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VMware Studio – Adding RHEL 5.4 support in minutes.

Red Hat has recently released Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 5.4. Here are the easy steps for enabling VMware Studio 2.0 to create VM or vApp for RHEL 5.4 Server i386 and x86_64.

Adding RHEL 5.4 i386 support structure based on the existing RHEL 5.3 i386 components:

  1. Log in to the Studio VM as root.
  2. Create the template profile, Studio runtime packages, and VMware Tools for the new OS:
    • cp -r /opt/vmware/etc/build/templates/redhat/5/3 /opt/vmware/etc/build/templates/redhat/5/4
    • cp -r /opt/vmware/lib/build/include/rhel/5/3 /opt/vmware/lib/build/include/rhel/5/4
    • cp -r /opt/vmware/www/vmware-open-vm-tools/redhat/5/3 /opt/vmware/www/vmware-open-vm-tools/redhat/5/4
  3. Edit and update /opt/vmware/etc/build/templates/redhat/5/4/build_profile.xml with the following content:
    • [line 25] <Product>Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.4</Product>
    • [line 92] <vadk:url>http://[VADK.localIP]/vmware-open-vm-tools/redhat/5/4</vadk:url>
    • [line 208] <Description>Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.4</Description>
    • [line 303] vadk:sourceDir="[VADK.vadkRoot]/lib/build/include/rhel/5/4/"
    • [line 306] <vadk:ISO vadk:path="file:///opt/vmware/www/ISV/ISO/rhel-server-5.4-i386-dvd.iso"
          vadk:md5sum="7a12ec6599527e4f3d1790b51eadbfed" vadk:containFiles=""/>
    • [line 309] <vadk:Distribution vadk:vendor="Red Hat" vadk:OSverMajor="5" vadk:OSverMinor="4"

Adding RHEL 5.4 x86_64 support structure based on the existing RHEL 5.3 x86_64 components:

  1. Log in to the Studio VM as root.
  2. Create the template profile, Studio runtime packages, and VMware Tools for the new OS:
    • cp -r /opt/vmware/etc/build/templates/redhat/5/3_x86_64 /opt/vmware/etc/build/templates/redhat/5/4_x86_64
    • cp -r /opt/vmware/lib/build/include/rhel/5/3_x86_64 /opt/vmware/lib/build/include/rhel/5/4_x86_64
    • cp -r /opt/vmware/www/vmware-open-vm-tools/redhat/5/3_x86_64 /opt/vmware/www/vmware-open-vm-tools/redhat/5/4_x86_64
  3. Edit and update /opt/vmware/etc/build/templates/redhat/5/4_x86_64/build_profile.xml with the following content:
    • [line 25] <Product>Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.4 64bit</Product>
    • [line 91] <vadk:url>http://[VADK.localIP]/vmware-open-vm-tools/redhat/5/4_x86_64</vadk:url>
    • [line 208] <Description>Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.4 64bit</Description>
    • [line 303] vadk:sourceDir="[VADK.vadkRoot]/lib/build/include/rhel/5/4_x86_64/"
    • [line 305] <vadk:ISO vadk:path="file:///opt/vmware/www/ISV/ISO/rhel-server-5.4-x86_64-dvd.iso"
          vadk:md5sum="04fe3c10202402d7b389528d2bad0210" vadk:containFiles=""/>
    • [line 308] <vadk:Distribution vadk:vendor="Red Hat" vadk:OSverMajor="5" vadk:OSverMinor="4"

And that's it. You will now see the RHEL 5.4 template profiles through the VMware Studio web interface. With the new template profiles, you may then create your customized build profile for building the desired RHEL 5.4 Server VM or vApp.

VMware Studio 2.0 GA – What’s new?

VMware Studio 2.0 GA was announced at VMworld Developer Day. The GA release comes two months after Beta. It mainly focuses on product quality and usability improvements with few enhancements from the Beta feedback. One of the key features added was support for CD based updates for virtual appliances. This feature is critical for production appliances that are deployed behind firewall. Since these appliances cannot connect to ISV's web based update repository, GA version of Studio allows appliance authors to create CD based update repository alongwith web based version it supported since 1.0. The end-user web console allows users to configure updates to be received from CD or through the phone-home URL. The other key area where we spent a good time during GA release was ensuring support for various vCenter environments for building vApps and virtual appliances. You can have VC environments with distributed vSwitches, VC deployments integrated with Active Directory and specify them as provisioning target in Studio. GA version also allows the author to specify clusters and sub resource pools for provisioning hosts. It detects hosts that are in maintenance mode and prevents their use during provisioning. 

Minor features include support for web console footer customization, setting hostname explicitly in built vms and virtual appliances and control EULA acceptance on first boot amongst others. Disabling EULA acceptance is needed for build and test environments to enable running regression test suite on nightly appliance builds in automated fashion. With 2.0 GA release, VMware tools are optional and explicitly specified in the build profile similar to appliance packages. This makes it easy to update or replace the tools with the version preferred for your deployment environment.

Also check out the GA version of Eclipse Plugin. We have done few usability improvements here, ability to add individual packages instead of entire application package repositories, ability to automatically create application package repository when building an application package. Studio menu items in Eclipse are now context sensitive. VMware Studio 2.0 is a view in Eclipse. Try it out with your Java, J2EE, C++ perspectives and it should integrate seamlessly. Eclipse 3.5 was released just after Studio Beta and we have ensured Studio GA Plugin continues to work with 3.5 alongwith 3.4 version of Eclipse.

A common question seen in community forums is support for various guest Operating Systems. We plan to address it in a different form by making Studio build process agnostic of various Linux distros and enabling users to create their own templates. Expect this feature in near future. In the meanwhile we have various blog posts coming to describe how to create VMs with various guest operating systems that are not supported out of the box in VMware Studio. 

The GA version includes fixes that we encountered while creating large vApps. One of the exercises we conducted internally was creation of Sharepoint vApp using Studio. We successfully created the 3 tier vApp that has MSSQL database, Index server and Frontend. The Sharepoint vApp uses OVF properties to extract environment specific variables : computer names of each vm and domain to integrate into. On first boot it runs sysprep to complete the deployment process. It also asks for existing AD instance and integrates the vApp into the existing domain. The end result is a running sharepoint vApp integrated with AD. We plan to post the details around the same including first boot scripts, sysprep commands, etc in coming weeks. 

Below are part 1 and 2 of videos that show how to build vApps using VMware Studio. Download VMware Studio 2.0 GA release from here and give it a spin. We look forward for your feedback.

From Studio Team