Data Center Virtualization with VMware vSphere - Installing android x86 on VMware

For individuals interested in knowledge for certification in VCP (VMware Certified Professional) and DCV (Data Center Virtualization), this tutorial will give you a clear, hands-on approach to achieving your goals.

Please be aware to pursue a certification as a VCP, VMware requires you to take an online or physical class with an official authorised agent, a list of which can be found on the VMware website.  

Virtual Machines
Imagine being beamed into the world of virtual reality, where you can experience multiple content and signals on a large scale from your living room as if you were present at the scene, just by wearing some advanced goggles fitted with sensors. Impossible once upon a time, right?

Now think about your old computer with the usual components such as ROM, BIOS, CMOS, drivers and peripherals such as mouse, keyboard, USB and monitor that need to be present for a successful boot into an operating system.
What if a hardware can be tricked by software to believe all these parameters are present to create the perfect illusion of a traditional environment? That’s what Hypervisors are.

Hypervisors are a type of system normally in software capable of emulating resources to enable successful booting of operating systems such as Windows or Linux. As far as the operating system is concerned, the components required for it to function are present such as processors, RAM, keyboards etc.

Types of Hypervisors
There are generally two types namely Bare-Metal Hypervisors, where a hardware computer has the hypervisor installed and is hosting two or more operating systems running as guest virtual machines. An example of a Type 1 hypervisor is VMware ESXi installed on a host machine.


Type 2 hypervisors are where the computer is already running an operating system such as Windows, Linux or MAC OS. You can run virtualized operating system environments using software such as VMware workstation, Fusion, Oracle’s Virtual Box and GNS3 for emulating network environments.  

                                        Illustration of Type - 1 and Type - 2 Hypervisors

   1.   Installation of VMware Workstation with OS (Hypervisor Type-2)

If you’re serious about studying VMware all the way, it is advisable to register for a free account, which can be done using this link;

Carrying out this important task comes with some advantages, such as downloading Workstation and ESXi software, getting access to software licenses, joining a community of experts and also accessing information on training and exams for certification as VCP and DCV.

The current version of Workstation is 12 but installing earlier versions, like 10, will be adequate for this task. Remember this is a demonstration of a Type-2 Hypervisor so an operating system would have already been running on a host before the hypervisor is installed. Think of it like an onion inside another onion when we install additional operating systems in the hypervisor VMware Workstation.

To save space, I would recommend downloading an .iso file of Android x86 for this task, a link to the file on Sourceforge can be found here;

Once downloaded, place the file in a location on your computer and fire up VMware Workstation. 

At the top left corner, click File and select New Virtual Machine to display the set-up wizard above.

Select Typical Installation and click Next to continue the set up with the screen displayed below. 

Here, you’ll be presented with a few installation options such as Installing from a Disc, installing from an .iso file or you can even choose to install the operating system later. Since we already have an .iso file we downloaded earlier, select (.iso) and browse to the location of your file. Click Next to proceed.

At this stage, you get to name your virtual machine and you may change the location where the installation files are stored on your host machine. 

Choose an appropriate name, so it is easy to identify if you intend to install many virtual machines in the future. Click next to proceed with the installation. 

By default, 20GB of HDD space from your host machine is allocated to create your new virtual machine.
You are presented with the option to store your virtual disk as a single file or split it into multiple files.

The idea for choosing the split disk option is that some operating systems have maximum file size limits such as 2GB limit for Fat32 file types, having a split disk will ensure the machine can write excess files onto the multiple disks instead of being limited to one single virtual disk.

Using a configuration process known as Thin Provisioning ensures not all of the 20GB is used up at once. For example, if only 4GB is required, it releases the space to be used by other OS that require it.

You can now check the settings of your virtual machine and customize the hardware by changing the amount of HDD, RAM and networking options if required. Click finish to power on your virtual machine. 

The virtual machine is now ready to boot and you will be presented with a few options to run your operating system. For the purposes of this task, select Install Android – x86 to hard disk and hit Enter.

Remember to switch control from host machine to virtual machine, hold down Ctrl + Alt and click in the virtual machine workspace to use your keyboard and mouse to send inputs. 

1 On the first step, you get to create/modify partitions

2 Create a primary partition using all of the 20GB allocated space.

3 Select New to create new partition from free space.

4 Select Write to partition table. Prompt data will be destroyed, which is fine.

5 Once the Write operation is complete, you can select the partition to install Android OS.

6 Choose the ext3 filesystem to format the partition.

7 Validate partition and select Yes to format sda1.

 8 Choose Yes to install /system directory as read-write.

9 Select Yes to install boot loader GRUB to enable successful boot of the operating system.

10 Wait for a moment while the Android operating system files install.

11 If the set-up configuration goes to plan, you should see this screen signifying your install has been successful.

This concludes the installation of Android OS in VMware workstation as a Type-2 hypervisor. You should now be able to see the Android virtual machine on the left pane of your application, where you have the option to tweak any settings you want for your new machine. Booted interface should look like the image below. 

Test the functionality by launching the browser and accessing your favourite websites. 

           VMware Education Packages & More Information 

As we discussed earlier in this lesson, you stand to gain a lot by registering for an account with VMware

Similarly, if you decide to pursue any certification in the direction of VCP (VMware Certified Professional) and DCV (Data Center Virtualization), you are required to take an online or physical class from an authorised agent. Please visit the website for more information.

Buy Now!

Typically, a training course in VMware vSphere: Install, Configure and Management will cost about £3,192.00 with the vSphere Foundations Exam Number: 2V0-620 costing about £276.00

You are welcome to join us as we delve even deeper into more advanced configurations of VMware to help sharpen your skills as you prepare for your exams or career as an engineer. 

As always, don’t forget to teach your fingers by practice, practice and more practice!

Thank you for investing your time with us. 

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