Ubuntu – Howto use Cockpit web console to manage virtual machines

Hello World, 

In our previous post (Ubuntu – Howto install Cockpit web console on Ubuntu 20.04 or later), we have quickly explained what is Cockpit Web console, how to install it and performed a quick tour on it.  Cockpit web console can provide more features and functionalities through usage of extensions and plugins.  One of these plugin will allow you to manage your KVM virtual machine infrastructure via the web browser.   This feature is something that some users, friends and colleagues are asking time to time 

In a previous post (How To Install Kimchi 3.0.0 on Ubuntu 19.10), we have presented the kimchi web interface that could be used to manager your KVM infrastructure from a Web Browser.  The solution was working fine and providing the necessary features and functionality to manage our simple KVM infrastructure.  However,  it seems that there is no more updates and activities on the Kimchi project.   Some problems (and workarounds) are available to make it running on Ubuntu 20.04 but the solution does not seems to have followed up with new released of Ubuntu.   

Cockpit Web console could be a replacement solution to Kimchi 3.0.0 software solution.   We will show you how to install it and also perform a quick tour.  It will be up to you to decide if the tool can meet your needs and requirements 

Let’s do this…. 

Overview

As mentioned in our previous post, The Cockpit Web Console is a free and open source web interface allowing to perform administrative tasks on your Linux machines from a simple browser.  The tool is quite well designed, clean and quite intuitive and can be used as is out-of-the-box. However, if you want to extend functionalities,  you can do by installing some additional plugins. For Ubuntu OS, there are not too many plugins available yet but one that can be interesting is the Virtual Machines Extensions.    

Assumptions 

In this post, we are assuming that you have followed the instructions found on the post (Ubuntu – Howto install Cockpit web console on Ubuntu 20.04 or later) and that you have already the Cockpit web console installed on your Ubuntu machine.   We are also assuming that you are using Ubuntu 20.04 or later version. Also,based on the version of Cockpit you are running (Backport or from repository), some settings/features might not be exactly the same.    Finally, you should have installed KVM in your Ubuntu Computer.  

In our Scenario, we have installed cockpit on Ubuntu 22.04 (still in Development) and we have added the Virtual machines extensions….

Step by Step Instructions

To install the extension module that you need to manage your virtual machines,  you will need to open a Terminal Console and issue the following command 

sudo apt-get install cockpit-machines 

Cockpit_KVM_Interface_1

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Accept to proceed the installation and wait for it to complete. The cockpit-machines package is the additional extension that will give the possibility to manager your VMs from a web Browser

When the installation is complete,  you can go access the Cockpit Web console and select the Application Node on the left menu.  When done, you will noticed that indeed a new extension (called Machines) has been installed and detected by the Cockpit software.   

Cockpit_KVM_Interface_2

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If you were already logged in into the Web interface, you will need to refresh the page in order to see that a new option has been made available to you which is called Virtual Machines. From this menu, you will be able to access the admin pages that will allow you to manage your KVM Infrastructure.  The screenshot below is an example of some VM already created on our KVM Lab infrastructure….

Cockpit_KVM_Interface_10

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This is all it takes to add Virtual machines management to your Cockpit Web Console.   This is rather easy, isn’t it 🙂 

Quick Tour 

Let’s have a quick tour and see what can be done from the Web interface.  So, first login to your Cockpit Web Console by firing up your browser and issue the ip address or hostname of the cockpit server appending at the end the port 9090  (i.e. https://hostname_or_ip:9090).  You will reach the login page.  

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Provide your credentials. When accessing the web interface, click on the Virtual Machines Node in the menu and you will end up with something like this. As you can see, this is a brand new Ubuntu machine with no VM created yet…

Cockpit_KVM_Interface_3

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So, time to create one.  To create a new VM, you can click on the Create VM button (on the right top corner) and the following dialog box will be presented to you.  Provide all the necessary information and press Create

Cockpit_KVM_Interface_4

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Wait for the process to complete 

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When the machine is created,  click on the name of the VM and start the VM.  You will see something like that.  You will see the basic information about the VM and you will also see option to connect to it (via VNC or Desktop viewer).  You have to scroll down the page to see all the options available 

Cockpit_KVM_Interface_7

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You can see and edit disks, networking, host devices, shared folders, snapshots…..

Cockpit_KVM_Interface_8

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Note :

Since we have installed Cockpit on latest Ubuntu version (i.e. 22.04 still in development !!!),  we have noticed that the software version we are using (version 262-x) is providing more options than the previous version.  The latest Cockpit Virtual machines extensions is providing a little bit more options than previous version.   These additions are really nice because it make the tool more and more fully useable. 

Final Notes

Voila !  This is it for this post  🙂 

We are happy to have gone through the installation of Cockpit Web Console software and discovered that the latest version of the Virtual machine plugin provides quite a good web interface that can be used to manage KVM virtual machines infrastructure.   We will probably migrate from our Kimchi installation to the Cockpit version.  All in all, the tool can be quite useful in some organizations or in some specific scenario.  The Web interface is really easy to use and can be handed over to less experience Linux administrators who are not yet confident with command line and ssh connections. 

Hope you enjoyed this post…. We will come back with a third and final post about Cockpit Web Console…. 

Till Next time 

See ya

 

 

 

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