Mount VMDK on Debian testing/jessie?

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Mount VMDK on Debian testing/jessie?

Postby Emile » 11. Nov 2013, 17:49

Is there currently a way to mount .vmdk files on Debian testing/jessie hosts?

- libguestfs supports raw images and .vdi, but unfortunately not .vmdk. I asked the package maintainer, this is a missing feature in qemu-system-i386 (what libguestfs internally uses).
- virtualbox-fuse has been removed from Debian testing/jessie. I asked the Debian package maintainer, it won't come back.
- I would like to prevent to convert back to vdi, because that always eats up a lot time.

Is there currently any other alternative?
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Re: Mount VMDK on Debian testing/jessie?

Postby mpack » 11. Nov 2013, 17:59

That really isn't a VirtualBox question. (a) VMDK is the VMWare disk format, and (b) you should really consult your host OS documentation if you want to know what virtual disk formats can be mounted directly on the host. It appears you've already done the latter and found that your host OS doesn't support VMDK. So, that would appear to be the end of that.

Are you saying that your host OS does support dynamic VDI? In which case, what is your objection to VDI? I'm not sure what "eats up a lot of time" refers to. Disk performance of VMDK vs VDI should be about the same, and the conversion cost is a one time thing, hence trivial.
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Re: Mount VMDK on Debian testing/jessie?

Postby Emile » 12. Nov 2013, 18:08

mpack wrote:That really isn't a VirtualBox question.

I am surprised this is off topic here, since https://forums.virtualbox.org/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=17574 wasn't considered off topic.

mpack wrote:(a) VMDK is the VMWare disk format, and

VMDK is an open specification and the default for Virtual Box's export feature. (As discussed here.) So I would rather say VMDK is a disk format used by at least VMware AND VirtualBox.

mpack wrote:(b) you should really consult your host OS documentation if you want to know what virtual disk formats can be mounted directly on the host. It appears you've already done the latter and found that your host OS doesn't support VMDK. So, that would appear to be the end of that.

Looks like. After that effort, I though I would be welcome to ask in this forum if someone else has other ideas.

mpack wrote:Are you saying that your host OS does support dynamic VDI?

Yes.

mpack wrote:In which case, what is your objection to VDI?

None. I would prefer if VDI was Virtual Box's standard or at least supported format for Virtual Box's export feature.

mpack wrote:I'm not sure what "eats up a lot of time" refers to. Disk performance of VMDK vs VDI should be about the same, and the conversion cost is a one time thing, hence trivial.

I am only referring to the conversion cost. If you do it with a 100 GB image on a few machines it takes up a lot time and also temporary disk space.
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Re: Mount VMDK on Debian testing/jessie?

Postby noteirak » 12. Nov 2013, 22:13

VMDK is using to actually reach the purpose of the task you have asked : Exporting. If you export, it means it leaves your system, your known environment, you ship it somewhere else, somehow, to be used by something.
VMDK is the only widely format support, so it only make sense to export to VMDK. I don't see any issue with that.

To me, it only appears that you are using the wrong tool for the job : if your VM will only run on Virtualbox environment, why would you use export in the first place? You are not leaving your known system, you are only moving your data accross.
If you zip/tar up your VM folder, you're basically doing the same thing as exporting, without the hassle of transforming to VMDK.

This also tell me that this is a duplicate of your other post, under which you end up with the same logical conclusion as me from mpack.
So right now, this present post is off-topic, while your other one is either a bug report, or a suggestion - so in the wrong forum.

Either way, you don't gain anything in exporting in the first place, only loosing, so why insisting on it?
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Re: Mount VMDK on Debian testing/jessie?

Postby Emile » 13. Nov 2013, 01:06

noteirak wrote:VMDK is using to actually reach the purpose of the task you have asked : Exporting.

Also importing. Or does Virtual Box using imported ova's which contain .vdi's instead of .vmdk's? And important ova's including .vmdk's is a widely used feature as there are popular pages supplying prepackaged Virtual Box ova's.

noteirak wrote:To me, it only appears that you are using the wrong tool for the job : if your VM will only run on Virtualbox environment, why would you use export in the first place?

It is much simpler to use for users of the software project we're working on (Whonix), since you can do it using the Virtual Box graphical user interface without knowing about tar. (Also exported ova's are awesome, because it reliably stores VM settings, also those which aren't reachable by the graphical user interface.)

noteirak wrote:You are not leaving your known system, you are only moving your data accross.
If you zip/tar up your VM folder, you're basically doing the same thing as exporting, without the hassle of transforming to VMDK.

That may indeed work well for using it myself, but not for redistributing to others. I mean it would work, it just would be more difficult.

noteirak wrote:This also tell me that this is a duplicate of [url=https://forums.virtualbox.org/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=58460]your other post

I don't understand how you come to the conclusion this being a duplicate. The other post is asking how to export a VM using VDI instead of VMDK, a general VirtualBox question. This one is about how to mount VMDK, Debian testing/jessie specific. Very different approaches. Both are of interest to me. Both are now more or less answered. Answered yes, but not in a way I imagined [i.e. install x, run z]. And I am thankful for that. (In summary. The other question's answer is: non-existent feature in VirtualBox.; The answer to this one is: not aware of a possibility, you haven't overlooked something obvious. - Oh, but if new things develop or new ideas come up, I am still interested.)

noteirak wrote:Either way, you don't gain anything in exporting in the first place, only loosing, so why insisting on it?

Answered above.
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Re: Mount VMDK on Debian testing/jessie?

Postby noteirak » 13. Nov 2013, 01:18

Both questions cames from the same context, from the same issue. They are strongly linked, and the topics are revolving around the same ideas.
I even reached the exact same conclusion than mpack even without reading your other post and came back to edit this one!

But let's back on the topic : VMDK is a format created by VMware, and adopted by various software. Regardless of who is using it, they are in the best position to actually give you ways of doing what you want.
Not saying you cannot seek help here, but so far, nobody replied to this topic with any useful info.
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