Monday, 10 July 2017

Prepping a Linux VM for OVA export

These are the steps I recommend to prepare a Linux VM for OVA export. It should keep the size down to a minimum and prevent headaches and confusion down the track!

I'm using VirtualBox but the info applies to VMware. You'll just have to read the VMware documentation for the compacting section.

I am running these commands from a Debian Stretch live CD inside the guest, and have mounted the destination filesystem (/dev/sda1) as /mnt:
$ sudo mount /dev/sda1 /mnt

Disable systemd from renaming network interfaces

If you leave this enabled, you'll have different network interface names for VirtualBox and VMware so your interface definitions won't work in both!

I disable this by adding the kernel parameter "net.ifnames=0", you can do this within /mnt/etc/default/grub:

Then run update-grub from within a chroot:
$ sudo mount --bind /dev /mnt/dev
$ sudo mount --bind /proc /mnt/proc
$ sudo mount --bind /sys /mnt/sys
$ sudo chroot /mnt
# update-grub
# exit
$ sudo umount /mnt/dev /mnt/proc /mnt/sys

You'll now want to adjust /etc/network/interfaces (or equivalent) accordingly to reflect eth0 instead of enp0s17 or whatever.

Sanitise the log directory

Nuke the contents but leave files in place:
$ sudo find /mnt/var/log -type f -exec sh -c 'cat /dev/null > {}' \;

Discard unallocated blocks

Unmount the filesystem then discard unallocated blocks:
$ sudo umount /mnt
$ sudo e2fsck -E discard /dev/sda1

Compact the disk image

This is done from the host, not the guest.

If you're using a VDI file, you can use modifymedium --compact:

If you're using a VMDK file, you can use clonemedium:

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