Tag Archives: VMware

Remove iSCSI Drive Lock From Iomega IX4 Series NAS and vSphere Without Rebooting Either


Is your Iomega NAS iSCSI drive locked by vSphere and you don’t want to reboot?  This works with vSphere 4.1 (using ESXi but should be the same for ESX versions), and an Iomega StorCenter ix4-200d (firmware  If you encounter issues with another version, please let me know.

I’ve had some trouble off and on with iSCSI on my Iomega IX4 series NAS.  The trouble exists around removing the iSCSI target from vSphere but not releasing the hold on the NAS typically requiring a reboot of both the NAS and the host to remove the lock.  As I don’t like taking my host(s) or NAS down, through a little experimentation, I’ve come up with the steps necessary to remove the target allowing for the editing or deleting of the iSCSI drive on the NAS.  While something is connected to it, the IX4 will not allow editing or deletion.  This also works for removing a single target drive while vSphere is still pointing to other targets on the NAS.

Let’s get to it!

Continue reading Remove iSCSI Drive Lock From Iomega IX4 Series NAS and vSphere Without Rebooting Either


Create a Router with Front Firewall using Vyatta on VMware Workstation

Vyatta is a powerful enterprise class software router that has some really incredible features.  It has a CLI (command line interface) as well as a web interface.  I’ve gotten a few requests about configuring it as a front system but until now have only really worked with Vyatta as a pure routing appliance internal to my network.  It has been my traffic cop between my lab subnet, user subnet, and server subnet but now I’ll try to configure it as a front end based on an exchange I had on another thread.

This should be able to give you some examples with getting started using Vyatta as a front firewall.

If you don’t have the software, you can download a free version, called Vyatta Core, from Vyatta’s website.  You have to register, but don’t worry, they won’t spam you and they have extensive documentation on the product that you can pull down after registering.  It’s an excellent resource to learn and practice your routing skills, especially since you can stand up the product on random hardware or in a virtual machine.  Vyatta even has downloads specific to VMware implementations.  Check it out and come back if you’re interested in seeing this post through.  http://www.vyatta.com.

And now for the good part.

Continue reading Create a Router with Front Firewall using Vyatta on VMware Workstation

ESXi Going Forward, Is It Really All Doom and Gloom?

ESXi vs. ESX – warning, this is a rant! 🙂

I recently participated in a discussion thread on LinkedIn in the VMware Certified Professionals group that got to be a little lively.  In this discussion, outside of the original poster’s question, a side discussion began on ESXi vs. ESX and all the trouble that it entails.  One poster in particular, a former VMware TSE (tech support engineer), really preached doom and gloom about the product’s future with the announced phase out of ESX and transition and continuation of ESXi as the VMware flagship product.

I personally have mixed feelings about the decision.  I love ESX and have been working with the product for years now.  I like the accessibility and control that the service console provides and thus far have been willing to tolerate the overhead of the Console Operating System (COS) and some of the associated problems as a trade-off for the control that it provides.  Apparently there are people that are far more upset about this decision by the powers-that-be at VMware than I am though, and in one case the former TSE even said that he would look forward to seeing people ‘crumble’ when they have problems with ESXi and no console access.  As I’m running this blog, and try to provide information and help to people at their fingertips, I would never wish ill on my fellow techies or the organizations that employ them.  Well maybe a few… <grin>.

Continue reading ESXi Going Forward, Is It Really All Doom and Gloom?

Windows Home Server “Vail” Public Preview Installation Failure on vSphere

I decided to sign up for Microsoft Connect and download the Windows Home Server “Vail” public preview and install it in my lab vSphere lab.  I recently picked up an Iomega ix4-200 and had some extra space so I wanted to try to streaming media and backup functionality.

After Windows (Server 2008 R2) installed, and the WHS configuration wizard started running, it would error out at 36% or 37% consistently.  It would post an error, and instruct me to reboot and contact the vendor if the error continued.  Hmm… contacting Microsoft about a beta, yehrite, and I’m impatient so I didn’t feel like posting on the forums and trying to wait for a response what would likely be a dance of posting log files etc.  I so I went into reinstall / reboot hell.

After numerous reboots, rebuilds, and a successful VMware Workstation deployment (yes I actually wondered if Microsoft put something in the bits to keep it from being installed on VMware… hahah), I tracked down the issue.  In the installation guide it says to use a hard drive that has a minimum of 160GB of space.  I made a drive that had exactly 160GB.  This was the problem.  The successful workstation VM I created had a hard drive of 165GB.  I went back and increased the size of the vSphere VM to 165GB and voila!  Success.  Hopefully this saves someone some time and trouble with virtualizing WHS “Vail”.

Good luck!

Enable Jumbo Frame Support in vSphere Using PowerCLI in 30 Seconds. :)

This applies to virtual switches that have already been created.

I was trying to do this earlier this evening and found a few articles that talked about various methods to enable jumbo frame support on a vSwitch.  After reading some of the ‘hacks’ that are being used, I decided to dig into PowerCLI.  Amazingly enough, the solution is so simple that maybe it’ll get some of the people working with vSphere to move into PowerCLI further.  Here’s the 30 second or less solution to the issue.  As I wrote above, this applies for a vSwitch that’s already been created, but you can create a vSwitch with all the specifications you need from PowerCLI as well just the New-VirtualSwitch commandlet.

> $vs = Get-VirtualSwitch –name vSwitchX
> Set-VirtualSwitch –VirtualSwitch $vs –mtu 9000

> Get-VirtualSwitch –name vSwitchX

If you’re not familiar with PowerShell, get familiar with it. 🙂 It’s an excellent product and is expandable so many IT products are moving toward a PowerShell interface for its ease of use.

Continue reading Enable Jumbo Frame Support in vSphere Using PowerCLI in 30 Seconds. 🙂

Creating an Activated Windows Server 2008 R2 VMware Template using Microsoft Sysprep

EDIT: 2011/04/14 – I’m working on another method of doing this since it appears that this only works sporadically or no longer works as written. I will update this post if I can figure out where the disconnect / issues are.

I’ve been experimenting with creating a good Windows Server 2008 R2 template for VMware vSphere 4 and wondered just how many times Microsoft would allow an activation on the same MSDN license key (Multiple Activation) for the OS.  I often deploy multiple servers at a time and am always fearful of activating since I don’t want the key to be shut off.  Typically I only run these servers for short periods of time so not activating is no big deal, however in longer running projects I often have no choice but to either activate or destroy and redeploy.  With information that I’ve come across on the Internet, I’ve managed to consolidate a method that does not break the Windows Server 2008 activation, while still sysprep’ing and generating a new SID.


This process can be used for other virtualized environments as well I’m sure, but in this case I created it for VMware vSphere.

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VMware Tools Fail During Upgrade / Uninstall

As I’ve upgraded my lab environment to vSphere over the weekend, I’ve been running across the occasional VM that fails to allow me to upgrade it’s VMware Tools.  This seems to be predominantly happening with my Windows Server 2008 VMs. 

I’ve received various error messages including ‘can’t find vmware tools.msi’ looking at c:windowsinstallers, and messages stating that Installation cannnot continue because a previous version is installed, even though it had just been removed.  FRUSTRATING!  Fortunately, this isn’t the first time people are running across it and there’s a VMware KB article on how to address this.

Issues as noted on the VMware KB:

  • Unable to upgrade existing VMware Tools
  • Unable to upgrade existing installation of VMware Tools because the previous installation fails to be removed
  • The uninstall feature of VMware Tools fails to complete, and finally
  • Cannot uninstall VMware Tools.

All this boils down to ‘IT’S BROKE!  HOW CAN I FIX IT!?’

Keep Reading…

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Use Console to Connect ESX to a NAS

UPDATED 12/5/2009 to include vSphere commands.

This is a quick note, mostly to help remind me and hopefully help someone else out.

You can use standard Linux commands to connect an ESX host to a NAS (Network Attached Storage) device.  You can use a NAS to store things like ISO’s and backups.  I have many gig’s of ISO’s and I really don’t like them taking up valuable storage on my ESX host.  In production, they’d be taking up SAN space, so I offload them to a Buffalo Terastation, and use Linux commands to mount the Terastation so that ESX can utilize it.

First you can make a directory under vmimages.

mkdir /vmimages/ISO2

ISO2 is the directory that you are creating.  For me, ISO already points to a local directory on my server where I keep one or two ISO’s that I am continually using.  Then you can run the command:

(ESX 3.5)  mount –t smbfs //[nas]/[folder] /vmimages/ISO2
(vSphere) mount –t cifs //[nas]/[folder] /vmimages/ISO2

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Upgrading ESX 3.5 to vSphere 4 Using Host Update

Tonight I decided to go on the magical journey of upgrading my ESX 3.5 environment to vSphere using the Host Update Utility.  I’m usually a firm believer in ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!’ but this time I decided to take the plunge and see what happens.

A few months ago, I ran through the Host Update Utility and failed a hardware compatibility check.  I was running a few Intel Pro/100 NICs that ESX 3.5 was more than happy to work with but vSphere said, NO WAY.  After tracking down a few Broadcom 5701 NICs, installing them without a hiccup, I honestly still considered sticking with ESX 3.5, but after talking to a few friends who have had no trouble with their upgrades, I figured the most that I had to lose was a little time.  I ran through the wizard again, of the Host Update Utility, it complained about nothing this time and continued.

After a short while, maybe 10 minutes or so, I was up and running on vSphere 4.  No hiccups!  I immediately started booting up VMs.  I ran into my first problem. 🙂

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VMware Workstation 7, Unity

XP VM Screenshot

For anyone that hasn’t downloaded the RC for VMware Workstation 7, you’ve got to give it a try, and since it’s free right now, you have no excuse.  Worst case scenario is you have to reinstall Workstation 6.  Like Nike, Just Do It!

Anyway, one of the coolest features in VMware Workstation 7 is Unity.  If you don’t know what that is, you can have a VM running in the background, but you’re able to access applications that are running on it without having to enter the VM itself.

Keep reading…

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