Installing VMWare Studio on VMware Fusion on Mac OS X

VMWare Studio is a free virtual appliance from VMware that allows you to “author, configure, deploy and customize virtual machines”. There’s no instructions how to get it running on the mac, but it works just fine with VMWare Fusion:

  • Register with VMWare
  • (Buy), download and install VMWare Fusion
  • Download and install VMWare OVF tool
  • Download VMWare Studio VMDK disk, unzip
  • Download VMWare Studio OVF 1.0 spec file
  • Convert VMware Studio OVF to VMX: /opt/vmware/ovftool/ovftool -tt=VMX VMware_Studio- VMware_Studio-
  • Import VMWare Studio VMX into VMWare Fusion

Start the VMware Studio VM. Read and agree to the license agreement. Set a root password. Open the provided URL in your web browser.

$ ssh
root@localhost:~# lsb_release -a
No LSB modules are available.
Distributor ID: Ubuntu
Description:    Ubuntu 8.04.4 LTS
Release:        8.04
Codename:       hardy

VMWare Studio looks like it consists of lighttpd serving up a GWT frontend that talks to a sfcb CIM backend, where CIM is a standard that’s part of the bigger Web-based Enterprise Management standard. Presumably they’re using the same CIM setup as, say, vSphere. Pretty cool setup.

I’ve built a few VMs and it all seems to work ok. The one gotcha is setting the build settings when defining VM profiles. Pick VMWare Workstation, and point it at /Library/Application Support/VMware Fusion to use the vmrun in VMWare Fusion.

I’ve also tried importing the OVF into VirtualBox which also works. So if you have a VMware install somewhere else (I think even VMWare Player would work since it provides a vmrun command) you could avoid buying Fusion.

I don’t think I would actually want to use VMWare Studio for building linux virtual machines; the scripted approach of cobbler seems preferable. OTOH, VMWare Studio provides good windows support, and can be used to create windows VMs from scratch. I can imagine:

  • define a windows build in VMWare Studio that outputs OVF
  • write a script that interacts with VMWare Studio through CIM to create new windows virtual machines
  • load those windows virtual machines into your hypervisor of choice if it supports OVF
  • if it does not support OVF but it supports VMDK/VMX, use VWWare OVFtool to convert to VMDK/VMX, then load into your hypervisor of choice (for example use qemu-img convert or import into amazon)

That seems a considerably lighter weight approach than going with Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007 Operating System Deployment (Microsoft’s name for its cobbler). Interesting. Then again, if you’re managing a lot of windows host you may be invested in SCCM already?