Tuesday, September 30, 2008

ESX inside of Workstation

I stumbled upon a post about running ESX inside of VMware Workstation.  While I'm not sure of the practicality behind recursive virtualization, I want to see this working.  This post is a walkthrough of my ESXinsideWS process.

For background, I've been running the WS6.5 beta since the beta program started.  Recently, WS6.5 was publically released.  So, now, I'm running the first public release of WS6.5.  Further, my computer operates the MSI P6NSLI Platinum motherboard, with a Intel E6550 Core 2 Duo @ 2.33Ghz with 4GB of DDR2 800 G.Skill memory.

I set out to create a WS6.5 VM from just Eric's post.  This first VM is based on the Other Linux 2.6 Kernel 64-bit with 2 processors and an IDE disk.  I followed the recommendation from Ulli in Eric's post and added the following lines to the VMX prior to startup.  I also made sure the network adapters abstracted e1000.

monitor.virtual_exec = "hardware" 
monitor_control.restrict_backdoor = "true" 

PSOD when I launch the installer:

The second VM I created was based on the Other Linux 2.6 Kernel with one CPU and IDE disks.  Note that this time, I chose not to use either 64-bit or two CPUs.  This first time I started this second VM, a dialog stating that my CPU had been disabled!  Oh no!

Then, the following error reveals the cause.  I configured it to operate with 620MB of memory.  Apparently this is insufficient.

OK, so I increased the RAM to 1536 and the installer got farther, and displayed a new error.

After getting this error, the following questions were bouncing around in my mind:
  • Eric and Ulli talk about getting ESX running in WS, not ESXi which is what i've been trying -- Will ESXi work?
  • What types of disks did Eric and Ulli use? I thought Eric's post recommnded using IDE disks..
So, I did some quick searches and found a post on petri.  That video is based on this paper.  Following the video, I recreated my VM to be based on RHEL4 64-bit, one processor, SCSI disk and 1GB of memory.  This VM gets further

Excellent.  I'll post more information about this little recursive virtualization environment of mine :)

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