Author Archives: fgrehl

Backup vSphere Cluster with ghettoVCB

The ghettoVCB script is a well known free backup solution for standalone ESXi Hosts created by William Lam. The script works with ESXi 3.x up to ESXi 6.7. It does not support vCenter or cluster backups out of the box but with a little workaround, you can backup virtual machines in a DRS enabled cluster. I'm using this type of backup for a couple of months without issues.

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Adding ESXi Host to an EVC enabled Cluster fails

Adding an ESXi host to an EVC enabled vSphere 6.7 Clusters fails with the following error message:

The host's CPU hardware does not support the cluster's current Enhanced vMotion Compatibility mode. The host CPU lacks features required by that mode.

  • com.vmware.vim.vmfeature.cpuid.mdclear
  • com.vmware.vim.vmfeature.cpuid.fcmd
  • com.vmware.vim.vmfeature.cpuid.ssbd

See KB 1003212 for more information.
Host is of type: vendor intel family 0x6 model 0x8e
The target host does not support the virtual machine's current hardware requirements.

The cluster is running with EVC Mode "Haswell" and contains hosts with "Skylake" and "Kaby Lake G" CPUs while the new host has a "Kaby Lake" CPU. There is no reason why it shouldn't be possible to add the host to the cluster. All Hosts are running ESXi 6.7 U3 (Build 15018017).

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ESXi on 8th Gen Intel NUC (Kaby Lake-G - Hades Canyon)

Intel launched a successor to their Skull Canyon based Gaming NUCs - The 8th Gen Kaby Lake-G NUC. The new Hades Canyon named NUCs are the first systems to have two Gigabit NICs embedded which makes them even better to be used with ESXi. NUCs are not officially supported by VMware but they are very widespread in many home labs or test environments. They are small, silent, transportable and have a very low power consumption, making it a great server for your homelab. Generation 8 Hades Canyon NUCs are available with two different CPUs but their main difference is the Graphics chip. Compared to the previous releases commercial Dawson Canyon NUCs, they are not equipped with Intel's vPro Technology.

  • NUC8i7HVK (Intel Core i7‑8809G) - "The big one"
  • NUC8i7HNK (Intel Core i7‑8705G)

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How To Secure Erase ESXi Disks (HPE or Generic Hardware)

Since a couple of versions, vSphere comes with an erase function in the GUI. This function deletes all partitions to reuse disks with vSAN for example. However, data is not overwritten and can be restored.

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VMware ESXi 6.7 Installation on Intel NUC8i7HNK and NUC8i7HVK

When you try to install VMware ESXi 6.7 on the smaller version of the 8th Gen Hades Canyon Intel NUC (NUC8i7HNK), the installer fails to boot with the following error message:

Shutting down firmware services...
Using 'simple offset' UEFI RTS mapping policy

The problem only happens with the NUC8i7HNK, not its larger brother NUC8i7HVK.

It took a couple month and a lot of people were trying to get it up and running (eg. on Reddit) but the problem was finally fixed by Intel within BIOS Version 51.

  • NUC8i7HNK - Core i7‑8705G - Works with BIOS Version 51
  • NUC8i7HVK - Core i7‑8809G - Works out of the box

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7th Gen NUC Remote Management with KVM using vPro AMT

Intel's latest 7th Gen Dawson Canyon NUCs are equipped with AMT vPro Technology. Intel AMT (Active Management Technology) allows remote management including a KVM Console. vPro is available in NUCs with i7 and i5 CPUs. NUCs with i3 CPUs do not have vPro Technology.

7th Gen NUCs with vPro Technology:

  • NUC7i7DNHE
  • NUC7i7DNKE
  • NUC7i5DNHE
  • NUC7i5DNKE

Activation and access to the Remote Console/KVM are a little bit hidden. This post explains how to enable and use the remote management. Read more »

ESXi on 7th Gen Intel NUC (Kaby Lake - Dawson Canyon)

Intel launched a commercial version of their 7th Gen NUCs. The new Dawson Canyon named NUCs are available with vPro technology which allows you to manage NUCs remotely. NUCs are not officially supported by VMware but they are very widespread in many homelabs or test environments. They are small, silent, transportable and have a very low power consumption, making it a great server for your homelab. Generation 7 Dawson Canyon NUCs are available with i3, i5 and i7 CPUs but only i5 and i7 are equipped with IIntel's vPro Technology. The i3 comes without vPro and has an identical CPU than the Baby Canyon. The i7 has a powerful 4 Core Kaby Lake-R CPU which give a great performance boost.

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vCenter Service Appliance 6.7 Tips and Tricks

VMware is moving their vCenter Server from Windows to the Linux based Photon OS. The following tips and tricks might come handy when working with the vCenter Service Appliance 6.7:

  • Enable SSH
  • File Transfer with SCP/SFTP
  • Public Key Authentication
  • Disable or Increase Shell Session Timeout
  • Password expiration
  • Reset vCenter Server Appliance 6.7 root password
  • Create a Backup Job
  • Certificate Warning

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Free ESXi 6.7 - How to Download and get License Keys

vSphere 6.7 has been released and as known from previous versions, VMware provides a free version of their Hypervisor ESXi for everyone again. The license key can be created for free at VMware's website. It has no expiration date. The binaries you will receive as "Free Hypervisor" are 100% identical to the paid version but with some software limitations.

Tech Specs and Limitations

  • No commercial support (But great community support)
  • Free ESXi cannot be added to a vCenter Server
  • Some API functionality is missing
  • No physical CPU limitation
  • Number of logical CPUs per host: 480
  • Maximum vCPUs per virtual machine: 8

Other limitations like the 32GB Memory or 2 CPU Socket limit are no longer in place.

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VMware ESXi 6.7 - IO Devices not certified for upgrade

vmware-hcl-65Beside Server Hardware, also double check if your IO Devices (eg. NIC, HBA,..) are supported when updating ESXi hosts from VMware vSphere 6.5 to 6.7. The following devices were supported in vSphere 6.5 but are according to VMware's HCL not (yet) supported in vSphere 6.7.

  • Not supported does not say that it does not work.
  • The list has been created with the help of my IO-Devices HCL in JSON Format.
  • Did I miss something? Please comment.

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