Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Cracking the contents of the VMware VMU vibs files

I was patching my ESXi server today with the VMware Host Update Utility and was thinking about a couple of things.  First when I do an update the VMU first downloads a bunch of data to my C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\VMware\VMware VI Update\vmw, about 1.2GB of data.

I was thinking that if I wanted to switch back to using a scripting tool then I would have to re-download all of the patches again manually and then script it up.  So I wanted the shortcut to see if I really needed to download it again. Inside the MetaData directory, there are four zip files; 4.0 ESX and ESXi, and 4.1 ESX and ESXi. and then in the vibs directory there are a bunch of vibs files ranging from 60 to 130 MB.  Those had to be the patches.

Any search on how to open a VIBS file came up empty so I then looked at the Metadata zips again and opened them all up.  Inside there is a file called Packages.  Once I looked into it I noticed that it was all names of the patches, but was was most interesting was the filename was a .deb file.

So I renamed one of the .vibs file to a .deb copied it over to my Linux server and ran the command ar vx something.deb, and viola, it opened up and showed its contents. 

Unfortunately for me, it looks like the contents inside the .deb / .vibs file is not easily compatible the downloaded manual patches, but I learned a little more on how the VMware VMU architecture works.

What I found very interesting was that even though it was for ESXi, these are debian patch packages, so still somewhere in that tiny ESXi Hypervisor, there is some Linux, however small.

Thanks to http://www.g-loaded.eu/2008/01/28/how-to-extract-rpm-or-deb-packages/ on how to extract DEB packages


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