Archive for the ‘Virtualization’ category

Build a network boot disk for VMware guest VMs

November 25th, 2008

A person recently asked me via Email how to create a bootable MS-DOS diskette with networking capability for use in VMware guest VMs. Rather than privately isolate the knowledge in an email conversation, I figured the least I could do after going through the steps is to share it in a blog post so that it may be cataloged in Google for everyone’s benefit.

There are several methods to creating a network boot disk. Some easier. Some more difficult. In the interest of time and leveraging the innovation of others, I’ll turbo charge today’s procedure by using Bart’s Network Boot Disk. Frankly I’m not interested in modifying network boot disk files by hand which was one of the purposes behind Bart’s solution – making the creation of boot disks easier. Note, to use this procedure, you admit to owning a Microsoft Windows 98 operating system license.

Here are the steps:

  1. Create the boot disk by following the instructions here.
  2. Download the BFD full package v1.0.7 file.
  3. Extract to a temporary folder (I’ll use c:\temp\ for this example).
  4. Good news – the driver used by VMware (the AMD PCNet Family Ethernet Adapter NDIS is already included in the default list of drivers bundled in the file above. This is a perfect working example of why VMware chose to virtualize the AMD PCNet Family adapter. It’s ubiquitous nature allows it to be supported by every VMware guest operating system on the support list. By virtue of the fact that VMware supports most of the popular/common Windows and Linux operating systems, you’ll find that VMware networking works with nifty utilities like Bart right out of the box.
  5. As the instructions indicate, open a command prompt, go to the BFD directory (in this example, c:\temp\) and execute the command bfd msnet and follow the instructions on screen. This step will create the actual floppy diskette.
  6. The network boot diskette is ready to use with VMware. Use it to boot a guest VM.
  7. I found that booting from the #3 menu item labeled “Boot without emm386” worked well with ESX 3.5.0 Update 3:
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  8. Accept the following default prompts assuming they are applicable to your environment:
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  9. Configure the “Logon as”, “Password”, “Workgroup”, and “Domain” as necessary:
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  10. The network boot disk will complete its boot up process, connecting your MS-DOS VM to the network with the given parameters. A quick net view displays the shares of a Windows server on the network:
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  11. A net use command maps a C: network drive to the network Windows server share and a dir command displays the share contents:
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Well that’s about it. At this point, you’re on the network, ready to dump or capture an image, or whatever it is that you needed a network boot disk for. Don’t forget you can transform the physical floppy diskette into a virtual floppy image by using a utility such as WinImage by Gilles Vollant. This allows the VM to boot much more quickly and it allows you to avoid the use of the dying technology of physical floppy disks altogether.

Update: Roger Lund posted another method on his blog using the Universal TCP/IP Network Bootdisk that looks just as quick and easy.  Check out Roger’s solution.

Please join us for the Q4 2008 Minneapolis Area VMware Users Group meeting

November 25th, 2008

I apologize in advance for the poor formatting of this. It didn’t copy/paste very well from MS Word and I don’t have time to make it all pretty like.

Please join us for the Q4 2008 Minneapolis Area VMware Users Group meeting

Jason Boche, Minneapolis area VMUG leader – Email:

Friday December 19th, 2008 1 – 4:00 PM

1:00 – 1:15 General business

1:15 – 2:00 Presentation: Rob Schwartz/Ken Pizzo, EMC: “Optimizing Your VMware Backup Environments”

2:00 – 2:10 Break

2:10 – 2:55 Case Study: Tom Grahek/Derek Clark, Fair Isaac: “Securing Offshore Support Using VMware”

2:55 – 3:05 Break

3:05 – 3:50 Case Study: Cory Miller, Schwans: “Leverage VMware for Disaster Recovery and VDI”

3:50 – 4:00 Door prizes, Q & A, closing

Stick around to win fantastic door prizes from EMC and VMware, plus two books from virtualization authors David Marshall, Stephen Beaver, and Jason McCarty!

(Please bring business cards to enter your name in the door prize drawings)

Meeting Sponsors:

Location and snacks provided by EMC – Storage innovation where information lives.

Door prizes provided by EMC and VMware – Storage innovation where information lives. – The authority on x86 virtualization. Period.

Virtualization authors David Marshall, Stephen Beaver, and Jason McCarty


Doubletree Hotel

1500 Park Place Blvd.

Minneapolis, Minnesota 55416 USA

Phone: 952-542-8600

VMware User Group Event Registration:

VMware User Group Membership Registration (subscribe):

Confused about Citrix XenServer 5 support for Windows Server 2008

November 25th, 2008

I read a news item here stating Citrix XenServer 5 lacks support for Windows Server 2008 as a guest operating system. I decided to check it out for myself.

Citrix reveals here that indeed Windows Server 2008 guests are not supported in XenServer 5. However, the What’s new in Citrix XenServer 5 page explains that XenServer 5 is tuned for Windows and Windows Server 2008 guest support has been added through the all important Microsoft Server Virtualization Validation Program (SVVP).

Confused? I am.

VMware supports Windows Server 2008 for many of its products and VMware is very clear about it. VMware’s guest OS support for all VMware products can be found in the Guest Operating System Installation Guide.

Where is Diane Greene?

November 22nd, 2008

I haven’t heard any news from or about Diane Greene, the former CEO and co-founder of VMware, since her departure from VMware in July 2008.  Despite her termination, nobody can argue that Diane played a large role in VMware’s success.  Will she resurface?  She is still listed on Intuit’s website as being on their board of directors, however, the same Intuit web page still lists her as an Executive Vice President at EMC and President of VMware.  Gee Intuit, update your web page thingy much?  About as much as your Quicken code tree I imagine which still hammers my x86 processors for no good reason.  But I digress.  Did Diane receive a golden parachute and would she be content filling the creative void with pottery classes?  I think she has too big of a brain to go away quietly.  I see her involved in something bright in the next five years.  Will it be virtualization related?

What about her husband and VMware co-founder Mendel Rosenblum? I understand after leaving VMware this year he is spending significantly more time in his research at Stanford University as an Associate Professor of Computer Science.  Is that the final chapter for him?

Anyone else have any thoughts on this?

Coolest VMware video training trailer ever

November 19th, 2008

If nothing else gets you excited about VMware virtualization, this video by Elias Khnaser should.  It seriously looks like a good DVD for the whole family.  I’ve asked Elias for the Blue-Ray version.

Brian Madden purchased by TechTarget

November 19th, 2008

No, a human being was not purchased like a head of cattle (at least let’s hope not). Brian Madden has been a well known mogul in the Citrix community for quite a long time and has been making a splash lately in the virtualization arenas (primarily virtual desktop infrastructure where Citrix products XenApp and XenServer compete for market share along with VMware, Microsoft, and others).

Brian Madden uses his personal name as his product brand to become successful in many of his accomplishments including public speaking, industry analyst, technical author, blogger, knowledgebase website, creator of the impressive annual BriForum convention, book publisher, etc.

Brian is a wealth of knowledge first and foremost. I’ve read a few of his Citrix/Terminal Services books and he ranks right up there at the top among the most knowledgeable authorities when it comes to Citrix and Terminal Services. I also regard Brian as an interesting character with a unique and funny personality. Read some of his blogs about his adventures and you’ll understand. A year or two ago I followed Brian over the internet as he sold his house and most of his possessions and became a world traveler with no place to call home except for whatever hotel he was in at the time. When he sold his house ‘n’ things, he hired entertainment for the kids such as one of those big enclosed hot air trampolines you’d likely see at a carnival. I think he had a popcorn machine, food, hired clowns, etc. All at his expense. Nobody does it quite like Brian.

TechTarget is an IT media company founded in 1999 that has 600 employees and went public in 2007. TechTarget writes “The Brian Madden Company brings the largest community of IT professionals specializing in application delivery and desktop virtualization.” In one transaction, TechTarget purchases an already existing and established fountain of knowledge that it can in turn use to help its clients. However, I’m not sure about the accuracy of the last part of their statement if you consider the virtualization leader, VMware, has built a virtualization community of well over 100,000 people from around the globe.

I wish Brian and TechTarget much success now and into the future.

Read more about the official announcement from TechTarget here.

Update: Brian’s official announcement at

Quick hit: Why choose VMware?

November 18th, 2008

Why Choose VMware web page – There’s a lot of marketing FUD clogging the channels.  VMware would be irresponsible if they didn’t have theirs.  Seriously, you need information like this to make an informed decision on what virtualization solution is best for you and/or your business.

6 Reasons to Choose VMware fact sheet – These are good discussion points for use in your bosses office, on the bus or train, waiting at the airport, at a VMUG, on a first date, in a confessional booth, etc.