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CSIM has a VMware ESXi server running where students can install virtual servers. The virtual machines used for projects of the WEA course are also hosted on the same VMware server.

Using VMware vSphere Client

VMware vSphere Client is the preferred tool to access your virtual machine for the set-up period –once your virtual machine is up and running, you can install some remote connection software like SSH or remote desktop, VNC, etc.

But VMware vSphere Client only runs on Microsoft Windows: if your laptop has some Linux installed, you can use vmplayer as described below, or create a virtual Windows environment on your Linux laptop to run VMware vSphere Client. The use of VMware vShpere Client is restricted to clients inside CSIM network unless you use SSH tunnel.

1. Get VMware vSphere Client and install it.
You can try and download it from VMware or you can get it from the CSIM copy available at \\banyan\application\WINAPPS\VMware\VMware-viclient-all-5.5.0-1618071.exe or at scp://
2. Launch VMware vSphere Client. The parameters to connect are:
IP address/Name:
Username: SMB4\<your CSIM user account>
Password: <your CSIM password>
As written above, your user account must be preceded by SMB4\ (this is a backslash) to allow the authentication from the proper Active Directory server.
3. The first time you run it VMware vSphere Client will complain about the certificate.
Check the box to install the certificate so you will not get an error next time and click on ignore.
4. After few tens of seconds (it's a slow starter, written in Java), the main windows of VMware vSphere Client shows. 
When you expand the server you can see all the groups and virtual machines it hosts. As a CSIM user, you can browse the server, but you cannot perform any action on any virtual machine except your own.
For example, the group Group st111211 contains one virtual machine called Virtual machine st111211 and this machine is running: note the green arrow on the machine icon. 
The group Group WEA contains 15 sub-groups, and the sub-group Group Group 01 contains one virtual machine called Virtual machine web1 that is not running: no arrow.
5. When you right click on a virtual machine name, you have the menu of all the actions that you are allowed to perform on that machine.
Your virtual machine being new, you will have to install an operating system of your choice, so you will need to boot from a CD-ROM. You need to configure the virtual BIOS to boot from the CD-ROM before booting from the hard disk. 
Select Edit the settings from the menu. 
6. In the popup window, select Options, Boot options and ckeck Force BIOS setup. 
You can possibly enter the BIOS by pressing the key F2 during the boot, but you get less than a second to do that. This option makes sure that when you are turning the machine on it will first go to the BIOS before trying to boot.
7. Right click on your virtual machine and open the console.
When the console window appears click on the arrow to power on your virtual machine. As you can see, it will boot and enter the BIOS.
Click on the console window to get the mouse and keyboard focus attached to your virtual machine. Anything you type will be directed to your virtual machine to release the focus, you must type CTRL+ALT
In the BIOS Boot tag, change the order of the boot devices to bring the CD-ROM before the hard disk.
Save and exit the BIOS.
8. You now need to insert a CD-ROM in the drive of your virtual machine.
You can either insert a CD-ROM in the drive of your PC and connect that drive to your virtual machine (drive E: in the image) or have an .iso image file of a CD-ROM and connect that .iso file to your virtual machine.
On Windows 7, I never managed to get the first option, with a physical CD-ROM, to work: you can use a software like ImgBurn to create an .iso image file from your CD-ROM. 
Every time you power off or reset your virtual machine, your CD-ROM/.iso image is disconnected from your virtual machine.
9. Restart your machine to boot from the CD-ROM. 
Select the VM menu on the console window, click on Guest and select Send Ctrl+Alt+del.
This is the only way to send a Ctrl+Alt+del to your virtual machine; if you type it on your keyboard instead, it will go to your PC.
10. Your virtual machine boots from the CD-ROM and starts to install the operating system.
You can disconnect the CD-ROM using the same icon used to connect a CD-ROM. 
On the menu VM/Guest, there is a tab to install VMware Tools; while your virtual server will work without these tools, they allow a better synchronization between your virtual machine and the VMware ESXi server, for example, your virtual machine will be properly shutdown every time when you click on the power off button; you should be able to synchronize the time of your virtual machine with the clock of the VMware server; etc..
11. When you have finished installing the operating system, you should be able to configure and use SSH, remote desktop, VNC, etc. to access your virtual machine. You should not need to run VMeare vSphare Client anymore.  

Using vmplayer

You can use vmplayer in Linux to access your virtual machine. It has some restrictions when compared to VMware vSphre Client:

  1. you won't see the groups as described on the point 4. above, all the machines will be visible in a single list; but you will still only be allowed to access your own machine;
  2. you don't have access to the menu to edit the settings of your virtual machine, as described in point 5. and 6.; the only way to access the BIOS is to press F2 when your virtual machine is booting;
  3. the virtual console will open automatically, when you close it, you exit vmplayer.

The rest of the functionalities is very similar.

You must launch vmplayer from the command line with:

vmplayer -H
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