Headless VirtualBox with Windows 7 guest

Virtualbox logoContinuing my VirtualBox series, let’s talk about headless VirtualBox.

You can run any VBox machine on headless mode, without the GUI. This is particularly interesting for *nix servers where you don’t want to install the X components, but it’s also interesting for Windows boxes that you can use as servers, in order to save some resources (memory, cpu,…) while it’s running.

Use case

I have a Windows 7 box running VPN software (that only runs in Windows), but I don’t want to use the Windows GUI and keep switching from the Mac to the Windows UI do do some things.


Configuring VirtualBox

Set an IP for your Windows guest, for easier configuration. You could use port forwarding too, but that’d be more cumbersome.

Install VirtualBox extension pack to enable remote display (VRDP support). In the host install a RDP viewer, for instance, for OS X, Microsoft Remote Desktop client.

Configure the guest vbox, enabling in settings Display -> Remote Display and set authentication method to null for no authentication. There are other options for authentication, if you want to check.

Manage the VM headless with VBoxHeadless and VBoxManage commands

# start the VM

VBoxHeadless -s "Windows 7"

# save VM state

VBoxManage controlvm "Windows 7" savestate

Connect to the running VM with your RDP client as you would do with any Windows box.

Web browsing from the host

Install a proxy server on Windows, FreeProxy for instance, but there should be better options out there.

Use FoxyProxy on Firefox on the host, configuring all the remote VPN urls to go through the Windows server. Then you can connect from your host’s Firefox to any url in the VPN.

SSH and other ports from the host

On the Windows guest, connect with Putty to a SSH server on the VPN side, and configure port forwarding. Then you can connect to your VM ip on the ports you forward and end up in the remote server. You could set a server name on /etc/hosts with the VM ip so it’s easier to remember.

With this setup I can use my Mac Firefox, iTerm and other tools without needing to use the Windows interface.

From Dev to DevOps slides from Agile Spain

Conferencia Agile Spain 2011Updated slides from my “From Dev to DevOps” presentation at the Agile Spain conference in Castellon on October 20th. Thanks to all the attendees for the questions and feedback!

Just some updates on Vagrant, VeeWee, Geppetto, and Puppet-Maven. Next stop, ApacheCON Vancouver!

UPDATE The video is also available (in Spanish) at the UJI web server as Flash and WMV.

From Dev to DevOps slides from Apache Barcamp Spain

Here are the slides from my “From Dev to DevOps” presentation at the Apache Barcamp Spain in Seville on October 8th. Not all that useful without the talking and hand waving 🙂

I’ll be presenting it too at the Agile Spain conference on Thursday, with new slides, and adding some more info on Vagrant, VeeWee, Geppetto, and Puppet-Maven, just ten days after, things evolve really fast! Then, on to present at ApacheCON in Vancouver.

I’ll hopefully find the time to publish here at some point, in the meantime, there’s a good summary about the tools, Setup your devops playground with Puppet, Vagrant & co by Arnaud Heritier.

Apache Barcamp Spain 2011: a summary

Last Saturday the Apache Barcamp Spain took place in Seville. It was the first Apache Software Foundation event in Spain, ever.

The idea started almost a year ago, chatting over at the ApacheCON with the ASF folks that were at the time organizing the Apache Barcamp Sydney and Oxford. I liked the idea and with some hand-waving and crazy ideas was able to convince the other organizers, that you all should know: the local Klicap guys Manuel Recena & Antonio Muñiz that had to handle all the local organization, David Bonilla, who had to jump from plane to plane to get from SF to Seville in two days, and Abel Muiño, that couldn’t attend because he’s having a baby, congrats!. Without them, this event could never, ever happen!

The pre-event

A bit stressful, not what I had in mind for a self organizing barcamp. Thanks to our sponsors we had budget to offer breakfast, coffee & drinks after lunch, t-shirts, streaming, and a party afterwards, so we had to organize all of that plus the usual bits and pieces about venue, wi-fi, getting the word out,…

The event

A full day with 3 tracks, 18 sessions, Barcamp style. 130 people signed up, with tickets lasting less than 5 hours. We asked everybody to confirm attendance one week before the event so we could free up some room for people in the waiting list, but still some people didn’t show up 😦 (the problem with free events) which was compensated by other people showing up without registration that we gladly accepted.

It was great to see many people coming from places all over Spain, considering that they didn’t know what the sessions would be about, flying from the Canary islands, Barcelona, Galicia,… that definitely sets the bar high for the content of the event.

Celebrity t-shirt

The attendees received a free CELEBRITY t-shirt (no kidding) with room to write the name, instead of the usual boring stickers, to encourage people to wear it, which most of them did, plus a Pokemon card (more about that later).

After the initial event introduction, all those attendees that wanted to give a talk came into stage, and we had volunteers not only to fill the 18 sessions, but 27 session proposals! which was a great ratio speakers/attendees.

Votación democrática by Ana Buigues

So everybody had to vote, and we got down to the final 18 sessions. I’d like to thank everybody that suggested a talk even if it wasn’t voted, don’t let it bring you down and try again in other conferences.

Note that if you buy what looks like Post-Its, make sure they stick and are not only colored papers! We had to work around the issue by voting on a table instead of the whiteboards.

There were sessions about CSS, Apache Droids, Apache Maven, Apache Hadoop, Apache James, Apache ServiceMix, Play framework, Python, cloud, GIS, DevOps,…

We had recording/streaming (not without its issues) working in two of the tracks too, the videos will be uploaded to the website soon.

Marea Azul by Aroshni

Marea Azul by Aroshni

Unfortunately, organizing and speaking (I gave a talk about DevOps which I’ll post about soon) didn’t leave much time to do networking, just a bit during the coffee pauses and lunch. And I’d like to have caught up with many of the people that were around, sorry I was running around most of the time, I’ll see you at the next event with more time!

After the sessions we had four lightning talks, which I believe most people were new to the format, but was entertaining, I liked particularly the always funny (if you can get his German-southern Spanish accent) and ASF member Thorsten Scherler, who just got into twitter this week!

The final act was the Pokemon ceremony, which we just made up during the day 🙂 All the speakers went up to the stage, and everybody had to give their Pokemon card to the talk that they liked most, which was quite a fun time. We had an Android tablet ready for the winner, Nacho Coloma, and Amazon gift cards for the 2nd and 3rd, our little way to encourage people to speak and spread their knowledge. We also gave away a gift card to a random twit that used the #barcampes hashtag.

The Party

Flamenco at La Carboneria

Flamenco at La Carboneria

From there on, it was beer time. We went to a typical Flamenco bar in the old part of Seville, La Carboneria. On our way there it was fun to find other attendees wearing the blue t-shirts, which made locals refer to us as the smurf tide.

At the bar we had waiting for us free beers, a private area with tons of food, serrano ham, cheese, tortilla,… very typical Spanish, and three Flamenco shows during the night, plus a patio where most people gathered to talk.

After we closed the place at 3am we moved on to other places in the city, but that’s a different story…

The numbers

  • 130 attendees
  • 27 suggested talks
  • 18 sessions
  • 3 Flamenco shows
  • 37 tortillas
  • 37 serrano ham & chees plates
  • 44 olive plates
  • 945 beers (310 liters or almost 3 liters per person!)

The sponsors

Thanks to all the sponsors (Klicap, Extrema Sistemas, Atlassian, Deiser, Escuela de Groovy, Tropo, Autentia) for their collaboration and help to make this event so successful!


StartingLa carboneriaLa Carboneria se esta calentandoBarcamp partyFlamenco at the Apache Barcamp partyFlamenco at the Apache Barcamp Spain

More photos in Flickr

Tagged photos in Flickr