CloudShark Support

CloudShark OVA

Skip the Linux setup with our CloudShark OVA - a preconfigured VM you just download and run.

What’s the CloudShark OVA?

CloudShark uses Linux as its host operating system, but you don’t have to be a system administrator to try it. An OVA is an open-format virtual machine, ready to import and run all from a single file. Just import the CloudShark OVA into any virtual machine manager, hit start, and follow along while the system guides you through a few easy questions. Everything else will happen automatically - you end up with the URL to start exploring your own copy of CloudShark!

Download the OVA

Regardless of which virtual machine software you use, you need to first download the CloudShark OVA from the CloudShark Lounge. Click the ‘VM Quick Install’ tab and download cloudshark.ova into your Downloads folder.

Run the OVA

The CloudShark OVA works in any virtual machine software. We highlight the popular ones here.


Note that older versions of VirtualBox suffer from a bug affecting all OVA imports. Please verify your VirtualBox client is version 4.2.16 or better if you choose to use VirtualBox as your client.

  • Load VirtualBox
  • Select “Import Appliance” from the menu
  • Follow the directions to import the CloudShark OVA file you saved
  • Start the virtual machine
  • Skip down to the ‘Finish Installation’ section at the bottom of this document

Version 4.3.12 and some older versions of VirtualBox on Linux and Mac OS X have a known bug where they cannot process OVA files in general. To use the OVA, you must first perform one additional step to convert it into a format that is not affected by the bug. If you run into issues when importing the OVA Use the tar command to untar the OVA using the command-line:

tar xzf <OVA filename>

After running this command you should see two files, one ending in .ovf and one ending in .vmdk. Follow the same instructions above but instead of selecting the OVA file, select the OVF file and the virtual machine will be imported.

VMware Player on Windows

For Windows users, VMware Player is a no-cost VM manager that works well for trying CloudShark.

Download VMware Player 5.0

Installation for VMware Player is straightforward. Start VMware after installation and you will have an empty inventory.

Go to the CloudShark Lounge and save the CloudShark OVA file in your Documents folder. Click on the ‘Open a virtual machine’ option, and select the OVA.

We have named our virtual machine ‘CloudShark Trial’:

The OVA is an industry standard format that is comatible with most virtual machine systems. Each product will convert it into its own format. VMware converts the OVA into VMware format:

When the import has finished, press the Play button. This will boot the CloudShark OVA.

Remember that a virtual machine will steal your keyboard and mouse when you click on it. There’s usually a note about which key-combo will release the keyboard and mouse back into the host operating system. (VMware Player for Windows uses Control+Alt).

When the virtual machine is running, you’ll see a black console window.

VMWare Fusion on Mac OS X

VMWare Fusion is a great way to run a virtual machine on your Macintosh OS X system. Make sure you are running version 5.0 or higher. There is a 30-day free trial available.

Find the CloudShark OVA file in your Downloads folder and double-click on it to open it in the VMWare Fusion importer. This will open up the “Import Library” and be ready to create a new VMWare virtual machine from the OVA.

Click on the button featuring gears and the green arrow to begin the import process. This will ask you what to name the virtual machine, and where on your disk to store it.

Click “Import” to begin the import process. Note that this may take longer depending on your system

When the import is complete, start the virtual machine up. It will automatically boot the operating system.

Finish Installation

When your CloudShark virtual machine has loaded, you will see a rather minimal looking login console:

Log into the system as username cloudshark, password cloudshark.

Next, the program will ask you for your CloudShark Lounge credentials. If you use a proxy to access the Internet, you have a chance to enter that as well.

The system will take a moment to update all of its software packages automatically. Please be patient while these complete, as they may contain security updates.

A final request for your CloudShark Lounge credentials will come through. The first time was to update the operating system, and this second time is to finish installing the core CloudShark components, including your license.

The URL of your system will print on the screen. You need to leave the VM running, but you can minimize it out of sight. Use a web browser and connect to the CloudShark URL - it’s time to explore CloudShark.

Some Notes

If you don’t have DHCP available

The OVA is configured to use DHCP. If you need to use a static IP address, press Control-C to cancel the auto-run script and then use sudo to configure a standard CentOS static IP address in the system settings appropriate for you network. You can reload the installer by running

sudo ./

For users who hop across networks

CloudShark is multi-user software intended for deployment into a production network. For the purposes of the CloudShark Trial, users may wish to install onto a personal laptop. Often these systems have IP addresses that change as the system moves beween networks.

By default, the virtual machine’s network is ‘bridged’, which just means that it should act as though it is a regular network client equal to the host computer. Changing this interface to ‘NAT’ will hide the virtual machine from the network. The host computer will instead act as a sort of proxy. CloudShark (or any virtual machine using this) will see a persistent network provided by the host, while the host busily adapts to each network reconfiguration.

A special rule called a ‘Port Forward’ must be set. This is a map for direct network access to a single network port on the virtual machine. In the virtual machine configuration, there will be a place to add Port Forwarding rules. We recommend a port value such as ‘8080’ for the host, and the value ‘80’ is required for the guest. This configuration will send any request to http://laptop-name:8080 to the private address used by CloudShark on its regular web port. (Some virtual machine managers do not allow host ports below 1024, so a mapping of laptop-name:80 to cloudshark:80 may fail, even without an error.)

The point of this is that you can always access CloudShark regardless of the real network you are connected to. Using the values from above, you simply access http://laptop-name:8080 to access CloudShark. Further, you can send links to your laptop’s DNS name on port 8080 for colleagues to access CloudShark on your system. Since the http://laptop-name:8080 URL never changes, it’s worth a bookmark.

CloudShark prints the URL when you log into the console. In this scenario, it will calculate the NAT address. You’ll want to ignore it and use the port forward address instead.

About CloudShark

CloudShark is made by QA Cafe, a technology company based in Portsmouth, NH. Our passion for packet captures has grown out of our other product CDRouter.

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