[Release] ESXi-Customizer-PS 2.4 - The ESXi image customization script

I have just released version 2.4 of my ESXi-Customizer-PS script - a PowerCLI script to create customized ESXi installation images and the successor of my legacy ESXi-Customizer tool.

This is a minor, but important update, because it fixes an annoyance that users of the latest PowerCLI version 6.0 ran into.

ESXi 6.0 hits the VMware Online Depot - What does that mean?

On April 9th VMware published the first ESXi 6.0 patch (see the ESXi Patch Tracker and KB2111976), and at the same time the Imageprofiles of both this patch and the ESXi 6.0 GA release appeared in the VMware Online Depot. Unfortunately they did not also upload all the ESXi 6.0 VIB packages at that time, but only the one that was updated with the first patch. Today, they finally made up for this, and I cannot only publish this article again, but now the instructions and examples in it will really work :-)

What does it mean to have ESXi 6.0 available in the VMware Online Depot? It makes it a lot easier to upgrade an ESXi host and to build customized ESXi 6.0 installation images, especially for free license users who do not have easy access to the GA Offline bundle. I wrote about this already in my Ultimate guide to upgrade your white box, and this is the promised update to it.

So what are the new possibilities now?

Watch out: ESXi 6.0 introduces root account lockout!

A few days ago I got an e-mail from one of my blog readers asking for help ... He had upgraded his host to ESXi 6.0 and since then he was repeatedly seeing events in the host log like the one displayed above:
Remote access for ESXi local user account 'root' has been locked for 120 seconds after xxx failed login attempts.
At the same time he could no longer log in to the vSphere client although he was using the correct password. I immediately thought: Wow, this is new in 6.0, never heard of this before! What the heck was going on here?

vCSA 6.0 tricks: shell access, password expiration and certificate warnings

It is no secret anymore that VMware is putting more and more energy in getting rid of the Windows based vCenter product and pushes us towards the Linux based vCenter Server Appliance (vCSA). Up to now the appliance was already a good choice for labs and other small deployments, but it lacked the scalability of the Windows version, and was not a good fit for large production deployments.

With the release of vSphere 6 this has changed due to the evolvements of the vCenter architecture and significant updates that were made to vCSA. The biggest remaining caveat now is that you still need a Windows machine for VMware Update Manager (VUM). I do not really use VUM in my lab, so I will definitely switch to the vCSA - whenever the time will come for me to do the 6.0 upgrade.

So I took a closer look at vCSA 6.0 ... and stumbled over some issues that are definitely worth sharing.

vSphere 6 is GA: The ultimate guide to upgrade your white box to ESXi 6.0

So finally VMware made vSphere 6 generally available (GA)! I already wrote about what we can expect from ESXi 6.0 in terms of white box support and using the free license, and I bet that a lot of people cannot wait to have their boxes upgraded ...

In this post I will explain how you can download ESXi 6.0, what you need to take care of with regards to unsupported hardware and software, how you actually do the upgrade, and how you can build your own customized ESXi 6.0 installation ISO for new installs.

Top vBlog 2015 voting is open now!

Finally ... Eric Siebert over at vSphere-Land.com has kicked off this year's Top vBlog voting - this time sponsored by Infinio!

The yearly vBlog voting is a great opportunity to show your support for your favorite virtualization blogs. Keep in mind that this is not a popularity contest - do not just vote for the blogs that everyone votes for every year, but pick those that had the best value for yourself!

You will find this blog in the overall favorites list and in the category "Best Independent Blogger".

Head over to the Top vBlog 2015 site to cast your vote - Thanks!!

New service: The VMware ESXi Patch Tracker

A while back I was looking for an easy way to stay up to date with VMware ESXi patches. VMware provides a lot of RSS feeds that keep you updated on new blog posts, new KB articles, security advisories etc., but ... I could not find anything that would just ping me whenever an ESXi patch was released.  The closest thing that I found was a link named "Get New Patch Alert" on the My VMware Patch Download Portal. That will refer you to the profile settings of your MyVMware account where you can manage various subscriptions including something that should keep you updated on new releases and patches of all sorts of VMware products. However, this just never worked for me, I never got a single e-mail out of this (anyone?), so I must assume that this service is not functional.

I finally decided to develop something on my own and provide that as a service to the community. So here is what I call the ...

VMware launches vSphere 6 - What's in ESXi 6.0 for free license and white box users?

The cat is out of the bag and it wears the number 6. VMware has announced its much anticipated new major version of their flagship product vSphere, and right now the virtualization blogosphere is humming with the news about vSphere 6.0.

Since this is an enterprise product most of the exciting new features are interesting for large installations using paid licenses and vCenter managed hosts: The long awaited ability ro use the Fault Tolerance (FT) feature with VMs that have more than one vCPU (SMP FT) is something that you can try out in your home lab if you have multiple hosts and use vCenter with an evaluation license, but the new support for virtual storage volumes (vVol) requires a modern SAN array with proper hardware support - nothing that you will find in the average home lab (at least not today). The ever increasing VM scalability now allows you to run VMs with 128 vCPUs and 4 TB RAM on physical hosts that can have up to 480 pCPUs and 12 TB RAM. Even in enterprise production environments it will be difficult to find setups that come even close to these numbers...

But what's in vSphere 6 that is useful for users of the free ESXi license and home labs?