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NAS How To

Virtual Machine Creation

For the brave souls who want to craft their own appliance, you'll first need to choose a Linux distro. Debian was my first exposure to Linux all the way back in 2005, when I wrote the Xbox NAS article. Ever since then, it has been what I have used for all my Linux server installations. I love it, so I'm going to be using it here. It has easy package management, a relatively small footprint (if properly configured) and installing Netatalk is a walk in the park.

I did investigate some other distros with the aim of reducing the installation size: Damn Small Linux (small but not so easy to install Netatalk); Gentoo; Linux From Scratch (too much effort for a relatively small return); and CentOS (no real benefit from Debian).

So Debian it is.

Usually, I would use Debian Testing (currently called Wheezy). But while installing it for this article, there were bugs with the installation process. So I gave up and went with Stable, version 6.0.2.1, currently called Squeeze. But the current release has changed and will continue to do so in the future.

So pick up the latest version here. Using 6.0.2.1 does mean we will need to pick up the Testing version of Netatalk later though. The i386 version is used because it has a small installed size. Since we are using only 128 MB RAM, a 64 bit version is not required.

Let’s fire up VirtualBox and create our machine.

Click New to launch the New Virtual Machine Wizard. On the VM Name and OS Type screen, I entered MyTimeCapsule for a name, Linux for operating system and Debian for OS version (Figure 1).

Creating the Virtual Machine

Creating the Virtual Machine

On the Memory screen, use the slider or text entry box to choose 128 MB of memory.

Setting VM Memory size

Setting VM Memory size

On the Virtual Hard Disk screen, check the Start-up Disk box and click the Create new hard disk radio button

Create hard disk
Create hard disk

On the next screen, select the VDI (VirtualBox Disk Image) button.

Hard disk type
Hard disk type

And on the following Virtual disk storage details screen (not shown) select Dynamically allocated for Storage details.

On the Virtual disk file location and size screen, accept the default Location shown in the screenshot below and enter a 1.0 GB size.

Hard disk location and size
Hard disk location and size

After you click Next, you'll get a Summary screen reporting your settings (not shown). If everything is OK, click Create. Otherwise click Back to make whatever changes you need.

After your VM is created, you'll see the screen below.

VM created
VM created

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