Since a long time VMware supports device hot plug in its Virtual Machines. This leads to the "Safely Remove Hardware and Eject Media" tray icon to be displayed in Windows VMs, and it allows a user to eject the network card and even hard disks from the machine. While the latter will fail in most cases, because the hard disk is in use by Windows, ejecting the NIC will succeed ... and it will do exactly this. The NIC will disappear from the VM, which will disconnect from the network until a VMware administrator re-adds a new NIC to it!
How many times were curious Windows Admins or VDI desktop users not only tempted by this possibility, but even used it - only to find themselves disconnected from their machines with no way to re-connect ;-) ?! The first few times this may be funny, but then you will want to look for ways to prevent this.
Google is you friend, and you will easily find many different ways to address this issue, but scattered across even more blogs and sites. This is my attempt to collect all of them in one blog post.
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I have released version 2.2 of my PowerCLI ImageBuilder based ESXi customization script ESXi-Customizer-PS! This version integrates Online Depots as a source for customization packages.
Here are the changes in detail and some examples of how to make use of them.
It is a good practice to update VMware Tools on your VMs after you have updated your vSphere environment to a new major or minor release. VMware tries to make this very easy by providing means to automate the VMware Tools installation/update (through the vSphere legacy and Web Client, and PowerCLI), but in a lot of environments there is a requirement to take complete control over software provisioning on Windows servers and/or the need to customize the VMware Tools installation and remove unwanted features that are installed by default.
For this purpose you will want to take a careful look at the VMware Tools MSI package. I did this with the latest Tools version of vSphere 5.5, and here are my findings.
After upgrading your ESXi hosts to 5.5 the "Upgrade Virtual Hardware" function of the legacy vSphere Client will update the virtual hardware of a VM to version 10, although the legacy client is not able to edit the properties of version 10 VMs (see my earlier post about How to update to ESXi 5.5 ...). Only the Web Client is able to do this with version 10 VMs, and that requires vCenter. If you do not have vCenter available or do not feel comfortable with the Web Client for other reasons then you want to avoid upgrading virtual hardware to version 10. But how can you upgrade to only version 9?
In my last post I presented a walk-through about how to create a nested ESXi host and make an OVF template of it. After deploying this template a manual step remained: Configuring a hostname and the IP address configuration. If you deploy a virtual appliance that was produced by VMware (e.g. the vCenter Log Insight appliance) then you are often presented with the choice to configure the networking of the VM in the OVF deployment wizard. How is this done, and can we use the same method to customize the nested ESXi vApp? Yes, we can - and here is how.
The free ESXi license though has some limitations that makes the job harder:
- It is not manageable via vCenter, and thus ...
- ... only via the legacy vSphere client, not the Web Client, which in turn means ...
- ... you are limited to virtual hardware version 9 and must not use version 10.
- And - that's most annoying - you also cannot use PowerCLI to create or configure VMs (because the relevant APIs are restricted with the free license)!
You can overcome these limitations by using free and fully featured evaluation licenses, but these are time limited. So, I thought it's time to write a little Nested ESXi Guide for free license users (It also includes some nice tips for paid-license users though!) ...
While testing direct host access to the new V-Front Online Depot (via esxcli) I stumbled over an annoying issue that I was finally able to resolve, but it was hard to find the root cause ... So I want to share my findings here in the hope to make life easier for all the others that will - very likely - stumble over the same issue.
After opening the firewall for outgoing http(s) requests using
esxcli network firewall ruleset set -e true -r httpClient
esxcli software sources vib list -d http://vibsdepot.v-front.de
esxcli software vib install -d http://vibsdepot.v-front.de -n package-name
If you experience the issue then these commands will work as expected, but they will take a very very long time (>10 minutes!) to execute and return. Of course there are other and more obvious root causes for slow network access: a slow or saturated up-link to the Internet, improper NIC speed negotiation settings etc.
But in my case it had something to do with IPv6 ...