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Getting the VM Image

The VM image is located at <somewhere>.

The Avalon VM is shipped as a Open Virtualization Format OVA Package.  OVF is supported by most VM products, including VirtualBox, Redhat Enterprise Virtualization, and VMWare.

The OVA file contains both the VM disk image as well as the settings for the VM guest.  If you are using a solution which doesn't support OVF, the OVA package is a simple tarball which can be unpacked and set up manually.

Virtual Machine Settings

Tested VM Hosts

The image has been tested on

  • VirtualBox (Linux host)

VM Guest Settings

The general settings for the VM guest must be:

  • 64-bit guest
  • At least 2G of RAM
  • At least 1 core
  • Graphical Display

Network Settings

The network adapter of the guest needs to be set to "Bridging" or "Attached to Bridged Adapter".  This allows the guest to use an IP address which is visible to the outside world so clients can connect to it.  Network Address Translation (NAT) or "User Mode" networking can be used when combined with port forwarding or port mapping, but setting up this configuration is beyond the scope of these instructions.

Free Disk Space

The disk image is in the VMDK format which is a sparsely-allocated disk image format:  only the disk space actually in use by the guest (plus some mapping overhead) is used on the host.  The image, as shipped, takes around XX gigabytes but from the guest's point of view it looks like a 500G disk.  As Avalon stores files the disk space used on the host will increase.  If the host doesn't have sufficient space for avalon's disk requests it will fail in unpredictable ways.

Firewall

If there is a firewall, these ports must be accessible to the clients:

somethingsomethingsomething
   

 I need to look this up.

 

First Boot

When the VM is booted for the first time you will be taken through a series of steps to configure the virtual machine for use.  Many of the screens are the same as a standard CentOS or RedHat Enterprise Linux post-installation first boot.  For reference, the RedHat documentation for this process is at https://access.redhat.com/site/documentation/en-US/Red_Hat_Enterprise_Linux/6/html/Installation_Guide/ch-firstboot.html.

Welcome

License Information

The Avalon and CentOS End User License Agreements are displayed.  Agree to the licensing terms and press Forward to continue.

The Avalon EULA needs to be written

 

Keyboard

Select the keyboard type that is appropriate for your system and press Forward to continue.

Root Password

Change the password for the root user and then press the Forward button to continue. 

Update Networking

The default networking configuration uses DHCP.  The system name 'avalon-vm' is sent to the DHCP server if the administrators wish to send specific DHCP options to the VM.  To change the networking configuration, press the Network Settings button.  When the network configuration is correct, press Forward to continue.

Create User

It is important to create a non-root user for normal usage of the VM.  Create the user and press Forward to continue.

Date and Time

This screen allows you to set the system's date and time settings.  By default the timezone is set to America/Indiana/Indianapolis.  Change it as necessary and press Forward to continue.

Build FFMPEG

FFMPEG is an open source tool used to convert multimedia formats into other formats.  While it is open source, there are some configurations that cannot be distributed as a binary package.  Avalon uses such a configuration, so to adhere to the licensing restrictions, the end-user (you) have to build FFMPEG.  To make the process easy, this screen offers a push button which will begin the process of building and installing a FFMPEG binary which will be used by avalon.  The build takes roughly 15 minutes (depending on the machine) and booting will not continue until FFMPEG is built.

\[Screenshot here]

Once FFMPEG is built, the terminal window will display a message informing you to press the Forward button to continue the installation. 

If the build fails or otherwise has trouble, the installation will allow you to continue, but Avalon will not be fully functional.  Contact the developers for assistance.  The build log can be found in /root/ffmpeg-build.log.

Avalon Configuration

Avalon requires some site-specific email addresses and hosts.  The first boot process tries to make some reasonable guesses but it is often wrong.

Access Hostname

This is the host name that others will use to connect to your avalon server. 

Comments E-Mail

Email destination address for comments

Notifications E-Mail

Email destination address for notifications

Support E-Mail

Email destination address for support requests

Mail Server Hostname

Hostname for email server so Avalon can send emails to the above addresses.

Mail Server Port

Mail server port, usually 587

TODO: The avalon admin user is not set up by this process!

Reboot

The configuration log is displayed.  This log contains the changes that were made in the avalon configuration to tailor it to the VM's environment.  Press Finish to complete the installation and reboot the VM.

Using Avalon

I really should figure this out....

Reconfiguring Avalon

The avalon email addresses can be reconfigured by running

/usr/share/avalon/avalon_config <comments_email> <notifications_email> <support_email> <smtp_server_address> <smtp_port>

Logs of the changes can be found in /root/avalon-setup.log.

Reconfiguring the accessible network address is more complicated.  On each reboot the accessible name is reconfigured during startup when

/etc/init.d/avalon_host_config

is run.  If the file /etc/sysconfig/avalon_host_config contains a name, that is used for the accessible name, otherwise the DNS name for the host is used.  If this script is run during normal operations, the avalon services will need to be restarted to be updated with the new configuration.

 

 

 

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