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OpenWrt on VMware HowTo

This article describes how to use OpenWRT as a virtual machine with VMware virtualisation.

Tested with:

  • Barrier Breaker 14.07 in combination with VMWare ESXi 5.5 Update 2 Build 2068190
  • Chaos Calmer 15.05 with VMware Fusion and ESXi 6.0

Things you need:

First of all, you need to download the image from list above on your machine. After that you extract & convert it to a vmdk image:

gunzip openwrt-x86-generic-combined-ext4.img.gz
qemu-img convert -f raw -O vmdk openwrt-x86-generic-combined-ext4.img openwrt-x86-generic-combined-ext4.vmdk


yum -y install qemu-img
gunzip openwrt-15.05-x86-64-combined-ext4.img.gz
qemu-img convert -f raw -O vmdk openwrt-15.05-x86-64-combined-ext4.img openwrt-15.05-x86-64-combined-ext4.vmdk

or on a Mac

brew install qemu
qemu-img convert -f raw -O vmdk ~/Downloads/openwrt-15.05-x86-64-combined-ext4.img openwrt-15.05-x86-64-combined-ext4.vmdk

after that, just create a new VM in Fusion, Workstation, or ESXi with "Linux\Other Linux 32-bit" with LSI BUS Logic & add the vmdk there. Use Intel PRO/1000 Network adapters. This may require editing the .vmx file to include following definition:

ethernet0.virtualDev = "e1000"

On Fusion I had to use the IDE drive controller type.

BTW… you can download an OVA image of cc 1505 from the following location:

ToDo List

Here's a wish list of things we would like to accomplish with OpenWRT - consider this technical debt.

(Is there a better place to make these requests?)

  1. install open-vm-tools to enhance support on VMware hypervisors
  2. install cloud-init capabilities to allow auto-configuration on OpenStack based clouds like OPNFV
  3. create jenkins job as part of CI to download and convert the raw image to vmdk with each build
  4. create jenkins job as part of CI to download and convert the raw image to qcow2 with each build
  5. do these conversions for both stable and trunk
  6. integrate OpenWRT into the CI Pipeline for other network testing projects like OPNFV

Disk size and problems with veeam backup and enlarging the disk

Veeam backup and vmware will complain about the size of the virtual disk provided by the openwrt download because the disk is not multiple of 1KB. (this means: no backups available, and could be crucial in production environments)

Vmware won't let you enlarge the disk in the normal way, so one simple way is:

. make a snapshot of the vm, for possible rollback
. move the original disk (from openwrt downloads) on ide 0:1
. add a new disk, with a whole size, like 128 MB , on ide 0:0
. use sysrescuecdiso
. start the vm with the iso
. with dd copy the disc on ide 0:1 to ide 0:0 like
dd if=/dev/sdb of=/dev/sda
. enter fdisk /dev/sda and write the partition table
(without making changes, this helps sysrescuecd to see the partitions properly)
. do fsck -f on the sda2 partition
. with fdisk resize the sda2 partition to occupy all the space available 
(but still starting with the same sector of before, normally 9135)
. use resize2fs /dev/sda2
. do fsck -f /dev/sda2
. restart the machine and boot with openwrt check that the system uses the new partition
. stop the machine, delete the previous hd (with less than 128mb)
. restart the machine and verify that everything is ok.

doc/howto/vmware.txt · Last modified: 2016/04/13 18:32 by pier4r