Just Enough Developed Infrastructure

Automated Vmware ESX Installation - Bonus in Vmware Fusion

This time, I'll be focussing on automating the Vmware ESX installation (automated, of course :) . As an extra bonus I describe how to run ESX within Vmware Fusion (yes it works great for testing!).

  1. creation of a custom cdrom that will get it's configuration from a (temporary) webserver
  2. create a kickstart file to configure the vmware esx server
  3. (Fusion) add some network interface on OSX to simulate multiple network interfaces inside Vmware Fusion for the Vmware ESX Server
  4. (Fusion) create a virtual machine in Vmware Fusion for the new vmware esx server
  5. (Fusion) tweak security vmware ESX can monitor all interfaces
  6. (Fusion) start the ESX VM
  7. start a small disposable webserver to serve the kickstart file
  8. wait for SSH to become available

Et voilĂ , this is how you create a VMWare ESX installation inside VMWare Fusion in an automated way.

  • Very useful for setting up testing environment for customers who don't have a spare ESX server to work on. You can run it all on your laptop.
  • I can also say that the automation it's particular handy to avoid the ESX trial expiration period ...


For a list of references skip to the end

Creating a custom ESX Cdrom

The first step is to create a custom cdrom that contains the all our configuration settings instead of using the GUI.

Let's begin by setting some variables

<% codify (:shell) do %> ESX_ISOFILE="$HOME/SavedDownloads/esx-DVD-4.1.0-260247.iso" ESX_CUSTOM_ISOFILE="/tmp/esx-custom.iso" ESX_CUSTOM_ISO_TEMPDIR="/tmp/esx-new-iso" ESX_KS_PORT=7125 ESX_KS_HOST="" ESX_KICKSTART_DIR="/tmp/" <% end %>

We unpack the original Cdrom and change the kickstart files on it:

<% codify (:shell) do %>

Mount the Original ESX Cdrom

MOUNT_POINT=$( hdiutil mount $ESX_ISOFILE -nobrowse|tail -1 |cut -d ' ' -f 2-|cut -d '/' -f 2-) echo $MOUNT_POINT

This is the file we need to change

cat $MOUNT_POINT/isolinux/isolinux.cfg


Copy the original cdrom content to our new place


Make some files writeable , by default they are read-only (cdrom)

chmod +w $ESX_CUSTOM_ISO_TEMPDIR/isolinux chmod +w $ESX_CUSTOM_ISO_TEMPDIR/isolinux/isolinux.bin chmod +w $ESX_CUSTOM_ISO_TEMPDIR/isolinux/isolinux.cfg

Change the default kicstart from esx to our own esx-ks

sed -i -e 's/^default esx/default esx-ks/' $ESX_CUSTOM_ISO_TEMPDIR/isolinux/isolinux.cfg

Adjust the timeout

sed -i -e 's/^timeout 300/timeout 1/' $ESX_CUSTOM_ISO_TEMPDIR/isolinux/isolinux.cfg

Adding a new kickstart option to the isolinux.cfg file

Note: pleasing mac sed that has no \t to tab things with \ \ \

sed -i -e '/timeout 1/ a\ \ LABEL esx-ks \ \ \ \ \ menu label Install ESX in ks mode \ \ \ \ \ kernel vmlinuz \ \ \ \ \ append initrd=initrd.img debugLogToSerial=1 mem=512M text quiet ks=http://$ESX_KS_HOST:$ESX_KS_PORT/ks.cfg \ ' $ESX_CUSTOM_ISO_TEMPDIR/isolinux/isolinux.cfg

cat $ESX_CUSTOM_ISO_TEMPDIR/isolinux/isolinux.cfg

You now need the mkisofs command

sudo /opt/local/bin/port install cdrtools

brew install cdrtools

Or if you have vmware fusion you don't need to install the cdrtools

#/Library/Application\ Support/VMware\ Fusion/mkisofs -l -J -R -r -T -o $ESX_CUSTOM_ISOFILE -b isolinux/isolinux.bin -c isolinux/boot.cat -no-emul-boot -boot-load-size 4 -boot-info-table $ESX_CUSTOM_ISO_TEMPDIR

mkisofs -l -J -R -r -T -o $ESX_CUSTOM_ISOFILE -b isolinux/isolinux.bin -c isolinux/boot.cat -no-emul-boot -boot-load-size 4 -boot-info-table $ESX_CUSTOM_ISO_TEMPDIR

hdiutil unmount $MOUNT_POINT <% end %>

Now that you have created it, you can use this cdrom to boot from and it will try to fetch the kickstart file from a webserver

Creating a custom kickstart for ESX

Even though Vmware ESX feels like a Redhat machine, it is not. Therefore it will have different options then the standard Redhat Kickstart.

You can find out all options http://www.vmware.com/pdf/vsphere4/r41/vsp_41_esx_vc_installation_guide.pdf

Another easy way to get started is that after a manual install, there will be a resulting kickstart file created in /root/ks.cfg

Before we start the creation , let's set some variables we will use in the commands: <% codify (:shell) do %> ESX_PASSWORD="thepassword" ESX_IP="" ESX_HOSTNAME="esx4-server.example.org" ESX_NTP="" ESX_DNS="" ESX_GW="" ESX_MASK="" ESX_ADMIN="esxadmin" ESX_ADMIN_KEY="ssh-dss 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 me@mymachine" ESX_DATASTORE="datastore1" <% end %>

The password of the ESX_ADMIN user needs to be encoded in the kickstart file. To generate it we will use the openssl command.

On a Mac system openssl is part of the base installation, so be aware that when you installed macports or brew that the syntax might differ. The string generated should look like $1$TBcBRI4V$6l0q1eaCnmsB8bpEsmko2.

<% codify (:shell) do %> ESX_ENC_PASSWD=$(/opt/local/bin/openssl passwd -1 $ESX_PASSWORD) <% end %>

<% codify (:shell) do %> cat < $ESX_KICKSTART_DIR/ks.cfg accepteula


keyboard us auth

#Reboot after install? reboot

Canonical drive names:

#clearpart --drives=mpx.vmhba0:C0:T0:L0 clearpart --drives=mpx.vmhba0:C0:T0:L0 --overwritevmfs

Uncomment to use first detected disk:

clearpart --firstdisk

Uncomment the esxlocation line and comment out the clearpart

and physical partitions to do a non-destructive reinstall.

esxlocation --uuid=f53dd247-a43f-43af-af4c-319cca600c98

install cdrom rootpw --iscrypted $ESX_ENC_PASSWD timezone 'Europe/Brussels' network --addvmportgroup=true --device=vmnic0 --bootproto=static --ip=$ESX_IP --netmask=$ESX_MASK --gateway=$ESX_GW --nameserver=$ESX_DNS --hostname=$ESX_HOSTNAME

part '/boot' --fstype=ext3 --size=1100 --ondisk=mpx.vmhba0:C0:T0:L0

Uncomment to use first detected disk:

#part '/boot' --fstype=ext3 --size=1100 --onfirstdisk part 'none' --fstype=vmkcore --size=110 --ondisk=mpx.vmhba0:C0:T0:L0

Uncomment to use first detected disk:

#part 'none' --fstype=vmkcore --size=110 --onfirstdisk part 'datastore1' --fstype=vmfs3 --size=8604 --grow --ondisk=mpx.vmhba0:C0:T0:L0

Uncomment to use first detected disk:

#part 'datastore1' --fstype=vmfs3 --size=8604 --grow --onfirstdisk

virtualdisk 'esxconsole' --size=7604 --onvmfs='datastore1'

part 'swap' --fstype=swap --size=600 --onvirtualdisk='esxconsole' part '/var/log' --fstype=ext3 --size=2000 --onvirtualdisk='esxconsole' part '/' --fstype=ext3 --size=5000 --grow --onvirtualdisk='esxconsole'

%post --interpreter=bash

ntp settings

esxcfg-firewall --enableService ntpClient

chkconfig ntpd on cat > /etc/ntp.conf <<EOF

---- ntp.conf ----

Created by Weasel (ESX Installer)

Permit time synchronization with our time source, but do not

permit the source to query or modify the service on this system.

restrict default kod nomodify notrap nopeer noquery restrict -6 default kod nomodify notrap nopeer noquery restrict

server $ESX_NTP driftfile /var/lib/ntp/drift EOF

Add the user to the wheel group as to specify sudo powers

useradd -p '$ESX_ENC_PASSWD' -c '$ESX_ADMIN' $ESX_ADMIN -G wheel,root

Service Console SSH access on ESX 4.1

To enable shell access it needs to be added to /etc/security/access.conf

either member of root group or this




cp /etc/security/access.conf /etc/security/acces.conf.orig echo "+:$ESX_ADMIN:ALL" > /etc/security/access.conf cat /etc/security/access.conf.orig >> /etc/security/access.conf

Enable no password sudo for all user in the wheel group

resulting in /etc/sudoers %wheel ALL=(ALL) NOPASSWD:ALL

sed -i '/NOPASSWD/ s/# %wheel/%wheel/g' /etc/sudoers

mkdir "/home/$ESX_ADMIN/.ssh"

chown $ESX_ADMIN "/home/"$ESX_ADMIN"/.ssh" chmod 700 "/home/$ESX_ADMIN/.ssh"

Enable the ssh service

esxcfg-firewall -e sshServer echo ""$ESX_ADMIN_KEY"" > /home/$ESX_ADMIN/.ssh/authorized_keys chown $ESX_ADMIN /home/$ESX_ADMIN/.ssh/authorized_keys THE_END

Show the resulting kickstart file

cat $ESX_KICKSTART_DIR/ks.cfg <% end %>

Add network interfaces to simulate multiple network interfaces inside Vmware ESX

On my mac machine, I only have one physical interface, it turns you can easily create other 'Virtual' Ethernet ports. This allows you to configure these as interfaces inside your Vmware Fusion virtual machine. This way you can simulate different interfaces (vmnic1,vmnic2,...) inside the Vmware Fusion virtual machine ESX instance.

We set the ports we want: (you can add more to the list by adding ESX1,ESX2...) <% codify(:shell) do %> ESX_NETPORTS="ESX1" <% end %>

<% codify(:shell) do %> for port in $ESX_NETPORTS do sudo networksetup -createnetworkservice "Ethernet $port" "Ethernet" networksetup -getinfo "Ethernet $port" done

Remember only one of the interfaces can be on DHCP

as they all share the same network interface

#networksetup -setmanual

sudo networksetup -setmanualwithdhcprouter "Ethernet ESX1"

networksetup -listallhardwareports networksetup -listallnetworkservices <% end %>

To remove the network ports later use: <% codify(:shell) do %> for port in $ESX_NETPORTS do echo $port sudo networksetup -removenetworkservice "Ethernet $port" done

<% end %>

Creating a new vm in VMWare fusion suitable for ESX

To bad Vmware Fusion doesn't have a way to create a machine by scripting it, it could really learn from the Virtualbox commandline API. To overcome that problem , I first manually created an ESX machine and used that .vmx file as a template.

Again setting some variables: <% codify (:shell) do %> ESX_VM_NAME="esx4-server" ESX_VM_ISOFILE=ESX_CUSTOM_ISOFILE ESX_VM_MACADDRESS="00:0c:29:f3:aa:63" ESX_VM_MEMSIZE="3072" ESX_VM_DISKSIZE="30G" ESX_VM_DISKTYPE="1"

#Disk types:

0 : single growable virtual disk

1 : growable virtual disk split in 2GB files

2 : preallocated virtual disk

3 : preallocated virtual disk split in 2GB files

4 : preallocated ESX-type virtual disk

5 : compressed disk optimized for streaming

6 : thin provisioned virtual disk - ESX 3.x and above

ESX_VM_CPUS="4" <% end %>

Then we create the VM directory and a new disk for the new vm <% codify (:shell) do %> mkdir -p "$HOME/Documents/Virtual Machines.localized/$ESX_VM_NAME.vmwarevm" cd $HOME/Documents/Virtual Machines.localized/$ESX_VM_NAME.vmwarevm /Library/Application\ Support/VMware\ Fusion/vmware-vdiskmanager -c -s $ESX_VM_DISKSIZE -a lsilogic -t $ESX_VM_DISKTYPE $ESX_VM_NAME.vmdk <% end %>

Now that we have the disk, we can continue with the machine .vmx file

<% codify (:shell) do %> cat << EOF > "$HOME/Documents/Virtual Machines.localized/$ESX_VM_NAME.vmwarevm/$ESX_VM_NAME.vmx" .encoding = "UTF-8" config.version = "8" virtualHW.version = "7" numvcpus = "$ESX_VM_CPUS" scsi0.present = "TRUE" scsi0.virtualDev = "lsilogic" memsize = "$ESX_VM_MEMSIZE" scsi0:0.present = "TRUE" scsi0:0.fileName = "$ESX_VM_NAME.vmdk" ide1:0.present = "TRUE" ide1:0.fileName = "$ESX_VM_ISOFILE" ide1:0.deviceType = "cdrom-image" usb.present = "TRUE" ehci.present = "TRUE" pciBridge0.present = "TRUE" pciBridge4.present = "TRUE" pciBridge4.virtualDev = "pcieRootPort" pciBridge4.functions = "8" pciBridge5.present = "TRUE" pciBridge5.virtualDev = "pcieRootPort" pciBridge5.functions = "8" pciBridge6.present = "TRUE" pciBridge6.virtualDev = "pcieRootPort" pciBridge6.functions = "8" pciBridge7.present = "TRUE" pciBridge7.virtualDev = "pcieRootPort" pciBridge7.functions = "8" vmci0.present = "TRUE" roamingVM.exitBehavior = "go" tools.syncTime = "TRUE" displayName = "$ESX_VM_NAME" guestOS = "vmkernel" nvram = "$ESX_VM_NAME.nvram" virtualHW.productCompatibility = "hosted" proxyApps.publishToHost = "FALSE" tools.upgrade.policy = "upgradeAtPowerCycle" powerType.powerOff = "soft" powerType.powerOn = "soft" powerType.suspend = "soft" powerType.reset = "soft" floppy0.present = "FALSE" extendedConfigFile = "$ESX_VM_NAME.vmxf" checkpoint.vmState = ""

#uuid.location = "56 4d 7a 3a bb 23 52 50-d4 b3 d3 46 6e f3 aa 63"

#uuid.bios = "56 4d 7a 3a bb 23 52 50-d4 b3 d3 46 6e f3 aa 63" cleanShutdown = "FALSE" replay.supported = "FALSE" debugStub.linuxOffsets = "0x0,0xffffffff,0x0,0x0,0x0,0x0,0x0,0x0,0x0,0x0,0x0,0x0,0x0,0x0" replay.filename = "" scsi0:0.redo = "" pciBridge0.pciSlotNumber = "17" pciBridge4.pciSlotNumber = "21" pciBridge5.pciSlotNumber = "22" pciBridge6.pciSlotNumber = "23" pciBridge7.pciSlotNumber = "24" scsi0.pciSlotNumber = "16" usb.pciSlotNumber = "32" ehci.pciSlotNumber = "34" vmci0.pciSlotNumber = "35" vmotion.checkpointFBSize = "65536000" vmci0.id = "1861462627" gui.fullScreenAtPowerOn = "FALSE" gui.viewModeAtPowerOn = "windowed" hgfs.mapRootShare = "TRUE" hgfs.linkRootShare = "TRUE" isolation.tools.hgfs.disable = "FALSE" sharedFolder.maxNum = "1" sharedFolder0.present = "TRUE" sharedFolder0.enabled = "TRUE" sharedFolder0.readAccess = "TRUE" sharedFolder0.writeAccess = "TRUE" sharedFolder0.hostPath = "/Users/patrick/Downloads" sharedFolder0.guestName = "Downloads" sharedFolder0.expiration = "never" ethernet0.pciSlotNumber = "33" ethernet0.present = "TRUE" ethernet0.connectionType = "custom" ethernet0.virtualDev = "e1000" ethernet0.wakeOnPcktRcv = "FALSE" ethernet0.addressType = "generated" ethernet0.linkStatePropagation.enable = "FALSE" ethernet0.generatedAddress = "$ESX_VM_MACADDRESS" ethernet0.generatedAddressOffset = "0" ethernet0.vnet = "vmnet2" ethernet0.bsdName = "en0" ethernet0.displayName = "Ethernet" EOF

<% end %>

If you want to add the extra interfaces we defined earlier: repeat this for every interface you need (ESX1,ESX2,..ESXN) <% codify (:shell) do %> cat << EOF >> "$HOME/Documents/Virtual Machines.localized/$ESX_VM_NAME.vmwarevm/$ESX_VM_NAME.vmx" ethernet1.present = "TRUE" ethernet1.connectionType = "custom" ethernet1.virtualDev = "e1000" ethernet1.wakeOnPcktRcv = "FALSE" ethernet1.addressType = "generated" ethernet1.linkStatePropagation.enable = "TRUE" ethernet1.vnet = "vmnet2" ethernet1.bsdName = "en0" ethernet1.displayName = "Ethernet ESX1" EOF <% end %>

Overcoming the dialog: A virtual machine is attempting to monitor all network traffic, which requires administrator access, type your password to allow VMWARE Fusion to make changes

Vmware ESX when it starts will signal Vmware Fusion that it wants to monitor all network traffic. Due to security restrictions this is not enabled by default and requires a GUI confirmation, while the machine boots. The whole machine will start while it waits but it would not be able to do any correct network traffic if you don't allow it.

I found the solution on the Vmware Fusion Mailinglist http://communities.vmware.com/thread/140960

The trick is to change the system.privilege.admin setting. You set this by changing the /etc/authorization file

Here is an excerpt of that file; if you would run fusion as root this error will go away (allow-root). To give an ordinary user that privilege (and all the others!) , change it the text after key:class, from "user" to "allow"

<% codify (:text) do %>

system.privilege.admin allow-root class user comment Used by AuthorizationExecuteWithPrivileges(...). AuthorizationExecuteWithPrivileges() is used by programs requesting to run a tool as root (e.g., some installers). group admin shared timeout 300

<% end %>

To script that you can: <% codify (:shell) do %>

Make a backup of the /etc/authorization file

sudo cp /etc/authorization /etc/authorization.$$

Do the changes. Use with caution: this has an impact on security, but if you want to automate the start you need it!

sudo sed -i -e'/system.privilege.admin/,/Used by AuthorizationExecuteWithPrivileges/ s/user/allow/' /etc/authorization

<% end %>

Now the nagging GUI message should be gone when you start the ESX virtual machine.

Restart network services (proved helpful)

When you recreate machines often and maybe some of the parts of the script fail, I found it useful to restart the VMWare Fusion network

<% codify (:shell) do %> sudo sh -c "/Library/Application\ Support/VMware\ Fusion/boot.sh --restart" <% end %>

Start the machine (in Vmware Fusion)

<% codify (:shell) do %> /Library/Application\ Support/VMware\ Fusion/vmrun -T fusion start "$HOME/Documents/Virtual Machines.localized/$ESX_VM_NAME.vmwarevm/$ESX_VM_NAME.vmx" nogui <% end %>

Starting a disposable webserver

To serve the kickstart we have create we use a disposable webserver, with the help of ruby. This saves from installing an apache or other stuff. Also it allows us to choose the port very easily.

<% codify (:shell) do %>

Create a disposable ruby based webserver

This will stop after the the file has been fetched

cat < $ESX_KICKSTART_DIR/ks.rb require 'webrick' include WEBrick

class FileServlet < WEBrick::HTTPServlet::AbstractServlet def do_GET(request,response) response['Content-Type']='text/plain' response.status = 200 displayfile=File.open("$ESX_KICKSTART_DIR/ks.cfg",'r') content=displayfile.read() response.body=content sleep 2 @@s.shutdown end end

@@s= HTTPServer.new(:Port => $ESX_KS_PORT) @@s.mount("/ks.cfg", FileServlet) trap("INT"){@@s.shutdown} @@s.start EOF

Start the webserver

cat $ESX_KICKSTART_DIR/ks.rb|ruby --"

<% end %>

Wait for SSH to be working

Once the kickstart 'kicks' in, we have to wait until the ssh is available. We can use the ssh-keyscan command for that. After we got a connection, we can cleanup the keys with ssh-keygen -R and add the new one with the ssh-keyscan command.

<% codify (:shell) do %> sleep 200 ssh-keyscan -T 10000 $ESX_IP ssh-keygen -R $ESX_IP ssh-keyscan -T 10000 $ESX_IP >> $HOME/.ssh/known_hosts <% end %>

Removing the ESX Machine

If you need to start all over again, you can wipe the create ESX Machine like this: <% codify(:shell) do %>

List the running machines

/Library/Application\ Support/VMware\ Fusion/vmrun -T fusion list

Stop our ESX server

/Library/Application\ Support/VMware\ Fusion/vmrun -T fusion stop $HOME/Documents/Virtual\ Machines.localized/$ESX_VM_NAME.vmwarevm/$ESX_VM_NAME.vmx

Wait a bit for the stop to complete

sleep 4

Stop the fusion GUI interface

FUSION_PID=$(ps -eo pid,command |grep -i "/Applications/VMware Fusion.app/Contents/MacOS/vmware"|grep -v grep| sed -e "s/^[ ]*//"|cut -d ' ' -f 1) echo $FUSION_PID kill $FUSION_PID

Remove the machine (including disk ; take care ! )

/Library/Application\ Support/VMware\ Fusion/vmrun -T fusion deleteVM $HOME/Documents/Virtual\ Machines.localized/$ESX_VM_NAME.vmwarevm/$ESX_VM_NAME.vmx rm -rf $HOME/Documents/Virtual Machines.localized/$ESX_VM_NAME.vmwarevm <% end %>

Final words

After this exercise you should be able to completely script the installation of a Vmware ESX virtual machine and make it run inside Vmware Fusion.

Interesting references

Creating an ESX Cdrom

Running ESX inside Fusion

Encrypt password

security sudo, esx login