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Installing VMware Photon OS and First Impression

Sometimes you may already aware of this VMware Photon OS or you might already heard of it. If you installed the latest VMware vCenter Appliance it is running on the VMware Photon OS. Project Photon OS is an open source product which developed with minimal Linux container host optimized to run cloud native applications, cloud platforms and VMware infrastructure.

Why VMware Photon OS?

If think “why VMware came up with this type of operating system for their product?” The question can be answered with below points:

  • It has a tuned Linux Kernal to run applications with greater performance on VMware vSphere.
  • Greater support for containers with Docker daemon and container orchestration with Apache Mesos and Kubernetes
  • Easy and efficient life cycle management with upgrades and patches
  • Hardened security for the kernel and the Operating System components

How To Download Photon OS And Which Formats Available To Download?

At the time of writing this article there are many binaries available to download according to the deployment platform. Full ISO, OVA with VMware Virtual Hardware 11 and 13, Amazon AMI, Google GCE, Azure VHD and Raspberry Pi3 Image. (These images can be updated and please have a look on the GitHub Page for the version updates). Let’s see how we can install this VMware Container Optimized OS.

Installing VMware Photon OS In A vSphere Environment

I have downloaded the Full ISO which is 4.7 GB in size and I’m going to install it on a VMware Virtual Machine. Please note that 2 GB of RAM and 512 MB disk space for the minimal installation and 16 GB (recommended ) space for full installation is required to proceed the installation

I have mounted the ISO file and booted the Virtual Machine. It will give you a nice looking boot menu and “Install” option was selected and hit “Enter” key to begin the installation.

VMware Photon OS : Install

Hit “Enter” to accept the Licence Agreement

VMware Photon OS : Accept EULA

Select a disk to install and you can customize if you need, for me I selected the <Auto> option as I did not wish to customize the disk space.

VMware Photon OS : Select a Disk

Confirm to erase the disk space with “Yes” option and it will start the “Partitioning…” after that

It will prompt for three Installation Options and different packages will be installed accordingly, select the option and hit “Enter“. I selected the Photon Minimal option

  • Photon Minimal – “minimal”,”linux”,”initramfs” packages will be installed
  • Photon Developer – “minimal”,”linux”,”initramfs”,”build-essential”,”go” will be installed
  • Photon Edge – “minimal”,”linux”,”initramfs”,”edgex”,”liota” packages will be installed

At the beginning of this article I mentioned that the kernel has optimized to run on the VMware hypervisor, it will detect the underline hypervisor and allow you to select the relevant kernel at this step.

Provide a hostname to the Virtual Machine

Provide a password for the root account and confirm again

It will begin the installation

Cool thing about this minimal installation was, it took only about few minutes to complete the installation, it took less than 5 minutes.

VMware Photon OS Few Basic Settings

Now we have successfully installed the VMware Photon OS and let’s see few settings of the OS level. To check the current photon release issue below command

For the Package management “Tiny DNF” is the default package manager and use “tdnf –help” or “tdnf -h” command to see the available options

I just checked the pre-installed packages using “tdnf list all” command and I wanted to check the Docker Daemon in the list, it was pre-installed with the system

By default root login with SSH is disabled and enable the root login editing the “/etc/ssh/sshd_config” file with “PermitRootLogin yes” parameter and restart the sshd daemon

How To Set The Static IP Address In VMware Photon OS

By default, IP address setting is configured to get the IP details from DHCP to change this you need to follow the bellow steps.

Note the interface name with “ifconfig” or “ip a” command

Check the file in the “/etc/systemd/network/” location and the content

Rename the file to “XX-static-en.network” (XX – is a number in your file, see below output)

Update the file with your IP Information, Make sure to update the interface name and other details with the correct letters (I had some issues with all upper case letters and had to change it to lower case letters : Ex ADDRESS > Address)

Restart the service with below command

and check the status with below command and see whether you can see any errors while applying the IP settings

Article Short Link: https://tcrum.net/VMWPhotonOS

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Aruna Lakmal

Senior Virtualization Engineer at Pearson, Sri Lanka. Technology junky, enthusiast, a VMware vExpert and a blogger with more than 6 years of Experience in Information Technology more focusing on VMware Virtualization, Microsoft and Datacenter Technologies.

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