OPS235 Lab 2 - Fedora17

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OPS235 Lab 2: Fedora 16 Installation Methods (on Virtual Machines)


A virtual machine is a software simulation of a computer which can be used as though it were actual hardware. It's possible to run multiple virtual machines on one computer, reducing hardware requirements and introducing flexibility. Some common uses of virtualization include:

  • Software testing -- Using multiple operating systems simultaneously on a single computer for testing and experimentation.
  • Network simulation -- Testing network services, protocols, and security scenarios with a small number of computers.
  • Isolation -- Protecting multiple sets of data by storing them on multiple virtual machines. If one of the virtual machines is compromised, the data on other virtual machines is still protected.
  • Server consolidation -- Reducing the number of physical servers in a network by moving physical machines to virtual machines. This saves hardware, administration, cooling, and electricity costs, and it can increase the utilization of hardware (by ensuring that the hardware is not under-loaded).
  • Load-balancing and disaster recovery -- It is possible to migrate virtual machines between different physical machines, to ensure that a workload is balanced across multiple computers, to allow routine hardware maintenance and upgrading, and to compensate for hardware failure or other disasters.

In this lab, you will create three virtual machines. This also gives you an opportunity to experiment with different ways of installing Fedora. Later in this course you will install another operating system distribution in a virtual machine.

You should already have both a Fedora installation DVD and a Fedora LIVE CD.

In both cases, the boot media (which you used to load the installation software) and the installation source (the software that got installed) were the same: your CD/DVD provides both. However, the Fedora (and most other Linux distributions) permits you to use any combination of boot media and installation media:

Method Boot Media Install. Source
Hard Disk
USB Flash Drive
Network (http/nfs repository)
PXE Network Boot X


  • Understand Virtualization
  • Use KVM virtualization on Fedora
  • Use a variety of installation methods:
    • Live Image Installation
    • Network Installation
    • Kickstart Installation

Required Materials (Bring to All Labs)

  • Fedora 16 LIVE CD
  • Fedora 16 x_64 Installation DVD
  • SATA Hard Disk (in removable disk tray)
  • USB Memory Stick (minimum 64M)
  • Lab Logbook (Lab2 Reference Sheet) (to make notes and observations).


  • Completion and Instructor "Sign-off" of Lab 1: OPS235 Lab 1

Linux Command Online Reference

Each Link below displays online manpages for each command (via http://linuxmanpages.com):

  • virsh (Refer to Fedora Virtualization Guide link in the "Resources on the Web" section)
  • gzip / gunzip

Resources on the Web

Virtualization: Live Image Installation: Network Installation: Kickstart Installation:

Fedora Virtualization Guide

Fedora 16 Installation Guide

Fedora 16 Installation Guide

Performing Lab 2


Update your Fedora Installation
It's a good idea to ensure that your Fedora installation is fully updated before proceeding. You can update your system with the graphical tool located on the menu at >System>Administration>Software Update (or by typing either of these commands: pkcon update or yum update)
Performing this Lab off the Seneca network (eg. at home)
It is recommended to perform this lab in one of Seneca College's labs. This lab uses servers which are on the Seneca network and which are not available from other locations (such as your home). If you attempt this lab from another location, adjust the belmont.senecac.on.ca URLs to point to another Fedora mirror server -- note that you may need to change the directory name as well as the server name. The installation of the fedora3 virtual machine must be done at Seneca.
  1. Install the Fedora virtualization software: yum groupinstall "Virtualization" or pkcon install @virtualization The virtualization software installed is in three parts:
  • A system service named libvirtd that manages the VMs.
  • Tools to manage virtualization, including the virt-manager graphical tool and the virsh command-line tool.
  • The actual virtual machines themselves.
  1. Start the virtualization service: service libvirtd start
  2. The firewall configuration is altered by the addition of the virtualization software. Restart the firewall so that these changes become active: service iptables restart

Stop (medium size).png
Reboot your fedora host
There appears to be an issue with supplying your VM's with a dynamic IP unless the host is restarted after installing "Virtualization". Reboot now to avoid this problem.
  1. After rebooting your computer system, and logging back into your account, start the graphical tool by selecting the menu options Activities>Applications>System Tools>Virtual Machine Manager or by typing the command virt-manager
Run virt-manager as a regular user
Running virt-manager as root may not work due to configuration issues.

Investigation 1: Installing from a Live Disc

Using an Image instead of a Live Disc
It is recommended that you perform this installation from your Fedora LIVE CD. As a matter of interest (for future reference), it is possible to download the .iso image file from http://belmont.senecac.on.ca/fedora/releases/16/Live/x86_64/Fedora-16-x86_64-Live.iso and install directoly from that file. There are many Internet tutorials that show the individual how to perform that task.


In this investigation, you will install Fedora from your live disc, and observe the differences between this type of installation and the DVD installation previously performed.

VM Details

  • Name: fedora1
  • Boot media: Fedora Live CD
  • Installation source: Fedora Live CD
  • Memory: 768MB
  • Disk space: 10GB
  • CPUs: 1

Screen-Shot Thumbnail Reference

Virtual Machine Screen Shots Thumbnails
While performing the Virtual Machine setup, click on the thumbnails below to provide a "visual reference" while performing this section.
Virtual Machine Manager: Create a New Virtual Machine
Step 1 of 5: Create a New Virtual Machine
Step 2 of 5: Create a New Virtual Machine
Step 3 of 5: Create a New Virtual Machine
Step 4 of 5: Create a New Virtual Machine
Step 5 of 5: Create a New Virtual Machine


  1. In the Virtual Machine Manger, click on the icon to Create a Virtual Machine in the upper-left corner:
    (refer to Virtual Machine Manager thumbnail above).
  2. A window will appear with the title New VM. There are five steps to be completed; click Forward after each step:
  3. Step 1 of 5: Enter the virtual machine (called fedora1) name and select Local install media (refer to Step 1 of 5 thumbnail above).
  4. Step 2 of 5: Insert the CDROM or DVD containing the Fedora Live Disc image. Wait a moment for the disc to be recognized, then select Use CDROM or DVD as the install media. Set the OS type to Linux and the Version to Fedora 16 (refer to Step 2 of 5 thumbnail above).
  5. Step 3 of 5: Set the memory to 768 MB and the number of CPUs to 1 (refer to Step 3 of 5 thumbnail above).
  6. Step 4 of 5: This next step creates a disk file that will be used to simulate the virtual machine's disk drive. Select a size of 10 GB and checkmark the box labeled Allocate entire disk now (refer to Step 4 of 5 thumbnail above).
  7. Step 5 of 5: Review the options that you have selected. Make a note of the storage location. If anything needs to be changed, use the Back button to go back and edit it; otherwise, click Finish (refer to Step 5 of 5 thumbnail above).

Fedora LIVE CD Install Screen Shots Thumbnails
While performing the Fedora 16 LIVE CD install, click on the thumbnails below to provide a "visual reference" while performing this particular Fedora installation.
The Virtual Machine will now start.
Ignore and close the "Failed To Load" dialog box. Search for the panel on the upper-left-hand side of the screen.
Login to the VM and double-click:
>System Tools
>Install to Hard Disk.
Select Specialized Storage Devices
Select Virtio Block Device.
You will get the Firstboot configuration questions during the boot process.
  1. The virtual machine will now start. Select the default menu item labelled: Start Fedora 16. The virtual machine is running from the live disc at this point, and no software has been installed on the hard drive of the virtual machine.
Gnome3: failed to Load Message
A dialog box will indicate that Gnome3 Failed to Load. This indicates that a "fall-back" or "generic" graphics driver will be used for the session. Just ignore this warning, close the dialog box and proceed with the session.
  1. Login to the VM and click: Applications>System Tools>Install to Hard Drive. The installation program, similar to the one used when installing Fedora in Lab 1, will appear. You will get a warning at one point during the installation process that the disk "May contain data" or "may need to be re-initialized" -- this is simply a warning that the virtual disk is completely blank, and it is safe to proceed with the installation.
Virtual Machine Screen Size
The virtual machine screen size will change resolution as it switches from text to graphics mode. Use the VM menu option View>Resize to VM to resize the window to show the entire VM display. If this is larger than your screen size, use View>Scale Display>Always to scale the image so it fits on your screen.
  1. During the installation process, when prompted for a storage device, first select Specialized Storage Devices, and then select the Virtio Block Device option.
  2. When prompted for the hostname, enter fedora1, and when prompted for the timezone, select Toronto - Eastern Time Ontario, and when asked about storage, select Use All Space. Use the default values for all other fields. Notice that the installer does not ask you what software should be installed; compare the installation time to the amount of time it took to do your Lab 2 installation. Record this information in the table contained in Investigation 4.
  3. When the installation is complete, click on the reboot button at the bottom right-hand corner of the screen.
Error Message
If you experience an error message, exit the VM window, close the Virtual Machine Manager program, reboot your host (main) computer, login and restart the Virtual Machine Manager program. Failure to follow this instructions can lead students to think that the virtual machine was not installed (when it was indeed installed).
  1. Start the VM from its disk image. This can be done graphically by selecting the Virual machine name, and then clicking on the Open button, and then click the play button when the next screen appears (or by selecting Virtual Machine>Run from the virtual machine menu). You will get the Firstboot configuration questions during the boot process (asking you to create a user, set the date and time, and optionally send the hardware profile to the Fedora Project). Create a user with the same name as your Matrix account.
  2. Login using the new user account.
Network / Service Considerations
Please perform the tasks below in order allow these Fedora systems to be able to communicate with each other. Failure to properly perform these operations can cause problems in future labs.
  1. Enable SSH access to your virtual machine with these commands (semi-colon allows commands to be run in sequence):
    service sshd start; chkconfig sshd on
  2. Find out the IP address of your virtual machine: ifconfig eth0
  3. Enter the following command on your virtual machine to create a firewall exception to allow ssh traffic into the machine:
    iptables -I INPUT -p tcp -s0/0 -d0/0 --dport 22 -j ACCEPT
  4. Confirm that you can ssh to your virtual machine from the host (your main Fedora installation): ssh IPaddress

Investigation 2: Installing from the Network

Authenticate to the network
The rest of this lab uses network access. Be sure to authenticate to the network using your browser before proceeding.


It is possible to install Fedora entirely from the network. In this investigation, you will install Fedora from a webserver on Seneca's LAN.

VM details


  1. Create the VM (called fedora2) as you did with the fedora1 virtual machine, except:
  2. Observe the boot process. How is it different from booting from an optical disc (CD/DVD)?
  3. Start the installation process (make certain to use information in the VM Details section above). When you get to the disk partitioning step, enable the checkbox labelled Review and modify partition layout.If an dialog box displays a permissions problem, then click yes to proceed. On the next screen, change the logical volumes as follows:
    • Reduce the size of the root LV to 8000 MB.
    • Add a logical volume with a size of 2000 MB and a mountpoint of /home (you can name it whatever you want, and use ext4 as the file-system type).
  4. On the software selection screen, select Graphical Desktop.
  5. On the same screen, select the "Fedora 16 - x86_64" and the "Fedora 16 - x86_64 - Updates". Leave "Installation Repo" selected. DO NOT enable the "Test Updates" repository.
  6. Complete the installation. Record the time taken to install, and compare this to the time taken by the previous installations.Record this information in the table contained in Investigation 4.

Investigation 3: Installing from the Network using Kickstart


When Fedora is installed using the techniques you have used so far, the user is asked a number of questions. In some situations, it is better to provide the answers to these questions in a file rather than answer them individually. This type of file is called a kickstart file.

In this investigation, a kickstart file is provided for you. You can also create or modify a kickstart file using a regular text editor or a graphical tool.

VM details


  1. Create the VM as you did with the fedora2 virtual machine, specifying a network install as before, except:
  2. Observe the installation. How is it different from booting from an optical disc (CD/DVD)?
  3. Complete the installation. Record the time taken to install, and compare this to the time taken by the previous installations.
  4. What happens when the installation is finished?
  5. Take a look at the kickstart file (using the URL you entered) to determine the root password as well as the name and password for the first user account.
  6. Boot the virtual machine and log in (use the user ID and password information from the previous step). Compare the experience to the first time you booted the other virtual machines.Record this information in the table contained in Investigation 4.

Investigation 4: Updating and Comparing the VMs

  1. In each VM, run this command: yum update
  2. Record the answers to these questions in your log book:
    • How long did it take to run on each VM? How many packages were updated?
    • Why does it take longer in some VMs than others?

Complete the following table (and transfer into your lab2 log-book notes):

f16host fedora1 fedora2 fedora3
Installation Method Installation Disc Live Disc Network Installation Network Installation + Kickstart
Packages Installed
Updates Installed immediately after installation
Software could be selected during installation
Disk layout could be selected during installation
No questions asked during installation
Total installation time (after installation questions)
Amount of disk space used
Questions asked during first boot
Advantages of this type of installation
Disadvantages of this type of installation
This type of installation is recommended for...

Investigation 5: Managing Virtual Machines from the Command Line

Manage virtual machines from the host
The commands used to manage virtual machines must be executed on the host (your disk pack) and not inside a virtual machine.
  1. Start the fedora1 virtual machine, and stop the fedora2 and fedora3 virtual machines.
  2. Enter these commands and note the result:
    • virsh list
    • virsh list --all
    • virsh list --inactive
  3. Start the fedora3 virtual machine from the command line: virsh start fedora3
  4. Repeat the commands from step 2 and notice any changes.
  5. Stop the fedora3 virtual machine: virsh shutdown fedora3
  6. Confirm that fedora3 has been shut down.
  7. Execute this command: virsh dumpxml fedora3 >fedora3.xml
  8. Examine the file fedora3.xml. What does it contain? What format is it in?
  9. Edit the file fedora3.xml, making the following changes:
    • Change the name to fedora3a
    • Change at least one of the hexadecimal characters in the UUID. Do not change the length of the UUID. Valid hexadecimal characters are 0-9 and a-f.
  10. Issue this command: virsh define fedora3a.xml
  11. Issue the command virsh list --all and record any changes.
  12. Issue the command: virsh undefine fedora3a
  13. List all of the virtual machines again, and note any changes.

Investigation 6: How do I backup a virtual machine?

Backing up VMs
Taking the time to backup the image of the Operating System's file system allows the user to return to a "restoration point" in case something bad occurs to the OS during a lab. Failure to take the time to make and confirm backups can result in loss of lab work for the student!
  1. Shut down all of the virtual machines.
  2. Change to the directory /var/lib/libvirt/images/. Note the size of the files in this directory. What do these files contain?
  3. Make a compressed backup of the fedora3.img file with this command: gzip <fedora3.img >fedora3.img.backup.gz
Stop (medium size).png
Make sure the backup is successful!
If there are any error messages, DO NOT proceed past this point. You're going to destroy your fedora3 virtual machine and restore it using the backup you have created -- if there are any problems with the backup, you will not have a working virtual machine, and will have to re-install it.
  1. Compare the size of the compressed and original files.
  2. Start the fedora3 VM.
  3. Make certain that you are in your fedora VM, and not in your Fedora main system.
  4. Wreck only your fedora 3 system! Try this command inside the fedora3 virtual machine (DO NOT do this on your main Fedora system, or you will have to repeat your lab2 and portions of your lab3!): rm -rf /*
  5. Shut down the VM.
  6. Restore the original image from backup (type this command carefully): gunzip <fedora3.img.backup.gz >fedora3.img
  7. Restart the VM. Is it working normally?
  8. Create compressed backups of your other virtual machines.
  9. Answer this question in your log book:
  • In order to fully back up a virtual machine, what information should be saved in addition to the virtual machine image?
  • Write the answer to the Investigation 6 question in your lab book.
Backing up VMs
It is essential to back up your VMs at the end of each lab, so you can easily restore them if something goes wrong in the next lab.
Shutting Down the Host while Virtual Machines are Running
If you shut down your host system while virtual machines are running, they will be suspended, and will resume the next time you boot your host system.

Investigation 7: Kickstart Files

SSHD and Firewall
If you have restarted your virtual machine fedora1, the sshd server you started in section 1-16 will no longer be running. In addition, the firewall will have reverted to its original state. In order to use scp, below, you will need to restart ssh and adjust the firewall again.

When you perform a non-Kickstart installation, the installation program creates a Kickstart file in the /root directory for reference.

  1. Obtain the kickstart files for all four of your installations (your disk pack f16host, plus the fedora1, fedora2, and fedora3 virtual machines). Copy them all to your f16host system (tip: use scp).
  2. Compare these files. What are the differences? Similarities? (Tip: you may want to use tools such as sdiff to help with the comparison).
  3. How could you use the kickstart file produced by the installation program to perform additional, identical installations?

Completing the Lab

Arrange evidence of each of the following items on the screen, and then ask your professor or lab monitor to check them:
  1. Three working virtual machines created.
  2. Four kickstart files.
  3. All virtual machines fully updated.
  4. All virtual machines backed up.
  5. Installation comparison table filled in.

Preparing for the Quizzes

  1. What is the name of the Fedora installation program?
  2. Which factors recorded in your table (above) were due to the type of installation performed, and which factors were due to the amount of software installed?
  3. Which type of installation works best for confirming compatibility with hardware before installation? Why?
  4. Which type of installation works best for installing large numbers of computers? Why?
  5. What factors affect installation time?
  6. How can you reduce the number of software updates required immediately after installation?
  7. Why would you enable additional repositories during installation?
  8. What does the file /root/anaconda-ks.cfg contain, and how is it created?
  9. How do you start and stop virtual machines?
  10. How do you SSH into your virtual machines?
  11. What is the purpose of and relationship between these pieces of software?
    • libvirt
    • libvirtd
    • virsh
    • virt-manager
    • virt-install
    • vncviewer
    • kvm
  12. The kickstart installation (fedora3) was a network installation. Can a kickstart file be used with a DVD installation?
  13. The kickstart installation (fedora3) was fairly fast. Why? Under what circumstances would it take a long time, even on a fast network?
  14. What other types of installation sources are possible (besides Live Disc, Installation Disc, and Network?)