VirtualBox, VBoxVmService, Solaris and The Command to Lock Windows

After fighting with Virtualbox and VBoxVmService (see this post on the virtualbox.org forums) trying to get VirtualBox to start up our Solaris virtual machines before a user logs in to Server 2003 and failing we decided to go the old fashioned route.

Windows auto logs on as a user with rights to run the headless VirtualBox install, runs the correct command from the VirtualBox directory:

vboxheadless -s VIRTUALMACHINENAME

then auto locks the desktop using:

rundll32.exe user32.dll, LockWorkStation

It’s a bit of a hack and not optimal but until we can work out how to get VBoxVmService to actually start the service and get our virtual machines running we have to do it this way. I think the problem stems from VBoxVmService depending on services that have not started by the time it is called. When I just start the service after logging in as both a local and domain administrator myself everything runs fine, so it can’t be a config problem, maybe..

The reason we’re using VirtualBox and not VMWare is because so far VMWare Server has proven to be a huge dissapointment for running Solaris x86 (both the current version and the Beta version 2). We have had variable results such as networks failing to initialise in the install, massive inexplicable slowdowns etc that we decided to go with VirtualBox. I would have prefered VMWare Server as it comes with everything you need to run virtual machines as a service (just like Microsoft Virtual Server) but the variability is something we can’t have in a production environment.

Although I personally didn’t try, someone else here tried to get Solaris x86 running on Microsoft Virtual Server and ran into difficulties.

Please Sun, now that you own VirtualBox, allow us to run it as a service so we can have true headless installs without logging in, just like Microsoft/VMware Virtual Server!

3 thoughts on “VirtualBox, VBoxVmService, Solaris and The Command to Lock Windows

  1. check out the new release 20080728. i do not think, that the experienced problems were actually dependency-problems, but most likely junky files within the lock or run folders.

  2. Thanks mattz, we are going to keep trying and do look forward to new versions of VBoxVMService.

    It’s a pretty big problem that there is no built in equivalent in VirtualBox but one day I’m sure it’ll happen.

  3. It’s actually more a multiplatform package issue. Where unix/linux-systems, as well as mac osx have sufficient “built in” possibilities to run VMs as services or daemons, Windows is far more complicated regarding this issue. Since the VirtualBox policy always has been, NOT to develop components that would only benefit only one or two of the supported platforms, I certainly doubt we will see a built-in method for this some time soon. This issue will stay in the hands of third party suppliers for some time to come.

    Furthermore Sun continues to promote VMware(-Server) as the Enterprise-level and professional solution and positioned VirtualBox as a Desktop-Virtualization solution within it’s portfolio, thus cutting the need to develop an equivalent to a VMware-Server-Panel for VirtualBox.

    So in the end, it will be up to the community to push a solution there.

    I have put some effort into developing a web-administered management console, that will interface with VBoxVmService on Windows and with an equivalent init-script on OSX and Linux… A first version for Windows – written in PHP – is currently running on one of my servers in pre-alpha-state. As you can imagine, it is yet far from deployment…

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