In this article, we will use Virtual Machine Manager to install our first basic Virtual Private Machine. Go to the Mint Menu and click on Administration Virtual Machine Manager to open VMM
Click File, New Virtual Machine or click on the yellow start icon to create a new virtual machine
We will do a local install. Click Forward. Click Browse. Then click Browse Local at the base of the next screen.
Then click on your Downloads folder and select the Debian 10 ISO. 352 MB
Then click Forward. Leave the Memory at 1024 and leave the CPUs at 1:
Click Forward. Leave storage set for 20 GB. Then click Forward. Change the name of the VPS from debian10 to ns01. For our first virtual machine, we will not do any custom configuration before the install. We will also not select a network.
Click Finish. This screen will appear:
Click Yes to start the virtual network. Then the first Debian install screen will appear:
Then at the Debian installer, leave it as the default Graphical Install option. This way you can use your mouse to select items instead of just the keyboard. Press Enter on your keyboard to get to the next screen where you can use your mouse again. Expand the bottom of the screen to see the Continue button. For Language, choose English. Then click Continue. For Location, choose US. Then Continue. For Keyboard, choose American English and click Continue. Debian 10 will then load.
For Configure the Network, change the host name from Debian to ns01.
Then click Continue. For domain name, make up a pretend domain name like dev.test
So our Fully Qualified Domain Name (FQDN) for this server will be email@example.com
Skip the root password we will add root later. Click Continue.
Enter your own full name for the user account. Then click Continue.
The next screen allows you to enter a user name which is shorter with lower case letters and no spaces. You can use the suggested username or replace it with whatever you want. Just remember it as you will need it later to log into your server. My screen choose david. Click Continue. Enter your password twice.
Note that this will also be the password for executing
sudo commands. These are commands that run with root privileges. On a real server, you should use a longer password. But for our practice server, choose a short password that you can easily remember. Then click Continue. Then select your time zone and click Continue.
For our practice server, it is best to use the default hard disk partition layout (Guided - use entire disk). This creates one EXT4 partition for storing all files and another partition for the swap. When your server consumed all available RAM it will place RAM data in the swap. Think of it as a low speed emergency RAM. Just click Continue. The next screen will let you know that it is going to create space for the Vbox Hard Disc. This will not affect the rest of your computer and can be deleted when you are done practicing. So just click Continue.
The next screen allows you to create a separate Home partition or separate home var and temp folder partitions. This may be a good idea on a real server. But for our practice server, we will put everything in one partition. Click Continue.
The next screen shows the Partition table. Just click Continue.
On the next screen, for Write the changes to the disk, change the select from No to Yes and click Continue. The base system will then be installed. The next screen will ask if you have additional discs you want to add. The correct answer is No. Then click Continue. Then choose the US Package Manager and click Continue. Then choose deb.debian.org. Then click Continue. Leave the next screen (Proxy Package Manager) blank and click Continue. For the popularity contest, leave it at no and click Continue.
Then on the next screen, uncheck the Debian Desktop environment as we will be making a server and not a desktop. Also uncheck the print server. Then check the SSH server and standard system utilities. Do not check the web server as we will install that later when we install our custom Control Panel. Check the SSH server box. SSH stands for Secure Shell and offers functionality to remotely login to your server from your host PC. After checking this box, click Continue.
Leave Grub set to yes. It is needed to start the server. Then click Continue.
Then on the next screen, change the value from Enter Device manually to dev/vda as that is where Grub should be to start our practice server. Then click Continue. The next screen lets you know that your Debian server installation is now complete. Click the Continue to start your new Debian server. Here is the login terminal screen that should appear:
Login to the server by entering the username you specified in the install process. Type the password and hit enter. Note that the terminal will not show any indication of typing for security purposes. Once your logged in, you should see a screen like the following:
Type in the command: ip addr
Then Press Enter. Note the are two ip addresses. 127.0.0.1 is for local host and the other 192.168.122.36 is for a network connection called enp1s0. Your IP address may be different. For example, 192.168.122.162. Write this second IP address down.
Then type sudo poweroff
Enter your password and press Enter. This will close your VPS and return to this screen.
Click on File, View Manager
One of the confusing aspects of VMM is that there are two screens. One is called Virtual Machine Manager and the other screen is linked to the actual virtual machine which in this case is called ns01. If you have more than one virtual machine, all of them will appear in the in the Virtual Machine Manager. But only the most recent active virtual machine will appear in the Virtual Machine screen, which is called Virtual Machine Details.
On the Virtual Machine Details screen, click the green information icon to Show the Virtual Hardware Details. You can also reach this screen from the Virtual Machine Details screen by clicking on View, Details.
Click on NIC in the side menu to see the controller screen
Note that the Network IP address is different from (one number less than) the Guest IP address of your virtual machine, for example, 192.168.122.35 instead of 192.168.122.36. Close the Details screen and close VMM.
Then click the Mint Menu, Advanced Network Connections:
Note that while the Network source in VMM is listed as NAT, Mint Network Connections indicates that the new connection, virbr0, is actually a Bridged connection. We will review the differences shortly. Close Network Connections.
Getting the VPS terminal (also called the virtual machine consol) to appear
Turn on VMM again and right click on ns01 and click Run.
Note that the virtual machine terminal, also known as the console, does not automatically appear. Click on Open to display the virtual machine terminal:
Click on View and note that the Virtual Machine View is set for Console. Change the view to Details. Then click View again and change the View to back to the Console. You can turn off the Virtual Machine without logging in by clicking on Shut Down icon or clicking on File Close. Then at the VMM screen, right click on the virtual machine and click Shut Down. Then close VMM.
Getting the Virtual Network to start after a reboot
Turn off your laptop. Then turn your laptop back on and restart Virtual Machine Manager. Then select you ns01 virtual machine, right click and click Run. You will likely get this error:
“Error starting domain: Requested operation is not valid: network default is not active.”
With ns01 still selected, in the VMM top menu, click Edit, Connection Details, Virtual Networks tab. There should be only one connection, called Default. Check Autostart on boot.
Then click Apply. Then close the Connection Details screen. Then close VMM and restart your laptop. Open VMM and right click on ns01 and click Run. Then click Open to bring up the ns01 terminal log in screen. Then shut down the virtual machine by clicking on the shut down icon. Close the Virtual Machine Details screen and close the VMM screen.
In our next article, we will review how to supplement VMM with Cockpit