DBA Tips Archive for Oracle


Creating a New Virtual Machine - (CentOS Enterprise Linux 5.0)

by Jeff Hunter, Sr. Database Administrator


  1. Overview
  2. Host Machine and Virtual Machine Configuration
  3. About CentOS Enterprise Linux
  4. Create a New Virtual Machine for Linux
  5. Optional Virtual Machine Configuration Steps
  6. Install CentOS Enterprise Linux
  7. Install VMware Tools
  8. Backing up the New Virtual Machine


This article provides the necessary steps to successfully create a new Virtual Machine (VM) using WMware Workstation 6.0.0 to host the CentOS Enterprise Linux 5.0.

  Please note that this article can be used to install either Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 (RHEL5) or CentOS Enterprise Linux 5. With the exception of the Post Install section and logo changes, the screens are identical. Another difference is the background screen colors. RHEL5 uses a dark red while CentOS 5 uses a dark blue background.

Why post an article like this on the Oracle DBA Tips section of my website? Well, this product provides a unique opportunity for me to have Windows XP running on my laptop with the ability to install another operating environment (Linux, Solaris x86, or even another version of Windows) on the same machine without the need for dual-booting. VMware Workstation provides me with a virtual machine that can run any of the above mentioned operating systems simultaneously with Windows XP on my laptop. This provides me with the flexibility to perform new installs or test new features of the Oracle database while not interrupting my somewhat stable Oracle install on the laptop.

With VMware Workstation, the virtual machine is nothing more than a directory of several files. After creating a virtual machine (Linux, Solaris, etc.) I typically close down the virtual machine and backup the directory to my NAS. Once this directory is backed up, I have a complete copy of the virtual machine that can be restored at any time. This leaves me the ability to install and configure Oracle on the virtual machine without the worry of messing anything up that will take a long time to fix. When I want to go back to a fresh virtual machine, I simply restore the directory that contains the virtual machine and I am done - back to a fresh install.

As previously mentioned, I prefer to run Windows XP Professional on my main laptop along with the most recent releases of Oracle9i and Oracle10g for Windows on that laptop. I also, however, need the ability to work with different Oracle configurations on Linux and Solaris x86 when I have only my laptop. Although I have several Linux and Sun machines at home, I may be on the road with no access to my vast array of equipment. This is where both VMware and CentOS Enterprise Linux come in handy.

For instructions on installing VMware Workstation on to the Windows XP Professional operating environment, see my article entitled "Installing VMware Workstation 6.0 - (Windows XP)".

Host Machine and Virtual Machine Configuration

Before diving into the instructions for creating the new virtual machine, let's first talk about the host machine and operating system that I have VMware Workstation installed on. Also in the table below is the configuration I will be using for the new virtual machine we will be creating in this article. Note that I have a 300GB external hard drive connected to my laptop. While the VMWare Workstation software will be installed on the internal hard drive, (C:), I will be using the external hard drive, (M:), for all virtual machines.

Host Machine
Host Machine Name melody.idevelopment.info - (
Host Operating Environment Windows XP Professional
WMware Version VMware Workstation - Release 6.0.0 (Build 45731)
Host Machine Dell Inspiron 8600 Laptop
Memory 2GB Installed
(The new virtual machine will take 1GB from this 2GB)
Internal Hard Drive 60GB
External Hard Drive 300GB
Processor 2.0 GHz.
File System NTFS
Guest Machine
Virtual Machine Configuration
Guest Operating Environment CentOS Enterprise Linux 5.0
Guest Machine Name vmlinux1.idevelopment.info - (
Memory 1GB
Hard Drive 32GB
Virtual Machine Location M:\My Virtual Machines\Workstation 6.0\vmlinux1

About CentOS Enterprise Linux

Although I have used Red Hat Fedora in the past, I wanted to switch to a Linux environment that would guarantee all of the functionality contained with Oracle. This is where CentOS comes in. The CentOS Linux project takes the Red Hat source RPMs, and compiles them into a free clone of the Red Hat Enterprise Server product. This provides not only a free version of the Red Hat Enterprise Linux product, but a very stable Linux operating environment for installing and testing Oracle.

I have been moving away from Fedora as I need a stable environment that is not only free, but as close to the actual Oracle supported operating system as possible. While CentOS is not the only project performing the same functionality, I tend to stick with it as it is stable and reacts fast with regards to updates by Red Hat. Here is a list of others that perform the same functionality as CentOS:

    White Box Enterprise Linux
    Pink Tie Linux
    Lineox Enterprise Linux

Use the following link to download CentOS Enterprise Linux 5.0:

   CentOS Enterprise Linux

Create a New Virtual Machine for Linux

Finally, we get to actually creating the virtual machine for CentOS Enterprise Linux. The process for creating a new virtual machine is very straightforward given VMware's wizard driven menu system. The following screen shots demonstrate how to create our new virtual machine. Start the VMware Workstation software and choose "[File] -> [New] -> [Virtual Machine]".

Screen 1: - Welcome

The first screen is simply a Welcome screen. Click [Next] to start the virtual machine creation process.

Screen 2: - Select the Appropriate Configuration

The default option in this screen will be to create a [Typical] configuration. Change this option to [Custom] and click [Next] to continue.

Screen 3: - Choose the Virtual Machine Hardware Compatibility

This screen allows you to select the "Hardware Compatibility" features that will be needed for the new virtual machine. Keep the default "Hardware Compatibility" selection of [Workstation 6] and click [Next] to continue.

Screen 4: - Select a Guest Operating System

You are now asked for what guest operating system will be installed to this new virtual machine. Although we are using CentOS Enterprise Linux 5, we will be choosing Red Hat Enterprise Server 5. Remember that these two distributions are identical with the exception of a few logo changes. Choose [Linux] as the Guest Operating System and [Red Hat Enterprise Server 5] as the version. Click [Next] to continue.

Screen 5: - Name of the Virtual Machine

VMware Workstation uses a user defined name to identify each virtual machine. The default name is the same name as the guest operating system that you chose for the new virtual machine (i.e. "Red Hat Enterprise Server 5"). I typically change this to the server name (host name) I will be using for the virtual machine. For the purpose of this example, my new server name for the virtual machine will be [vmlinux1] so this is what I will type in for the name and the directory. Also note that I am creating the new virtual machine on my external hard drive M:. You can, however, simply leave it to the default. This is a matter of choice and what you want to name the new virtual machine. After deciding on the name and location for the virtual machine, click [Next] to continue.

Screen 6: - Processor Configuration

Select the number of virtual processors to be used for this virtual machine. I typically stick with the default value of one. Click [Next] to continue.

Screen 7: - Memory for the Virtual Machine

Both Oracle9i and Oracle10g require a minimum of 512MB of RAM memory although more memory is always better for performance. In my case, I do have the memory to spare and will be giving the new virtual machine 1GB of memory (1008MB) given that I have 2GB of RAM on my laptop. Select the amount of memory you want to dedicate to the new virtual machine and click [Next] to continue.

Screen 8: - Network Type

You are now being asked for the network configuration. I typically keep the default, which is a bridged network. This allows other computers on my network to access the virtual machine. The other option, NAT allows your virtual machine to share the same IP address of your physical (host) machine. Do not select the NAT option as the Oracle installation will fail. The third option, host-only networking, allows only your physical (host) machine access the new virtual machine. If you select this option, other computers on your network will not be able to access the new virtual machine, but the Oracle install will still be successful. After making your network choice, click [Next] to continue.

Screen 9: - Select I/O Adapter Types

I always accept VMware's default option regarding the SCSI adapter to be used and click [Next] to continue.

Screen 10: - Select a Disk

Once again, keep the default option of "Create a new virtual disk" selected and click [Next] to continue.

Screen 11: - Select a Disk Type

You now need to choose a disk type. I always keep the default option which for Linux makes the new virtual disk a SCSI disk. Yes, this works even though you may have no SCSI I/O disks in your system. There is no performance differences by choosing IDE or SCSI here. Keep in mind that the system will only perform to what you actually have installed physically. If you do choose IDE, however, you will be limited to a max of 4 disk that can be attached to the virtual machine. In almost all situations, this will make no difference, but I do like having the SCSI option as it is more flexible to my machine needs. Click [Next] to continue.

Screen 12: - Specify Disk Capacity

Since I will be using this new virtual machine for Oracle, I will need a minimum of around 6GB (O/S files, RDBMS Software and new Oracle Database). Even at 6GB, space is going to be tight. I would recommend somewhere between 8GB and 32GB of space. Although I have the space on my internal hard drive for my laptop, I will be using an external hard drive connected to my laptop, M:, to store the virtual machine. Using the external hard drive, I now have plenty of spare room and decide to make mine 32GB. By default, the entire space you request here is not immediately allocated. As VMware needs more space for the virtual machine, it will allocate it to the upper limit you supply here. Since I know that I will be using most of the space, I like to "pre-allocate" this space. You can and should pre-allocate this space (in my case 32GB) by selecting the check-box "Allocate all disk space now". After selecting the disk size and choosing to allocate all disk space now, click [Next] to continue.

Screen 13: - Specify Disk File

WMware Workstation implements a virtual machine by using a disk file. This screen allows you to name the VMware file. It really doesn't matter the name of this file. I do, however, like to call it "Disk0.vmdk". Again, this is simply a matter of choice and any name will be fine. Make your selection and click [Finish] to start the creation process for the new virtual machine.

Screen 14: - Creating the disk - Progress Dialog

After clicking the [Finish] button, the virtual machine process begins. If you selected to have the space for the new virtual disk pre-allocated, you will get the (above) [Creating the disk] progress dialog.

Screen 15: - Virtual machine created successfully

If everything was successful, the wizard will display the "Virtual machine created successfully" dialog. If you do not want the new virtual machine wizard to disaply this dialog after creating a new virtual machine, select the "Do not show this page again" checkbox and click [Close].

Screen 16: - New Virtual Machine Created

The new virtual machine wizard will place the new virtual machine created in your [Favorites] list.

Optional Virtual Machine Configuration Steps

Since the virtual machine I have created will only be used to host Oracle, there are several devices that I can successfully remove from the virtual machine. Having the virtual machine virtualize these unnecessary hardware components is a waste of resources that could be better served with running Oracle.

Some considerations are removing floppy drives and sound cards. In my configuration, I want to remove the floppy drive and audio device. Select [Edit virtual machine settings] and navigate to the device you want to remove. The following screen shot shows how to remove the audio device:

The following screen shows the devices that are now configured for my new virtual machine after removing the audio device and floppy drive:

Install CentOS Enterprise Linux

Now that we have our new virtual machine, the only step remaining is to install CentOS Enterprise Linux to this virtual machine. The installation instructions in this section will prepare a suitable Linux environment for installing the Oracle database software (Oracle10g R2 and higer).

CentOS Enterprise Linux 5.0 comes on six CDs.

To start, insert Disk #1 of CentOS Enterprise Linux into the physical CD-ROM drive and then power up the new virtual machine. There are several ways to power up the virtual machine:

As I did in the previous section for creating the new virtual machine, I provide all screen shots for installing CentOS Enterprise Linux to our new virtual machine.

Screen 1: - Boot Screen

The first screen is the boot screen. At this point, you can add any type of boot options, but in most cases, all you need to do is press [Enter] to continue.

Screen 2: - Test CD Media

You can choose to verify the CD media in this screen. I know that the ISOs that I burnt to CD were OK, so I typically choose to [Skip] the media check.

After checking your media CDs (or if you are like me and Skip this process), the installer then starts to probe for your video device, monitor and mouse. The installer should determine that the video drive to use is VMware. It may detect the monitor as Unknown (which is OK), however in most cases it will be detected as "VMware Inc [VMware SVGA II] PCI Display Adapter". It then probes and finds the mouse. Once this process is done, it will start the X Server.

Screen 3: - Welcome

After the installer starts the X Server, you should have the Welcome screen. Click [Next] to continue.

Screen 4: - Language Selection

Select the language appropriate for your environment. The installer should choose the correct language by default. Click [Next] to continue.

Screen 5: - Keyboard

Select the keyboard appropriate for your environment. The installer should choose the correct keyboard by default. Click [Next] to continue.

Screen 6: - Disk Partitioning Warning Dialog

Click the [OK] button to acknowledge the disk partitioning warning dialog. This will initialize and erase all data on the /dev/sda disk.

Screen 7: - Automatic Partitioning

This is a new virtual machine and there is no data to loose on the drive selected (/dev/sda). Keep the default selection to "Remove linux partitions on selected drives and create default layout" and check the option to "Review and modify partitioning layout". Click [Next] to continue.

You will be prompted with a warning dialog asking to confirm the delete operation. Answer [Yes] to this dialog.

Screen 8: - Partitioning

For most automatic layouts, the defaults should be fine. For example, the space allocated for /boot is always OK at 100MB. The installer will make the swap space equal to twice the amount of RAM configured for this virtual machine. For my example, this would be 992MB x 2 = 1,984MB. The remainder is left for the root file system.

Starting with RHEL 4, the installer will create the disk configuration just noted but will create them using the Logical Volume Manager (LVM). For example, it will partition the first hard drive (/dev/sda for my configuration) into two partitions - one for the /boot partition (/dev/sda1) and the remainder of the disk dedicate to a LVM named VolGroup00 (/dev/sda2). The LVM Volume Group (VolGroup00) is then partitioned into two LVM partitions - one for the root file system (/) and another for swap. I basically check that the installer will create at least 2GB of swap. If the disk layout for your environment is already configured to create at least 2,048MB for the swap partition, simply click [Next] to continue. If not, continue this with this section.

When installing the Oracle database software, you should configure a swap partition of at least 2,048MB. Given my current configuration, I will want to increase the swap partition from 1,984MB to 2,048MB — a difference of 64MB. To increase the size of the swap partition, "Edit" the volume group VolGroup00.

This will bring up the "Edit LVM Volume Group: VolGroup00" dialog:

First, "Edit" and decrease the size of the root file system (/) by the amount you want to add to the swap partition. In this example, I will decrease the size of the root file system from 30,656MB to 30,592MB (30,656MB - 64MB = 30,592MB). Now add the space you decreased from the root file system (64MB) to the swap partition. The new configuration for the VolGroup00 volume group should now resemble:

Click [OK] on the "Edit LVM Volume Group: VolGroup00" dialog.

Once you are satisfied with the disk layout, click [Next] to continue.

Screen 9: - Boot Loader Configuration

The installer will use the GRUB boot loader and install it to /dev/sda by default. Nothing needs to be changed here. Click [Next] to continue.

Screen 10: - Network Configuration

Since I will be using this virtual machine to host an Oracle database, there will be several changes that need to be made to the network configuration. The settings you make here will, of course, depend on your network configuration. The key point to make is that the virtual machine should never be configured with DHCP if you will be using this virtual machine to host the Oracle database server. You will need to configure the virtual machine with a static IP address. You will also need to configure the virtual machine with a real host name.

To start, click on the [Edit] button for the Network Devices - (eth0). Click off the option for "Use dynamic IP configuration (DHCP)" and "Enable IPv6 support". Verify that the options "Enable IPv4 support" and "Activate on boot" are selected on. Next configure a static IP address and Netmask for your environment:

After completing the above dialog, complete all other network settings.

Click [Next] to continue.

Screen 11: - Time Zone Selection

Select the appropriate time zone for your environment and click [Next] to continue.

Screen 12: - Set Root Password

Set your root password and click [Next] to continue.

Screen 13: - Package Group Selection

On the [Package Group Selection] screen, select "Customize now" and click [Next] to continue.

This is where you pick the packages to install. Since this virtual machine will be hosting the Oracle database software, verify that at least the following packages are selected for install.

  • Desktop Environments
    • GNOME Desktop Environment
  • Applications
    • Editors
    • Graphical Internet
    • Text-based Internet
  • Development
    • Development Libraries
    • Development Tools
    • Legacy Software Development
  • Servers
    • Server Configuration Tools
  • Base System
    • Administration Tools
    • Base
    • Legacy Software Support
    • System Tools
    • X Window System

In addition to the above packages, select any additional packages you wish to install for this virtual machine. For example:

  • Applications
    • Authoring and Publishing
    • Emacs
    • Engineering and Scientific
  • Development
    • Java Development
  • Servers
    • FTP Server
    • Legacy Network Server - (includes rsh and telnet support)
    • MySQL Database
    • Network Servers
    • PostgreSQL Database
    • Printing Support
    • Web Server
    • Windows File Server
  • Base System
    • Java

After selecting the packages to install click [Next] to continue.

Screen 14: - About to Install

We are now ready to start the installation process. Click [Next] to start the installation.

Screen 15: - Required Install Media

Click the [Continue] button on the "Required Install Media" screen.

Screen 16: - Install Progress

During the installation process, you will be asked to switch disks to Disk #2, Disk #3, Disk #4, Disk #5 and then Disk #6.

Screen 17: - Installation Complete

At this point, the installation is complete and the CD will be ejected from the CD-ROM. Remove the installation media and click [Reboot] to reboot the system.

Screen 18: - Post Installation Wizard Welcome Screen

After the virtual machine is rebooted, you will be presented with a post installation wizard that allows you to make final configuration settings. On the "Welcome" screen, click [Forward] to continue.

Screen 19: - License Agreement

RHEL5 Users: When installing Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 (RHEL5), the next screen will be the user license agreement. Read through and accept the user license agreement and click [Forward] to continue.

Screen 20: - Firewall Configuration

On this screen, make sure to select the [Disabled] option and click [Forward] to continue.

You will be prompted with a warning dialog about not setting the firewall. When this occurs, click [Yes] to continue.

Screen 21: - SELinux

On the SELinux screen, choose the [Disabled] option and click [Forward] to continue.

You will be prompted with a warning dialog warning that changing the SELinux setting will require rebooting the system so the entire file system can be relabeled. When this occurs, click [Yes] to acknowledge a reboot of the system will occur after firstboot (Post Installation Wizard) is completed.

Screen 22: - Kdump

Accept the default setting on the Kdump screen (disabled) and click [Forward] to continue.

Screen 23: - Date and Time Settings

Adjust the date and time settings if necessary and click [Forward] to continue.

Screen 24: - Software Updates - Red Hat Network

RHEL5 Users: When installing Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 (RHEL5), the next screen allows you to setup and configure software updates using the Red Hat Network (RHN). If you have a Red Hat Network user account, you can enter it here and register your system with RHN. Alternatively, you can choose the option [No, I prefer to register at a later time] and click [Forward] to bypass this setup.

If you opt to bypass registering your system, acknowledge the next warning dialog by clicking the [No thanks, I'll connect later] button.

Finally, finish off the software updates section by clicking [Forward] to continue.

Screen 25: - Create User

Create any additional operating system user accounts if desired and click [Forward] to continue. For the purpose of this article, I will not be creating any additional operating system accounts. I will be creating the "oracle" user account during the Oracle database installation.

If you chose not to define any additional operating system user accounts, click [Continue] to acknowledge the warning dialog.

Screen 26: - Sound Card

On the sound card screen click [Forward] to continue.

Screen 27: - Additional CDs

On the "Additional CDs" screen click [Forward] to continue.

Screen 28: - Reboot System

Given we changed the SELinux option (to disabled), we are prompted to reboot the system. Click [OK] to reboot the system for normal use.

Screen 29: - Login Screen

After rebooting the virtual machine, you are presented with the login screen. Login using the "root" user account and the password you provided during the installation.

Screen 30: - User Desktop

After successfully logging in, you can now start using CentOS!

Install VMware Tools

Although this is an optional step, it is highly recommended to install the VMware Tools for the new virtual machine. Ensure that the virtual machine is powered on and that you are logged into Linux as the root user account.

From a terminal window on the virtual machine verify you are logged in as the root user account and switch to run level three by typing the following:

# /sbin/init 3
This should put you back to a console. You will then have to login as root from the console.

  If after attempting to switch to run level three, the virtual machine seems to hang, (not giving you a root login prompt), you will have to reboot the virtual machine and perform the tasks in this section in single user mode.

To reboot the virtual machine ensure that the virtual machine has control of the mouse and keyboard, (click the mouse in the virtual machine), and type:


During the boot loader process (Grub), quickly hit any key to stop the automatic boot of the Linux kernel. The default kernel will now be selected in the GRUB configuration window. With the default kernel selected, type 'e' to edit. This will then bring up three boot options. Navigate to the 'kernel /vmlinux-2.6.18-8.el5 ro ...' entry (usually the second entry) and type 'e' to edit this entry. The GRUB configuration will then bring up the boot option entry in edit mode and place the cursor at the end of the entry. From here, type in ' single' and hit [Enter].

You are then returned to the GRUB boot option screen with the kernel option you just edited selected. From here, keep the kernel option selected and type 'b' to boot this entry.

The virtual machine will now boot into single user mode - logged in as the root user account.

Now, release your mouse from the virtual machine by typing Ctrl-Alt. From the VMware software console, click on the menu option, VM -> Install VMware Tools... and confirm the next dialog by clicking the [Install] button. You will then need to mount the Virtual CD that gets created in the virtual machine using the following:

# cd /tmp
# mount -r /dev/cdrom /mnt
# tar -zxf /mnt/VMwareTools-6.0.0-45731.tar.gz
# cd vmware-tools-distrib
# umount /mnt
# ./vmware-install.pl
When the installation process begins, you can simply accept the default values for the first ten questions. After that, you are asked for the new screen resolution. You should pick the same screen resolution you selected during the CentOS Enterprise Linux install. After the installation is complete, you must now reboot the machine.
# init 6
When you log back in, you will notice that you no longer have to hit Ctrl-Alt to move between the virtual machine and the host operating system. Also, you will see that the mouse works more smoothly.

Backing up the New Virtual Machine

Now that you have your new virtual machine configured and working, this would be a good time to back it up. This is a very straightforward process as the virtual machine is nothing more than a few files in a directory.

The first step is to shutdown the virtual machine. You can power down the virtual machine by simply shutting down Linux. I also like to completely close out the VMware Workstation console before starting the copy.

Once this is done, simply backup the appropriate files as shown below:

C:\> dir /A-R "M:\My Virtual Machines\Workstation 6.0"
 Volume in drive M is Maxtor II (1394a FW400 - VMs)
 Volume Serial Number is 0C08-8CA4

 Directory of M:\My Virtual Machines\Workstation 6.0

07/15/2007  06:09 PM    <DIR>          .
07/15/2007  06:09 PM    <DIR>          ..
07/15/2007  06:09 PM    <DIR>          racdb1
07/15/2007  06:09 PM    <DIR>          racdb2
07/15/2007  06:09 PM    <DIR>          racdb3
07/15/2007  06:09 PM    <DIR>          racdb4
07/15/2007  06:09 PM    <DIR>          vmlinux1
07/15/2007  06:09 PM    <DIR>          vmlinux2
07/15/2007  06:09 PM    <DIR>          vmlinux3
07/15/2007  06:09 PM    <DIR>          vmlinux4
07/15/2007  06:09 PM    <DIR>          vmlinux5
07/15/2007  06:09 PM    <DIR>          vmlinux6
07/15/2007  09:55 PM    <DIR>          vmsun1
07/15/2007  06:09 PM    <DIR>          vmsun2
07/15/2007  06:09 PM    <DIR>          vmsun3
07/15/2007  06:09 PM    <DIR>          vmsun4
07/15/2007  06:09 PM    <DIR>          vmwindows1
07/15/2007  06:09 PM    <DIR>          vmwindows2
07/15/2007  06:09 PM    <DIR>          vmwindows3
07/15/2007  06:09 PM    <DIR>          vmwindows4
               0 File(s)              0 bytes
              20 Dir(s)  235,550,603,264 bytes free

C:\> mkdir "N:\Virtual Machine Backups\vmlinux1"

C:\> xcopy "M:\My Virtual Machines\Workstation 6.0\vmlinux1" "N:\Virtual Machine Backups\vmlinux1" /s /e
M:\My Virtual Machines\Workstation 6.0\vmlinux1\Disk0-flat.vmdk
M:\My Virtual Machines\Workstation 6.0\vmlinux1\Disk0.vmdk
M:\My Virtual Machines\Workstation 6.0\vmlinux1\Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.nvram
M:\My Virtual Machines\Workstation 6.0\vmlinux1\Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.vmsd
M:\My Virtual Machines\Workstation 6.0\vmlinux1\Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.vmx
M:\My Virtual Machines\Workstation 6.0\vmlinux1\Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.vmxf
M:\My Virtual Machines\Workstation 6.0\vmlinux1\vmware.log
7 File(s) copied

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I have made every effort and taken great care in making sure that the material included on my web site is technically accurate, but I disclaim any and all responsibility for any loss, damage or destruction of data or any other property which may arise from relying on it. I will in no case be liable for any monetary damages arising from such loss, damage or destruction.

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