slight difference in the kernel configuration between the
set of C header files you specified and your running kernel.  You may want to
rebuild a kernel based on that directory, or specify another directory.

The VM communication interface socket family is used in conjunction with the VM
communication interface to provide a new communication path among guests and
host.  The rest of this software provided by VMware Server is designed to work
independently of this feature.  If you wish to have the VSOCK feature  you can
install the driver by running again after making sure that
gcc, binutils, make and the kernel sources for your running kernel are
installed on your machine. These packages are available on your distribution's
installation CD.
[ Press the Enter key to continue.]

I found a solution to this posted on the Ubuntu Forums: "VMware server 2 vsock warning", specifically the patch to "" posted by "delgurth" on 2008-11-28:

Web Interface

I've been using the VMware Server 1.x versions on my Windows desktop and some other machines for quite some time, and things have worked quite well. The 2.0 version is quite an upgrade, and one that I first tested on my Windows desktop. While it brings many new features, I, like many others, was disappointed in the migration to - and apparent requirement to use - the web-based interface.

Included in the issues against the web interface is an issue with SSL certificates. For one, the server certificates are self-signed, which causes various warnings and issues under any browser, but these are common and somewhat-easily worked around. (See also: "Firefox SSL-Certificate Debate Rages On", 2008-08-22,

However, there is also an issue where client certificates are continuously prompted for. On the Windows host, I simply avoided this by connecting to the HTTP port (8222) instead of HTTPS (port 8333). The Linux host installation, however, redirects any HTTP requests to HTTPS. The 2 most informative search results I found were on the VMware forums: "VI constantly asks for Client Certificates?" and "identify yourself with a certificate". Unfortunately, I didn't have success with any of the listed suggestions.

Fortunately, the "VMware Infrastructure Client" can be used to connect instead, very similar to the "VMware Server Console" in the 1.x versions. From a Windows install, the client installation is located at "\VMware\VMware Server\hostd\docroot\client\VMware-viclient.exe" underneath Program Files. In order to get it to connect, I had to suffix the port number to the host name (:8333). It also seems to connect to the HTTPS port only, not HTTP.

Unfortunately, the VMware Infrastructure Client seems to have a few issues of its own. For one, I can't keep a console window open for a VM without keeping the main "VMware Infrasturcture Client" open as well. Additionally, it seems that some settings are only available under the web interface, or at least some settings that only work underneath the web interface. For example, when trying to configure the amount of "Reserved Memory" after going into maintenance mode, I get an error: "A specified parameter was not correct. spec.virtualMachineReserved". Configuring the same option through the web UI does work, however.

I was happy to see that the web UI was standardized across operating systems since the 1.x version. Previously, Microsoft IIS was required for any web management under Windows. While this worked well for me under Windows Server 2003 environments, it didn't work so well under Windows XP Professional, where there is a limit of only one operational virtual web site at a time. (See also: "IIS5.1 in XP Pro", Brett Hill, 2002, While this may be fine for a dedicated VMware host, it prevents the use of the "Default Web Site" or any other desired sites.

Now, Apache Tomcat & Java are used. Unfortunately, continually running the web access service consumes ~100 MB of RAM. This is to significant of a waste for me for a process that is only going to be seldom used, especially on a machine that only has a maximum of 2 GB RAM available to begin with (which includes shared video memory). If the other issues were fixed, and/or if VMware made it easy to reuse existing Java/Tomcat instances instead of installing their own, I may reconsider.

Final Thoughts

I've been hearing more and more good things about VirtualBox, now developed by Sun Microsystems. I plan on giving it a try...


Arturo 'Buanzo' Busleiman said...

After an hour or so of analyzing .xml files, I decided to edit /etc/vmware/hostd/proxy.xml, so I could use http to access the UI. Edit it id="2" instance, the one that mentions port 8308. In the accessMode tag, replace the 'httpsWithRedirect' value with 'httpAndHttps'. Then /etc/init.d/vmware restart.

Then, use this URL to access the UI:

It worked for me :)

Will post a detailed configuration in

Rimu said...

Port 8308.... NOT 8222 or 8333! Who would have guessed?! :D