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?

pfSense 2.2 was released - How to install VMware Tools (sort of)


I'm a big fan of pfSense, an Open Source firewall and router appliance, that I use in my hosted lab. Recently version 2.2 of pfSense was released with a lot of bugfixes and new features. Please review the announcement blog post to find out what's new.

In my lab I upgraded one of the "not so important" pfSense VMs to version 2.2 and then tried to get VMware Tools installed and running again following my own guide that I wrote a while back for pfSense 2.0 and 2.1. But, well, things have changed a lot with pfSense 2.2, because it is now based on the latest FreeBSD version 10.1. Here is what I found out and what I ended up with.

What's new in the V-Front Online Depot


Since I launched the V-Front Online Depot about a year ago it has developed into a place where you do not only find the ESXi software packages that I created on my own, but also quite a few applications and drivers that others have contributed.

In 2014 Raphaƫl Schitz (he runs the excellent french hypervisor.fr blog) e.g. created and contributed the Intel Infiniband Subnet Manager (ib-opensm) package and the iperf v2 tool for ESXi, but this time I want to highlight two community developed driver packages that will help people running ESXi on white boxes with unsupported NICs.

2014: Year-end review


2014 - the fourth year of V-Front - is coming to an end. Like in the last years I have a list of highlights that I want to share - in case you missed any of them ...