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Deploying a Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 (RHEL7) on VirtualBox

Posted by Eric Wright on Apr 19, 2016 1:21:26 PM
Eric Wright
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As you saw in our first post about the free Red Hat Developer subscription, we have some new toys to play with! This is the first in the series where we explore the steps to setting up your RHEL server.

Free is the name of the game here. So, VirtualBox and RHEL are the tools of choice to get us started since both are free to use once you get your Red Hat developer subscription.

While this looks like a long post, the whole process is actually quite quick.  I just wanted to be sure that every step is clearly illustrated during the build to make it as seamless as possible.

Getting your Red Hat Developer Subscription Enabled

We won’t go through every little set, but the general process is rather simple for you to get set up.

Go to the Red Hat Developers section site (http://developers.redhat.com/products/rhel/overview/) and register using the link in the upper right corner


register with Red Hat

You can use email, or a social network to get registered. Pick the method of choice based on your preference, and then once you’re all registered, you will get the option to pick a direction to go:

Red Hat signup process

We want to download the RHEL platform, so click on the Downloads link on the main menu at the right. That brings you to the download page where you will see the RHEL download link:

Red Hat download RHEL

As soon as you click the link, the download will begin automatically. There are some other instructions that you can work through, but for the purpose of this post, we can fast track to just getting installed with VirtualBox.

Download VirtualBox

If you don’t already have VirtualBox, download it here for your platform of choice.

virtualbox download requirements

Once you are configured, we will be all set to get started.

Creating your RHEL VM in VirtualBox

The steps are pretty simple. We need to start by creating our new machine. Set the OS type as Linux, and choose Red Hat 64-bit for the version:


Next, we choose the memory. For speedier response, let’s pick 2GB (aka 2048 MB) for our memory:

select vm memory size

Next, we choose to create a new disk:

create a new hard disk

Select VDI as the disk type:

select vdi as disk file type

Choose dynamically allocated as the growth method:

select dynamically allocated disk

We want a little bit of play room, so make the disk 20 GB. Because it’s dynamic, it will only use disk space as it actually gets filled, so you should be ok as long as you have room locally:

select file location and size for vm

Now we have the new VM ready to start with, so click the green Start arrow and let’s build our server:


The VM will complain about having nothing on the disk, so just let that error sit and click the little CD icon on the bottom bar of the VM window, then select Choose Disk Image and browse to find the RHEL ISO file you’ve downloaded:


You can reset the VM to force the restart into the install CD now:


This brings us to the boot screen and you can select the first option to start the installation:

start-install REHL 7

Select your language of choice at the opening menu:

install-welcome window on REHL 7

This brings you to the options page. You will see that the Begin Installation button is not lit because we need to set up a few things first.

Start by choosing the install type you want. For simplicity, I’ve selected Minimal Install:

install minimal software selection

We need to configure the network settings, so scroll down enter the Networking and Host Name :


Enable the network card in the right hand side with the toggle button:


Back at the configuration screen, go to the host name option and choose your host name:


Open up the System section to choose the hard disk:


Now you will see the Begin Installation button is lit up and ready to go! Go for it ?

install-begin RHEL 7

With the install underway, we can configure the root password and also set up a non-root user for you to use.


Root password needs to be reasonably complex:


Next up you can configure the non-root user for daily administration. Obviously, you will fill in your information rather than mine in here…unless you want me to have access that is:


As quickly as it started, it’s all done! (results may vary depending on internet and hard drive speeds):


Logging in and Registering your Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server

Once you reboot the server after the installation completes, you’ll find yourself at the initial login prompt. The security-minded admin in me encourages you to use your non-admin user to log in with. Some choose (unwisely) to use the root user for regular admin tasks, and while it’s convenient, it is definitely not recommended.

firstboot RHEL 7

Red Hat uses a subscription service to register all of their products. This is similar to the Windows Activation, and ensures that you have access to run updates and get support for your environment. It’s also how you keep your server running as this is a licensed product.

Using a simple one-liner with your credentials will get you up and running. Use your Red Hat subscription credentials that you used to get logged in at the start of the process.

NOTE: This is your Red Hat Subscription credentials, and not your local login credentials

subscription-manager register --username --password --auto-attach

sudo subcription manager in RHEL 7

As long as you have internet access and the right username/password, you’ll see a message similar to this:

subscribed window in RHEL 7

The last step in the install process should always be to run any updates. Because we are registered, you can now run the yum update and watch the magic happen:

sudo yum update start RHEL 7

The process takes a few minutes to pull down the necessary changes and after some confirmation, the updates will run:

sudo yum update done in RHEL 7

Welcome to the end of the process, but the start of your Red Hat Enterprise Linux experience.

In our next post, we will dive into some common administrative tasks in the upcoming posts to help you get comfortable with the platform.


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