Virtualization is one thing that really gets me motivated, I primaly work with VMware’s ESX products however, I’ve recently been looking at alternative solutions such as Xen and Virtualbox to broaden my knowledge further. Earlier this year I co-wrote an article with Matthew Helmke on Ubuntu Jeos for Linux+ magazine. The other day I was looking at some Jeos information on the Ubuntu website and stumbled upon the vmbuilder application.
The vmbuilder application will let you quickly build a virtual machine for a variety of virtualization products Xen, VMware Workstation, VMware Server, kvm and so on. Vmbuilder is very slick, after a couple software installations and I was building a VMware Server image on my Ubuntu desktop without any hassles. I then used VMware converter to import and convert the virtual machine to a VMware ESX compatible format. For those who might not know, VMware Server can use IDE based disks where as ESXi/ESX requires SCSI based disks.
I was curious as to why the vmbuilder application didn’t have support for the VMware ESX and noticed salf.dk submitted a patch to the vmbuilder application which extends the features allowing for ESXi/ESX vmdk creation. I promptly decided to test this patch and it worked well, however I noticed that the template for ESXi was setting the maximum CPU’s to “2”. Normally, in a ESXi/ESX environment you don’t need to pre-allocate multiple cpu’s to your virtual machine upfront because of the way ESXi/ESX handles resources.
So, I submitted a change based off the patch from salf.dk, to allow a new CPU variable to be set during the build stage of a virtual machine.
I hope the maintainer of the vmbuilder project will merge the ESXi patches provided, this will be a nice alternative for mass producing test Ubuntu servers running ESXi/ESX environments.