Author Archives: fgrehl

vCenter Service Appliance 6.5 Tips and Tricks

The following tips and tricks might come handy when working with the vCenter Service Appliance 6.5:

  • Enable SSH
  • File Transfer with SCP/SFTP (WinSCP)
  • Login with Public Key Authentication
  • Disable or Increase Shell Session Timeout
  • Reset vCenter Server Appliance 6.5 root password
  • VIMTop
  • Certificate Warning

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Script to add vSphere 6.5 VMCA Root Certificate to Trusted Certs Store

When running vSphere 6.5 deployments in default (recommended) mode, VMware Certificate Authority is its own root certificate authority. Everything fine and secure with this configuration, but your browser displays a warning because the root certificate is not trusted.
there-is-a-problem-with-this-security-certificate

I made a little script (VBS) that pulls the CA certificate from a vCenter Server or Platform Services Controller and adds it to the local trusted root certificates store. When the root CA is trusted, browser warnings are gone.

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Heads Up - ESXi not working on 7th Gen (Kaby Lake) Intel NUC7

I've received reports that the ESXi 6.5 and ESXi 6.0 installer fails to load on the latest 7th Gen NUCs:

  • NUC7i3BNH
  • NUC7i3BNK
  • NUC7i5BNH
  • NUC7i5BNK

The main issue is that the I219-V NIC is not recognized, so the installer fails with the well known "No Network Adapters" error message. Today I managed to get my hands on a NUC7i3BNH to narrow down the issue. By now I've not managed to get the embedded Network Adapter to work. A workaround with a USB-based NIC is possible. Here are my findings so far:

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Homelab: Downsizing vCenter Server Appliance 6.5

In vSphere 6.5 the smallest supported memory configuration for the vCenter Server Appliance has been raised from 8GB to 10GB. The smallest "Tiny" deployment size allows up to 10 ESXi Hosts and 100 Virtual Machines. Resources in Homelabs are limited and you might want to lower the memory consumption of the vCenter Servcer Appliance. This article explains how to lower the resource consumption to be able to lower the memory to about 6GB without noticable impacts.

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ESXi 6.5 Feburary 2017 Patch with NSX Support (Build 4887370)

VMware has published a patch for ESXi 6.5 and the corresponding vCenter Server version. This patch [..l}] and is the first 6.5 release to support VMware NSX.

Product: VMware ESXi 6.5
Release date: February 2, 2017
Patch: ESXi650-201701001
Build: 4887370
Links: KB2147869 | Download Read more »

Preview on 7th Gen (Kaby Lake) Intel NUC

The 7th Generation of my favorite Homelab systems are ready to be launched and the shipping is expected to start in Q1 2017. Intel NUCs are small, silent, transportable and have a very low power consumption, making it a perfect system for labs or as a home server. Intel has put its latest Kaby Lake mobile CPU into the mini system.

Intel NUCs were never officially supported by VMware but they have a great community support. Their 4th5th and 6th Generations are proven in many home labs or even for demonstrating Virtual SAN deployments.

  • Kaby Lake CPU
  • i7, i5 and i3 CPUs are available
  • Up to 32GB of DDR4 SODIMM memory
  • Available with and without 2.5" HDD slot
  • M.2 slot with NVMe support
  • Thunderbolt 3 support via USB-C
  • USB 3.1 support
  • Intel Optane Memory support
  • External SD Card Slot
  • Intel I219V Network Adapter
  • Front Power Button

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How to add AD Authentication in vCenter 6.5

The vCenter Server has an internal user database that allows you to add and manage users with the vSphere Web Client. Users management and Single Sign-On is provided by the Platform Service Controller which is available since vSphere 6.0. In a large environment, you might want to connect your virtualization infrastructure to a centrally manage Active Directory.

This article explains how to add AD authentication in vSphere 6.5 and how to get the "Use Windows session authentication" checkbox to work with the enhanced authentication plugin. This works for both, the vCenter Server 6.5 installed on a Windows Server and the vCenter Server Appliance (vCSA).

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How to Join the vCSA 6.5 to an Active Directory Domain

In vSphere 6.5 the underlying operating system from the vCenter Server Appliance (vCSA) has been changed to VMwares PhotonOS. With the new OS, you can still join an Active Directory domain to comply with company policies, or if you want to use windows session authentication. Joining an Active Directory domain is included in the infrastructure node configuration which is part of the Platform Services Controller. Please verify standard AD requirements like time synchronization and naming prior to joining a domain.

If you want to log in with the "Windows session authentication" checkbox, you have to add the appliance running the Platform Services Controller (PSC) to the domain. For embedded deployments, join the appliance running both, the vCenter and the PSC to the domain.

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VMware IO Devices HCL in JSON Format

For a healthy platform and to receive support from VMware it is important to verify that all IO devices are listed in VMwares Compatibility Guide or Hardware Compatibility List (HCL) with their correct driver and firmware version. The HCL is currently only provided as a website which is a problem for automated reports. Therefore I've transformed the VMwares IO Devices HCL into the JSON format, which works great in scripts. Here is the result:

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VMware HCL in JSON Format News and PowerCLI Function

A few month ago I created a VMware HCL in JSON Format. This file should allow you to use the information provided by VMware in their HCL in an automated way. Recently I made some improvements to the JSON HCL and created a working PowerCLI function that can match about 80% of all systems.

Currently, the JSON files are generated every 2-3 days. I also created two filtered versions because the full HCL is very large and contains outdated information: Read more »