I'm running a Stingray Virtual Appliance on VMware. Can I access the OS directly and make changes (for example, TCP settings, cron jobs) and can I install my own additional software on the virtual appliance?
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The Stingray virtual appliance is designed to be a complete, closed device. Although it's possible to get shell access on the appliance, 99% of the configuration is performed though the web user interface and the only time shell access is normally used is for major upgrades.
You can upload custom monitors and other scripts that can be used by the Stingray software using the UI.
However, there are three good reasons why you should not use shell access to modify configuration or install additional services:
The virtual appliance is provided as a convenience - a single Stingray product with a single maintenance agreement to cover support and updates.
All this said, it's a fairly standard Linux distribution, and if you're confident and appreciate the implications of doing so, there's nothing to stop you making custom modifications. You can even stop Stingray managing the OS configuration files, to prevent it overwriting any changes you want to make - check out the configuration keys starting "appliance!manage" in the Configuration System Guide ( Stingray Product Documentation) to disable the management of certain components. All of this falls outside your Riverbed Support, and please advise our support team if you raise a ticket that may be related to custom OS modifications.
If you would like to flexibility that comes with being able to configure the OS to a greater degree or add additional software packages, you can install the Stingray software inside a Linux VM of your own making. Riverbed will provide full support and updates for the Stingray software, and you retain full control of (and responsibility for) the operating system.