Virtual machines in the VMware format are similar to disk images, but with additional information specifying memory and hard drive sizes. They do not include a swap partition as it is common practice to leave memory management to the hypervisor. The swap setting in SUSE Studio only applies to disk images. To use these images, simply open the file in VMware, VMware player, or VirtualBox. This set of howtos are specific to VMware machines. They focus on how to make changes after the image has been built, usually after booting for the first time.

How to enable VMware Server, ESX, and ESXi support

The VMware image produced by SUSE Studio runs on VMware Player and Workstation. VMware Server, ESX, and ESXi require a different .vmdk format and hence conversion is required. There are several options:

For VMware ESX 4 (does not work in 3.5), you can also use the following command on a ESX host:

vmkfstools -d thin -i original.vmdk new.vmdk

How to create preallocated disks for better performance

  • You can convert a growable virtual disk (which is what SUSE Studio creates) to a preallocated disk with ‘vmware-vdiskmanager’. It is bundled with the standard VMWare installation.

  • Preallocated disks offer better I/O performance over growable ones at the expense of disk space.

  • The following command converts the growable “sourceDisk.vmdk” to a preallocated “destinationDisk.vmdk”:

    vmware-vdiskmanager -r sourceDisk.vmdk -t 2 destinationDisk.vmdk

How to change hardware on VMware

All hardware in VMware is defined in the .vmx file. This is a text file you can edit with any text editor. Be careful when editing this file. Also, edit this file before booting since during first boot hardware detection is performed. Afterward it is too late to make permanent changes.

How to change configurations on VMware disc

Use the vmware-mount tool utility, which is part of the vmware-tools, to mount the disc and change configurations before you boot.

How to add a new ethernet

See how to change hardware on VMware.

How to add a swap file

If you need swapping in the VMware image, setup Linux to swap to a file.

How to upload OVF images to an ESX server

VMware’s Open Virtualization Format Tool can be used to deploy OVF images directly to an ESX server.

Note: This is a basic Linux use case. For Windows or additional options, refer to VMWare’s user guide.

Once the tool is installed, extract your OVF image:

$ tar -zxvf JeOS.x86_64-0.0.1.ovf.tar.gz

and execute:

$ ovftool JeOS.x86_64-0.0.1.ovf vi://<esx-server>/

The tool asks for login credentials and automatically adds the VM to the inventory.

Opening OVF source: JeOS.x86_64-0.0.1.ovf
Please enter login information for target vi://<esx-server>/
Username: root
Password: ******
Opening VI target: vi://root@<esx-server>/
 - The specified operating system identifier '' (id: 83) is not supported on the selected host. It will be mapped to the following OS identifier: 'Other Linux (64-bit)'.
Deploying to VI: vi://root@<esx-server>/
Disk Transfer Completed
Completed successfully

Known Issues

VMware Player 3.0 crashes on Windows Server 2003

This is a VMware Player bug - it crashes the host OS (blue screen of death) when looking for a CD-ROM drive on first boot. To work around this problem, edit the .vmx file and remove the following lines:

ide0:0.present = "true"
ide0:0.deviceType = "cdrom-raw"
ide0:0.autodetect = "true"
ide0:0.startConnected = "true"

The appliance should now be able to boot normally. You can add these lines again after first boot if you want CD-ROM support in your VM, or add it using the VMware Player user interface.