Building VMWare Server virtual machines from CentOS mail servers

Installing, Configuring, Troubleshooting server daemons such as Web and Mail

Building VMWare Server virtual machines from CentOS mail servers

Postby ionc » 2010/10/12 11:28:46

Hello, I'm new to CentOS Server.
I have a few mail servers, a mail log server and a web server running on Centos 5.
Now I have a task: to avoid accidental crashes on the production servers while installing updates, my boss asked me to do clones (these clones will all be VMware virtual machines) of the servers (EXCLUDING the actual e-mails and log contents) and then to run those clones on VMWare Server. This way, first I will install and test updates on the clones and - if they will be running without crashes - I will apply the updates on the real production servers themselves.

I have already installed VMWare Server 2.0
I have a few questions:
- How do I build the virtual machines to exclude the actual mail files and mail logs? Can I use VMware Converter for this purpose, or do I have to use another program?
- How do I actually do this cloning? Is there a tutorial on how to do this?


Please remember that I'm a beginner :-)
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Building VMWare Server virtual machines from CentOS mail ser

Postby pschaff » 2010/10/12 18:53:53

You (and your boss) ought to read these bug reports before proceeding:

http://bugs.centos.org/view.php?id=4485
http://bugs.centos.org/view.php?id=3884

I have switched to VirtualBox due to poor VMware support for CentOS/RHEL, but you might also want to consider Xen or KVM:
http://wiki.centos.org/HowTos/Virtualization
http://wiki.centos.org/HowTos/Virtualiz ... troduction
http://wiki.centos.org/HowTos/Xen/InstallingCentOSDomU
http://wiki.centos.org/HowTos/KVM

I'd be prone to to a fresh install rather than trying to clone machines, but if I were going to do so would probably use a method similar to that described in the HowTos/MigrationGuide article; although looking at the authorship may reveal my prejudice. :-) Clonezilla and rsync are other popular tools. Details depend on the virtualization method.
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Re: Building VMWare Server virtual machines from CentOS mail servers

Postby pjwelsh » 2010/10/12 19:13:26

Sadly, I have had better luck with VMware-server-1.0.10 than with 2.x :-(

Just to clarify: you have a physical box and want to create a VM guest from it to "test"...
If so, I would 2nd @pschaff on his comments.
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Re: Building VMWare Server virtual machines from CentOS mail servers

Postby pschaff » 2010/10/12 19:30:33

pjwelsh wrote:
Sadly, I have had better luck with VMware-server-1.0.10 than with 2.x :-(

Same here, and also sadly VMware Server 1.x has been declared End Of Life. I neglected to mention that reliable sources have reported using recent versions of VMware Player to good effect - I haven't tried it recently.

One more comment. If your test clones are not running under load, I'm not sure how valid the tests will be for the purpose of avoiding "crashes", unless you just mean cleanly installing updates. Crashes on Enterprise Linux, except for hardware problems or suicide by unwise installation of flaky 3rd party software, are fortunately pretty rare.
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Re: Building VMWare Server virtual machines from CentOS mail servers

Postby ionc » 2010/10/18 10:55:56

Just to clarify: you have a physical box and want to create a VM guest from it to "test"...
If so, I would 2nd @pschaff on his comments.


Yes, I have a physical box (server with CentOS) and I want to create a VM guest (with the same information as the physical box) from it to "test" updates.
The virtual machine must have the same informations (same filesystem, same files except actual e-mails and mail logs) like the physical box.

So do you recommend VMWare Server 1 or VirtualBox instead of VMWare Server 2?
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