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Using shared folders between VMware Workstation and Linux guest OS

This is a note that it is now perfectly possible to share folder and files between a VMware workstation host (or VMware Player) and a Linux guest OS without installing the proprietary VMware tools for Linux

It’s just surprising to me that no-one appears to have documented this properly

VMware is no longer developing VMware tools any more for Linux distros, but is instead putting VMware tools functionality into an open source package available for most Linux flavours out there called open-vm-tools

Assuming you have installed a Linux guest OS under VMware workstation, then this is the procedure you will need to follow

First, create or identify a directory on your host Windows system that you want to share with the Linux OS.

  • For the sake of example, let’s assume you want to share the folder C:\sharedfiles

Once done, open a console to your Linux guest and install open-vm-tools from the repository of your chose Linux distribution. This will probably entail connecting to the Internet to get it, but it needs to be done.

  • For CentOS for example, this means the following command:

sudo yum install –y open-vm-tools

  • For Ubuntu it is

sudo apt-get install open-vm-tools

Once the package has been installed then you need to shutdown the Linux guest OS gracefully via

sudo shutdown –h now

When the OS has been shutdown, then go to Settings for the Linux guest and click on the Options tab and select Shared Folders

If the Folder Sharing is disabled then select “Always Enabled”

Add the Folder to be shared but giving it a name (eg “SharedFiles”) and attach it to a directory on your host Windows OS (eg “C:\sharedfiles”)

Click Next, make the attribute “Enable this share” has been checked and make sure the attribute for “Read-Only” is de-selected (unless you want the host directory to be read-only, in which case check it)

Click Finish, OK when you’re done and then start the Linux guest OS again.

Once the Linux OS has booted, go to the console and type the following command:

sudo vmware-hgfsclient

which should return the shared folder (eg “SharedFiles”)

To  connect the two file systems you will need to create or nominate an empty directory accessible by your Linux user

From the user home directory create a directory called “shared”, eg

mkdir ~/shared

Then mount the shared folder

sudo vmhgfs-fuse –o allow_other .host:/SharedFiles ~/shared

If you then change to the share directory then you should be able to see files in that directory which are on the host Windows OS.

Notes: Installing Docker on vSphere 6

Add Docker functionality to ESXi

Download the Docker Volume Plugin -> https://github.com/vmware/docker-volume-vsphere/releases/download/0.1.0.tp/vmware-esx-vmdkops-0.1.0.tp.vib

Enable esxi shell and ssh on ESXi host

Use WinSCP to copy the VIB to the ESXi host (WinSCP at https://winscp.net/download/WinSCP-5.9.2-Setup.exe )

Install the VIB into the esxi kernel using the following command:

esxcli software vib install -v /path-to-vib/vmware-esx-vmdkops-0.1.0.tp.vib -f

From <http://www.virtuallyghetto.com/2016/05/getting-started-with-tech-preview-of-docker-volume-driver-for-vsphere.html>

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(The ESXi host does NOT need to be rebooted!)

Check all is well with

/etc/init.d/vmdk-opsd status

From <http://cormachogan.com/2016/06/01/docker-volume-driver-vsphere/>

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Get Photon as the base host OS for the Docker containers

Download the PhotonOS OVA which is the Docker Container OS (could use Ubuntu instead)

https://github.com/vmware/photon/wiki/Downloading-Photon-OS

Deploy the OVA into your ESXi host (or in this case vCenter server)

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(More vCPU/Memory required?)

Boot Photon OS

Immediately you login as root with the default password (“changeme”) you will be forced to change the password to something else

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Download the vmdk plug-in for Docker

RPM -> https://github.com/vmware/docker-volume-vsphere/releases/download/0.1.0.tp/docker-volume-vsphere-0.1.0.tp-1.x86_64.rpm

Or

DEB -> https://github.com/vmware/docker-volume-vsphere/releases/download/0.1.0.tp/docker-volume-vsphere_0.1.0.tp_amd64.deb

Use WinSCP to copy either file to /root (use ifconfig to find out what the IP address of the Photon VM is)

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Depending on which install package you downloaded, use one of the following commands to install the plug-in into PhotonOS

rpm -ivh docker-volume-vsphere-0.1.0.tp-1.x86_64.rpm

dpkg -i docker-volume-vsphere-0.1.0.tp-1.x86_64.db

From <http://www.virtuallyghetto.com/2016/05/getting-started-with-tech-preview-of-docker-volume-driver-for-vsphere.html>

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Test Docker is functioning

Create a 10GB docker volume called ‘vol1’ as an example:

docker volume create –driver=vmdk –name=vol1 -o size=10gb

From <http://www.virtuallyghetto.com/2016/05/getting-started-with-tech-preview-of-docker-volume-driver-for-vsphere.html>

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Use a Docker Volume command to see the details

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More to follow as I learn Docker…

In my other lives…

A substantial pause in my posting on this weblog has happened, because I have these other lives where things happen such as:

  • Leaving a job and moving from the Channel Islands back to England for another job as a cloud architect.
  • Starting an MIT course in Physics which will last until early January (why do I do this to myself?) and is taking more of my spare time than I would like.
  • Moving from house to hotel to holiday cottage to another holiday cottage to hotel to holiday cottage to hotel to (finally) a new house, going to auction to get needed furniture and moving in.

But the next virtual mountain is VCP-Cloud and I am now at base camp and getting equipment together for the climb.

VCP Cloud – what sort of questions are on the exam? #1

A note on what sort of questions to expect on the VCP-Cloud 510 exam

The questions in the VCP-CLOUD aka VCP-IaaS exam were all multiple choice in nature, with some requiring multiple answers (choose 2 or more). There were in total 85 Questions in the exam.

The exam is really heavy on vCloud Networking and vShield Component, you need to make sure that you know this stuff in and out for having a chance in the exam. There will be few questions which will be straight out of the vCloud director interface so building a Lab is essential. These questions are like low hanging fruit which can be handled very easily if you know the interface.

My advice? Build a lab for this exam, learn/install all the vCloud components, go through the PDFs, master the concepts. There is almost nothing related to vSphere in the exam as being a VCP5 is one of the prerequisites for this exam, so don’t have hopes on questions on vSphere. The exam blueprint has covered all the topics which you need to prepare for the exam.

Source: http://thinkingloudoncloud.com/2012/11/vcp-cloud-vcp-iaas-exam-experience/

I had heard this from the instructor on my vCloud Director course that the exam was heavily focussed on Networking and vShield (everyone still calls vCNS this, even in the course materials they refer to the ‘vShield Manager’ appliance).

This seems to be sage advice. On the course it was clearly apparent to me looking at the materials that trying to pass the exam without building your own vCloud system was going to make the task of getting certified several times more difficult than was necessary.

Where’s the IT women at?

This isn’t a post I thought I’d make, but it really came from my experience attending the “vCloud Director: Install, Configure, Manage” last week at Arrow ECS (more to follow on the course itself and what’s next, in a later post)

At the Arrow ECS training centre in the Royal Exchange, a stone’s throw from the Bank of England, there are many rooms for different courses. I saw a course for Websphere development and another for database management. All solid IT-related courses.

But not a single woman in any of them.

Now I’m not given to much of what is called postmodern feminism, but I am a believer in equal rights and equal opportunities for women especially in IT, because frankly I don’t see any physical or mental differences in women that would prevent them from being a full and useful member of any IT team nor of being an effective IT Manager (and I’ve known several very effective female IT managers).

And in Cloud Computing, where many disparate components are functioning together to produce a valuable service, and with a need for accuracy and concentration to resources and the needs of customers, women’s innate strengths in those areas would make them natural candidates.

So where are they? Has the IT industry changed so fast that women have been left behind? Are there barriers to entry in Cloud Computing or IT in general which filter them out? Or do a lot of women not consider entering such a career because it is seen to be the sole domain of (male) geeks? Is it the discontinuity caused by motherhood that leaves women far behind?

I asked the instructor on my course about this and he responded that in all the time he’d been there, he estimated that only 1% of the attendees were female. I think this might be representative of the general state of affairs and not specific to this particular provider.

I wonder if my own daughter would even consider a career in IT and cloud computing – she’d certainly have my full support if she did.

There are plenty women who work for VMware (and I seem to remember the first ever VCP was female) and in cloud computing related companies. I would be curious to know what they think.

I’d be intrigued if there was a “Women in Cloud Computing” group somewhere.

Moving on and moving up

I’ve left this blog fallow for almost a month, but I’m going to get back into it because of changes that are happening in my career.

Basically, I’m now on gardening leave from my old job and I’m due to start a new job with a dedicated cloud provider on July 1st. My new title will be “Cloud Architect” and I’ll be doing lots of projects and consultations which leverage the company’s cloud infrastructure and cloud services.

While I’ve been on leave, I’ve taken the opportunity to also create a test 3-server vCloud cluster with iSCSI storage. I haven’t touched iSCSI in nearly 3 years but its pleasing to note that the knowledge hasn’t completely faded away.

And next week, I’m going on a VMware course run by Arrow ECS in London called “VMware vCloud Director: Install, Configure, Manage [V5.1]”, the course which will take my virtualization knowledge to the next level. This course contains all of the required information to take the VCP-Cloud exam and I’m excited at the prospect.

More importantly, I’ll be able to get the certifications that will differentiate me in the skills market. There are nearly 150,000 VCPs globally, but a lot fewer VCP-Clouds or VCAPs. Certifications will define the bare minimum level of my skillset, allowing me to consider opportunities in the market as they present themselves.

I think as virtualization moves mainstream, the VCP5 will be the minimum requirement for people who use vSphere and ESXi on a daily basis, but vCloud and VCAP will differentiate those who are more senior, who consult on datacenter virtualization and/or work on virtualization projects.

VMware certifications aren’t the only mountains out there – Microsoft certifications in Windows 2012 will be increasingly important and managing Hyper-V and VSphere will be important skills in the knowledge economy.

Starting next month, I’ll be talking more about vCloud and cloud computing in general as well as the requirements to take and pass the certifications along the way.