Growing An Olive Router in a VirtualBox Environment

In the last few days, I’ve been working to build up my home networking lab. I’m using a fairly typical setup nowadays — real Layer 3 switches connected to a host machine that runs GNS3 as well as VirtualBox. Having recently installed Vyatta and Mikrotik RouterOS VM guests, I decided that I would play with something I’ve never touched before — Juniper’s JunOS.


The documentation for how to install JunOS into a Qemu environment is constantly replicated across the web, so I have no intention of doing so here. (Have a look here to get yourself started). In my first few attempts to create a VM guest, I followed the instructions thoroughly, but eventually I opted to move the full creation into VirtualBox. That’s when I learned a lot about the nuances between installing on either platform.

One of the first problems I encountered when trying to install into a VirtualBox container was an odd out-of-space message when installing my modified version of JunOS 8.5R1.14 :

WARNING: The /tmp filesystem that is created by the next stage of
WARNING: the installer does not have sufficient space. This package
WARNING: requires 159804k free (2k for configuration
WARNING: files and 159802k for the new software), but there is
WARNING: only -12140k available.

What makes this message odd is that I have plenty of disk space. It’s also odd that I only encountered this in my VirtualBox/vdi installations, not on Qemu/qcow2 installations. Before I dug any further, I rebuilt the VM using 10G of storage instead of the recommended 4G, and adjusted each of the individual partitions accordingly. This proved to be ineffective as I was once again greeted with this message.

The warning message is generated by the function “tmp_storage()” in the +REQUEST file inside jinstall-8.5R1.14-domestic.tgz. One of the expr calls is failing, but I never bothered to dig into why and instead removed it with a quick patch. The bootstrap installation now appears to be good and will prompt you to reboot.

At this point, ensure that you have serial port 1 redirected to a host pipe. If you don’t, shut down the VM and add one — you will need it to see what’s going on.

Serial Port
No need for a fancy schmancy DB9 connector

You can attach to the host pipe a few different ways, I prefer to have socat connect to it and create a /tmp/juniper0 PTY that I can hook into from minicom. Do keep in mind that socat doesn’t respawn automatically, so if you disconnect from the PTY link you may have to restart socat.

socat UNIX-CONNECT:/tmp/juniper_serial PTY,link=/tmp/juniper0,raw,echo=0,waitslave

Upon reboot,  the system would now install up to a point and then hang. After a few moments it was obvious something didn’t give.

A few reboots later I realized that this was going nowhere. Since my test build in Qemu alone did install, I opted to simply convert the qcow2 file to something I could import into VirtualBox.

qemu-img convert -O raw ~/GNS3/QEMU/olive-base.img JuniperBase.raw

VBoxManage convertdd JuniperBase.raw JuniperBase.vdi

VBoxManage modifyvdi JuniperBase.vdi compact

However this caused an interesting bug: Prior to installing JunOS, packet captures on the guest indicated that OSPF all-router multicast messages were entering the guest VM. After installation, that was no longer the case. I tried numerous times to resolve this, but with no luck.

Finally I opted to build a 4.11 FreeBSD instance and install Junos 9.6R1.13. My first attempt failed with the following message:

ELF binary type “0” not known

If you see this message, make sure that you’ve properly replaced checkpic with /usr/bin/true. In my case, I had accidentally just copied true to the directory and didn’t replace checkpic. After fixing my mistake, the bootstrap installation succeeded and prompted me for a reboot.

After reboot the full install commences. I was quite surprised when it completed without any problems. I was skeptical that this was going to fix the multicast problem, but lo and behold, post reboot multicast actually functions.

OSPF Image
Low and behold – it works!

So in the end, my working VirtualBox JunOS instance consisted of FreeBSD 4.11, JunOS 9.6R1.13 and VirtualBox 4.2.12 r84980.

Olive Pudding
Proof is in the Olive pudding.

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