VMware is a virtual computer that emulates the
hardware of a machine so that you can run an entirely different
operating on top of one that is already running. This is ideal for
operating system development because if something goes wrong with the
system that is running on the virtual machine, the entire computer does
not crash. A pair of VMware ESX servers is installed, and VM guests
will be allocated on these servers.
To use VMware on the ESX servers, you first
need an MRL account . If this is the first time you setup this
account, or if you reset your password, you must then change your
password in the MRL lab at least once.
student will have his/her own VM guest. To be allocated a VM, send a
request by email to the TA's. A VM will be instantiated for you from
the course template. The VMs will have a user w4118 for you to
login. When your VM is ready for use you will get a confirmation email.
The password is common for everyone when assigned and it will be
broadcasted to you all.
By default, each VM runs a special utility called VMware Tools, that
provides useful functionality between the host and the guest VM. This
utility depends on the specific kernel that runs in the VM. Therefore,
when you install a new kernel for the first time (or when you make
substantial changes to an existing kernel, such as changes to include
files), it is necessary to adjust the VMware Tools accordingly. To do
this, boot the new kernel, and then run vmware-config-tools.pl (hit Enter at all prompts)
- Connecting to the VM via
Virtual Infrastructure web interface: You can access and control your VM via VMware's
web interface through here.Windows users can use IE with no issues. If
you are using Firefox on certain Linux systems, you may experience some
difficulties using the console plugin. This can be fixed by
copying the plugin files (viewer and remotemks) from:
- Connecting to the VM via
VMware servers are set up to allow users to ssh into their virtual
machine through a dedicate gateway machine (vm-gw01). The best way to
find out the IP address of the VM is on your machine is to boot up the
virtual machine (using X or VNC) and type 'ifconfig' to get the IP
information. If the VMware tools are setup correctly in the VM (by
default they are), then you can look up the IP in the "summary" tab via
the control interface. Then you can use the IP address to ssh or ftp
into the machine from the host machine. This is only a local IP
address, so you cannot ssh directly into the VM from the outside world.
REMOTE ACCESS INFORMATION
- X Server
If you are running a Unix-based operating system or have an X Server
running on your local computer, you can use X to access your virtual
is available for running X on Windows PCs. This is probably the easiest
way to use VMware, but you may run into firewall problems if you are
To do this:
- From a Unix-based computer, just run:
$ ssh -X mymachine.clic.cs.columbia.edu
- If you're running Windows, you can find instructions on
how to forward remote X connections using different ssh programs here
- Now you can run VMware, Emacs, or any other application
that requires X with no problem.
According to the VNC website: "VNC stands for Virtual Network
Computing. It is, in essence, a remote display system which allows you
to view a computing 'desktop' environment not only on the machine where
it is running, but from anywhere on the Internet and from a wide
variety of machine architectures."
There is a free client available for VNC, so it is very easy to access.
It is also extremely lightweight and can save your session on the
server in between logins. However, it can be slower over the network.
Once a virtual machine is up and running, you can ssh into it from the
machine on which the VM is running. This requires that the VM be
started either locally on the machine itself, or from a VNC or X
session. Once this is done, the IP address can be used to connect to
the VM after ssh-ing into the local machine.