vMA 5 is just one of the latest VMware virtual appliances that have received the blessings and conversion to VMware's standard virtual appliance OS, SUSE. There have been several changes in the latest version of vMA and here are just a few tips and tricks that can help get you going with this new OS

1. The increase password complexity is something you may notice when you first configure vMA, if you are interested in changing it to make it easier or harder, you can take a look at the following knowledge base found on Novell's website:

2. You can now update vMA using a browser versus using the vma-update utility which is no longer being bundled with vMA 5. To access the management interface of vMA, go to your browser and type the following: https://[your-vma-hostname]:5480. You can configure a few things through the VAMI interface including updates for vMA in which you have a few options to choose from such as no updates, automatic check for updates or automatic check and install updates (just like Windows Update)

3. As with the previous versions of vMA, it has the OSP (Operating Specific) VMware Tools and the status will show up on the vSphere Client as "unmanaged". If you want to upgrade to the latest version of VMware Tools found on ESXi 5.0 to make sure of functionality such as the new integrated VIX API into the core vSphere API, you will need to run the latest VMware Tools. To do so, you will need to uninstall the OSP VMware Tools and then install the VMware Tools found in ESXi

First you will need to identify the package to uninstall and then uninstall, this can all be done at once using the following command:

vi-admin@primp-dhcp-235:~> sudo rpm -e $(rpm -qa | grep "open-vm-tools")
Stopping VMware Tools services in the virtual machine:
Guest operating system daemon: done
Virtual Printing daemon: done
Unmounting HGFS shares: done
Guest filesystem driver: done
Guest memory manager: done
VM communication interface socket family: done
VM communication interface: done
warning: /etc/vmware-tools/tools.conf saved as /etc/vmware-tools/tools.conf.rpmsave

You will need to either copy the linux.iso containing the latest version of VMware Tools from your ESXi 5 host or use the vSphere Client to install the tools. I will demonstrate how to do so from the command line using the linux.iso. You will need to copy the linux.iso over to your vMA host using the following command:

vi-admin@primp-dhcp-235:~> scp root@esxi50-1.primp-industries.com:/vmimages/tools-isoimages/linux.iso .

Now you will mount the linux.iso to extract the VMware Tools package

vi-admin@primp-dhcp-235:~> sudo mount -o loop linux.iso /mnt/

Next we will extract the contents to /tmp

vi-admin@primp-dhcp-235:~> tar -zxvf /mnt/VMwareTools-8.5.1-380278.tar.gz -C /tmp

Then we will umount linux.iso file

vi-admin@primp-dhcp-235:~> sudo umount /mnt

We now will change into the extracted directory under /tmp/vmware-tools-distrib and perform the installation of VMware Tools

vi-admin@primp-dhcp-235:~> cd /tmp/vmware-tools-distrib
vi-admin@primp-dhcp-235:~> sudo ./vmware-install.pl

You can accept all the defaults and when it prompts you for "gcc", you can ignore that option as gcc is not available by default on vMA and after that you will see that your VMware Tools have been updated from the vSphere Client.

4. Previous version of vMA, if you are familiar with Redhat/CentOS/Fedora, you know that you can use YUM as a way to install packages from a package repository. You can do the same on SUSE, but you will need to leverage a different tool called zypper which is a command line package manage just like YUM. You can also use another tool called YaST which also uses libzypp which is zypper package management engine. In the following example I will demonstrate how to configure a repository using zypper and search and installing a package.

To get a list of repositories based on the version of SUSE, you can take a look at the following link.

To add a repository, you will use the "ar" (Add Reposistory) option specified by the URL and alias:

vi-admin@primp-dhcp-235:~> sudo zypper --gpg-auto-import-keys ar http://download.opensuse.org/distribution/11.1/repo/oss/ 11.1
Adding repository '11.1' [done]
Repository '11.1' successfully added
Enabled: Yes
Autorefresh: No
URI: http://download.opensuse.org/distribution/11.1/repo/oss/

You can add multiple repository and you can reference them by either the alias or the number assigned to the given repository

vi-admin@primp-dhcp-235:~> sudo zypper --gpg-auto-import-keys ar http://download.opensuse.org/update/11.1/ Update-11.1
Adding repository 'Update-11.1' [done]
Repository 'Update-11.1' successfully added
Enabled: Yes
Autorefresh: No
URI: http://download.opensuse.org/update/11.1/

Once you have successfully added your repository, you can view them by running the "lr" (List Repository) option

vi-admin@primp-dhcp-235:~> zypper lr
# | Alias | Name | Enabled | Refresh
--+-------------+-------------+---------+--------
1 | OS-11.1 | OS-11.1 | Yes | No
2 | Update-11.1 | Update-11.1 | Yes | No

Before you search or install packages using zypper, you will need to first refresh the repository and build the cache. To so do, you will just run the "refresh" operation

vi-admin@primp-dhcp-235:~> sudo zypper refresh
Retrieving repository '11.1' metadata [|]
New repository or package signing key received:
Key ID: B88B2FD43DBDC284
Key Name: openSUSE Project Signing Key
Key Fingerprint: 22C07BA534178CD02EFE22AAB88B2FD43DBDC284
Repository: 11.1
Do you want to reject the key, trust temporarily, or trust always? [r/t/a/?] (r): t
Retrieving repository '11.1' metadata [done]
Building repository '11.1' cache [done]
Retrieving repository 'Update-11.1' metadata [-]
New repository or package signing key received:
Key ID: B88B2FD43DBDC284
Key Name: openSUSE Project Signing Key
Key Fingerprint: 22C07BA534178CD02EFE22AAB88B2FD43DBDC284
Repository: Update-11.1
Do you want to reject the key, trust temporarily, or trust always? [r/t/a/?] (r): t
Retrieving repository 'Update-11.1' metadata [done]
Building repository 'Update-11.1' cache [done]
All repositories have been refreshed.
@opensuse.org>@opensuse.org>

Now we can search for a package using the "se" (Search) option

vi-admin@primp-dhcp-235:~> zypper se ruby

Let's say we have located ruby as the package to install, you can then run "in" (Install) operation

vi-admin@primp-dhcp-235:~> sudo zypper in ruby

You could have also done this using yast by running yast -i ruby which will then launch a graphical UI or just by running yast by itself and navigating through the UI for packages.

5. vi-logger in vMA 5 has been deprecated and removed, for a free syslog alternative take a look at this blog article: Free Linux & Windows Syslog Alternatives to depercated vi-logger in vMA 5

6. How to Change the Splash Screen In vMA

13 thoughts on “Tips and Tricks for vMA 5

  1. @AnthonyT

    Yes, this was from vSphere 5 beta. Once vSphere 5 GA’s, you’ll be able to download the newest version of vMA. Don’t ask me when it’ll come out, I don’t know 🙂

  2. vMA is supposed to be used in total text environment on the console (the WebUI is another history), I don’t understand why you ever suggested “yast” which, as you stated, will launch a graphical UI !??

  3. @William

    I’ve just run “sudo yast” and seen what you mean. It’s “menu driven text UI”.

    But for first-time users of SUSE, this yast isn’t that easy to use than the command line “zypper”, esp for people like me who doesn’t want to waste too much time on learning something that we might only use once in n years, I prefer the command line.

  4. 我是垃圾桶,

    It’s probably been said elsewhere, but to get a simple password you need to first set a (crazy) password for vi-admin. Then once you’re logged in at the console, do

    sudo su

    Then type the password and hit enter, this will make you root. Then do

    passwd vi-admin

    And you can set a simpler password. You will get a warning but you are able to ignore it when root. Once you have set the password, type

    exit

    to become vi-admin again.

  5. Curious if you have ever gotten AcquireCredentialsInGuest method to work. I have not been successful in password-less authentication to my guest vms

Thanks for the comment!