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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 a web browser

Starting with VMware ESXi 6.5 server, a web broswer is the prefered tool to setup and access your virtual machines hosted on a VMware server –once your virtual machine is up and running, you can install some remote connection software like SSH or remote desktop, VNC, etc.

If you are running a Linux environment, you may prefer to use vmplayer as decribed below as it is faster. Web access to the VMware server is restricted to clients inside CSIM network unless you use SSH tunnel.

1. In your web browser access to the URL
Your browser will complain that the certificate for that page is unknown, accept it.
Enter your username and password:
Username: SMB4\<your CSIM user account>
Password: <your CSIM password>
and click on Login. If you are sing Linux, you must click on login, typing Enter will not work.
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.
2. Click on  Virtual Machines  to show the list of virtual machines available on the server.
As a CSIM user, you can browse the server, and see all the virtual machines, but you cannot perform any action on any except your own virtual machine.
For example, the virtual machine called Virtual machine web09 and this machine is running: note the green arrow on the machine icon. 
The virtual machine called Virtual machine web02 that is not running: no arrow.
Click on the name of your machine.
3. While it is optional, you may want to configure the BIOS of your virtual machine to always boot from a CD-ROM when a CD-ROM is virtually present in your virtual machine.
If you choose to skip this setps, go to step 5.
Click Edit.
4. In the popup window, select VM Options, Boot options and ckeck Force BIOS setup. 
Click Save when you are done.
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.
5. Click on Actions, select Console, Download VMRC.
This will install the Virtual machine Remote Console (aka VMplayer) on your computer. You only need to do that once.
The you can click on Actions, select Console,
Once the remote console has connected to your virtual machine,click on the green arrow if your virtual machine needs to be powered on, the remote console will start showing the console like you could expect if you were sitting in front of a computer.
If you followed the steps 3. and 4., you will now see the BIOS else your virtual machine will boot normally.
Click on the remote 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.
6. To setup the operating system on a new virtual machine, you need to use a CD-ROM. The CD-ROM can be either a real CD-ROM that you will insert in the CD drive of your PC, or an image of a CD, in the .iso format,  that you may have downloaded from Internet.
You must insert this CD-ROM in the virtual drive of your virtual machine. 
Click on VMRC on the remote console and select Removable Devices, CD/DVD drive 1.
Chose the real drive of your PC (drive D: in the image) or an .iso image file of a CD-ROM that exists somewhere on your PC.
This creates a connection between on one hand the CD drive of your PC of the .iso image and on the other hand the virtual CD drive of your virtual machine. Your virtual machine will behave like it accesses to a CD.
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, or close the remote console, your CD-ROM/.iso image is disconnected from your virtual machine.
7. Restart your machine to boot from the CD-ROM. 
Click on the VMRC menu on the remote console window 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.
8. 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. 
Click on the VMRC menu on the remote console window and selecManage, Install VMware tools. These tools 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..
9. 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 is faster to use than having to connect to the web, but you won't have access to the menu to edit the settings of your virtual machine, as described in point 3. and 4.; the only way to access the BIOS is to press F2 when your virtual machine is booting (or use the web browser as described above for that part only).

You must launch vmplayer from the command line with:

vmplayer -H

The menu VMRC is called Virtual Machine.

To install vmplayer, you need to install build-essential and linux-header on your Linux machine, you then need to download vmplayer from It comes with a name that ends with .bundle. Make the file executable and run it with sudo. You don't need license to use vmplayer as a remote console for

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