Modifying a VMware Server Virtual Disk Configuration

Modifying a VMware Server Virtual Disk Configuration will include enlarging, shrinking and removing a VMWare Server Virtual Disk. 

The current configuration of a virtual disk can be viewed and modified by logging into the VI Web Access interface and selecting the virtual machine to which the disk is attached from the Inventory panel. Once the workspace updates to reflect the selected virtual machine, locate the disk drive from the Hardware panel, click on it and select Edit… from the menu. This will display the hard disk settings dialog.



An important point to note is that many of the settings will be read-only (and consequently grayed out) if the selected virtual machine, or any other virtual machine which shares the disk, is currently powered on. In addition, the Increase capacity… link shown in the above figure will not be visible if the virtual machine is powered on. To make changes to configuration values, or to increase disk capacity, it will be necessary to power off all virtual machines that utilise the virtual disk.

Enlarging a VMware Server Virtual Disk

The capacity of a virtual disk may be increased using the disk settings dialog (described above). As with most other virtual disk settings, a disk may only be increased in size when all virtual machines sharing the disk are powered off. Once this is achieved, select a virtual machine which uses the virtual disk from the Inventory panel of the VI Web Access interface, click on the required hard disk from the Hardware panel and select Edit… from the menu. Once the disk settings dialog appears, click on the Increase capacity… link to display the disk capacity fields.

The current size of the virtual disk is listed, together with two text boxes for the amount by which the disk is to be increased and the new capacity. Both are specified in gigabytes (GB), and either may be used to increase the size of the virtual disk. The amount of space available for allocation to the virtual disk is dictated by the available space on the datastore in which the virtual disk file resides. The current free space on the datastore is also listed beneath the capacity text boxes. The increase in virtual disk capacity cannot exceed this value.

Shrinking a VMware Server Virtual Disk

Unlike increasing the capacity of virtual disks, which is performed outside the virtual machine using the VI Web Access interface, virtual disks can only be reduced in capacity from within the virtual machine’s guest operating system and requires the installation of VMware Tools.  If VMware Tools are not currently installed on the guest operating system, then it is good idea to install them.

Once VMware Tools are installed into the guest operating system, the next step is to access the VMware Tools Control Panel. The default configuration for VMware Tools on Windows should have placed a VMware Tools icon in the Windows notification area in the bottom right hand corner of the Windows task bar (where the date and time are typically displayed) and also as an icon in the Windows Control Panel (accessed via Start->Control Panel). Double clicking on either of these options will invoke the control panel.

To invoke the VMware Tools control panel on Linux and Solaris systems, simply execute the following at a command-line prompt:



The “Shrink” tab of the VMware Tools control panel allows virtual disks associated with the virtual machine to be reduced in size by reclaiming unused areas on the disk. In the first instance, free space on the disk is reclaimed within the guest operating system. Subsequently, the virtual disk image on the host file system is then reduced in size by the VMware Server software.

In order to be able to perform a shrink operation the virtual disk must not have been created as a pre-allocated disk and there must be no current snapshots of the virtual machine.

If the virtual disk is an independent disk it must be in persistent mode. In the case of Linux guest operating systems, the operation must be performed as superuser.

Removing a VMware Server Virtual Disk

Virtual disks are removed using the VI Web Access interface. As with previous tasks, any virtual machines which access the virtual disk must first be powered off. Assuming this to be case, select the virtual machine to which the disk is attached from the Inventory panel, click on the disk drive in the Hardware panel and select either Remove or Delete from disk. The Remove option simply removes the disk from the configuration of the currently selected virtual machine. The physical .vmdk file which represents the virtual disk remains intact in the datastore in which it was created and is available for use by other virtual machines.

The Delete from disk option, on the other hand, both removes the disk from the configuration of the select virtual machine and also physically removes the .vmdk file from the datastore. As such the disk is no longer available and the space it used is released.

Managing VMware Server 2.0 Virtual Disks

Rather than using a physical disk drive to store the system and user files for a guest operating system, VMware Server virtual machines use files (known as virtual disks) located on the disk drives attached to the host system.

This guide will provide an overview of the creation and management of virtual disks. VMware Server Virtual Disk and Device Types

Virtual disks provide the storage for guest operating system and user files. Each VMware Server virtual machine will likely have one or more virtual disks configured and during the lifecycle of a virtual machine virtual disks may be added and removed as needed. The size of a virtual disk is specified at creation time and can range from 1MB up to a maximum of 950GB.

When a virtual disk is first created (either during the virtual machine creation process or later) it may be configured as growable or pre-allocated. The virtual disk type may subsequently be converted using the vmware-vdiskmanager command line tool. A growable disk is initially created smaller than the specified disk size, and subsequently grows as space is needed up until the maximum specified size is reached. This has the advantage that the disk creation process is shorter and less disk space on the host is used initially. A further advantage of growable disks is that the size of the disk can be reduced at a later time using the VMware Tools Shrink Disk feature. These features, however, come at the cost of reduced performance.

In the case of a pre-allocated virtual disk, the entire space required for the disk is allocated at creation time. This has the advantage that virtual disk performance is not degraded due to the need to increase the disk size as more space is needed. Disadvantages include an increased amount of time needed to create the disk (taking several hours for a 950GB virtual disk) and the inability to reduce the size of the disk at a later time unless the disk is converted to growable.

An additional option allows virtual disks to be split amongst multiple 2GB files on the host, rather than contained in a single file. This option has little benefit unless VMware Server is hosted on a file system which limits file sizes to 2GB.

To the guest operating system running inside a virtual machine, virtual disks appear as though they are physical devices. As such, the disk can be configured to appear to the virtual machine as either an IDE or SCSI device. In the case of SCSI virtual disks, VMware uses a virtual SCSI controller which appears to the guest as either an LSI Logic or BusLogic controller. As such, guest operating system hardware drivers for these devices may need to be installed accordingly.

VMware Server Disk Modes

VMware Server virtual disks may be configured to run in Independent mode which provides two additional options in terms of disk configuration:

Persistent – Data written to the disk by the guest operating system is retained when the system is powered off. This is the normal mode of operation for most virtual disks.

Nonpersistent – Data written to the disk during a virtual machine session are discarded after the virtual machine is powered off or reset. This is useful if the guest operating system is required to be started with a clean system each time the virtual machine is powered on, perhaps in a testing or secure environment.

Disks configured as independent are not included in snapshots.

VMware Server Virtual Disk Caching Options

The disk write caching policy for virtual disks defines the point at which new data is written to the virtual disk (as opposed to being cached in memory before being written) by the guest operating system. These settings have implications for performance, with increased performance being available at the cost of data integrity. A choice of two policy options is available:

Optimise for safety – Data is not cached. Write operations made by the guest operating system are written immediately to the virtual disk image. Reduces risk of data loss in the event of a system failure, but results in slower disk write performance.

Optimizs for performance – Write operations performed by the guest operating system are initially cached prior to being written to the virtual disk. Provides increased write performance at the cost of increased risk of data loss in the event of a system failure.

Adding a New Virtual Disk

A new virtual disk may be added to a virtual machine via the VI Web Access management interface. SCSI based virtual disks may be installed on running virtual machines as long as those machines are running on VMware virtual hardware version 7 or later (the default setting when virtual machines are created in VMware Server 2.0). IDE based virtual disks or virtual machines running on older versions of the virtual hardware require that the virtual machine be powered off prior to the addition of a new virtual disk.

Once logged into the VI Web Access interface, the first step in adding a new virtual disk is to select the required virtual machine from the Inventory panel. In the Commands section of the virtual machine workspace, click on the Add Hardware link to invoke the Add Hardware Wizard.

To add a new virtual disk, select the Hard Disk option from the list of new hardware devices to proceed to the Hard Disk page. Options are available to either create an entirely new virtual disk, or to use an existing virtual disk that may already have been created for a pre-existing virtual machine. In fact, this second option can be used to enable multiple virtual machines to share a virtual disk, although careful steps should be taken to avoid disk write conflicts (for example both guests attempting to write simultaneously to the same disk block will likely cause problems for most standard file systems).

Once a decision has been made about creating or re-using a virtual disk, the next wizard screen provides the option to configure the disk type, mode and caching options. Finally, a summary page is displayed highlighting the choices made during the configuration process. Clicking the Finish button will begin the addition process which, depending on the settings, may take some time to complete.


How do I prevent Exchange 2000/2003 from being used as a mail relay?

Before we proceed with learning on how to prevent Exchange 2000/2003 from being used as a mail relay, let’s see what a relay is?,

1.      A user in your domain wants to send e-mail to another user in your domain – This is NOT relaying.

2.      An outside user (from the Internet) wants to send e-mail to another user in your domain – This is NOT relaying.

3.      A user in your domain wants to send e-mail to an outside user (on the Internet) – This IS relaying.

4.      An outside user (from the Internet) wants to send e-mail to an outside user (on the Internet) – This IS relaying.

The default Exchange 2000/2003 configuration does not allow unauthenticated users to relay through the server.

Exchange 2000/2003 provides full Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) mail services. The Exchange 2000 SMTP server can be used to receive and relay e-mail messages to other Exchange 2000/2003 servers on your network or to other SMTP servers on the Internet. Mail relay allows Exchange 2000 mail clients to send mail to users in other organisations. If mail relay is not allowed, the Exchange 2000 server can only receive and send mail for users in the same mail domain as the Exchange 2000/2003 servers.

When the Exchange 2000/2003 server relays e-mail messages, the Exchange 2000/2003 server can forward mail that is addressed to mail domains other than its own. This allows Exchange 2000 to forward mail to any internal or external network SMTP server.

There are dangers inherent in making an Exchange 2000/2003 server accessible to Internet users. The Exchange 2000/2003 server might be used as a mail relay by Internet users, which is undesirable because unscrupulous users might forward mail to your Exchange 2000/2003 SMTP server to distribute unsolicited commercial e-mail messages to large numbers of computers. This can have a severe adverse impact on available bandwidth for your Internet connection and might lead to your mail server being placed on “black hole” lists of open mail relays. If your server is placed on such a list, other mail servers may not accept mail from your domain.

It is important to know that for a user or computer to relay e-mail messages through an Exchange 2000/2003 SMTP server, two conditions must be met:

·         The user or computer must be able to gain access to the Exchange 2000/2003 server.

·         The Exchange 2000/2003 server must be configured to relay e-mail messages to other domains.

If these conditions are not both met, the server does not relay e-mail messages.

How to prevent Exchange 2000/2003 server from relaying e-mail messages:

In order to prevent the Exchange 2000/2003 server from relaying e-mail messages:

1.      Start Exchange System Manager.

2.      Expand the organisation_name object, and then expand the Servers node. Expand the server_name object of the server on which you want to prevent mail relay, and then expand the Protocols node.

3.      Expand the SMTP node, right-click the virtual SMTP server on which you want to prevent mail relay, and then click Properties.

4.      Click the Access tab, and then click Authentication.

5.      Click to select either the Basic Authentication check box, or the Windows security package check box, or both of these check boxes, and then click to clear the Anonymous access check box. When you select the Basic Authentication check box, you need to provide a default user domain. Click OK.

6.      If you click to select the Anonymous access check box and do not select any other check box on this page, all of the users and computers can gain access to the Exchange 2000/2003 SMTP server. This setting disables inbound authentication.

7.      If you click to select either the Basic Authentication check box, or the Windows security package check box, or both of these check boxes, and you click to clear the Anonymous access check box, authentication is required to gain access to the Exchange 2000/2003 SMTP server. If the user or computer does not successfully authenticate, the user or computer cannot send mail to the server.

8.      Click Relay.

9.      In the Relay Restriction dialog box, several options are available. The only the list below option is enabled by default; the list below this option is empty. The Allow all computers which successfully authenticate to relay, regardless of the list above option is also enabled by default, which allows users and computers that can authenticate with the server to relay through the server. This option allows the Exchange 2000/2003 server to relay mail from your internal network clients. Note that if you allow only anonymous access, the server cannot authenticate users or computers.

10. Click Add. You can allow a single computer, a group of computers, or an entire domain to relay through the server by making the appropriate selection in the Computer dialog box.

11. Allowing access by IP address or domain name is helpful for users who do not authenticate with the Exchange server (for example, in an Internet service provider [ISP] implementation).

12. Click Cancel if you do not want to make any changes.

13. In the Relay Restrictions dialog box, click OK.

14. Click Apply, and then click OK in the Default SMTP Virtual Server Properties dialog box.


Keeping the SMTP Virtual Server’s default settings (the authentication and relay buttons) will safely protect you from relaying un-authorised messages while still enabling outside users to send e-mail to your domain.

Hyper-V Getting Started Guide

Hyper-V is a role in Windows Server 2008 that provides you with the tools and services you can use to create a virtualised server computing environment. This type of environment is useful because you can create and manage virtual machines, which allows you to run multiple operating systems on one physical computer and isolate the operating systems from each other. This guide introduces Hyper-V by providing instructions for installing this role and configuring a virtual machine.  In order to go ahead with this process, it is a good idea to find out the requirements for Hyper-V.  This will then take us through various steps which will form a part of this tutorial guide.  

Hyper-V has specific requirements. Hyper-V requires an x64-based processor, hardware-assisted virtualisation, and hardware data execution prevention (DEP). Hyper-V is available in x64-based versions of Windows Server 2008 specifically, the x64-based versions of Windows Server 2008 Standard, Windows Server 2008 Enterprise, and Windows Server 2008 Datacenter.  

Known issues 

Known issues are described in the release notes. We recommend that you review the release notes before you install Hyper-V.  These notes can be downloaded on the following links:  

Step 1: Install Hyper-V

You can install Hyper-V on either a full installation or a Server Core installation. You can use Server Manager to install Hyper-V on a full installation, as described in the following procedure. To install on a Server Core installation, you must perform the installation from a command prompt. Run the following command:

Start /w ocsetup Microsoft-Hyper-V


To install Hyper-V on a full installation of Windows Server 2008

  1. Click Start, and then click Server Manager.
  2. In the Roles Summary area of the Server Manager main window, click Add Roles.
  3. On the Select Server Roles page, click Hyper-V.
  4. On the Create Virtual Networks page, click one or more network adapters if you want to make their network connection available to virtual machines.
  5. On the Confirm Installation Selections page, click Install.
  6. The computer must be restarted to complete the installation. Click Close to finish the wizard, and then click Yes to restart the computer.
  7. After you restart the computer, log on with the same account you used to install the role. After the Resume Configuration Wizard completes the installation, click Close to finish the wizard.

Step 2: Create and set up a virtual machine

After you have installed Hyper-V, you can create a virtual machine and set up an operating system on the virtual machine.

Before you create the virtual machine, you may find it helpful to consider the following questions. You can provide answers to the questions when you use the New Virtual Machine Wizard to create the virtual machine.

  • Is the installation media available for the operating system you want to install on the virtual machine? You can use physical media, a remote image server, or an .ISO file. The method you want to use determines how you should configure the virtual machine.
  • How much memory will you allocate to the virtual machine?
  • Where do you want to store the virtual machine and what do you want to name it?

To create and set up a virtual machine

  1. Open Hyper-V Manager. Click Start, point to Administrative Tools, and then click Hyper-V Manager.
  2. From the Action pane, click New, and then click Virtual Machine.
  3. From the New Virtual Machine Wizard, click Next.
  4. On the Specify Name and Location page, specify what you want to name the virtual machine and where you want to store it.
  5. On the Memory page, specify enough memory to run the guest operating system you want to use on the virtual machine.
  6. On the Networking page, connect the network adapter to an existing virtual network if you want to establish network connectivity at this point.


If you want to use a remote image server to install an operating system on your test virtual machine, select the external network.

  1. On the Connect Virtual Hard Disk page, specify a name, location, and size to create a virtual hard disk so you can install an operating system on it.
  2. On the Installation Options page, choose the method you want to use to install the operating system:
    • Install an operating system from a boot CD/DVD-ROM. You can use either physical media or an image file (.iso file).
    • Install an operating system from a boot floppy disk.
    • Install an operating system from a network-based installation server. To use this option, you must configure the virtual machine with a legacy network adapter connected to an external virtual network. The external virtual network must have access to the same network as the image server.
  3. Click Finish.

After you create the virtual machine, you can start the virtual machine and install the operating system.

Step 3: Install the operating system and integration services

In the final step of this process, you connect to the virtual machine to set up the operating system. As part of the setup, you install a software package that improves integration between the virtualisation server and the virtual machine.

The instructions in this step assume that you specified the location of the installation media when you created the virtual machine. The instructions also assume that you are installing an operating system for which integration services are available.

To install the operating system and integration services

  1. From the Virtual Machines section of the results pane, right-click the name of the virtual machine you created in step 2 and click Connect. The Virtual Machine Connection tool will open.
  2. From the Action menu in the Virtual Machine Connection window, click Start.
  3. Proceed through the installation.

Important points to note.

    • When you are at the point where you need to provide input to complete the process, move the mouse cursor over the image of the setup window. After the mouse pointer changes to a small dot, click anywhere in the virtual machine window. This action “captures” the mouse so that keyboard and mouse input is sent to the virtual machine. To return the input to the physical computer, press Ctrl+Alt+Left arrow and then move the mouse pointer outside of the virtual machine window.
    • After the operating system is set up, you are ready to install the integration services. From the Action menu of Virtual Machine Connection, click Insert Integration Services Setup Disk. On Windows operating systems, you must close the New Hardware Wizard to start the installation. If Autorun does not start the installation automatically, you can start it manually. Click anywhere in the guest operating system window and navigate to the CD drive. Use the method that is appropriate for the guest operating system to start the installation package from the CD drive.

After you have completed the setup and integration services are installed, you can begin using the virtual machine. You can view or modify the virtual hardware that is configured for the virtual machine by reviewing the settings of the virtual machine. From the Virtual Machines pane, right-click the name of the virtual machine that you created in step 3 and click Settings. From the Settings window, click the name of the hardware to view or change it.

Step 4: Configuring virtual networks

You can create virtual networks on the server running Hyper-V to define various networking topologies for virtual machines and the virtualisation server. There are three types of virtual networks: a private network, which provides communication between virtual machines only, an internal network, which provides communication between the virtualisation server and virtual machines, and an external network, which provides communication between a virtual machine and a physical network by creating an association to a physical network adapter on the virtualisation server.

To create a virtual network

  1. Open Hyper-V Manager.
  2. From the Actions menu, click Virtual Network Manager.
  3. Under Create virtual network, select the type of network you want to create. The types of network are External, Internal, and Private. If the network you want to create is an external network, see “Additional considerations” below.
  4. Click Add. The New Virtual Network page appears.
  5. Type a name for the new network. Review the other properties and modify them if necessary.
  6. Click OK to create the virtual network and close Virtual Network Manager, or click Apply to create the virtual network and continue using Virtual Network Manager.

To add a network adapter to a virtual machine

  1. Open Hyper-V Manager. Click Start, point to Administrative Tools, and then click Hyper-V Manager.
  2. In the results pane, under Virtual Machines, select the virtual machine that you want to configure.
  3. In the Action pane, under the virtual machine name, click Settings.
  4. In the navigation pane, click Add Hardware.
  5. On the Add Hardware page, choose a network adapter or a legacy network adapter. Network adapters can only be added to a virtual machine when the machine is turned off. For more information about each type of adapter, see “Additional considerations” below.
  6. Click Add. The Network Adapter or Legacy Network Adapter page appears.
  7. Under Network, select the virtual network you want to connect to.
  8. If you want to configure a static MAC address or virtual LAN identifier, specify the address or identifier you want to use.
  9. Click OK.

Additional considerations to be taken into account

  • By default, membership in the local Administrators group, or equivalent, is the minimum required to complete this procedure. However, an administrator can use Authorisation Manager to modify the authorisation policy so that a user or group of users can complete this procedure.
  • A legacy network adapter works without installing a virtual machine driver because the driver is already available on most operating systems. The legacy network adapter emulates a physical network adapter, multiport DEC 21140 10/100TX 100 MB. A legacy network adapter also supports network-based installations because it includes the ability to boot to the Pre-Boot Execution Environment (PXE). The legacy network adapter is not supported in the 64-bit edition of Windows Server 2003 or the Windows XP Professional x64 Edition.
  • After you install Hyper-V and create an external virtual network, your computer will operate differently. After installation, the parent partition uses a virtual network adapter to connect to the physical network. When you look at Network Connections on the parent partition, you will see the original network adapter and a new virtual network adapter. The original physical network adapter has nothing bound to it except the Microsoft Virtual Network Switch Protocol, and the virtual network adapter now has all of the standard protocols and services bound to it. The virtual network adapter that appears under Network Connections will have the same name as the virtual network switch with which it is associated. It is possible to create an internal virtual network, which will expose a virtual network adapter to the parent partition without the need to have a physical network adapter associated with it. Hyper-V only binds the virtual network service to a physical network adapter when an external virtual network is created. However, networking will get disrupted for a short period of time on the network adapter when a virtual network gets created or deleted.


How to install Windows Small Business Server 2008 (SBS)

Windows Small Business Server 2008 (SBS 2008) is the successor to SBS 2003, and it brings the various components SBS is based on up to date.

This includes the server itself being based on Windows Server 2008, the mail server component up to Exchange Server 2007, and in the Premium Edition, SQL Server 2008 Standard Small Business Edition. Before we go ahead with the process of installing SBS 2008, it is a good idea to have a look at the minimum hardware requirements for Windows SBS 2008.

Minimum Hardware Requirements

Like all operating systems, SBS 2008 requires a minimum amount of power to run. To run well, the server hardware should easily cover the minimum requirements.

SBS 2008 requires a 64-bit processor (2 GHz min.) and 4 GB of RAM but Microsoft recommends 6GB to 8GB with a 32GB maximum. SBS 2008 also requires at least 60 GB of disk space and an Ethernet connection.

Installing Small Business Servier 2008

The main purpose of SBS 2008 is so that small businesses without technical support staff can take advantage of Microsofts powerful, but complex server based technologies. For this reason, most people will purchase a SBS 2008 server from the manufacturer with SBS 2008 already installed.

In that case, setup will only require handling the server configurations steps. However, in the interest of being complete, we will cover the full installation from the DVD installation media.

If you’ve setup a couple of workstations before, you may be used to installing the computer and then worrying about getting the network setup later.

With SBS 2008, it needs the network connection from the very beginning, so this is not an option. Make sure that your live network connection is plugged into the SBS 2008 server before starting the installation.

1. Put the SBS 2008 DVD in the DVD drive and power up the computer. Your specific computer will determine what you see as the server boots up.

Look for a message that says something like, “Boot Menu,” or “Choose Boot Device,” or “Press F10 To Enter Boot Menu”.

The server may go right to a screen which allows a choice of boot device based on detecting the bootable SBS 2008 DVD in the drive.

2. Select to boot from the DVD.

3. If you have never installed a Server in a country other than America, the next three questions seem a little silly. Choose the Language, the Time and Currency format, and the Keyboard Type.

4. Click Next, and then Install Now.

5. Inputting the product key and agreeing to the license agreement are next. Now, we can get down to some real business.

6. Choose Custom for the installation type. This allows you to choose where to put the operating system.

Ideally, SBS 2008 should have the operating system on its own partition on its own hard disk and the data on a separate partition and separate disk or disks.

To accomplish this, select the disk the operating system is to be installed on and Choose Drive Options and click New.

The default partition size that appears will be the size of the entire disk. Click Apply and setup will create a single partition which fills the entire disk. This will be the SBS 2008 system partition.

7. Setup will begin copying files to do the install. Keep in mind that this is around 60GB worth of files, so even on a fast system, this will take several minutes.

Configuring SBS 2008 for Initial Installation

When setup is done copying files, it will display the Continue Installation screen.

1. Click Next and setup will move on to collecting the information required to turn the server into a functioning business server.

2. Choose your time zone and then click Go online and get the most recent installation updates.

3. Next comes the Company Information. The data input into the Company Information screen doesn’t actually do anything at this point.

4. The next step is to choose a Server Name (just make sure you don’t have any other servers with the same name) and a Domain Name.

Consider the Domain Name to be the name of your network. It may sound good to use the company name as the Domain Name, but it really is not. You aren’t naming your company, you are naming your Microsoft security resource and network model and structure.

Your company name can be part of the domain name, but it is a good idea to keep it short. The last thing you want is to be dealing with typing in a big domain name over and over again should the need arise.

5. Next, it is time to setup the administrator account. This is not the same as the built-in administrator account, so you want to choose another name.

Microsoft recommends you write down your network administrator account name and password and keep it in a safe place.

6. At this point, the summary page shows up and you can double check everything one more time. Unfortunately, the only way to fix anything is with the BACK button, so hopefully there are not any changes to be made.

Click Next, and setup will finish installing the SBS server.