My ongoing experiences with Ubuntu, and later Mythbuntu, as a media center with MythTV. I'm also using the system for a virtual machine server, a mediawiki server and a general all around home infrastructure base.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Installing Virtualbox and creating Ubuntu VMs on headless Ubuntu 9.04 server

Here's my situation: Ubuntu 9.04 server, headless and I want to install Virtualbox on it and get Ubuntu 8.04 LTS servers running as root.

Step 1: Install Virtualbox

Following the directions at the Virtualbox Linux download page I did the following:

1a) Edited /etc/apt/sources.list and add the virtual box repository:
deb jaunty non-free

1b) Add the virtualbox key to the apt keyring:
wget -q -O- | sudo apt-key add -

1c) And install:
apt-get install virtualbox-2.2

Step2: Configured bridged networking

I basically followed the directions on the wiki.:

2a) Install bridge-utils:

apt-get install bridge-utils

2b) Now edit /etc/network/interfaces and add the br0 interface with the same address as your primary interface (eth0 in my case). Note that these directions assume you are using a static IP, if not you are on your own. My /etc/network/interfaces now looks like this:

auto lo
iface lo inet loopback
auto eth0
iface eth0 inet static

# Configured per
# Address of br0 should be the same as eth0
auto br0
iface br0 inet static
bridge_ports eth0 vbox0 vbox1

2c) Now restart the networking:

/etc/init.d/networking restart

...wait a couple minutes for the network to come back - my SSH session survived the restart YMMV...

Now I have a br0 interface:

# ifconfig br0
br0 Link encap:Ethernet HWaddr 00:18:8b:76:32:11
inet addr: Bcast: Mask:
inet6 addr: fe80::218:8bff:fe76:3211/64 Scope:Link
RX packets:87 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
TX packets:74 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
collisions:0 txqueuelen:0
RX bytes:6130 (6.1 KB) TX bytes:11447 (11.4 KB)

2d) Create /etc/vbox/interfaces:
vi /etc/vbox/interfaces

So that it looks like:
vbox root br0

2e) Restart virtualbox networking, but hmmm, I don't have /etc/init.d/vboxnet, but I do have /etc/init.d/vboxdrv so I restarted that instead:
/etc/init.d/vboxdrv restart

2f) I skipped setting permissions on /dev/net/tun since I'm running VMs as root.

Step 3: Create a VM

I basically followed these directions, updated as I went. Also kudos to Sasquatch for the nic1 and bridgeadapter1 options.

3a) Create the new VM. You should be able to set the memory as you see fit. Other options you probably don't want to mess with.

VBoxManage -q createvm -name Ubuntu-Server -register
VBoxManage -q modifyvm Ubuntu-Server -memory 384MB -acpi on -ostype ubuntu -pae on -nic1 bridged -bridgeadapter1 br0

Note that if you have other VMs using vrdp you probably want to add "-vrdpport #" to use an available port (default port is 3389).

3b) Create disk for the new VM and attach it. I created an 8GB disk based on my experiences trying to use smaller disks.
VBoxManage -q createhd -filename "Ubuntu-Server.dvi" -size 8192 -register
VBoxManage -q modifyvm Ubuntu-Server -hda Ubuntu-Server.dvi

3c) Download the iso for 8.04 server from Ubuntu. Note I use 8.04 since it has long-term support and hence I won't have to worry about upgraded the OS on the VM as often. Note that while the Ubuntu page tried to get me to use the 64 bit version, I found it did not work for me (I got the following error trying to boot with it: "This kernel requires an x86-64 CPU, but only detected an i686 CPU. Unable to boot - please use a kernel appropriate for your CPU.") so I used the 32 bit version instead. You should also choose a copy from a local mirror.


3d) Register the iso image and attach it to the VM:
VBoxManage -q registerimage dvd /path/to/ubuntu-8.04.2-server-i386.iso
VBoxManage -q modifyvm Ubuntu-Server -dvd /path/to/ubuntu-8.04.2-server-i386.iso

Ok, we now have a VM that's ready to boot and install Ubuntu...

Step 4: Start the VM and Connect to it via vrdp

4a) Start the VM in vrdp mode:
VBoxManage -q startvm Ubuntu-Server --type vrdp

4b) Connect using a remote desktop client. What I found worked for me from my Ubuntu 9.04 laptop was 'rdesktop' from the commandline:
rdesktop server-name

Or from my Mac, Remote Desktop Connection, though it does give a warning about "Remote Desktop Connection cannot verify the identity of the computer that you want to connect to."

Step 5: Do a standard Ubuntu Install
Ok, you should now be looking at the console on the VM which has booted from the CD. Go ahead and do your standard Ubuntu install.

When the install completed, I found the system automatically rebooted from the hard drive without me having to do anything to unmount iso image.

Step 6: Clean up

The only thing to do is detact the iso from the VM. After powering off the VM, do the following:
VBoxManage -q modifyvm Ubuntu-Server -dvd none
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