Guide to Install Photon in VMware Workstation and Deploy a Container

photon-logoOn April 20th, 2015, VMware announced Photon, its own container-friendly Linux distribution. Photon is a technology preview of a small footprint Linux container host. It has been released as open source software and is available at GitHub.

This post explains how to install Photon in VMware Workstation, do some basic configuration and implement the first container.

  1. Download the latest pre-built ISO image from GitHub (photon-1.0-TP1.iso)
  2. Open VMware Workstation and create a New Virtual Machine
  3. Select Typical
  4. Select Installer disc image file (iso), hit Browse... and open the Photon ISO file
  5. Set Other Linux 3.x kernel 64-bit as Guest Operating System
  6. Set a name for the Virtual Machine
  7. Hit Next. You do not have to change anything here.vmware-photon-workstation-capacity
  8. Click on Customize Hardware...
  9. Remove USB Controller, Sound Card and Printer  
  10. Press Close and Finish virtual Machine creation
  11. Power on the Photon Virtual Machine
  12. Select Install
  13. Accept License Agreement
  14. Confirm the disk to be automatically partitioned
  15. Confirm to erase the disk
  16. Select the deployment model. For testing purposes we are going to install Photon Full OS
    Photon OS (Micro): Completely stripped down version of Photon that can serve as an application container.
    Photon Container OS (Minimum): Very lightweight version of the container host that is best suited for container management and hosting.
    Photon Full OS (All): Several additional packages to enhance the authoring and packaging of containerized applications and/or system customization.
    Photon Custom OS: Provides complete flexibility and control for how you want to create a specific container runtime environment.
  17. Enter a hostname
  18. Set the root password vmware-photon-workstation-password
  19. Press any key to reboot the Virtual Machinevmware-photon-workstation-installation-finished

That's it. Your small footprint Photon will now boot and you can login as root with the password set during installation. vmware-photon-resources

Installing the first Container Application
Now that you have Photon up and running, you might want to do something. Start Docker and make it to start automatically with the system:

root [ ~ ]# systemctl start docker
root [ ~ ]# systemctl enable docker


As I don't like working with the console, I activate SSH:

root [ ~ ]# nano /etc/ssh/sshd_config

Change PermitRootLogin no to PermitRootLogin yes
Restart sshd and login with a SSH client like putty.

root [ ~ ]# systemctl restart sshd

Now it's time to run the first container. There is a huge marketplace for containers at To test the installation, you can use the hallo-world container.

root [ ~ ]# docker run hello-world


VMware has also a small web-based container for testing:

root [ ~ ]# docker run -d -p 80:80 vmwarecna/nginx


  1. vi is not available when you choose to install "Photon Container OS". either nano or

    sed -i 's/PermitRootLogin no/PermitRootLogin yes/g' /etc/ssh/sshd_config

    are your friends there

  2. do you know how to set a static ip config that survives a reboot in photon?

    • The network configuration is stored in /etc/systemd/network/
      You can simply edit this file as explained here. It's reboot safe of course.

  3. Basic Commands for VMware Photon and Docker | - pingback on April 27, 2015 at 7:53 pm

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