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Installing Oracle Enterprise Linux, Oracle XE to a vCloud home lab

Oracle Enterprise Linux and Oracle XE provide the foundation for a free vCloud Director home lab. The VMware vShield appliance is another necessity.

This series chronicles how to install VMware vCloud Director (vCD) in a home lab. VCloud Director is VMware's new...

management product for private and hybrid cloud architectures. Installing it at home offers a safe setting to test and evaluate the product without jeopardizing production resources.

Part one covers what you should know before you install VMware vCloud Director in your home lab. This section details how to set up Oracle Enterprise Linux and Express 10g(XE) before installing vCloud Director.

Setting up Oracle Enterprise Linux
Installing Oracle Enterprise Linux is relatively simple. If you have installed VMware ESX, you will recognize the Anaconda-style installer. I didn't assign a special role (such as Software Development or Web Server) or additional RPMs. Of course, I configured both eth0 and eth1 with a static IP address for vCD, and I confirmed that those addresses were resolvable with my internal domain name server.

 When the installation is complete, I recommend turning off the internal firewall and security-enhanced Linux. In fact, the Linux configuration for the Oracle database and vCD are so similar, it's entirely possible to use vCenter's cloning features to duplicate the Linux installation for the second virtual machine (VM).

After the installation, install VMware Tools to Oracle Enterprise Linux. From the VM dropdown menu at the top, select Guest. Then click Install\Upgrade VMware Tools to mount the VMware Tools CD.

Under the Applications menu, open a command prompt with the Terminal application. (If your client OS is Windows, you can also Secure Shell tunnel into a VM with a utility such as PuTTY.)

The following commands can copy, extract and install the VMware Tools software to complete the base installation. I copied the zip file tar.gz to the /tmp directory. Then, I extracted it with the tar command and used a Perl script within the extracted directory structure to start the installation. (Change the non-bolded text to reflect your specific installation.)


cd /meda/VMware\ Tools/
cp VMwareTools-N.N.N.NNNN .tar.gz /tmp

cd /tmp
tar --zxf VMwareTools-N.N.N.NNNN.tar.gz
cd vmware-tools-distrib


Download and import the vShield appliance
While Oracle Express Linux installs to the VM, download and import the VMware vShield appliance that ships with the vCloud Director suite. VShield creates a multi-tenant cloud, and it's a critical component of the new networking-layer concepts in vCD.

 VShield is a requirement for vCD, and you need at least one vShield virtual appliance in a vCenter environment to complete the vCD postconfiguration process. You can also run multiple vShield appliances in a single vCenter implementation.

When you download the binaries for vCD, you should be able to download the vShield virtual appliance and import it into your vSphere environment. To import the appliance, log in to your vCenter console. Choose File and Deploy OVF Template. Next, browse for the vShield appliance's .ova file. In the import wizard, you will be asked to connect the appliance to a port group. Make sure the port group can communicate with vCenter and vCD.

Figure 1
(Click image for an enlarged view.)

Once the vShield appliance has been imported, you can power it on and configure it with a static IP address. The vShield preset username is "admin," and the password is "default."

At the manager> prompt, type enable, and then the password default to initiate setup mode. The prompt will switch from manager> to manager#. Then, you can run the setup command.

Figure 2
(Click image for an enlarged view.)

Although it's not required for vCD, the vShield appliance comes with a Web-based administration tool that allows users to register it with vCenter. If you register the vShield appliance, an additional icon in the Solutions and Applications section of the vSphere Client will appear.

Figure 3
(Click image for an enlarged view.)

Installing Oracle Express 10g
Now you can turn your attention to Oracle Express 10g (XE). Before installing the database software, Oracle XE requires the installation of two dependency packages: glibc and libaio. Considering that these packages form the basis of Oracle Enterprise Linux, you can install Oracle Express 10g without worry.

After I downloaded Oracle Express (which I described in part one), I saved its source code to my file server, In Oracle Enterprise, I selected the Network Servers option under the Places menu to browse my file server and copy the RPM file to my desktop.

Figure 4
(Click image for an enlarged view.)

Next, I right-clicked the oracle-xe-univ-10.x.x.x.x.386.rpm package and used the menu option to select Open with Software Installer. After the usual pop-up messages, Oracle Express 10g installs without prompts or configuration questions. The result is a bundle of shortcuts to management tools under the Applications menu.

Figure 5
(Click image for an enlarged view.)

As with vCD, there is some postconfiguration work, such as enabling the Oracle Net Listener service and creating a database user account. To enable the database service, open a terminal session for the Oracle XE server, and run the configuration utility with /etc/init.d/oracle-xe configure. (Note: For the next steps, I'm indebted to my fellow blogger Duncan Epping, who recently outlined the process.)

You can set the ports used by Oracle XE. I accepted the default TCP ports of 8080 for the Oracle Application Express HTTP services and 1521 for the Oracle Database Net Listener. Then I set a password for the database accounts, including the Sys and System accounts.

Figure 6
(Click image for an enlarged view.)

Once the Oracle Net Listener daemon starts and the default database has been created, the remainder of the configuration can be performed in a Web browser on the Oracle XE server. I used the following address:

If you work directly on the Oracle XE server, you can open the administration tool by navigating to Applications > Oracle Database 10g Express Edition > Go to Database Home Page. You can log in with the previously established system account.

Figure 7
(Click image for an enlarged view.)

It's recommended to create a new user for the vCD database that's separate from the internal user accounts for Oracle Express. After logging in, you can click the Administration icon and select Database Users. From there, you can create a new user by clicking the Create button.

The following page allows you to name the user and allocate privileges. I created a user called vcddbuser-nyc, I granted database administrator privileges to the account and accepted the default tablespace of USERS.

Figure 8
(Click image for an enlarged view.)

The next installment in this vCloud Director series focuses on installing additional RPMs and setting up Secure Shell certificates, which are also required before installing vCloud Director in a home lab.


Mike Laverick (VCP) has been involved with the VMware community since 2003. Laverick is a VMware forum moderator and member of the London VMware User Group Steering Committee. Laverick is the owner and author of the virtualization website and blog RTFM Education, where he publishes free guides and utilities aimed at VMware ESX/VirtualCenter users, and has recently joined as an Editor at Large. In 2009, Laverick received the VMware vExpert award and helped found the Irish and Scottish VMware user groups. Laverick has had books published on VMware Virtual Infrastructure 3, VMware vSphere4 and VMware Site Recovery Manager.

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