8 Replies Latest reply on Nov 16, 2010 9:30 PM by WoodyZ

    Auto Start 3 VM's

    mike-h30 Novice

      I am new to Fusion 3 and plan to have 3 VM's installed on SL Server Host running on 2010 Mac Mini Server.   I am switching to Fusion from Xen on SLES server.  Currently when my Xen machine boots up all of my VM's start in the background without me having to log in. 

       

      Is the same possible with Fusion 3?

       

      Can I set my Fusion VM's to start without having to log in? 

       

      This would come in handy if I am out of the office and the power is interrupted.  I would like the VM's to start on their own when the Mini server powers up because the VM's will be low traffic web and email servers.

       

      I found this article and was wondering if this was the only way to accomplish the task of auto starting VM's without logging in?

       

      http://efreedom.com/Question/3-101480/Start-Programs-Automatically-Mac-OS-Boots-Specifically-VMWare-Fusions-Vmrun-Start-VMs

       

      How do others accomplish this? 

       

      Thanks.

       

      -Mike

        • 1. Re: Auto Start 3 VM's
          WoodyZ Guru

          VMware Fusion does not provide the same level of services like ESXi or even VMware Server as an example in starting VM's without having to Login or in turn properly shutdown or suspend the VM's when the Host does a controlled reboot/shutdown.

           

          Additionally I believe that vmrun is not as fully functional with a VMware Fusion Mac OS X Server Virtual Machine as it is with a Windows Virtual Machine and sorry I don't have a list of the limitations in comparison.  VMware Tools for Mac OS X Server also do not provide all of the feature the VMware Tools for Windows do as well.  Withe VMware Tools for Mac OS X Server two limitations that come to mind are Sound and Shrinking although there are ways around the latter.

           

          So utilizing other methods will be required to accomplish this using Mac OS X Server as both Host and Guest.

           

          Considering the cost of a Mac Mini with Mac OS X Server I think one could custom build a low cost bare metal system that could run ESXi even with components that are not on the officially supported list and there is a list on the Internet of unofficially supported hardware that works with ESXi.  Obviously you'll not be able to (legally) run Mac OS X Server as a Guest under ESXi on a non Apple branded system however you can provide the services you've mentioned with Linux Virtual Machines.

          • 2. Re: Auto Start 3 VM's
            mike-h30 Novice

            Thanks for your reply.  I appreciate it.  I am disappointed to hear of these limitations. 

             

            "So utilizing other methods will be required to accomplish this using Mac OS X Server as both Host and Guest."

             

            But it can be accomplished, correct?

             

            Is Fusion 3 intended to run VM's in a production environment? 

             

            I was hoping to utilize a mini with its smaller foot print in a home office setting.

            • 3. Re: Auto Start 3 VM's
              WoodyZ Guru
              mike-h30 wrote:

                I am disappointed to hear of these limitations. 

               

              Yeah you're not the only one so join the club.

               

              "So utilizing other methods will be required to accomplish this using Mac OS X Server as both Host and Guest."

               

               

              But it can be accomplished, correct?

               

              I looked at the link in your OP and it looks reasonable and feasible however I'm not at my Mac and will not be until later tonight so I can't test it at the moment although I will this evening and report back.

               

              Is Fusion 3 intended to run VM's in a production environment? 

               

              VMware Fusion is a Consumer Oriented Product and I would not put it in the same class for use in a Commercial Production Environment like ESXi however with 8 GB or RAM that will help considerably when compared to 4 GB of RAM and based on what you described as your light duty needs it should suffice however before you go that route I truly believe you can build a better non-officially supported bare metal system using ESXi and Linux not only for less money but also provide a more stable and robust system then using and Mac Mini with OS X Server and VMware Fusion for the services you're wanting to provide.  That said I'm not saying you can't do it with a Mac Mini with OS X Server and VMware Fusion however explore your options before committing to a course of action,  

               

              I was hoping to utilize a mini with its smaller foot print in a home office setting.

               

              Yeah from a footprint and appearance standpoint it's hard to beat.

              • 4. Re: Auto Start 3 VM's
                mike-h30 Novice

                Thanks WoodyZ.

                 

                I like the idea of ESXi, my only concern was that I wanted to be able to run a SL Server VM to use as an email server.  I don't believe I am able to run SL Server on ESXi on non Mac hardware at the moment.

                • 5. Re: Auto Start 3 VM's
                  WoodyZ Guru
                  mike-h30 wrote:

                  > I like the idea of ESXi, my only concern was that I wanted to be able to run a SL Server VM to use as an email server.

                   

                  If you absolutely have to use Mac OS X Server then I guess this discussion is moot.

                   

                  I don't believe I am able to run SL Server on ESXi on non Mac hardware at the moment.

                   

                  Even if the Mac OS X Server SLA allowed of non-Apple branded hardware you would still have to hack it in order to get it to work and not something I'd suggest doing.

                  • 6. Re: Auto Start 3 VM's
                    WoodyZ Guru
                    mike-h30 wrote:

                    I found this article and was wondering if this was the only way to accomplish the task of auto starting VM's without logging in?

                     

                     

                    http://efreedom.com/Question/3-101480/Start-Programs-Automatically-Mac-OS-Boots-Specifically-VMWare-Fusions-Vmrun-Start-VMs

                     

                    Okay, I got a chance to play with the information in the link and it does work exactly as advertised however after using Remote Desktop to access the running Guest from another system on the LAN then after logging into the Host Desktop and opening VMware Fusion to connect to the Virtual Machine locally I was confronted with the Black Screen of Death.  In other words I had to either do a Remote Desktop session or an ssh session in order to shutdown the Guest and of course using the KeepAlive argument in the .plist file even though I issued a shutdown command it came right back up until I changed the settings in the .plist file.  JSYK The  Black Screen of Death did not occur each time but happened more then once and not that big of a deal providing you have a game plan in place to handle that scenario.   With using the VM's as Servers you really don have to access them through the VMware Fusion UI when you can Remote Desktop and or ssh to manage them.

                     

                    With using the method in the link the real trick is going to be configuring this so that when the Host preforms a controlled reboot/shutdown that the Virtual Machines will also be able to do the same and I have not looked at that aspect aspect of this yet nor do I have the time to do so right now.

                    • 7. Re: Auto Start 3 VM's
                      mike-h30 Novice
                      WoodyZ wrote:

                      If you absolutely have to use Mac OS X Server then I guess this discussion is moot.

                       

                      Yes.  Another reason I want to utilize SL server is I have six SL clients that I want to administer with SL server.

                       

                       

                       

                       

                       

                       

                      WoodyZ wrote:

                      Okay, I got a chance to play with the information in the link and it does work exactly as advertised however after using Remote Desktop to access the running Guest from another system on the LAN then after logging into the Host Desktop and opening VMware Fusion to connect to the Virtual Machine locally I was confronted with the Black Screen of Death. In other words I had to either do a Remote Desktop session or an ssh session in order to shutdown the Guest and of course using the KeepAlive argument in the .plist file even though I issued a shutdown command it came right back up until I changed the settings in the .plist file. JSYK The Black Screen of Death did not occur each time but happened more then once and not that big of a deal providing you have a game plan in place to handle that scenario. With using the VM's as Servers you really don have to access them through the VMware Fusion UI when you can Remote Desktop and or ssh to manage them.

                       

                      I am going to test this out too on my iMac and another machine while I await for the Mini to arrive.  I usually administer my guests ( will be SLES 11) via VNC or SSH.  At this point I am leaning towards running SL Server as a physical machine and not bothering with running it as a guest.  I will just keep my low traffic Linux web servers as VM's.

                       

                      Down the road it will be nice to see more robust virtualization solutions for OSX.

                       

                      Thanks again for your responses and trying this out.