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Thread: VBoxTool: easy control of VirtualBox sessions on a headless server

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    VBoxTool: easy control of VirtualBox sessions on a headless server

    I would like to present my latest Open Source project: VBoxTool

    It provides easy control of virtual machines of VirtualBox on a Linux headless server, published as free and open source software.

    Currently VirtualBox lacks a decent management environment for controlling virtual sessions on a headless server environment. VBoxTool mimics partly Virtual Machine Manager which controls sessions for other virtualization solutions like Qemu, KVM, etc. Unfortunately, VirtualBox is not in the list of supported engines (nor will be in the near future).

    Features

    Heart of the framework is a script which can do several actions (start, save, backup, etc.) on all registered VirtualBox sessions in batch mode. It is a wrapper around VBoxManage (the commandline interface of VirtualBox), so execution is also by command line.

    • Show info of all registered sessions. Name, status (running, saved, etc.) and other info like the configured VRDP port are shown with the command 'vbox show'. When a session is running, also CPU load and memory usage are shown. As an alternative, 'vbox showrun' shows info only of running sessions.
    • Mass operation: save, start, stop. Save all running sessions with one command: 'vbox save'. Start all saved sessions with 'vbox start'. Stop all running sessions with 'vbox stop'.
    • Mass backup. Backup all sessions using rsync with one command: 'vbox backup'. When a session is running, it is saved and restarted after the backup. The next level of backup, could mean that online backup (thus without bringing the session offline) is possible*.
    • Batch start. Controlled start of several sessions, defined in a configuration file, /etc/vboxtool/machines.conf. Only sessions named in that file will be started by 'vboxtool autostart'.
    • Mass configuration of VRDP port and port forwarding. Configure VRDP port and port forwarding for all sessions, all at once in one command: 'vboxtool autostart'. Configuration takes place in /etc/vboxtool/machines.conf. When using port forwarding, there's no need for host interfacing anymore (in Linux, a tedious, complex task).
    • Autostart at host boot. When the host boots, all sessions registered in /etc/vboxtool/machines.conf will be started in the background, issuing a 'vboxtool autostart' command under the named vbox_user in /etc/vboxtool/vboxtool.conf.
    • Autosave at host halt. When the host has a controlled down, i.e. halted, all running sessions are automatically saved.
    • *System monitoring. Monitor server status, session cpu load and memory in a graphical image. This will be done by developing and implementing a Munin plugin. Munin is a system monitoring platform with a plugin structure.
    • *Webserver. Next to develop is a webserver which points to the automation script. With this you can activate all functions from the script, all by a web page, so without requiring shell access.

    * Not (yet) implemented.
    ** Partly implemented.

    Command: vbox autostart

    Through autostart, sessions can be started in a controlled way: only the sessions in the configuration file will be started. As a bonus, the VRDP port and portforwarding pairs (also configurable) can be set at startup time. Option autostart depends on a configuration file, /etc/vbox/machines.conf. Each line in this file is a separate machine.

    Structure of each line: <session-name>,<vrdp-port>,<hostport-guestport>|<...>.

    The given VRDP port is set statically to the session, prior to starting; state is discarded when session is in savestate. You can issue as many portwarding pairs as you like.

    Example for /etc/vbox/machines.conf:
    Code:
    Ubuntu Desktop,3391,2022-22
    Ubuntu JeOS,3392,2022-22|80-80
    Resources


    I'm looking forward for any feedback from anyone who thinks this software is usefull.
    Last edited by markba; October 16th, 2008 at 08:31 PM. Reason: Added description of autostart
    VBoxTool, VirtualBox automation tools: http://vboxtool.sourceforge.net/
    ufw2web, a web interface for ufw (Ubuntu Firewall): http://ufw2web.sourceforge.net/
    Frext, a replicator for Firebird databases: http://frext.sourceforge.net/

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
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    16

    Re: VBoxTool: easy control of VirtualBox sessions on a headless server

    looks awesome!

    Will try it to see how it works

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Re: VBoxTool: easy control of VirtualBox sessions on a headless server

    For those who are interested: version 0.2 of VBoxTool is released.

    Changes:
    - configurable port forwarding: no host interfacing needed!
    - comment out lines in /etc/vbox/machines.conf with '#'

    For port forwarding, here some background-info why this is usefull: http://vboxtool.sourceforge.net/portforwarding.html

    Website: http://vboxtool.sourceforge.net/
    Download: http://sourceforge.net/project/showf...roup_id=239993
    Sourceforge: http://sourceforge.net/projects/vboxtool
    VBoxTool, VirtualBox automation tools: http://vboxtool.sourceforge.net/
    ufw2web, a web interface for ufw (Ubuntu Firewall): http://ufw2web.sourceforge.net/
    Frext, a replicator for Firebird databases: http://frext.sourceforge.net/

  4. #4
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    Re: VBoxTool: easy control of VirtualBox sessions on a headless server

    For those who are interested: version 0.3 of VBoxTool is released.

    Changes:

    - Autostart at host boot, autosave at host halt
    - Compatibility break with 0.2: renamed main script 'vbox' to 'vboxtool', moved config folder from '/etc/vbox' to '/etc/vboxtool'

    Benefits of autostart at boot, autosave at halt:

    - Servers become self proficient. A server, hosting VirtualBox and running sessions in a production environment, can be rebooted without knowing all the intricate details of bringing down the individual sessions. Even when an unexpected down happened e.g. by a power surge, sessions come up when the machine is booted, even when it is done by unqualified personnel: pushing a power button is not that complicated I presume.
    - Save time to access sessions on a desktop machine. When a session is automatically opened in the background at boot, it can be easily accessed by rdesktop or similar rdp-viewer, without any delay because the session is already up-and-running, waiting for anyone to access it.
    - Be sure sessions are always saved at halt. When sessions are running, be it headless or with GUI, be it on a server or a desktop, it is sure all sessions will be saved when the machine is downed. Normally, sessions become in 'aborted' state when nothing is done as the machine is going down. Bringing sessions automatically into savestate saves time when these sessions are started again after the next boot because the sessions don't have to boot, but also prevents data loss.
    http://vboxtool.sourceforge.net/auto...e-at-halt.html
    Website: http://vboxtool.sourceforge.net/
    Download: http://sourceforge.net/project/showf...roup_id=239993
    Sourceforge: http://sourceforge.net/projects/vboxtool
    VBoxTool, VirtualBox automation tools: http://vboxtool.sourceforge.net/
    ufw2web, a web interface for ufw (Ubuntu Firewall): http://ufw2web.sourceforge.net/
    Frext, a replicator for Firebird databases: http://frext.sourceforge.net/

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    46

    Re: VBoxTool: easy control of VirtualBox sessions on a headless server

    Hello Markba,

    Currently I am liking vboxtool. The only problem is, when I hibernate my computer and come back, my WindowsXP VirtualBox is in an aborted state. Any workarounds? Does vboxtool do anything when you hibernate?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    46

    Re: VBoxTool: easy control of VirtualBox sessions on a headless server

    Well, I managed to get vboxtool to save state before hibernation. Here's what I did. It's probably an ugly hack but I'm a noob:

    In /usr/lib/pm-utils/sleep.d/000WindowsXP put:

    #!/bin/sh
    # Save state of WindowsXP while hibernating and resume afterward.
    # Note: Put your username after the sudo -u because this script runs as root and vboxtool can't find the VBox as root.

    case "$1" in
    hibernate)
    sudo -u ron vboxtool save
    wait
    ;;
    thaw)
    sudo -u ron /home/ron/StartWindowsXP.sh
    ;;
    *)
    ;;
    esac
    The thaw is not working properly. I still don't know why. Perhaps if I figure it out I'll be back to update this.

    My StartWindowsXP.sh looks like this:

    #!/bin/sh
    /usr/local/bin/vboxtool autostart
    echo "Sleeping for 30 seconds..."
    sleep 10
    rdesktop -z -P -K -u ron -n user localhost:3389
    VBoxManage controlvm "WindowsXP" setvideomodehint 1280 750 32
    exit $?
    It runs fine from an Application Launcher.
    Last edited by ronaldrand; March 11th, 2009 at 06:25 PM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Re: VBoxTool: easy control of VirtualBox sessions on a headless server

    For those who might interest in this: I released version 0.4 of VBoxTool as of today.

    Major points : it's working with VBox > 2.2 and under Jaunty.

    Website: http://vboxtool.sourceforge.net/
    Download: http://sourceforge.net/project/showf...roup_id=239993
    Sourceforge: http://sourceforge.net/projects/vboxtool

    A complete oversight of changes:
    http://vboxtool.svn.sourceforge.net/...xt?view=markup

    * Major bug fixes

    o Auto start en stop stopped working in Ubuntu Jaunty (bug 2789649)
    o VBoxTool is working again with VirtualBox >= 2.2 (bug 2775886)
    o Command 'vboxtool stop' stops sessions (by poweroff). (bug 2317852)

    * Enhancements

    o Configurable backup folder (feature request 2213713)
    o Added logging (feature request 2275101).
    o Added option 'vboxtool showconfig' (feature request 2275280)
    o Sessions are paused in stead of saved prior to backup (feature request 2805829).

    * Minor bug fixes & enhancements

    o Extracting of default folders is working again; due to changed CLI-output from VBoxManage (bug 2815159)
    o Output of vboxtool does now contain 'backup' (feature request 2813155)
    o Modifying vboxtoolinit to work with OpenSolaris/Solaris (bug 2527710).
    o Backup destination path is shown in logfile (feature request 2806034)
    o Added a generic -nologo for VBoxManage command (feature request 2393874).
    o Expanded readme.txt, added configuration details (feature request 2275085).
    o When issuing vboxtoolinit, it produced an error. (bug 2317839).
    o Documented backup option in help (feature request 2216423).
    o Pause state was not detected. (bug 2318332).
    o Modified output of 'show' and 'showrun' command for consistency and easy text manipulation
    o Code refactoring, changed all variable name: consistent separator '_'
    Last edited by markba; July 4th, 2009 at 08:21 PM.
    VBoxTool, VirtualBox automation tools: http://vboxtool.sourceforge.net/
    ufw2web, a web interface for ufw (Ubuntu Firewall): http://ufw2web.sourceforge.net/
    Frext, a replicator for Firebird databases: http://frext.sourceforge.net/

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
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    1

    Re: VBoxTool: easy control of VirtualBox sessions on a headless server

    Hello markba,

    I'am using Ubuntu 10.04 as host and VirtualBox 3.2.8.
    The problem is vboxtool doesn't work at host startup.

    Is there any new vboxtool version that work under ubuntu 10.04 and VirtualBox 3.2.8.

    Thanks.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Beans
    5

    Re: VBoxTool: easy control of VirtualBox sessions on a headless server

    Hi

    I've the same problem, ti doesnt start at startup in ubuntu 10.04 LT. Any solution?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    The Netherlands
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    82

    Re: VBoxTool: easy control of VirtualBox sessions on a headless server

    I've adapted the vboxtool script for correct use with 3.x. There's no new version yet (that would be 0.5), but you can download it directly from the svn-repo:
    http://vboxtool.svn.sourceforge.net/...72&view=markup

    See the changelog for the changes:
    http://vboxtool.svn.sourceforge.net/...xt?view=markup
    Last edited by markba; April 9th, 2012 at 12:03 PM.
    VBoxTool, VirtualBox automation tools: http://vboxtool.sourceforge.net/
    ufw2web, a web interface for ufw (Ubuntu Firewall): http://ufw2web.sourceforge.net/
    Frext, a replicator for Firebird databases: http://frext.sourceforge.net/

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