Did your employer stick you with a windows box?

Unfortunately this is a common scenario and overwriting the windows OS could lead to unplanned problems. You could use a partitioning tool and create a dual-boot box. I am obsessed with virtualization and will officially endorse VMWare physical machine converter.

The easiest solution to import your physical windows box into an identical virtual image is to share the windows drive via samba and then load vmware workstation 6+ on a separate machine on the same network (gigabit preferred). Fire up VMWare workstation on the second box and import the physical machine.

I actually managed to run parallels on a Mac OS host running a WinXP guest and then VMWare workstation 6 within the WinXP virtual machine. Then sucked in a physical windows box. Pretty amazing on a 1GB Apple Macbook running Mac OS X 10.4 with parallels running MS Windows XP SP2 and then running VMWare Workstation 6 and MS Windows XP SP2 virtually. Sick right?!

Baremetal Virtualization

Wikipedia has a great comparison of virtualization products here

I was seriously considering VMWare ESX or Xen or Virtual Iron as the host OS for my main workstation and laptop. Unfortunately, the hardware support is not up to par yet.

Over the past 10 years or so, I have switched OS’s greater times than my underwear! During the last 2 years, I ran Gentoo, MacOS, and Ubuntu as my main OS’s. I will most likely stick with Ubuntu until a solid bare metal vm solution is available with extreme hardware compatibility. At that time, I expect complete bliss. Imagine being able to backup 1 file which will contain a portable vm image along with all of your data within it. No more rsync’ing directories all over the place and backing up configs in case you must reload. I am sick of reloading host OS’s! And hopefully by the time virtualization gets to the level I require, there will be terabyte usb flash drives for easy storage of the vm’s.

VMWare Within Parallels

I can officially say that VMWare Workstation 6 runs perfectly within Parallels Desktop on a Mac OS host and a Win XP guest. And even better news.. VMWare’s physical machine import tool also functions properly in this scenario. A couple years ago, I couldn’t even fathom the idea of running a virtual machine within a virtual machine and importing a physical machine to another virtual machine. It is awesome! This is all occurring on Megan’s Apple Macbook with 1GB of ram.

I truly went nuts with virtual machines a few years ago when I consolidated an entire rack full of boxen into 1 highend box running all of my servers and lab machines. Since then, I have saved a ton on power bills and a whole lot of stress and time of managing multiple physical machines. Today I use 1 laptop and 1 workstation for the majority of my computing needs. The ‘infrastructure’ of my network does rely on a few physical x86 machines which function as firewalls, IDS sensors, etc.. But all of my servers are VM’s which are so easily backup-able and portable. In the near future, I hope to explore some other VM solutions such as Xen. Until then, I bow to VMWare and Parallels!

New Residence = New Network Infrastructure

Recently, I moved from the northern New Jersey area to Cherry Hill which is about 3 miles from Philadelphia. There will be an unmanaged hub between the cable modem and border router, which will provide a sniffing point for the IDS sensor.

Production Network Diagram:

Modem –> Unmanaged Hub –> Cisco 2651 Border Router –> Linux based Firewall –> Switch –> Boxen

(Dual OC-192’s and Dual OC-48’s) — I’ll settle for this until I can afford a few OC-768 pipes 😛



SSH Log Monitoring and Alerting

This simple script comes in handy for monitoring most any flat file logs. It uses the File::Tail Perl module and is watching the sshd auth.log file in the below example. Change the ’system’ function to launch any processes you may wish. Let me know if anyone makes any tweaks or modifications to improve the functionality.

os+apache+mysql+php+perl+etc = OAMPPE

Besides the usual robots, I don’t expect many readers to come around. I’ll just post here to amuse myself 🙂 The server is running Ubuntu 7.04 within VMWare Workstation 6. I keep a spare image around so when the box is hacked I can be back online in a jiffy. All of the config files and data are backed up via Amazon’s S3 Simple Storage Service. Until next time …