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Thread: VMware and automation

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Beans
    39

    VMware and automation

    Hi all,

    I'm wanting to run an Engineering app in XP. I've been experimenting with Vmware, with Ubuntu as host, with XP as a guest and the app running in XP. The PC runs in a factory, (for thos interested its a SCADA app), and I want to have a bit of security.

    I like the idea of running Ubuntu as a general user, so as to restrict possible access and damage to the PC, if people find a way out of XP.

    My thoughts were to start Ubuntu as general user, then startup the VM app. I've since found that as the installed apps were made under my admin account, they cannot be started from the VMware console. I've found that I can run start XP usinng a command line (see my recent post).

    This is fine, ecept I've no way of seeing the XP guest. Running as a guest restricts my ability to start the VMconsole, and even see the VM I've strted.

    I have found that I can rdesktop to XP.

    It seems fine, but a little slow, I think because rdesktop is another app chewing up CPU.



    Any thoughts or comments of achiving what I described in another way would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Beans
    43
    Distro
    Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx

    Re: VMware and automation

    Is there a reason why you would want to run ubuntu under windows xp, when it appears you are going to use none of the features ubuntu provides? Seems far simpler to just run windows xp to me.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Belgium
    Beans
    3,007
    Distro
    Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx

    Re: VMware and automation

    1/
    the executable for the vmware console seems to be /usr/bi,/vmware, i s owned by root, byt executable by all. At least mine is. Maybe you should check that - I don't see what other reason there could be for not being able to start it. Maybe that 'guest' account needs a shell ?

    Code:
    ~$ ls -al /usr/bin/vmware
    -r-xr-xr-x 1 root root 4570 2006-11-22 20:06 /usr/bin/vmware

    2/ you should check the location of the vm machine and virtual disk files, the permissions on that location (directories), and the permissions on the files. eg if tha files are stored in your home directory, other accounts probably won't have sufficient access

    3/ note that you can mark virt. machines as private, so that only the account that created them, can access and use them. Maybe thati's where your problem comes from. You can reset that in the vmware console.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Beans
    39

    Re: VMware and automation

    Hi guys,
    Thanks.
    The reason for wanting to run XP as a guest on a Ubuntu host is security and stability - or at least thats my perception. Certainly XP is a more difficult environment to lock down, and Linux appears to have security as an advantage. My idea was that should XP crash, it should be a relativly straightforward restart from within a linux host.

    I've found also that I can run my VMware machines from a Linux user, by using the administrator logon credentials in the console. A factory supervisor (or I suppose a remote support) could fire XP up from within the Ubuntu guest.

    Anyway thats the reason for wanting to do it, and I generally feel quite happy about it working, but I'm open to any suggestions by others of better ways.

    VMware seems to run OK, although I'm having issues with my parallel port at the present. My XP app needs to see a dongle in the parallel port to run. I've tried
    rmmod lp
    without success.

    Assuming I crack this, my next thought is to try Workstation, and look at creating a backup of the VM, so that I have some portability with it. I'm hoping it gives me something like an image, so that if a Revert fails from the VMware console (if XP crashes), I've got an image I can load up

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Beans
    43
    Distro
    Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx

    Re: VMware and automation

    I doubt you will gain any additional stability. The Windows XP guest should perform the exact same virtualized as it would on the bare hardware. However, you then add in the ability for linux to fail or vmware to fail. Linux as a base should not give you additional stability.

    How would virtualizing XP give additional security? I cannot see how the security of linux would relate to the security of a virtualized OS.

    Now, a valid point is that if the XP installation were to fail, you could quickly and easily drop in a new VM that was all ready to go. How often do you predict that to happen? What is your downtime (how long can it wait)? Keep in mind that the linux install could fail also. Would it be easier to just image the hard drive of an installed XP? You definitely do not need workstation to make a backup. Just copy the config and hard disk images and you are good to go.

    Hope this helps.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Beans
    39

    Re: VMware and automation

    Thanks Mickyrb, valid points to consider.

    In regard to copying the config and hard disk image, I presume some instruction like:
    navigating to the Virtual machine directory and executing
    tar cvpzf backup.tgz
    is the go ?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Beans
    43
    Distro
    Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx

    Re: VMware and automation

    That would work. Depending on how you set it up, you may only have two files: the configuration file and the hard disk image. Though if you tell it to break up the hard disk image (such as 2-GB per file), then you'll have multiple.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Ohio
    Beans
    336

    Re: VMware and automation

    Isn't it against the VMware EULA to use it for a business if you don't have a license ?
    __________________________________________________ _______

    It's a theme, and this is linux, change it if you don't like it.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Beans
    43
    Distro
    Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx

    Re: VMware and automation

    It would help if you could read the EULA and highlight such a section. I just read through the VMware Server EULA and found no such mention.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Beans
    80

    Re: VMware and automation

    Quote Originally Posted by tjpren View Post
    Hi all,

    I'm wanting to run an Engineering app in XP. I've been experimenting with Vmware, with Ubuntu as host, with XP as a guest and the app running in XP. The PC runs in a factory, (for thos interested its a SCADA app), and I want to have a bit of security.

    I like the idea of running Ubuntu as a general user, so as to restrict possible access and damage to the PC, if people find a way out of XP.

    My thoughts were to start Ubuntu as general user, then startup the VM app. I've since found that as the installed apps were made under my admin account, they cannot be started from the VMware console. I've found that I can run start XP usinng a command line (see my recent post).

    This is fine, ecept I've no way of seeing the XP guest. Running as a guest restricts my ability to start the VMconsole, and even see the VM I've strted.

    I have found that I can rdesktop to XP.

    It seems fine, but a little slow, I think because rdesktop is another app chewing up CPU.



    Any thoughts or comments of achiving what I described in another way would be appreciated.
    I'm doing something like that, but a bit different set up...more for automation lab. Not sure if this will help but look here. http://forum.freespire.org/showthread.php?t=10932
    The config posted there needs to be redone, because I have some bug fixes in the set up config. I am now using VMware workstation
    Anyone want to work on an automation distro????
    As for the permissions problem. You need to set the permissions for all the vmware files for the user you want to use them. For example I have a directory call vmware machines. I created a group called vmusers. I set the permissins of the vmware machines directory for the group vmuses to have read and write to that directory. Or you could do each file for the user. I'm not sure but maybe chmod 777 vmware machines might work.
    Last edited by bazz; November 4th, 2007 at 02:21 AM.

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