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Howto install Realtek 8168 Drivers on an existing ESXi 6.0 host

I was recently updating my home lab and ran into an issue with my NICs as VMware no longer has the Realtek 8168 drivers embedded in the ESXi installer for 5.5/6.0.  I tried the old method of injecting the driver into the ISO and that proved unsuccessful since the driver is blacklisted -- with the release of vSphere 6.0 VMware has implemented a driver blacklisting feature.  Fortunately you can bypass this feature to get your home lab up and running:


VMware Auto Deploy IP Change

So you changed the IP for your auto deploy server and re-registered it with vCenter but still having problems connecting with your vSphere Client?  You'll see in the error message it has the old IP:



What you need to do is update the auto deploy config XML file, to find this file run the following command:

reg.exe QUERY "HKLM\SOFTWARE\WOW6432Node\VMware, Inc.\VMware vSphere Auto Deploy" /v DataPath

Then navigate to that path and find the vmconfig-autodeploy.xml file, pop it open in your favorite text editor and update the IP address in the <serviceAddress> declaration (highlighted below)



Save the file and restart the Auto Deploy service and you'll be cooking once again!



vShield Manager 5.5 Upgrade Fails: Invalid file

So your kicking off your vSphere 5.5 upgrade and your starting off with vShield Manager and what should be a real easy upgrade you instantly get this error when you upload the Upgrade Bundle:

vshield failure


Fortunately the fix is super simple, just rename to ensure the file extension is .tar.gz e.g.:

Downloaded file: VMware-vShield-Manager-upgrade-bundle-5.5.0-1317534.gz
Renamed file: VMware-vShield-Manager-upgrade-bundle-5.5.0-1317534.tar.gz

It's worth noting that this was also an issue with vShield Manager 5.1 as well if you were performing an upgrade...


Orchestrator: Error: Not published webview error The webview ‘weboperator’ is not published.

Working with vCenter Orchestrator and getting "Error: Not published webview error The webview 'weboperator' is not published." when you try to approve a user interaction in your workflow?

Navigate to Web Views and right click weboperator and ensure it's published!


vCenter Orchestrator Plugin Updates!

These updates were posted on the vCenter Orchestrator forums recently, if you aren't keeping tabs over there you should be.

Links for each plugins release notes can be found on the thread @ http://communities.vmware.com/thread/405928?tstart=0


Cook your own VMware AppBlast

Wrote this article almost 6 months ago...finally got around to finishing it--Let me know what you think!

"Project AppBlast will provide the universal delivery of any application, including Windows-based applications, to any off-the-shelf browser or device supporting HTML 5, enabling instant remote access to non-HTML based applications."

We discussed this at work the other day and we were excited at the possibilities with AppBlast, but since it's not here now we'll have to wait for a released product.  One of my co-workers Chad Wintzer said well why wait?  We dug around and came up with a working solution--and a damn good one after a few evenings grinding away at this.  Having a fair amount of RDS experience already this is what we came up with:


The backend infrastructure is provided by Microsoft's Remote Desktop Services: RemoteApp.  This feature was introduced in Windows Server 2008 and was improved upon even more in the R2 release.  What RemoteApp allows you to do is run applications on backend RDS (TS) servers, and establish an RDP session from a user to just that app.  The user is presented with a window over their local desktop and functions just about as if it was actually installed and running off the local desktop.  Users can run multiple applications in parallel and so long as the app behaves well in a RDS environment you can host 1 installation with multiple users.  The servers that run RemoteApps are called RD Session Hosts, to scale you can simply throw a bunch of RD Session Hosts together and strap a load balancer on top, however you will want to use RD Connection Broker(s) in place of a traditional load balancer to keep track of user sessions.  The Connection Broker(s) manage session information such as RD Session Host server, session state, session ID, and the user associated with the aforementioned bits.  For the security junkies it's worth noting that RemoteApp is AD integrated so you can restrict access to various apps via Security Groups.  This was something added in R2 I believe as many folks were complaining about this when RemoteApp first came out.

If you don't want to go that route you can look at Citrix's XenApp offering, but we found RDS: RemoteApp performed exactly as we needed it to.


Howto Install VIB Patches on ESXi Hosts Without Update Manager

So you find yourself in a position where you need to update one (or more) of your hosts but don't have vCenter Update Manager around to assist.  In my case trying to get Windows Server 8 CP working....It's not terribly difficult, you simply:

  1. Download the patch - you can download patches direct from VMware @ the Patch Portal
  2. Open a datastore with enough freespace to store the patch via your vSphere Client (Right-Click->Browse on a datastore)
  3. Upload the patch you downloaded (should be a .zip file)
  4. SSH into the host
  5. Execute the command "esxcli software vib install /vmfs/volumes/<DATASTORE-NAME>/<PATCH-NAME>.zip"  - replacing the <DATASTORE-NAME> and <PATCH-NAME> appropriately.

This command can take some time to execute for large patches.

When it's done you should get some text like below, remember to pay attention to this text so you know if you need to reboot your host or not.


Dell Management Center Plugin for vCenter Overview/Install Guide

Dell introduced this plugin awhile back, it's actually a Virtual Appliance you import into vCenter.  The plugin inside vCenter is actually an Adobe Flex (Flash-based) app that gets embedded into your vSphere Client, so ensure you have Flash installed on the machine(s) you wish to use this plugin from.

Overview of Features

  • Update BIOS/Firmware on Dell ESXi hosts from vCenter
  • Checks for updates automatically and alerts you when there are updates available
  • Can leverage an established Dell Repository to avoid data duplication--if you are a heavy Dell shop you should know what this is
  • New vCenter Alarms for Dell Hardware
    • These Alarms can even trigger hosts to go into maintence mode to evacuate VMs from that particular host if the hardware event is critical (in a DRS enabled cluster of course)
  • Supports Dell's Proactive Systems Management
    • Works without (the God-awful) SilverStreak to automatically create support cases with Dell when issues arise
  • View Warranty information of your Dell hosts
    • Allows you to configure a proxy, if your environment requires one
  • Bare metal deployment of ESX/ESXi servers
    • This leverages Dell Lifecycle Controllers and iDRACs to provision Dell servers somewhat auto-magically.
    • First you create a Hardware Profile from a Reference Server--(configures boot order, BIOS settings, iDRAC settings, RAID config)
    • Then you create a Hypervisor profile--You point at an ISO, and configure the vCenter, destination container (data center or cluster), and even a host profile for you enterprise plus users.
    • Note you can "white-list" service tags so only those hosts you define can be used by the plugin to deploy against.
  • OSMA Launcher
    • So you can launch directly to your OSMA web console to connect to an OSMA agent on an ESXi host
  • Appliance Upgradable
    • Does not require replacement by deploying a new OVF when a new version comes out


    vCenter Orchestrator Trouble: Server service fails to start – service terminated with service-specific error Incorrect function

    I was setting up a new instance of Orchestrator inside my lab and came across this issue.  the Orchestrator Server service would not start, andi nside the vCenter Orchestrator Configuration webpage, we don't have any output in the log--so we investigate the Windows logs...

    In the system log all you see is Error: The VMware vCenter Orchestrator Server service terminated with service-specific error Incorrect function..

    Poking around we come across a log file @ C:\Program Files\VMware\Infrastructure\Orchestrator\app-server\bin\wrapper.log which sheds some light on the problem:

    Your first thought might be disk space, did a log run away? No that isn't the case--Java Heap refers to memory, looking inside the wrapper.conf from the command above we find more information.

    Java has to allocate 2Gb of RAM on startup. My VM only had 1.5Gb, that looks like the issue--this is what you get for ignoring the Minimum System Requirements (assuming your running Orchestrator on same server as your vCenter).  Increase the RAM on your VM and this error should be gone. vCenter Server should have a minimum of 3Gb of RAM.


    vSphere Client: Keyboard Shortcuts

    My most favorite keyboard shortcut in the vSphere Client is Ctrl+Shift+F - It's like Google for vCenter. It flips to the search box and allows you to find VMs, Templates, Datastores, Networks, Hosts, Clusters, Folders,etc.

    vCenter Navigation Shortcuts

    These shortcuts are for when you are in the a VM's Console

    Shortcut Description
    Ctrl+Shift+V Switches to VM and Templates
    Ctrl+Shift+H Switches to Hosts and Clusters
    Ctrl+Shift+D Switches to Datastore
    Ctrl+Shift+N Switches to Networking
    Ctrl+Shift+F Switches to Search - THE shortcut to remember
    Ctrl+Shift+E Switches to Events
    Ctrl+Shift+L Switches to Licensing
    Ctrl+Shift+M Switches to Maps
    Ctrl+Shift+O Switches to System Logs
    Ctrl+Shift+P Switches to Host Profiles
    Ctrl+Shift+R Switches to Roles
    Ctrl+Shift+S Switches to Sessions
    Ctrl+Shift+T Switches to Scheduled Tasks
    Ctrl+Shift+U Switches to Customization Specifications Manager
    Ctrl+Shift+I Opens vCenter Server Settings
    Alt+Home Switches to Home
    Ctrl+Tab Cycles forward through tabs
    Ctrl+Shift+Tab Cycles backward through tabs
    Alt+Arrow Left/Right Shortcuts for the Forward/Back buttons at the top left of the vSphere Client

    VM Console Shortcuts

    These shortcuts are for when you are in the a VM's Console

    Shortcut Description
    Ctrl+Shift+Insert Sends Ctrl+Alt+Delete
    Ctrl+G Transfers mouse and keyboard input from the local machine to the virtual machine (same as clicking in the window) great for when you don't have a mouse handy
    Ctrl+Alt+Enter Full Screen VM
    Ctrl+Alt Unlocks mouse/keyboard from VM console window, also exists full screen mode
    Ctrl+Shift+X Exit VM Console

    New Item Shortcuts

    Use these shortcuts to create new things in vCenter

    Shortcut Description
    Ctrl+N New VM
    Ctrl+A New vApp
    Ctrl+H New Host
    Ctrl+L New Cluster
    Ctrl+O New Resource Pool
    Ctrl+F New Folder
    Ctrl+D New Datastore

    VM Shortcuts

    These shortcuts are for when you select a VM or are in the a VM's Console

    Shortcut Description
    Ctrl+B Power On VM
    Ctrl+E Power Off VM
    Ctrl+T Reset VM
    Ctrl+Z Suspend VM
    Ctrl+D Shut Down Guest - Requires VMware Tools
    Ctrl+R Restart Guest - Requires VMware Tools
    Ctrl+P Add Permission to VM
    Ctrl+M Add Alarm to VM


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