Impressions of Kubuntu 9.04 and VMware-Server 2.0.1…

So far, RAID-10/LVM/XFS is working quite well with Kubuntu 9.04.  Jaunty picks up hardware effortlessly.  I plugged in a USB thumb drive, and a little notification pops up.


I plug in my camera, and it sees it fine,no muss, no fuss.


I plug in my webcam – no notification, it just works.


I plug in my HP printer, and I have to dig around to see that it was added as quietly and politely as you please, ready to print.


I ran out of things to plug in.  Kubuntu 8.04 (the previous version I was using) didn’t boot nearly as quickly, took longer to load the desktop after login, and was good about detecting devices, mostly, but needed polish and charm.

9.04 has it in spades.  I am really quite impressed with the hardware cababilities of it.  There are some programs, like adept, I am missing, but the learning curve for the newer stuff is really more like a learning bump.

Update:  It even loaded the sensors package to track temperatures.  Wow.

I am running 64-bit now, and flash and java work fine.  It took me a while to find the right libjavaplugin and link it into the Firefox plugins folder, but flash 10 worked fine and installed easily.

VMware-Server is a different story.  The 64-bit is slow, flaky, and cranky.  It times out all the time, it resets often, and it just stalls doing stuff.  I now have a VM ready for loading, but it took all day to fight it into doing so.  And I found no reliable cure, to include swapping out the java jre version used for a later version.  I am really dissapointed with the 2.0.1 release in terms of ease of install, performance, and reliability.  Oh well, at least it installed without needing a special patch or script.

Update:  After a huge fight, I got a new Windows XP VM made.  Using the command ‘watch “du -s –si /home/vmguests/WinXP” ‘, I was able to get a sense of the speed of the file system when I was creating the virtual disk files.  I chose to make one large file at once for each of the two disks; C drive (15 GB), and E drive (48 GB).  With the watch command updating every two seconds, I was able to see that the RAID-10 XFS filesystem was handling about 100 Mbps as the disk files were created.

Once I had made theVM, loading it was uneventful.  Just a regular Windows XP professional install, like any other.  The vmware-server played nice mostly after that and has continued to do so.  I have only had to log out once due to unresponsiveness, and have not had to restart the server services.  The VM is quite fast, and allows my wife to see her video streams in Media Player 11 with only minor stuttering of the video.   Audio is fine.

I really like the USB visibilty of vmware-server.  The VM picked up the printer as if it were directly connected, and once I loaded the drivers for it, I was printing from the VM like normal.  All of my USB devices can be presented to the VM, which is an area I had problems with in the past with the 1.x versions of vmware-server.

Anyway, my wife is set up with her login and has a shortcut to RDP to the Windows XP VM, where she can login and watch her JNet streams.


Today I worked.  No breaks, almost no emails (like, seven maybe), no phone calls, no meetings, no chit-chat watercooler stuff, barely had lunch (a sandwich from home) – while I worked.  From 8:30 AM straight through to 6:30 PM, and I am tired.  I got a LOT done.

  • I located two possible rack shelves to use, since I need to install one more shelf int the roll around rack I am stuffing with hardware.  Neither was a good fit, but I then found the exact type I needed in another rack.  It was supposed to have been removed anyway, so I did it, adjusted the mounting brackets and seaching for missing screws before finally mounting it where I wanted.
  • I updated the VLAN configs on my Cisco 6509 to account for some new changes I had come up with.  I had to do some minor repatching of my existing ESX servers afterwards.
  • I helped another team diagnose a Layer-2 loop problem (didn’t take long).
  • Next came two legacy 2U servers (old HP DL 308 G3s).  I had to pull them apart and remove the three 100BaseT NICs in each of them.  Then I had to scavenge six Intel 1000BaseT NICs from three old IBM 1U servers that are going away (we have a stack of them, so I will probably be making another trip for more NICs later).  After installing the cards, I stacked them on the new shelf (waaayyy up high), connected the KVM and power, and popped an ESX install CD into each.
  • I loaded ESX on each server using my standard configuration, cabled up all the network cards, rebooted.
  • I imported a 287 GB server image onto a new 81 GB VM in my ESX cluster.
  • I helped yet another team get into their HP blade server chassis switches (didn’t take long).
  • I KVM’d into each new server and hand configured everything from the command line, making new vswif interfaces, vswitches, portgroups, and vmknics.  This took forever – as soon as I get more time, I am making my own kickstart script to do this stuff for me.  I have three vswitches, four vswif interfaces, and four vmknics.  Two vswitches have four portgroups each, and the other has, uh, <doing math in head> 22 portgroups.  Most are not used, but are there for uniformity and flexibility.
  • I updated all my documentation and posted the newest updates on the rack doors (front and back).
  • I worked with our LAN admin to set some routes up for some new networks I will be using, and updated the static routes in my Foundry switch tying my networks to his.
  • I spent the rest of my time troubleshooting why these two new servers cannot talk to most networks, but can talk to a couple.  I am so tired from typing in commands, vlan IDs, etc., I can’t think straight.  I bet I dorked up some VLAN tags on the vswitches or mispatched something.  I checked all the cables meticulously to ensure I had good link on everything, and sure enough, there were loose cables.  I confirmed everything was good on the physical layer with esxcfg-nics -l.  Default routes look good.  Just so much stuff to keep track of…

I am still not done with one server, not quite.  But tomorrow I’ll tackle it and these problems with both, and maybe grab a few more NICs for later.  Kinda sucks having no help, but oh well.  It’ll still get done.

I also need to make templates within ESX, so I have to start copying ISOs to install from.  That can happen tomorrow too.  Just a fairly typical workday.  Oh, and my boss put me in charge of a portion of a big project I am building all this stuff for.  Bonus.

I need a beer….