Install Ubuntu Server 16.04.5 on VMware

The steps to install Ubuntu Server are very easy. In this case the installation will occur on a VMware virtual machine. For this purpose this article follows up the steps after initial Ubuntu Server deployment. In particular this article refers to the Ubuntu Server 16.04.5 release. At the time of writing the latest from the previous stable branch.

A lightweight text based wizard guides through the entire process to install Ubuntu Server. It also includes the option to pre-install additional Server functionalities through additional package like DNS, Samba, LAMP, Mail and more. What is interesting are the options at the boot straight after the language selection. Along with traditional options to test Memory, installation source (ISO file in this case) and recover a broken system also the ability to run “special” types of install which include additional packages for:

  • HWE
  • MaaS

The former Hardware Enablement (HWE) provides the option to automatically install the latest kernel available with the latest hardware for which the drivers are already included. So no extra steps. In practice, the additional or latest kernels are made available to Ubuntu users and can be installed using the kernel package called linux-hwe-generic. This package is installed along with linux-generic for the standard kernel. HWE should be used for Dev and homelab rather than Production environments.

The latter Metal as a Service (MaaS) allows and fully automates the deployment of Physical Servers aiming to increase the Data Center operational efficiency. Generally something that is designed for DevOps at scale.

Overall to install Ubuntu Server the process is easy and the wizard provides good and intuitive information.


How to install Ubuntu Server on VMware

The VMware Remote Console is very good tool to access the virtual machine and install Ubuntu Server. After Power-on the boot displays the language to use during the text based wizard for the initial boot. Install Ubuntu Server VMware boot language

Next the option to decide on the type of installation. In this case a standard install Ubuntu Server is executed. The same ISO and wizard also provides the options to add the latest kernel packages for the latest hardware and even the option to install the MaaS Ubuntu Server. Additionally, the ability to run Memory and ISO test to make sure both are working as expected. Since this is a VM it might be also a good indicator to spot and troubleshoot undesired settings for example in the virtual BIOS. Install Ubuntu Server VMware boot menu

At this point the option to choose which language to use for the installation process. The selected one will also be used on the Ubuntu Server right after the installation. Indeed, it can be changed where required. Install Ubuntu Server VMware select language

The location settings determines the time zone and the system locale. All these settings can be changed afterwords. Install Ubuntu Server VMware select location

This is good test to verify the keyboard layout. Running a quick test is useful especially when considering to use special characters for the passwords. By choosing No the next screen allows to manually choose the keyboard layout. Install Ubuntu Server VMware configure keyboard

Select the appropriate keyboard layout. Install Ubuntu Server VMware keyboard

And also the layout type. Running a quick test on the characters helps with special ones when these are hidden for passwords. Install Ubuntu Server VMware keyboard layout

At this point the installer is copying the necessary packages from the ISO source file mounted on the virtual machine. Install Ubuntu Server VMware additional components

Next is to choose a Hostname. The NetBIOS Hostname cannot be longer than 15 characters including special ones. The “.” for obvious reasons cannot be used as part of the Hostname. Install Ubuntu Server VMware configure network

Next screens include the steps to create a non-admin user that can be used instead of root account. Initially this should be the real name of the user. Install Ubuntu Server VMware setup account name

Next the option to use the desired username for this account. Account and Username can also be the same. Install Ubuntu Server VMware setup username

And finally a password for this Account with the option to verify. Install Ubuntu Server VMware setup password

As a final touch for the Accounts’ creation the wizard also offers the ability to automatically encrypt the “home” folder which is the default writeable location for each account created on the local system. Install Ubuntu Server VMware home encryption

As a final question for this part the wizard prompts for the time zone details. Install Ubuntu Server VMware setup clock

In this part of the wizard now the options to configure the storage presented to this Ubuntu Server. Initially the idea is to create a simple machine with two disks. For now the “standard” partitioning will be used. Install Ubuntu Server VMware partition disks

The wizard detects the two iSCSI virtual disks connected to Ubuntu Server virtual machine. The Server will be installed on the first one identified as sda (0,0,0). Install Ubuntu Server VMware select disks

On this disk two partitions will be created by default: root and swap. Unless there are different requirements this partition layout should suffice as a standard Ubuntu Server machine. The new layout is now created on disk “sda” and the partitions properly formatted. Install Ubuntu Server VMware disk layout

At this point the wizard is ready to start copying the necessary packages from the ISO file to sda disk. Install Ubuntu Server VMware installing system

In case the network where the Ubuntu Server uses a Web Proxy the necessary details can be configured here or simply continue. Eventually these can be changed later on as well. Install Ubuntu Server VMware http proxy

As part of the built-in service in the Ubuntu Server also the option to choose how to streamline the updates. For now no automatic update is selected. Install Ubuntu Server VMware automatic updates

As part of the process to install Ubuntu Server the wizard allows to install also very popular and useful Server features like DNS, LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP), Mail, PostgreSQL and more. Install Ubuntu Server VMware software selection

Linux operating systems by default use GRUB as boot loader. It allows the correct boot order and many other options. And it can also coexist with other operating systems. Without installing this component, manual changes are required to the Master Boot Record (MBR). So best practice in this case is to install GRUB loader. Install Ubuntu Server VMware install GRUB loader

Since there are two partitions (sda and sdb) the best practice is to choose the first hard drive where the system is installed and making this disk bootable. Install Ubuntu Server VMware GRUB loader

At this point the install is completed. Next step is to unmount or simply disconnect the Ubuntu Server ISO file and continue to automatically reboot Server and make changes effective. Install Ubuntu Server VMware complete

A few seconds later the Ubuntu Server is ready with the terminal prompt. Install Ubuntu Server VMware console

About the author

Michele Domanico

Passionate about Virtualization, Storage, Data Availability and Software Defined Data Center technologies. The aim of is sharing with the Community the knowledge and experience gained with customers, industry leaders and like minded peers. Always open to constructive feedback and new challenges.

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