Category Archives: Ubuntu 12.04

Resizing VirtualBox disk images

Recently I had the misfortune of having my windows virtual test machine fill up it’s hard drive. When I had created it, my host system had limited space and I only needed to test things in a windows environment inside a browser, so it got a small hard disk image. One day, while installing a new program, it simply ran out.

I could make a new virtual machine and re-install  but that requires configuration, whereas resizing only takes time.

In command line, navigate to the directory with the troubled system’s hard disk image. Since I had exported and imported this machine when I moved from a desktop to my nice new (to me) laptop my disk image was in vmdk format, but you need a vdi format to resize. So first we convert the disk:

Once cloned, you can resize the vdi you just made. Please note that the size is in MB.

The disk is now resized, but not attached to our virtual machine. I simply edited the virtual machine to point to the resized copy. Alternatively you can convert the image back into vmdk and copy it over the original.

(Don’t forget to delete extraneous copies, these files take up a lot of space)

The virtual machine should now have the new resized attached to it and it should be bootable, but the windows install can still only use the original size. We need to alter the partition to make it use the full disk. For this we need to boot into a live Linux disk with GParted. I used the Ubuntu 12.04 install CD, but GParted also have a live image available if you lack an already downloaded disk. Once you have saved the partition, you can shutdown the live disk and reboot into windows, which now has access to the entire resized hard disk image.

Software and versions used:
Ubuntu 12.04 LTS 64-bit (Xubuntu Desktop)
VirtualBox 4.1.12
Xubuntu Desktop 12.04 LTS Live CD
GParted

From CentOS 5.5 to Ubuntu 12.04

Nothing is quiet as annoying as a misbehaving server.  Except loud children.  But this post doesn’t deal with loud children, it deals with my misbehaving web server and why I had to set-up this site twice.

The day of my first attempt at a setup was more than smooth.  I logged into my server to find it not serving web pages.  It was like that 16 year old who serves burgers at the local fast food store, much more interested in doing just enough not to get noticed by the boss and get told to get back to work (The DNS still pointed people to the mail servers at least).  I tracked the disagreeableness down to a Virtualmin update not working well on CentOS 5.5.  This was not at all the first issue I have had with CentOS.  When I first setup the server I had to track down a special repository for php5 support, bind took me over a week to configure to get DNS working and after 6 months I still never got a single email working.  But this most recent update killed the server.  It had slow speeds at best, internal server errors as a norm and just plain disappearing server syndrome (DSS should not be confused with CSS) at worst.  Considering that the server does host a few business’s worth of websites, that was just not an option.

I decided to re-install the server with a newer OS that had full support for Virtualmin.  Ubuntu 12.04 was the best fit.  Since I am using Ubuntu at work for PHP development I have a pretty good feel for the server stack so if something goes wrong I should be able to get it going again quickly.  I am still not sure I want Ubuntu as my main server’s OS though, but until it proves itself inept, it should work.

Linode is quick about rebuilds.  It takes over 5 minutes for the server to shutdown, but only 30 seconds for Linode to reconfigure and boot into a fresh Ubuntu install.  After the first boot-up, I spend about 10 minutes doing the basic configuration such as static IP, hostname, updates and the like.  Virtualmin has a shell script that should do the base install for me, so a quick download and the server is installing.  Off to play on the Wii for a few minutes, a watched install never finishes.

When I get back I find the server has finished and is ready to continue.  So this means I will need to configure all the packages it has installed right? No, it’s done that, they are all running and are waiting for me.  So, something in the default config will leave me wanting?  No, I can drop in the config files from the first install, click a few buttons and get right to restoring individual sites.

I can say I was not expecting it to be that easy.  All together it took about 20 minutes from shutdown of server to sites being served, and I would guess that if you excluded the time I spent not looking at the computer, it would be closer to 15, or maybe even 10 given a script to configure the server after first boot.