VBoxHeadless - Running Virtual Machines With VirtualBox 3.1.x On A Headless Fedora 12 Server

Want to support HowtoForge? Become a subscriber!
 
Submitted by falko (Contact Author) (Forums) on Tue, 2010-03-09 17:47. :: Fedora | VirtualBox | Virtualization

VBoxHeadless - Running Virtual Machines With VirtualBox 3.1.x On A Headless Fedora 12 Server

Version 1.0
Author: Falko Timme <ft [at] falkotimme [dot] com>
Follow me on Twitter
Last edited 02/01/2010

This guide explains how you can run virtual machines with Sun VirtualBox 3.1.x on a headless Fedora 12 server. Normally you use the VirtualBox GUI to manage your virtual machines, but a server does not have a desktop environment. Fortunately, VirtualBox comes with a tool called VBoxHeadless that allows you to connect to the virtual machines over a remote desktop connection, so there's no need for the VirtualBox GUI.

I do not issue any guarantee that this will work for you!

 

1 Preliminary Note

I have tested this on a Fedora 12 server (host system) with the IP address 192.168.0.100 where I'm logged in as a normal user (user name admin in this example) instead of as root.

If you only have a root account, but no normal user account, create one as follows (user admin, group admin)...

# groupadd admin
# useradd -d /home/admin -m -g admin -s /bin/bash admin

... create a password for the new user...

# passwd admin

... and log in as that user.

 

2 Installing VirtualBox

To install VirtualBox 3.1.x on our Fedora 12 server, we need root privileges, therefore we run

$ su

Then we install the dependencies for VirtualBox 3.1.x as follows:

# yum groupinstall 'Development Tools'

# yum groupinstall 'Development Libraries'

# yum install SDL kernel-devel kernel-headers dkms

Next we pick the right VirtualBox package from http://www.virtualbox.org/wiki/Linux_Downloads; pick the i386 or AMD64 package (depending on your architecture) for Fedora 12 ("Constantine") (you can find out your architecture by running

# uname -m

The output on my test system is

[root@server1 admin]# uname -m
x86_64
[root@server1 admin]#

which means I must pick the AMD64 package.

)...

... and download it as follows:

# cd /tmp
# wget http://download.virtualbox.org/virtualbox/3.1.2/VirtualBox-3.1-3.1.2_56127_fedora12-1.x86_64.rpm

It is possible that the package gets stored as .rpm?xxx instead of just .rpm. To check this, run

# ls -l

[root@server1 tmp]# ls -l
total 40436
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 41402824 2009-12-17 16:23 VirtualBox-3.1-3.1.2_56127_fedora12-1.x86_64.rpm?e=1265037514&h=1853fb07cfc1d09b911c61ffb4cc1bff
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root        0 2009-11-20 15:07 yum.log
[root@server1 tmp]#

As you see, my package is named VirtualBox-3.1-3.1.2_56127_fedora12-1.x86_64.rpm?e=1265037514&h=1853fb07cfc1d09b911c61ffb4cc1bff. Therefore I rename it:

# mv VirtualBox-3.1-3.1.2_56127_fedora12-1.x86_64.rpm\?e\=1265037514\&h\=1853fb07cfc1d09b911c61ffb4cc1bff VirtualBox-3.1-3.1.2_56127_fedora12-1.x86_64.rpm

(You can use the TAB key to let the shell auto-complete the filename.)

Afterwards, we install VirtualBox 3.1.x as follows:

# yum --nogpgcheck install VirtualBox-3.1-3.1.2_56127_fedora12-1.x86_64.rpm

Now we must add the user that will run VirtualBox (admin in this example) to the vboxusers group:

# /usr/sbin/usermod -G vboxusers admin

VirtualBox is now installed and ready to be used.

Type

# exit

to leave the root account and become a normal user (admin) again.

 

3 Using VirtualBox On The Command Line

3.1 Creating A VM

To create a VM on the command line, we can use the VBoxManage command. See

$ VBoxManage --help

for a list of available switches and (highly recommended!) take a look at http://www.virtualbox.org/manual/UserManual.html#vboxmanage.

I will now create an Ubuntu 9.10 Server VM with 256MB memory and a 10GB hard drive from the Ubuntu 9.10 Server iso image (which I have stored in /home/ubuntu-9.10-server-amd64.iso):

$ VBoxManage createvm --name "Ubuntu 9.10 Server" --register
$ VBoxManage modifyvm "Ubuntu 9.10 Server" --memory 256 --acpi on --boot1 dvd --nic1 bridged --bridgeadapter1 eth0
$ VBoxManage createhd --filename Ubuntu_9_10_Server.vdi --size 10000 --register
$ VBoxManage storagectl "Ubuntu 9.10 Server" --name "IDE Controller" --add ide
$ VBoxManage storageattach "Ubuntu 9.10 Server" --storagectl "IDE Controller" --port 0 --device 0 --type hdd --medium Ubuntu_9_10_Server.vdi
$ VBoxManage storageattach "Ubuntu 9.10 Server" --storagectl "IDE Controller" --port 1 --device 0 --type dvddrive --medium /home/ubuntu-9.10-server-amd64.iso

 

3.2 Importing An Existing VM

Let's assume you have a VM called examplevm that you want to reuse on this host. On the old host, you should have a directory Machines/examplevm in the VirtualBox directory; Machines/examplevm should contain the examplevm.xml file. Copy the examplevm directory (including the examplevm.xml file) to your new Machines directory (if your user name is admin, this is /home/admin/.VirtualBox/Machines - the result should be /home/admin/.VirtualBox/Machines/examplevm/examplevm.xml).

In addition to that copy the examplevm.vdi file from the old VDI directory to the new one (e.g. /home/admin/.VirtualBox/VDI/examplevm.vdi).

Afterwards, you must register the imported VM:

$ VBoxManage registervm Machines/examplevm/examplevm.xml

 

3.3 Starting A VM With VBoxHeadless

Regardless of if you create a new VM or import and old one, you can start it with the command:

$ VBoxHeadless --startvm "Ubuntu 9.10 Server"

(Replace Ubuntu 9.10 Server with the name of your VM.)

VBoxHeadless will start the VM and a VRDP (VirtualBox Remote Desktop Protocol) server which allows you to see the VM's output remotely on another machine.

To stop a VM, run

$ VBoxManage controlvm "Ubuntu 9.10 Server" poweroff

To pause a VM, run

$ VBoxManage controlvm "Ubuntu 9.10 Server" pause

To reset a VM, run

$ VBoxManage controlvm "Ubuntu 9.10 Server" reset

To learn more about VBoxHeadless, take a look at

$ VBoxHeadless --help

and at http://www.virtualbox.org/manual/UserManual.html.


Please do not use the comment function to ask for help! If you need help, please use our forum.
Comments will be published after administrator approval.