Installing VMI Kernel SLES10 SP2

In recent post, I talk about the VMI kernel and how it benefits CPU load. But I never blog how to install this Kernel. So here we go.

On the Vmware site you can find a PDF called  VMware_VMI_performance.pdf. This document contains a link to Novell to manually download the VMI kernel because it isn’t include on the SLES10SP2 DVD. I find it easier to get the kernel through the online update channel. Register your machine at Novell Customer Center (In Yast: Software | Novell Customer Center Configuration), start Software Management and search for VMI. Select the ‘standard’ VMI kernel or the PAE kernel (This kernel is used if you want to use more than 4 GB of memory) and click Accept. If IRQBalancer is not installed, you will be prompted for this.
The Kernel is installed, but if we reboot the system with this kernel, the VMware-tools will fail to start and will need to be recompiled. For this we have to to a online update of the system to get the new kernel sources for the VMI kernel. So in Yast goto Software | Online Update and select to refresh the Kernel Sources.

Now that the VMI kernel is installed, we have to configure our bootloader (mostly Grub) to start the VMI kernel.
In Yast goto System | Bootloader. Select the entry Vmi — SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 SP2 and click Set as Default.
Now click Finish and shutdown the Virtual Machine. Do not reboot, because VMI is not enabled at this time in the Virtual Machine. The configuration file (VMX file) of the Virtual Machine is read during the startup of the Virtual Machine. So if you enable VMI support for the Virtual Machine while the machine is running. This setting won’t be read.
After the machine is down go to your VI client, select the Virtual Machine and select Edit Setting | Options | Paravirtualization and select Support VMI Paravirtualization and save the settings.
Now you can bootup your Virtual Machine with VMI support!

To check if our SLES10 has VMI enabled, give the following commond on the console prompt: dmesg | grep VMI
If VMI is enabled you will see the following:

Dectected VMI ROM version 3.0
VMI Timer active.
VMI Timer cycles/sec =

After starting SLES10 it can be that some services will not start anymore after the installation of the VMI kernel. In my case this was: ACPID, VMware-tools, Microcode and Network.
ACPID and Mircocode is no more necessary so we can disable these services by giving the following command:
insserv -r /etc/init.d/microcode
insserv -r /etc/init.d/acpid
insserv -r /etc/init.d/powersaved (Because we disabled acpid we’re going to disable Powersaved also.)
By reconfiguring the VMware tools, network should be working also. So give the command vmware-config-tools.pl and rebuild the necessary modules.

Reboot the machine ones more and check if everything is alright.

Now you have a VMI enabled SLES10 machine!!

About Michael
Michael Wilmsen is a VMware training/consultant (no specific order) with more than 15 years in the IT industry. Main focus is VMware vSphere, Horizon View and Site Recovery Manager with a deepdive to performance. Michael is VCDX 210, VCAP 4/5 certified, has been rewarded with the vExpert title from 2011, is a PernixPro, Nutanix Tech Champion and a Nutanix Platform Professional.

16 Comments to “Installing VMI Kernel SLES10 SP2”

  1. By MILAN PULJIZ, March 8, 2010 @ 14:57

    I need SLES10 VMI enabled!

    • By Mike, March 8, 2010 @ 20:37

      If you need some assistants, don’t hesitate to contact me. See my info through linkedin.

  2. By MILAN PULJIZ, March 8, 2010 @ 14:57

    I need SLES10 VMI enabled!

    • By Mike, March 8, 2010 @ 20:37

      If you need some assistants, don’t hesitate to contact me. See my info through linkedin.

  3. By Jamie, June 15, 2010 @ 15:42

    Hi Mike,

    Thanks for the info.. quick question though: My machine currently has no internet connection itself (the current conditions don’t allow it). Is there any way to manually download the new kernel sources for the VMI kernel, and then just transfer them by USB onto the machine?

  4. By Jamie, June 15, 2010 @ 15:42

    Hi Mike,

    Thanks for the info.. quick question though: My machine currently has no internet connection itself (the current conditions don’t allow it). Is there any way to manually download the new kernel sources for the VMI kernel, and then just transfer them by USB onto the machine?

  5. By Jame, June 17, 2010 @ 13:10

    Thanks Mike – I installed SMT following your other instructions.. but in the SMT Management I only have the option to mirror updates for OpenSUSE 10.3, 11.0, or 11.1. Surely I would need one specific to 10.2 to gain the kernel sources for my purposes?

    • By Mike, June 17, 2010 @ 13:19

      Jame, If you look in your license portal. Does your license include SLES10 updates?

  6. By Jame, June 17, 2010 @ 13:10

    Thanks Mike – I installed SMT following your other instructions.. but in the SMT Management I only have the option to mirror updates for OpenSUSE 10.3, 11.0, or 11.1. Surely I would need one specific to 10.2 to gain the kernel sources for my purposes?

    • By Mike, June 17, 2010 @ 13:19

      Jame, If you look in your license portal. Does your license include SLES10 updates?

  7. By Jame, June 17, 2010 @ 13:31

    Where do i find my license portal, sorry?

  8. By Jame, June 17, 2010 @ 13:31

    Where do i find my license portal, sorry?

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