Tips for running an Intel NUC Based VMware Homelab

Extend Storage Capacity with USB Datastores
If you need more storage capacity, use external USB drives. You can also use old M.2 or PCIe SSDs by buying an USB3.0 adapter. Make sure to use USB 3 and performance will be fine. Installation is explained here. You can also use USB Disks with VSAN.usb-datastores Read more »

VMware Homeserver – ESXi on 6th Gen Skull Canyon Intel NUC

Intel has launched the Skull Canyon NUC which completes the 6th Gen NUC family with a powerful Core i7 CPU and a redesigned chassis. I will take a look at its capabilities as homeserver running VMware ESXi. NUCs are not officially supported by VMware but they are very widespread in many homlabs or test environments. They are small, silent, transportable and have a very low power consumption, making it a great server for your homelab. 6th Gen NUCs in the old layout are also available with an i3 or i5 CPU which have been reviewed here.

esxi-skull-canyon-nuc

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Additional USB NIC for Intel NUCs running ESXi

Intel NUCs with ESXi are a proven standard for virtualization home labs. I’m currently running a homelab consisting of 3 Intel NUCs with a FreeNAS based All-Flash Storage. If you are generally interested in running ESXi on Intel NUCs, read this post first. One major drawback is that they only have a single Gigabit network adapter. This might be sufficient for a standalone ESXi with a few VMs, but when you wand to use shared Storage or VMware NSX, you totally want to have additional NICs.

intel-nuc-usb-nic

A few month ago, this problem has been solved by an unofficial driver that has been made available by VMware engineer William Lam.

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PernixData released FVP 3.5 and Architect 1.1

PernixData has released the latest version of their FVP and Architect software, bringing FVP to version 3.5 and Architect to version 1.1. Together with some small feature enhancements and support for vSphere 6.0 Update 2, the main enhancement is the virtual appliance.

pernixdata-virtual-appliance

I’ve deployed the appliance in my Homelab to test drive the appliance and their new features.

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NSX 6.2.3 with Free Log Insight Entitlement released

VMware has release an update for their network virtualization platform NSX. Together with some minor changes to the product itself, VMware announced that all users with a NSX 6.2.3 (and beyond) license are now entitled to vRealize Log Insight for NSX at no additional charge.

What’s new in VMware NSX 6.2.3

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ESXi Installation on NUC6i7KYK fails with “Fatal error: 10 (Out of resources)”

When you try to install VMware ESXi 6.0 on the latest Skull Canyon Intel NUC (NUC6i7KYK), the installation fails with one of the following error messages:

Error loading /tools.t00
Compressed MD5: 39916ab4eb3b835daec309b235fcbc3b
Decompressed MD5: 000000000000000000000000000000
Fatal error: 10 (Out of resources)

Error loading /tools.t00
Compressed MD5: 000000000000000000000000000000
Decompressed MD5: 000000000000000000000000000000
Fatal error: 15 (Not found)

NUC6i7KYK-Skull-Canyon-NUC-back
This problem is caused by the Thunderbolt Controller, which is a new component in the NUC6i7KYK, and therefore only the Skull Canyon NUC is affected. The problem can be solved by temporarily disabling the Thunderbolt controller during installation.

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VMware HCL Check with PowerCLI (Proof of Concept)

Announced in my VMware HCL in JSON Format post a few days ago, here is now a working version of my script. The script does not create a fancy report at the moment, it just writes some output and the result. It’s only intended to show that it actually works. Here is an example:

vmware-hcl-check-script

There are still some problems, but especially with HP, Dell or IBM Systems, it produces good results.

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ESXi 5.1 May 2016 SSLv3 Patch (Build 3872664)

VMware has published a patch for ESXi 5.1 and the corresponding vCenter Server version.

Product: VMware ESXi 5.1
Release date: May 24, 2016
Patch: ESXi510-201605001
Build: 3872664
Build (security only): 3872638
Links: KB2141429 | Download

VMware vCenter Server 5.1 Update 3d and modules [Release Notes] [Download]

The SSLv3 issue has been addressed in this releases. Support for SSLv3 protocol is enabled by default but is configurable. This removes the risk of an unmanageable ESXi hosts when you update ESXi to the latest version, without having the latest vCenter Server.

To disable SSLv3 in your vSphere environment, you need to update ESXi to ESXi 5.1 build 3872664 released on May 24, 2016 and update vCenter Server to vCenter Server 5.1 Update 3d first and then manually disable SSLv3 through configuration settings, for more information, see KB2139396.

The latest ESXi 5.1.0 Build number is now: 3872664
Updated: ESXi Release and Build Number History
Updated: ESXi Image Profiles

VMware HCL in JSON Format

When you want to upgrade ESXi hosts, or just want do create health reports, you might want to verify that the system is listed in VMwares HCL. The HCL is currently only provided as website which might be a problem for automated reports. To make HCL checks, I’ve transformed the HCL into the JSON format, which works great in scripts. Here is the result:

vmware-hcl-json

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VMware NSX 6 Component Communication Diagram

This post provides information on the required ports for VMware NSX for vSphere 6.

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