CentOS 5.5 hosting VMware Server 2.0.2

With centOS 5.5 being GA since friday and the fact that I am using it to host VMware Server 2.0.2.  A weekend experiment was a Fait accompli.

The first thing I did was  making a backup of my root and boot partitions, so that I could roll back when VMware Server, as is the wont of such upgrades, would stop working all together.

Then I undid a change made to my /etc/yum.conf file to hold back on glibc updates since centOS 5.4

After that, I opted for the upgrade from centOS 5.4  to 5.5 (x64) and clicked the updates balloon.

A little later and my host was ready for a reboot, and I could now test the new centOS version.

After rebooting my host, one of the first things to test was VMware Server 2.x. The vmware-config.pl script ran without problems, however, when I tried to access the web interface there was nothing.  Checking the running processes revealed that not much was working at all. None of the VM’s that were supposed to be running via the auto-start option were running.

Checking the running processes via ps -A revealed that there was no vmware-hostd process was running. So it looks like the glibc issue is still a problem. As we are now a whole centOS revision later, I did not want to revert  to the old glibc version as per my earlier post, anymore and therefore tried the 2nd solution from the following blog post:

Vmware Server 2 Web Access Connection Loss (vmware-hostd crash) Workarounds

This requires editing the /etc/init.d/vmware script, so do take a backup of that file before you edit it. I needed my backup as I used copy and paste from a browser to avoid typo’s. I did however miss out on the html double quote ” not being the same as the required string double quote ” causing my edited script to fail the first time I tried the published workaround.

After I found the problem, I could again start the vmware-hostd process. However… I am no longer confident that VMware Server is as stable as it was before.

I can easily crash the ability to access or manage your VM’s by clicking the browser refresh toolbar button (reload current page) while logged into the management interface. This I can reproduce without any problem. At the same time I’m also logged in with the VI Client and when I click the browser button, it disconnects down there too. The only way I can still access my running VM’s is via the remote desktop features in the VM’s themself.

You can’t even stop the VM’s using vmrun as that also uses HTTP soap to access the VM.

So does VMware Server 2.x work on centOS 5.5, Yes it does. Are you adviced to upgrade to this version in a production environment? Not really.


Author: Wil van Antwerpen

Wil van Antwerpen is a software developer who loves to work on Open Source and dabble a bit with VMware products. He likes to help people out as that is a good way to learn more. He is the author of Vimalin Backup (https://vimalin.com) which is virtual machine backup software for VMware Fusion and VMware Workstation Pro.

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