Tag Archives: ESXi

Product End Of Support Matrix now available as JSON (incl. Script)

The database used at my VMware Product End Of Support Countdown is now available in JSON. The database is based on VMware Lifecycle Product Matrix and allows you to use the information in scripts or for automation purposes.


I’ve also written a small script to demonstrate what this information can be used for.

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ESXi Version Information now available as JSON (incl. Script example)

Out of many reasons, I need VMware ESXi version information in a format that can be reused in scripts. I maintain a manual list since a couple of years but this list can’t be used for automation purposes. VMware does not provide this information in the required format, so I created my own database which is now also available as JSON file.


I’ve also written a small script to demonstrate what this information can be used for. Read more »

Backup Solutions for Free ESXi

VMware offers a free version of their vSphere Hypervisor with some limitations like the lack of vCenter support. Another limitation is that APIs are read-only, so it’s not possible to use the Data Protection API aka. VADP to make Backups.

Creating backups of Virtual Machines is also important on standalone ESXi hosts. The API limitation makes it impossible to create incremental CBT aided backups, but it’s not impossible to create full copies of virtual machines. The post explains the technique to create backups and takes a look at solution that use these techniques.

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What’s inside VMware vSphere 6.0 Update 2

VMware has just released vSphere 6.0 Update 2. Together with the Updates, the following product updates were released today:

If you want to get notified about new products, subscribe to my vTracker RSS Feed.

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How long are Virtual Machines stunned for Snapshots and vMotion?

I’ve read this excellent article by Cormac Hogan explaining why and when a Virtual Machine receives a “stun”. This post is a follow-up explaining how you can determine the duration of a Virtual Machine stun on the most common vSphere functions:

  • Create a Snapshot
  • Delete a Snapshot
  • vMotion

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5th Gen Intel NUC with 32GB Memory

Intel NUCs with ESXi are being used as home servers and in many home labs. If you are generally interested in running ESXi on Intel NUCs, read this post first. Officially, it is limited to 16GB memory which might come a little bit short for virtualization labs. Recently Crucial has launched 16GB DDR3L modules for an affordable price (Intelligent Memory was the first in the market with 16GB modules, but they were quite expensive). I’ve ordered two Crucial 16GB modules (CT204864BF160B) and tested them in my 5th Gen Intel NUC (NUC5i5MYHE).


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What’s Inside an ESXi vm-support Bundle?

When you open a Support Request (SR) at VMware, the Global Support Services usually requests you to collect diagnostic information. You can create this log bundle with a special command line tool (vm-support), with the vSphere (Web-)Client or with the API. No matter how you create the bundle the result is always the same: a .tgz file containing your ESXi Host name and the creation date with a size of about 30 – 300MB.

This post explains what’s inside this log bundle, but instead of simply extracting the file and looking at the result, I am going to take a look on how the file is created and what’s part of the process.

Why is it important to know? Because it does not only contain data that allows VMware GSS to identify your issue, but also to help yourself to enhance your troubleshooting skills. The script gathers the output of many useful commands and there is nearly no black magic involved. You do not need special tools or internal VMware knowledge to make use of this log bundle.


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Pre-installed ESXi 6.0 on SD Cards or Flash Drives

Many ESXi installations are running on SD Cards or flash drives. In my opinion, it’s a good practice. The hypervisor itself requires about 150MB, and the full installation on a SD Card is less than 1GB, without diagnostic partitions. VMware recommends using a 4GB or larger USB/SD device. When you want to install ESXi and you don’t use auto-deploy, install servers or other automation tools you typically have to mount an ESXi ISO file to your server management system (iLO, iDRAC,…) or work with a physical installation media. This is somewhat slow and uncomfortable, but there is a little trick to make the installation faster.

You can prepare the USB/SD device with the ESXi installer, plug it into your server and install it to the device itself by overwriting the installer. You can also use customized installers when your hardware requires special drivers. Read more »

How to hide a Virtual Machine

This post explains how you can hide a VMware based Virtual Machine from designated users or the entire vCenter Server infrastructure. I’am explaining different scenarios where you can hide Virtual Machines including:

  • Hide Virtual Machines from Groups or Users in vCenter
  • Hide Virtual Machines from the entire vCenter Server
  • Hide Virtual Machines from root on Single ESXi instances
  • Find hidden Virtual Machines

To clarify, this post does not cover techniques to cloak that the Guest OS is running on a virtual machine, instead of bare metal.

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Adding a second NIC to a 5th Gen Intel NUC (Or other PCIe Cards)

NUC5i5MYHE-with-external-nic-squareIntel NUCs with ESXi are being used as home servers and in many home labs. 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 network port. There are USB NICs in the market, but for ESXi hosts they only work in path through mode. That means that USB NICs can only be used inside VMs and not for the hypervisor itself as vmnic.

The slightly older 4th Gen NUCs had a Mini PCIe slot that allowed an additional NIC to be installed. With that port it was possible to install a Syba Mini PCIe NIC for example. Nevertheless the adapter is unsupported with ESXi and did not fit into the NUC chassis, there are solutions.

Unfortunately, the 5th Gen NUC does no longer have a Mini PCIe slot. Instead it has M.2 slots. An easy solution would be a M.2 NIC, but until today there are no such cards available. In this post I will explain the possibilities to use PCIe cards with the M.2 slot to upgrade the 5th Gen NUC with additional NICs or other cards like Fibre Channel HBAs.

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