December 28th, 2014 by JFrappier

Jonathan Frappier Virtxpert

This is a video demonstration on installing VMware Tools in CentOS 6.x. The assumptions for this walk through are you have access to VMware Workstation or the vSphere Client to initiate the VMware Tools installation and at least 1 E1000 network card to provide internet access. VMware Tools is needed for VMXNET3, so you will at least initially need an E1000 to provide network access for Perl, or local Perl installers to run the installer.

VMware Tools Installation Walk Through

Video: Installing VMware Tools in CentOS 6.x

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November 13th, 2014 by JFrappier

Jonathan Frappier Virtxpert

That is a wrap on getting the basics of a home lab up and running in VMware Workstation.  Within Workstation we have a working Windows 2012 Domain Controller, two virtual ESXi hosts both capable of running nested 64-bit virtual machines thanks to the RVI support in the processor of the 8-core home lab system build and vCenter running.  In vCenter we have our datacenter and cluster created with both virtual ESXi hosts added.  The cluster has DRS enabled, a virtual distributed switch setup with both hosts attached and port group and VMkernel interface setup and running and demoed using vMotion to move a virtual machine from one host to another.  Not bad for 4 virtual machines barely consuming any memory on the host computer!

All that though, was leading up to this; setting up vRealize Automation and Application Services.  In my next series I will go over some of the basics of getting vRealize Automation setup in your home lab so you can start to get a feel for the various roles, requirements and setup.  Here is some handy reading in the interim (ignore anything that says vSphere SSO can’t be used)

Thank you for following along with the home lab series setup, I know there may be a few holes but again the goal was to get this setup to have an environment as the foundation to test other tools.

Workstation Home Lab Wrap-Up – On to vRealize Automation

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November 9th, 2014 by JFrappier

Jonathan Frappier Virtxpert

Now that we know some of the tools that are available to manage ESXi hosts, lets use one to create a virtual machine, in this case importing a virtual appliance available as an OVF.  Before we do that, one tiny piece of business to take care of; creating a datastore for our virtual ESXi hosts.  In our home lab environment, adding a local datastore to an ESXi host is as easy as editing the virtual machine properties in VMware Workstation.  Right click on the ESXi virtual machine and select Settings; click the Add.. button at the bottom of the Settings window and select hard disk.  Follow the wizard to place the file in the desired location.

In my case I am going to create two additional drives on vxprt-esxi01 – one on my SSD Windows volume (40GB) , and 1 on the RAID0 (100GB), they will be named “gold” and “silver” in ESXi to represent performance of each.  Once each of the new hard disks have been added in VMware Workstation, we can launch the vSphere Client to create the datastores which could be used to store virtual machines.

  • Open the vSphere Client, connect to 192.168.6.11 as root
  • Select the host in the left navigation pane and then click the configuration tab
  • Under Hardware, click on Storage
  • Click on Rescan All… then click OK
  • Click on Add Storage
  • When the wizard launches, select Disk/LUN and click Next
  • You should see your 40GB and 100GB LUNs you added in VMware Workstation (or whatever size you selected)
  • Select the 40GB SSD LUN and click Next
  • Select VMFS-5 and click Next, and Next again
  • Enter a name for the datastore, I am using vxprt-esxi01-gold-local and vxprt-esxi01-silver-local
  • Use the Maximum space available and click Next, then finish

Repeat the steps again for the 100GB “silver” LUN, you should now have two datastores available to your ESXi host.

ESXi Local Datastores

ESXi Local Datastores

Later on this series we will see how to turn those into VSAN storage, for now its a location to review importing OVF’s and creating other virtual machines.

VMware Workstation Home Lab Setup Part 8 – Add “Datastores” to virtual ESXi hosts

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November 8th, 2014 by JFrappier

Jonathan Frappier Virtxpert

So now we’ve got two ESXi hosts and our domain controller running in the home lab, it’s almost time to setup vCenter however, in a real world scenario you would need a way to get vCenter onto the ESXi hosts (because of course you are virtualizing vCenter).  Up until now what we have done through the DCUI would have been at a keyboard and mouse or virtual KVM (such as Cisco UCS or HP iLO) and we cannot create virtual machines via the DCUI.  So, what tools are available to manage our ESXi hosts to start creating virtual machines?

First, typically most people would start with the Windows vSphere Client.  This client can connect directly to an ESXi host and start creating virtual machines, such as a Windows virtual machine for vCenter or importing virtual appliances such as the vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA) which we will use in our lab set later on.  You can see all of my VCSA related posts below:

You can download the Windows vSphere client from the ESXi getting started page by navigating the IP address of one of your ESXi hosts (like was done in the last post at https://192.168.6.11).  If you are running Windows 8.x you will need to download a J++ package and install it before proceeding with the Windows vSphere Client, thanks to my friend Matthew Brender for reminding me of that gotcha which also means you will need to turn on the .NET Framework 3.5.  To do so, open the Start menu, go to Control Panel >> Programs and Features and click Turn Windows features on or off.  Tick the .Net Framework 3.5 box and click OK

enable-dotnet35-windows81

Once .NET 3.5 is enabled and J++ is installed, download the vSphere Client, run the installation wizard and log in to the IP address/host name of your ESXi host as root.

vSphere Client

vSphere Client

Another option is to install PowerCLI, which is based on PowerShell and very powerful with many options to manage both ESXi hosts, virtual machines and more.  Again download and run through the PowerCLI installation wizard, it will install a few additional componenets as part of the install.  Once installed launch PowerShell as administrator (even if you are logged in as an administrator) and run

Set-ExecutionPolicy RemoteSigned

You should now be able to launch PowerCLI and run

Connect-VIServer 192.168.6.11

You will be prompted for a username and password and are then connected and can run cmdlets in PowerCLI to import or create new virtual machines.

powershell-powercli

PowerShell Set-ExecutionPolicy and PowerCLI

Since we are using VMware Workstation, we can also use that to connect to the ESXi hosts (or a vCenter server later) as well.  In VMware Workstation, click on File >> Connect to server.  Enter the IP, username (root) and password to log in.  You can now create virtual machines on your virtual ESXi host running in VMware Workstation from VMware Workstation!

esxi-vmware-workstation

ESXi in VMware Workstation

In the next post, we will use the vSphere Web Client and PowerCLI to import the vCenter Server Appliance for our home lab which will provide (obviously) vCenter, Single Sign-On (SSO) and the vSphere Web Client which is where we will do most of the work through this series.

VMware Workstaion Home Lab Setup Part 7 – Management Tools

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November 7th, 2014 by JFrappier

Jonathan Frappier Virtxpert

One of the things I’ve been curious about as I build my home lab in VMware workstation is the stability of my lab if my Windows 8.1 host goes into sleep mode without any intervention with the lab virtual machines, says after hours troubleshooting and you’re just two tired to shut down.  In the past, when I have suspended my virtual machines things didn’t always come back up cleanly; for example the VCSA inventory service normally could not start without a VCSA reboot.

Well, so far, I am happy to report that putting the host OS to sleep – again in my case Windows 8.1, all 4 virtual machines setup so far in my lab have come back fully operational.  I have been able to log right into the vSphere Web Client without any trouble.  It would appear, if you are running virtual machines on your workstation (laptop or desktop) your best bet is to just put it to sleep and not interact with the virtual machines, I will try to test this on my laptop down the road but for now those following along, building a VMware Workstation home lab should be able to put their computer to sleep when not in use, of course your mileage may vary.

Windows 8.1 sleep mode with VMware Workstation running

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