Abiquo 5.0

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VirtualBox is a hypervisor developed by Sun Microsystems (now Oracle) that is designed for desktop virtualization. VirtualBox is a desktop solution for building new VM templates for use in Abiquo. This document describes how to create a new OVF virtual appliance with VirtualBox.

Choose an operating system distribution

You may find the operating system distribution you need in our public repository available by default in the Abiquo platform, but if this is not the case you can build your own VM template.

This tutorial will show how to install an OS distributed as an ISO image. In this example we will use a very simple Linux distribution, ArchLinux. This distribution is perfect for cloud environments because of its minimalist approach. You can download the ISO image from the download page.

Create a New Virtual Machine

This VM will mount the ISO or other install disk. It must also be configured using the specified virtual devices if you wish to guarantee compatibility across different hypervisors.

To create a new VM click the New button on the main screen.

The Create New Virtual Machine Wizard will open.

Enter the VM Name and OS Type

Enter a name for the virtual machine, archlinux, for example. You must also choose Linux as the Operating System and Arch Linux as the Version in the combo boxes. Click Next to continue.

Assign Memory to the VM

Now select the amount of memory needed by the operating system. 512 MB should be enough. Click Next to continue.

Hard drive

Select "Create a virtual hard drive now" and click Create.

Select the Hard Disk Format

Select a format that is compatible with your hypervisors. See Template Compatibility Table.
For example, for KVM hypervisors, you could select QCOW; for VMware hypervisors, you could select VMDK; and for Hyper-V, you could select VHD. 

If required, select dynamic or fixed disk.

  • Fixed Size will convert to other hypervisor formats more quickly than dynamically allocated.
  • Dynamically allocated will produce a smaller disk file when the disk is not very full.

Click Next to continue.

Enter the name of the virtual disk, archlinux would be a good name (VirtualBox will add an extension). You can also change the default path by clicking on the icon to the right of the text box.

This disk will be the disk the Operating System will use. We will now create a Virtual Disk of 2 GB; this is enough for basic tasks in an operating system. If you need to perform more complex tasks, do not hesitate to create bigger disks. Remember that disks of more than 2 GB will be broken into multiple parts by the browser upload in the UI. If you use manual upload for a larger disk, then you will need to create an OVF file for your disk.

Enter 2.00 GB. Click Create to continue.

A VM summary may display. If required, click Create to continue.

Modify the VM for maximum hypervisor compatibility

The virtual machine we have just created must be modified and such a way that it will work for several hypervisors. To modify the virtual machine, follow these steps:

Select the archlinux virtual machine from the list in the left pane and click Settings.

Disable the Floppy

Now in the left pane click System. In Boot Order, disable Floppy and Network.

Enable the SCSI Controller

In the left pane click on Hard Disks. Check Enable Additional Controller and select SCSI (LsiLogic).

Mount the ISO

Below Hard Disks in the left pane click on CD/DVD ROM. Mark the Mount CD/DVD Drive checkbox and select ISO Image File. Select the ISO image downloaded at the beginning of the process in the combo box.

Optionally Disable Audio

If you do not require audio, click Audio and uncheck Enable Audio

Add Bridged Adapter

Click Network and then the Adapter 1 tab:

  • check Enable Network Adapter,
  • select the Adapter Typefrom the combo: choose *Intel PRO/1000 MT Server (82545EM)
    • Abiquo now supports more network adapters, such as VIRTIO on KVM
  • change Attached to from its current value to Bridged Adapter,
  • verify that Name points to an existing and valid Network Adapter Type in this host.

Now go to Adapter 2 tab and REPEAT the same steps. You can choose the same Name for the Network Adapter Type.

Optionally disable USB

Optionally go to USB and uncheck Enable USB Controller. For valid settings choose a non-USB pointing device on the System tab.

Click OK to finish.

Install the operating system

Now install the operating system. To ensure the best performance in Abiquo:

  • Configure the network to get all the configuration from DHCP. Remember to remove the MAC address from network scripts.
  • Install openssh daemons. Users will probably not have console access to the OS.
  • Do not install XWindows. Install the OS to run in text mode.

Template Upload Methods

You can upload your template to Abiquo:

  • Using the UI:
    • supplying a virtual machine disk, and completing the template details, such as CPU, RAM and disk capacity
    • supplying an OVA file
    • uploading an ISO file and reinstalling your virtual machine with the operating system from the ISO
  • Manually, as a virtual machine disk with an OVF file containing the template details required by Abiquo

Export the OVF file or OVA file

OVF ONLY for Manual Template Upload

Abiquo recommends that you upload your VM Templates to the Appliance Library using the Abiquo GUI, or through a Template Repository. If you use these methods, you can skip these steps. If manual upload is required for some reason, then do these steps.

In the main menu go to File > Export Appliance and select your appliance (In this example, archlinux). Click Next to continue.

Now you can choose where VirtualBox will store the OVF descriptor and the compressed Virtual Disk.

Export OVF

For manual upload to Abiquo, we will use a separate OVF descriptor.

Change the file extension from .ova to .ovf.
Do not select the options to Write Legacy OVF 0.9 or Write manifest file.
Click Next to continue.

The next screen allows you to enter the virtual machine details.

If you are using manual template upload, then you should complete at least the description. If possible, you should complete the other Product details too.
VirtualBox will add these details to the OVF descriptor. Abiquo will read these details and display them to users of the appliance library.

Click Export to start the conversion. The process can take several minutes, so please be patient.

Edit the OVF File

For details of Abiquo OVF support, see OVF Reference. Abiquo supports OVF files with multiple virtual machine disks

If you will be manually uploading the OVF package to the appliance library, you can add an icon by defining it in the .ovf file.
Edit the .ovf file created by VirtualBox in the previous step and search for the ProductSection.

For Abiquo, the ProductSection holds the information about the template for display in the Apps library. It must contain:

  • Info
  • Product
  • Icon
    • ovf:fileRef: URL of the icon file
    • ovf:mimeType: jpeg, png or gif
    • ovf:width: pixels
    • ovf:height: pixels

The ProductSection should be similar to the following example. Check the details of your virtual machine template and add the Icon details in the product section. The Icon URL must include a publicly visible IP address or domain name (not or localhost).

    	<Info>Abiquo - server machine</Info>
        <Product>Abiquo - server machine</Product>
        <Icon ovf:fileRef="https://rs.bcn.abiquo.com:443/public/icons/q.png" ovf:mimeType="image/jpeg" ovf:width="32" ovf:height="32" />        

Add the VM Template to the Appliance Library or Template Repository

See Adding VM Templates to the Appliance Library
To add the VM template to a Template Repository, see Template-Repository Documentation

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