Ubuntu OVF images for download

Lately I’m playing a lot with virtualization features and for this I needed a rapid way to deploy from scratch new instances. First I had the virtual machines converted to templates, but then I had to rebuild from zero the entire ESXi environment and those images were gone.

I realized then it was more easier to have OVF images saved on a distributed storage and deploy them as soon as I need them. I start looking around Internet and I could not find something that suit my needs.
Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of OVF images around, but mostly have GUI and a lot of packages already installed that I do not need.

I wanted to have OVF files with low-end hardware and only CLI interface. Why should I download and deploy a 20 or 30 GB instance if the only things I need is CLI? From this I could customize it everytime exactly the way I wanted.

I started to create my OVF files and I’m pretty satisfied with them. Then I said why not to share them with the community?

I did chose Sourceforge to host my files because of their CDN and because it is free. On this blog I have to think how to organize them, because I don’t know if “post” format is the best idea. Until then, please find below the first two OVF images for Ubuntu 12.04 LTS.

All archives contain a text files with details about distro, user/passwd and services enabled. There may be other services enabled like postfix, but the listed ones are mandatory if you want network functionality and remote connection.

Here are the details for the below listed downloads:

Server images 32/64 bits

username: notroot
passwd: 123qweASD!

username: root
passwd: firstdigest
HDD: 8GB, ext4, 1 partition, thin provision
RAM: 256 CPU Core: 1

Services enabled:
SSHd
DHCP client

Downloads

Ubuntu 12.04 Server (i386) OVF

Ubuntu 12.04 Server (x86_64) OVF

If you encounter problems with these images please let me know here in Comments or on Sourceforge Project Discussions page.

In the upcoming days I will add here more images from different distros.

New XenServer (Midnight Ride beta) is here!

Citrix launched today the new XenServer with code name Midnight Ride. This version is still a beta one and Citrix decided to make it available for download and testing through it’s Beta Program.  As a participant in the Beta Program, you’ll play a critical role in helping the XenServer product team develop and deliver the next edition of the product and provide valuable insight for enhancements in future releases.
This new version of XenServer—the industry’s only fully capable, free virtual infrastructure solution—and Essentials for XenServer boasts many significant enhancements, including:

  • Granular role-based access controls within XenCenter
  • Dynamic memory control and overcommit
  • Enhanced snapshots, including full system state and one-click revert
  • Administrative logging and audit reports
  • Automation for workload balancing
  • Host power management
  • StorageLink site recovery for business continuity
  • Enhanced CPU compatibility for XenMotion

You can download the Midnight Ride beta now or if you feel that you need to know more about the Citrix’s newest product please register for the On-demand webcast

You can also evaluate the advanced management capabilities in Essentials for XenServer by downloading the Evaluation Virtual Appliance to enable Dynamic Workload Balancing, Provisioning Services and StorageLink in a single, pre-configured environment and utilize all the added features include in Essentials for XenServer, Enterprise Edition.

Draw network diagrams with Visio under Mac or Linux

Maybe one of the biggest loss of mine when I switched from PC to Mac, was the Microsoft Visio is not available for any other platform than Windows OS. Now, I’m not a big fan of Microsoft products, but I have to admit that they have some good products, and one of this is Visio. Like it or not, more than 75%  of the network diagrams that I get are in  VSD format, which we all know (or we should) is a closed proprietary format and cannot be imported in any other products until now.

I have no problem in drawing new diagrams in NeoOffice (as example) but, what should I do with the ones that I receive and I have to modify. Of course that before I use the solution below, I tried others like ConceptDraw or Omnigraffle, which are also good products and which promise that they can import a format called VDX in which Visio can export diagrams. I don’t know if only for me but most VDX files exported from Visio, looked not so nice when opened in another product. Lines where not aligned, some objects where moved, and so on. The final draw was looking nice, but not as expected and ready to work on it. And then again, I cannot call, e-mail everybody that send me a Visio diagram and say “well, you see, cannot you just export it to VDX…” so that I can check. It’s not professional and it’s a headache. On the other hand I really like my Mac, so I struggled my brains to find a solution.

The easiest one, it’s to have on a Mac or Linux, dual boot or a virtual Windows OS with Visio installed on it. Called me a freak, but I didn’t invest in a Mac to havea Windows running on it. In not saying anything about Linux which is open source and see Windows as it’s worst nightmare.

I decided to use something called Application Virtualization, which can deliver on your screen only the user interface of the software that you open. The solution is not new and I’m not the “genius” who think of it, but it’s the best that fit me as I can open any software (in our case Visio) over any network (including Internet) and compared with remote desktop solutions, proved to be more faster. What do you need for this to work properly?

First, you need a Windows Server OS available somewhere online, if you plan to have access to this applications when you are on the move. There are multiple solution. You can host one yourself at home if you have a 24/7 running machine (you can run it even on a virtual machine), maybe you have access to one at your company or maybe you can afford a VPS. As you don’t need so much power take the cheapest VPS with Windows Server (I saw some starting at 18$ / month). OK, this are some ideas, the important thing is to have one available.

Next, you need this Windows Server to have IIS and Terminal Services enabled as this is mandatory for the next step.

This step was the hard part. I needed some Application Virtualization software capable to stream application to any environment (mac, linux, windows) and to have affordable price or , unexpected, free. I found some out there in the Internet, but mostly were able to stream virtual application only to Windows platforms or they where doing something else that Application Virtualization. One product that immediately appeared was XenApp from Citrix. I used this in the past, and I know that it is reliable good product. But you can get it as trial only for 30 days and it was quite hard for me to achieve a working installation. Well, I’m not an expert in Citrix applications, so I assume that this is my fault, otherwise a great product but not for me.

I keeped searching and I found the X2 products webpage.

2x - virtualization When I saw there Free download, I was thinking immediately about Trial free download. I was right, the download of the product has a trial of 30 days. But then digging a little bit deeper, I saw that after this 30 days, you can still use the product free of charge, the only limitation is that you have to stick to 3 concurrent connections and one server (so you cannot use the LoadBalancer feature). I don’t care about LoadBalancer as I only have one server, and anyhow I’m the only person using it. The 3 concurrent connections is enough for 1-2 users with decent usage. I think is fair that if you use this for your productive environment and want more support and resources to pay for them.

I registered, got the free license immediately and started installation on a VPS with Windows 2003 Server. The installation was quite easy and configuration as well due to existing documentation their site. Just read and follow the instructions and you will end with a working software.

After the installation is finished, all you have to do is to provision the software that you want to be able to access over the network, directly on your screen. Also if you want to have the full virtualized desktop, X2 is capable to provide this.

Since a short screencast can show more than 1000 words, please have a look below, where I’ll try to show you the major benefits of this software and how you can manage it to obtain the desired result:

2x

I know that this is not the easiest way to do it, and maybe some of you just prefer to use a virtual machine or dual boot, but as I said this fits most to me and maybe you can use the same solution to solve your problems with other Windows based software, not only Visio. Regarding Visio, the best would be that Microsoft open the VSD format or release a Mac version. For Linux, I don’t think that they even consider such a possibility.

VMware launches vSphere

VMware vSphere is the next evolutionary step in IT computing; enabling customers to bring the power of cloud computing to their IT infrastructures. Building on the power of VMware® Infrastructure, VMware vSphere dramatically reduces capital and operating costs, and increases control over IT infrastructures while preserving the flexibility to choose any OS, application and hardware.

Build on a proven virtualization platform to provide the foundation for internal and external clouds, using federation and standards to bridge cloud infrastructures—creating a secure private cloud. Organizations of all sizes can achieve the full benefits of cloud computing, delivering the highest levels of application service agreements with the lowest total cost per application workload.

Available in several different editions, VMware vSphere delivers targeted benefits to small business and mid-size and enterprise business customers.

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