A new “ADSL” router in my virtual lab

I keep looking for ways to improve my virtual lab and made it as realistic as possible. Although using Mikrotik routers is enough to build a large infrastructure, it’s not completely accurate with the real world experience – Mikrotik routers always work.

In the real world, we often need to connect a Mikrotik router either directly to other types of devices or even behind an exotic grandma’s home appliance. On the other hand, this is the lab and I don’t need any fancy features in such software. I want to save every megabyte of RAM or disk space on my laptop.

My search was fruitful and I found the perfect candidate – FloppyFW. This is the fully functional Linux-based router/firewall that can fit on a single 1.44” floppy disk.

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Redirecting your USB drive to the VirtualBox VM

Although VMs are not real machines, they are computers, too. Today, in everyday work, we need to exchange some information between computers. Often, we will need to copy some information, maybe configuration data or files between our host computer and VMs.

While we can copy information and even files using the features Shared clipboard and Drag and drop, we don’t always want to duplicate data. This is even more important if you’re using an SSD drive in your computer.

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Changing SID of cloned VMs

The fastest way to build a larger virtual environment (either test or production), is to install one VM and then clone it. This process is not the same for every environment. Additionally, it depends on the mechanism of the VM cloning process.

Additionally, every computer in the AD domain has its own identification. This identification is not its name. The computer name is useful for us. Moreover, this identifier must be unique.

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My virtual lab

This article has two purposes. It is the second part of the Mikrotik IPSec series and, at the same time, a short virtualization guide. I will present how we can simulate most common scenarios them in virtual environment.

Although I am using Oracle VirtualBox (referred to as VBox from here on out) for these demonstrations, you can use any other virtualization solution in a very similar way. We don’t need any special features of the virtualization solution. You should only optimize your VMs based on the settings related to your environment. You can find my guides about VBox environment here and here.

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Troubleshooting poor performances of virtual machines in an Oracle VirtualBox

Sometimes I have to give a presentation on IT. I like to make a such presentation to be dynamic, combining together slides and a live demonstration. I often use several VMs in the same time to simulate scenario.

Preparing one such presentation, I made a few mistakes in the configuration of the VMs. Eventually, one VM was too slow during startup. An audience on the presentation didn’t noticed the problem, as I covered it up with an another part of the demonstration.

After the presentation, I analyzed the whole situation and found the weak point – the wrong choice between VM’s parameters.

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Optimizing performance of the virtual machines in an Oracle VirtualBox

The Mikrotik User Meeting or MUM Serbia 2016 was only a few days ago, during which I delivered a presentation related to the Mikrotik IPSec services. Rather than repeat the presentation, I decided to combine the slides and live demonstration.

I will write about Mikrotik IPSec services in some another post. I mention this presentation because the demo part is important for today’s though. One of the virtual machines booted very slowly and this had some impact on the presentation.

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Importing a virtual machine appliance in the Oracle VirtualBox

In a previous post we discussed about procedure for the export of a virtual machine as an appliance. This post will explain the procedure for importing those appliances back to our system.

We can use those appliances as a templates for our new virtual machines and import them multiple times. With this technique we can build whole network very fast. However, every virtual machine will occupied same amount of the disk space. If we’re short with the disk space, we can consider using linked clones of existing virtual machine.  

Moreover, we can build a whole solutions in our lab and then just gave completely configured virtual machine to the user. After that, user just need to follow simple procedure to import that template to his system and have new virtual machine ready.

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