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.


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.


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)

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:


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:


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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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Determine TBW from SSDs with S.M.A.R.T Values in ESXi (smartctl)

smartctl-in-esxiSolid-State-Drives are getting more and more common in ESXi Hosts. They are used for caching (vFlash Read Cache, PernixData FVP), Virtual SAN or plain Datastores. A problem that comes with SSDs is their limited lifetime per cell. Depending on their technology, each cell can be overwritten from 1.000 times in consumer TLC SSDs up to 100.000 times in enterprise SLC based SSDs.

The value to keep an eye on is the guaranteed TBW (Total Bytes Written or Terabytes Written) which is typically provided by the vendor in their specifications. This value describes how many Terabytes can be written to the entire device, until the warranty expires. The current value can be readout with S.M.A.R.T. in the Total_LBAs_Written field.

Unfortunatelly, VMware makes it hard to readout RAW S.M.A.R.T values on ESXi hosts. For that reason I’ve ported a version of smartctl, which is part of  smartmontools to ESXi. I’ve made the package available as VIB. The download link is at the bottom of this post.

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Deploy VMware NSX in Homelabs with Limited Resources

downsizing-nsxWhen deploying VMware NSX in a homelab, its huge resource requirement might be an issue. In the default configuration a small setup with NSX Manager, 3 NSX Controllers and 2 Edge gateways requires 30 GB Memory. Consumer VMs to connect to logical switches requiring additional resources.

This post explains how you can deploy VMware NSX in your homelab with less than 8GB Memory by downsizing each component including:

  • NSX Manager
  • NSX Controllers
  • NSX Edge Gateways
  • Consumer VMs

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