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Getting the VM Image

The VM image is located at (temporarily).

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 3G 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.


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

tcp/22SSH and SFTP Access
tcp/80Web Access
tcp/1935Streaming Media Access for Red5 (RTMP)

First Boot

The VM will take while to boot.  This is normal since some of the system services are slow to start.


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


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



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.


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 installation will not continue until FFMPEG is built.

The build can take 15 minutes or more to finish.  Compiling FFMPEG is an intensive process and it may cause performance issues on the host


<Wouldn't a screenshot here be a nice touch?>

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.  If DHCP is used this can be left as the default.

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


Now that all of the changes have been made the Avalon is nearly ready to use.  The access URL is displayed on this screen.  Press Finish to reboot the machine and apply all of the changes.

The URL displayed on this screen may not be correct!  If the VM is using DHCP it may receive a different address on reboot, or it may require that the MAC address of the VM be registered with the network provider.  In either of these cases, the address used for access can be determined by using the instructions under "Using Avalon"



Using Avalon

If the VM is using DHCP for network configuration, it is important to know what address the VM was given.  To determine this, log into the VM as the non-root user that was created during install, open a terminal, and run:

/etc/init.d/avalon_host_config hostname

The hostname displayed is the name clients will use to connect to Avalon.  Be advised that this address may change on each reboot, depending on the characteristics of the network's DHCP server.

For networks which have set up a static IP, the address for the VM will be the one configured during first boot.  If this information is misplaced, the above procedure can be used to look it up.

With the access address in hand, using the Avalon VM is the same as any other avalon installation and is covered

Reconfiguring Avalon

All of the avalon configuration scripts below leave a log of changes in /root/avalon-setup.log.  Since this file may contain passwords, make sure the file permissions are set appropriately.

Email Addresses

The avalon email addresses can be reconfigured by running (as root):

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

To use the existing value for any of the above arguments, use '-'.  The Avalon application stack will need to be restarted for the changes to take effect.

Randomize Passwords

To randomize the passwords used by Avalon, the command


can be used.  The changes will appear in /root/avalon-setup.log and Avalon will need to be restarted to make sure the passwords work correctly.

Accessible Hostname Configuration

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


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.

Known Issues

  • (plus) the initial avalon administration user needs to be created during install
  • (plus) the avalon EULA is nonsensical.
  • (plus) install demo content
  • (warning) DHCP hostname doesn't match the IP ... sometimes
    • May be specfic to IU's DHCP service
    • for example
      • my IP is and all of the dhcp logs show this.  
      • my hostname is
      • the address doesn't appear anywhere in /etc
        • but it is in /var/lib/dhclient/dhclient-eth0.leases
          • remove all leases during dist-prep
          • make sure firstboot shows the right url on the reboot page
      • access hostname is accurately returned by /etc/init.d/avalon_host_config
  • (question) should there be instructions for a NAT'd VM?
  • (question) is it ok that the avalondrop user can "cd .." and see other things?

(question) = an oddity or potential todo idea

(warning) = issue that has workaround

(minus) = major issue, no workaround.

(plus) = todo item


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