Running Windows Omnis on Mac?

Clifford Ilkay cilkay at
Tue Jan 9 21:29:11 EST 2018

One thing I really dislike about Packer though is that configuration files
are in JSON. SaltStack's YAML format is much more readable because I can
embed comments. To make the Packer templates more bearable, I treat them as
Jinja2 page templates and I've put a frontend onto the Packer script in
Python where I can specify the build type, customer | developer | debug,
image type, various ESXi and VirtualBox, and optionally, kiosk on or off. I
have an autologin user, kiosk, which can only run Chromium. Chromium points
at a web page on localhost/kiosk that displays various things, like uptime,
IP address of the network interface, etc. The JSON config files are build
artefacts and are disposable so I don't really have to deal with their
ugliness any more.

By the way, anyone who is using a few Microsoft products in our business
should buy an Action Pack subscription. I bought mine in the middle of the
year a few years ago and had a 50% off coupon for a total of $200. That
gives you five licenses of all versions of current Windows, including
Server, SQL Server, Visual Studio, Office, Office 365, SharePoint, Team
Foundation Server, Exchange, Dynamics, and a slew of other software. I've
managed to renew with 50% off coupon codes since then.


Clifford Ilkay

+1 647-778-8696

On Tue, Jan 9, 2018 at 8:30 PM, Alex Clay <aclay at> wrote:

> I'll give a second vote for pre-built images with Packer. We use pre-built
> images with Vagrant for disposable testing environment and testing
> automation with SaltStack. Because of Omnis, we use proprietary OSes like
> macOS and Windows quite heavily. I recommend the boxcutter (
> <>) templates
> for Packer.
> On the Windows side, boxcutter has templates for using the evaluation
> ISOs. These are great because they run more or less fully licensed for 90
> days. Windows 10 doesn't care much if you let the license expire. If you
> re-build the packer images, you get another 90 days.
> Even without packer those templates have handy links and checksums to the
> evaluation ISOs you could use with Parallels, VMWare, VirtualBox, etc.
> WIndows 10 64-bit:
> win10x64-enterprise.json
> Windows 10 32-bit:
> win10x86-enterprise.json
> See their github page for other OSes.
> Alex
> > On Jan 9, 2018, at 19:59, Clifford Ilkay <cilkay at> wrote:
> >
> > Now I understand. I use Packer <> to create
> machine
> > images so I'm never doing manual installs anyway. Between VMware (Fusion
> > and ESXi 5, 5.5, and 6), Hyper-V, and VirtualBox, Hyper-V is the easiest
> > but it's only so because I generate the Hyper-V images from VirtualBox
> > images. VirtualBox is easy to automate with something like Packer or
> even a
> > shell script. Until I was faced with the requirement to generate VM
> images
> > for ESXi, I was using a BASH script to take a Debian netinstall ISO image
> > and making my customizations to it to generate my custom base image. That
> > base image has to be customized by users using a simple web application
> > where they enter in things like database connection credentials,
> networking
> > info, and specify whether they want to use the self-signed SSL
> certificates
> > that are generated within the VM or install their own certs. I give them
> > the option of installing the root CA certificate into their trust store
> so
> > that the self-signed certs can be treated like any other. That is
> perfectly
> > fine for a LAN.
> >
> > For Windows installs, I use Chocolatey, a package manager that makes
> > Windows bearable. My goal is to always have the virtual machine images
> > generated using Packer and the ongoing configuration management being
> > handled by SaltStack. If I am doing ad hoc configurations or
> installations,
> > it means that I haven't captured that in code. That means what I just did
> > isn't easily repeatable. All the Packer and SaltStack stuff is kept under
> > revision control in Git.
> >
> > Regards,
> >
> > Clifford Ilkay
> >
> > +1 647-778-8696
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