RACing ahead with Oracle on VMware Series - Part 7

Thursday Feb 2nd 2006 by Tarry Singh

Tarry Singh examines configuration errors and issues when installing RHEL 4.2 on VMware Virtual Machines

Installing RHEL 4.2 on VMware, Preparing Tools and Network Configuration

A Brief Pep talk: Preparation is a pain

I have gotten many e-mails from professionals and novices alike, and can fully understand the sentiment of taking all the pains of getting ready to install the Oracle installer (Clusterware is more sensitive to this), and then it just won't budge beyond an error. In one sense, it is good that you are not allowed to move ahead with a faulty NIC configuration but it is frustrating.

Therefore, in this article I will concentrate on these issues and try to cover all aspects of the preparation in great detail. If we cannot cover it all in one article, we will dedicate another one to it--but I will attempt to cover it all here.

Pre requisites for this article

I assume that you have:

  • A machine with a minimum 2 G RAM (its helpful when you want to create a 2-node cluster).
  • Enough disk space (80G is good).
  • Created two Virtual Machine skeletons.
  • One or more physical NICs.
  • Read this article to get a good understanding of the architecture. And the previous article ( Part VI of my series) for all the tools and software you need to have in hand to go ahead with a successful setup.

Now let's get started with installing RHEL 4.2 or Centos 4.2 on our Virtual Machines.

Installing RHEL 4.2 on VMware Virtual Machines

This is not really hard work but let's just go through with this.

Step1: Boot from the *.iso file and after a series of 'next', you come to choosing the partition mode. You can choose Autopartition OR Disk Druid. It's your choice, I myself prefer to pick Disk Druid and then the first disk I mount from "/" and the other disk (which I allocate about the same space as my physical RAM) I set to swap.

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Step 2: Here we will create and edit partitions. Choose "Yes" twice as we have two vmdk(Virtual disks).

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Step 3: Pick "/" as mount point.

Step 4: Take swap as File System Type:

Step 5: It should look like this now:

Step 6: Setting up Network cards (Remember eth0 is bridged and the eth1 is host-only) and don't forget to keep the cards on vlance type, as the VMware support for vmxnet on RHEL4 is not there yet.

Step7: Setting private /host-only eth1 card.

Step 8: If you have your LDAP/DNS server (be it Windows ADS or Linux, it doesn't matter), then fill in your gateway information and DNS Server addresses. Eventually it should look like this:

Step9: Disable Firewall and SELinux.

Step 10: After about three clicks, you come to choose the software installation. Select "customize..."

Step11: And the following software is what you will need to select:

  • Editors

  • FTP. Legacy Server and Network Servers (Network server is only for VNC Server)

  • Legacy Network Server we need for rsh and telnet (although we will also configure SCP, which is the right way to go).

  • Development and Legacy Software Development.

  • System Tools and you're done.

Start the installer and begin installation!

Post Installation

Having done with the installation, you will be prompted to boot. Upon rebooting, you will be asked to:

  • Agree to the licensing terms.
  • Adjust date/time and connect to NTP (Network Time Protocol)
  • Adjust Display (don't do anything here; we will adjust our display with VMware tools!)
  • Redhat Login, Registration and Activate (If you have a 30 day trial version)
  • Create User (I always create a System Admin user here and leave root for only very important issues!)
  • Install Additional Software

Then you get to log in, finally!

Installing VMware tools

To switch from GUI to command line mode click "Ctrl+Alt+F6"

Log in:

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Click to install VMware tools:

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Mount the CDROM, change to /tmp directory and unzip the files:

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Do the following after unzipping the files:

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After a series of "Enter" clicks:

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You reach here: (Note: VMware tools might have problems with compiler if you did not choose to install the Development tools during installation).

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I chose "4" for my resolution and you are done with VMware-tools installation. You will notice that your mouse response is a LOT better! Another good thing is, if you are monitoring your machines via Virtual Center, your VC's heartbeat is good, as well.

Preparing VNC Server, Putty and Testing Connection

With virtualization becoming commonplace in the business world, we will be working on systems that are thousands of miles away from home. We already do. On Linux, VNC Server or Free NX (I did mention it in my first article) works excellently when working remotely on the servers.

Download and install putty (for your Windows client Machine. On Linux client, you can just invoke ssh command).

Log on to your Virtual Machine:

Start vncserver:

Edit xstartup in the .vnc (It's a hidden directory) directory: You can also do it directly on the OS. Add the highlighted lines. (Last one is helpful if you use gnome session).

Restart VNC server, remove old *.pid files and login from the VNC viewer:

I use the default port 5901 but you can always pick another port number.

Network Configuration:

Nothing is more frustrating than a network issue that you cannot fix during installation. Let's do this in steps. We will take one node, and edit the network settings there. NOTE: Repeat this step on all nodes!

Step 1: Open Network Do system-config-network & OR open it from GUI:

Step 2: Devices:

Step 3: DNS entry:

Step 4: Hosts (This is nothing but your /etc/hosts file.

NOTES for NIC Cards on VMware: Do this on all nodes as a last check.

  • Don't use DHCP addresses (that is why we gave all our NICs static addresses)

  • Double Check your hosts file. It should look like this (pay special attention to the loopback address

  • Do ifconfig –a, I did this from putty:

  • You will NOT get a ping on your VIP address as there is no physical machine behind it; this address is used to Fail Over in case of a node failure in a RAC environment. You CAN however ping it when you have configured your RAC.

  • Ping ALL IP addresses NODES from ALL NODES!

  • Perform all the above checks on ALL nodes!

  • vmxnet type Virtual NICs are not yet supported for RHEL4. They must be vlance. vmxnet offers greater performance if you have Gigabit physical NICs. Stay tuned to the VMTN Discussion Forums for such news.


We have gone into details of setting up our RHEL 4.2 or Centos 4.2 OS. Although some of these issues may sound repetitive, from our Windows setup, remember that good preparation means that all your tools are in place before proceeding with the rest of the installation. In our next edition of this series we will work towards our goal by configuring our Network and Linux Server for Oracle readiness, creating an Oracle user and more.

» See All Articles by Columnist Tarry Singh

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