Running a WLAN controller in VMWare Player

Motorola WiNG5.6 firmware images were finally posted last week, and along them, the VX9000 cloud controller DEMO image. I am very excited about it, as it allows me to run a VM version of Motorola’s top controller (or cluster, or hierarchy for that sake) right on my laptop! No need to say about potential for labs and demos this has.

In this blog I’ll review how I installed VX9000 image onto VMWare Player. Officially, VX9000 supports EXSi, Xen, Hyper-V or Amazon EC2, but for small setups something like VMWare Player or VirtualBox also works.

VX9000-GUIlogin

Installing.

  1. First, get the image from the Support Website.
    • The VX9000 support page has links to the firmware and the install guide. Downloading firmware requires having an account, you’ll be given an opportunity to register.
    • Once the ZIP file is downloaded, there will be two ISO images there. We need the DEMO one. Is has 16 AP licenses and Advanced Security license preinstalled (and time-bombed), which should be enough for a decent amount of testing (and you can cluster them to aggregate licesnes! 🙂). The one I used for this installation was VX9000-DEMO-INSTALL-5.6.0.0-056R.iso .
  2. Next step is to create a VM in VMWare Player (or any other VM Environment). You can try reading the installation guide I mentioned before, or just follow the details here. Here’s my setup (tested in current VMWare player 6.x and previous 5.x):
    • OS Type: Other Linux 3.0 kernel 64-bit (tried with 2.4/2.6 as well, did not see any difference)
    • RAM: 2GB
      • This is important. Due to the way the installer works, it won’t install will less than 700M RAM, and even at 1.5G RAM I’ve witnessed process crashes due to low memory.
      • This also means that running the VM on a 32-bit (Windows) system might be challenging.
    • vCPUs: 1 (use 2 when you can). With one vCPU the VM still runs, but complains about high load averages. Nothing crashes though (knocking on wood).
    • HDD: 8GB. In fact, my VM is 1.5GB now. Default SCSCI disk setting works fine.
    • CD/DVD: map it to the ISO image.
    • Network adapters: currently VX9000 supports only one interface. Second one should be added later, so I created two NICs right away.
    • Delete the default Printer and Sound Card.

    Here’s the summary look:

    VX9000VM-01

  3. We’re ready to go! Fire up the VM! Upon the first start, WING5 Installer will come up and begin doing it’s work. The process is fully automated and should end with a reboot. Here’s a collage of what one sees during the process.VX9000-Install
  4. Upon reboot (takes longer first time for post-install scripts) WING5 VM controller is ready to work. This is it. We’re officially done.

Looking around the VX9000.

Let’s log in and look around (default username and password are admin:motorola). By default the controller is configured via DHCP, so the GUI should be immediately accessible, but I want static IP. CLI is very Cisco-like, but has a few differences to enable management of distributed network environments (a necessity if you are to manage 10 000 devices on up to 10 000 sites).

VX9000-CLIconfig

OK, done with the CLI, let’s go to the GUI. Note the HTTPS in the URL – HTTP is disabled by default.

VX9000-GUIlogin

There’s nothing configured now, so I’m just showing a random screenshot with default demo licenses. Click to see a larger version.

VX9000-GUIlicenses

Conclusion.

With VX9000 official release, anyone can get themselves an equivalent of Motorola’s top controller running in on their laptop in a VM (even though it’s not officially supported, unless your laptop runs ESXi, Hyper-V, Xen). Of course, I would not expect great productivity from this setup while running in VMWare Player on a typical laptop, but as long as one doesn’t try tunnelling lots of traffic to that thing (VLAN tunnelling, L2TP, VPNs, etc), which is not required anyway, it should work just fine.

Features missing compared to NX9510:

  • VM support (running VMs on top of WiNG). Did not expect to see it here anyway. VM in a VM, anyone? 🙂
  • PBR (Policy-Based Routing). This is very CPU-intensive, so understandably missing,
  • BGP. Same here (pity, I was looking to try it)
  • There may be more, I’ll be updating the list if I find something, or some features get re-introduced in later releases.

Overall, anything that allows me learning, demoing and teaching WiNG5 without having to carry around lots of rack-mount boxes is very welcome! Now, looking for AP simulator with Intel chipset support (i.e. dreaming 🙂 )!

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8 thoughts on “Running a WLAN controller in VMWare Player

  1. Hi,
    Thanks for this post. I am also evaluating VX9000 DEMO image. You mentioned that the demo image supports one interface ( ge1 ? ). Is it a limitation on this DEMO version ?.

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    1. Hi, Franklin.

      As far as I understand, this was a limitation of that initial WiNG5.6.0 VX9000 build.
      Ensure you’re running the latest version of WiNG on your demo VX when evaluating, and check if the 2nd GE in now operational (don’t forget to add it to your VM).

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    1. You could. Just create a RFS7000 profile and configure whatever you want, then copy-paste it onto actual device. But I’d recommend you take the official WING5 training – it’s powerful system but has a bit of learning curve in the beginning. Saves TONS of time later on though!

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  4. Hi, your cooment about “Network adapters: currently VX9000 supports only one interface. Second one should be added later, so I created two NICs right away.” Do you know if version VX9000_5.8.5.0-016R or higher now supports more than one NIC interface on the virtualised VX9000?

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    1. I haven’t been following the issue since the Extreme sale, so the best I can suggest is to read the release notes. They have a section with a chronology of all the changes, so if the 2nd vNIC support was added – there will be an entry.

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