November 4th, 2014 by JFrappier

Jonathan Frappier Virtxpert

Alight, so far we have built our Windows template in VMware Workstation that we will use for various home lab purposes, cloned it and got the first clone ready to be a domain controller.  Given the limited resources in the lab, I’m not sure I want to tackle PKI at this time, though maybe I’ll try a lightweight opensource project at some point.  Anyways back to why you are here, configuring Active Directory;

  • The last thing to do before promoting the server to a DC is to give it a static IP address, after all we don’t want that changing (even if we are using DNS for everything).  Bring up the Start menu
  • Click on Control Panel >> Network and Sharing Center >> Change Adapter settings
  • Right click on Ethernet0 and select properties
  • Double click on Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP /IPv4)
  • Change Obtain an IP address automatically to use the following and enter the IP information for your network.  In my case I will set it to with a subnet mask of and a default gateway of for my NAT’d VMware Workstation network.  If it is not already, set the Preferred DNS server to
  • Server Manager should still be open from the previous post – if not open it.
  • Click on AD DS in the left navigation menu.  You should have a yellow bar that says Configuration required… click the Yellow Triangle in the upper 1/3 of the window
Windows Server Manager configure AD DS

Windows Server Manager configure AD DS

  • Click on Promote this server to a domain controller
  • Select the Add a new forest radio button
  • Specify your root domain name.  If you are included to pay for SSL certificates use a valid TLD that you own as there are very few providers offering certificates for private domains such as .local.  I am going with all self signed certificates in my lab (for now) so I’ve chosen vxprt.local (.lan has troubles with OSX…at least it used to) and click Next
  • On the Domain Controller Options page, you can change the functional levels if you think you’d ever need to introduce and older domain controller, its unlikely so you should only need to add the DSRM password, then click Next
  • On the remaining steps, just click next (or review information provided if you like)
  • On the Prerequisites Check page, click Install.  The VM will reboot.
  • Log in with the domain administrator password you set
  • Open the Start menu and click on Administrative Tools >> DNS
  • Expand your DC >> Forward Lookup Zones and click on the zone for your domain (e.g. vxprt.local)
  • Verify that your server appears with an A record for the IP previously set.
  • Right click on Reverse Lookup Zone and click on New Zone
  • Click Next, accepting defaults until you get to the Reverse Lookup Zone Name page
  • Type in the first 3 octets of the IP subnet you are using, so for example I would type in 192.168.6, this will help generate the appropriate zone name, click Next two more times and click Finish.  You now have a reverse lookup zone so hosts can be resolved by name and IP address.
  • Go back to your forward lookup zone for your domain and double click on the A record for your DC
  • Check the Update associate pointer PTR record and click ok; this will create a record in the reverse zone you just created
  • The last step is to set a DNS forwarder since this server will server as the primary DNS server for all other servers.
  • Right click on your server, just under DNS and select properties
  • Click on the Forwarders tab and click the Edit… button
  • Remove any local addresses from the list by highlighting it and selecting delete
  • I will use the public Google DNS servers, but you could also use something like OpenDNS.
  • Click where it says “Click here to add and IP address…” and enter and – those should resolve to google-public-dns-a and b; click OK and OK again, then close DNS Manager
  • Open IE and verify you can get to the intenret, you should be all set!

So far we have setup our Windows template VM, created a Linked Clone and made it into a Domain Controller and NTP server, next we can get into setting up our virtual ESXi hosts.

VMware Workstaion Home Lab Setup Part 4 – Domain Controller setup

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November 3rd, 2014 by JFrappier

Jonathan Frappier Virtxpert

With our Windows virtual machine built, patched, and cloned, its time to setup the Domain Controller for the home lab.  We will use the Domain Controller for authentication throughout the home lab setup including the necessary service accounts for VMware vSphere, SSO and vCloud Automation Center/vRealize Automation.  If you are here from part 2 you should be looking at a booted virtual machine clone here are the steps to finish off the Windows system wizard – if you already blew through this no worries you can skip the next section.

  • Tick the I accept box and click the Accept button.
  • Set your region, language and keyboard layout and click Next
  • Set your administrator password and click Finish
  • You should now be at the login screen.

Now its time to setup this Windows VM as our Domain Controller – it used to be quite easy – type


and follow the wizard, unfortunately Microsoft in all their wisdom decided to change the process after 12 years of it working flawlessly.

  • Press CTRL-ALT-INS on your keyboard or click on the VM menu and select Send CTRL-ALT-DEL (CTRL-ALT-INS seems much easier to me)
  • Log in with the password you just set
  • First update the date/time in Windows so it is in the correct time zone. You can click on the clock in the lower right corner or bring up the Date and Time control panel item
  • Once the date is set, click on the Internet Time tab, ensure it is set to automatically synchronize with and click OK
  • In this setup, I will use the domain controller as an NTP server so I can point my ESXi virtual machines and other appliances here so time is synchronized properly (NTP is critical in any environment, even the lab). In order to use Windows as an NTP server there is a registry change we need to validate. Bring up the start menu and type regedit
  • Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetServicesW32TimeTimeProvidersNtp – ensure that Enabled is set to 1 (this was already set to 1 for me)
  • If you are not already there, open the Start menu, right click on Computer and select properties
  • Under Computer name, domain and work group settings click the Change settings button the click the Change button
  • Name your computer, I prefer short and simple so dc01 is pretty common for me but I’m going with vxprt-dc01 here.  Leave the Workgroup selected and click the OK button
  • When the Computer Name/Domain change popup opens click OK, click Close on the System Properties window and then click the Restart Now button
  • Once the virtual machine restarts, log back in as administrator
  • Now, open Server Manager (it may already be open – I didn’t say simon says close the Server Manager window :)
  • Click on Add roles and features

Windows Server Manager

  • When the Add Roles and Features Wizard starts, click Next
  • Select Role-based or feature-based installation, click Next
  • Ensure select a server from the server pool radio button is selected and that your server is highlighted, then click Next
  • Check the box for Active Directory Domain Services, click the Ad Features button when prompted, and click Next
  • Click Next on the features page
  • On the AD DS page, click Next
  • On the Confirm installation selections tick the box to Restart the destination server automatically if required (then Yes – it shouldn’t need a reboot but hey why not) and then click the Install button.
  • When finished, click the Close button

At this point, the necessary components have been put in place to configure Active Directory but nothing has been configured yet.  That’s next!

VMware Workstaion Home Lab Setup Part 3 – Domain Controller

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November 2nd, 2014 by JFrappier

Jonathan Frappier Virtxpert

Now that you have your first Windows VM built and patched, you’re probably itching to get things built like turning the virtual machine it into your domain controller for the home lab which will be used for authentication throughout this setup.  However, we want to be efficient with our time so we are going to take our Windows VM and use it to clone new VMs since at the very least I will need 3 Windows virtual machines for this lab; a Domain Controller, SQL server and web server for the vCloud Automation Center/vRealize Automation Infrastructure-as-a-Service server.

So once your Windows VM is fully patched there is one house keeping item to take care of before we use it to clone, and that is to sysprep it.

  • Log into the Windows VM, in my case a Windows 2012 VM and open the Start menu
  • Type C:WindowsSystem32Sysprepsysprep.exe and press the enter button or click on sysprep.exe in the search bar
  • Make sure Enter System Out-ofBox Experience (OOBE) is selected int he System Cleanup Action pull down menu. Next Click on the Generalize checkbox and change the Shutdown Options pull down menu to Shutdown; click OK
  • After a few minutes Windows will shut down – don’t worry we want the template shutdown as we cannot clone a running VM in VMware Workstation.
Windows Sysprep

Windows Sysprep

You should now have a powered off virtual machine, I chose to put mine into a folder called Templates though you can organize as you wish.  Now I want to clone this template.

  • Right click on the virtual machine in VMware Workstation and go to Manage >> Clone
  • With no snapshots you could will only have the option to “Clone from” The current state in the virtual machine.  You could take a snapshot and do clones from there, click Next
  • One of the cloning process options in VMware Workstation is Create a linked clone, which means you will only have a delta file for changes associated to that virtual machine – that is what I will be using.  Select the Create a linked clone radio button and click Next
  • Name the virtual machine and place it in the desired location, in my case I have named it vxprt-dc01 and placed it in V:VMsvxprt-dc01 – click Finish and then close when the Clone virtual machine wizard completes.

Since the virtual machine was setup using a linked clone, the cloning process will have finished quickly and be space efficient for the lab environment, you will be ready to boot your VM.  I moved my VM into a folder I created called Lab, you can see my VMware Workstation layout below.

VMware Workstation folder layout

VMware Workstation folder layout

With the VM cloned and powered on, you will be ready to setup your first virtual machine – our domain controller.

VMware Workstaion Home Lab Setup Part 2 – Attack of the Clones

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November 1st, 2014 by JFrappier

Jonathan Frappier Virtxpert

In what should be a multi-part series (unless work gets insane) I will be setting up the supporting infrastructure for my home lab.  For this lab I will be using the 8-core home lab build I wrote about in the past.  I am currently running Windows 8.1 with VMware Workstation 10.  I have two volumes setup in Windows that will be dedicated for VMs – 1 is a single 120GB Neutron SSD that I will use for some of the “heavier” VMs such as SQL server and the vRealize IaaS server.  The other is a ~1.3TB RAID0 dynamic volume built in Windows on 3x 500GB Seagate hybrid drives which will be used for common VMs such as the domain controller I am setting up here.

I will be starting with all the VMs using NAT in VMware Workstation.  First I am setting up a Windows VM that we will use throughout the lab build – why am I doing this first, mostly because of how long patches are going to take to be totally honest, you could just as easily start with your virtual ESXi boxes (should be the next post) but alas here you are reading this.

First, create a new virtual machine in VMware Workstation


VMware Workstation – Create a New Virtual Machine

  • On the New Virtual Machine wizard page select Custom (I prefer control over which settings I chose) and click Next
    Select Workstation 10.0 and click Next
  • Select I will install the operating system later radio button (old habit I’m hanging onto from old Workstation and Ubuntu days) and click Next
  • Select Microsoft Windows and select the version from the pull down menu. I am using Windows Server 2012; click Next.
  • If you have set your drives up like me, click the browse button and select your preferred Windows volume, in my case I have selected the “V” drive where my RAID0 volume is. I also have create a folder on this drive called VMs because OCD.
  • Name your virtual machine and pasted that along with a leading into the location field aver V:VMs to create the VM in its own folder like so and click the Next button.  In my setup I am actually using vxprt-win-tmp01:
VMware Workstation VM destination folder and virtual machine name

VMware Workstation VM destination folder and virtual machine name

  • I am staying with a single processor, single core – after all we don’t have unlimited resources in this home lab, click the Next button
  • I’m also sticking to 2GB of RAM (Next), NAT (Next), LSI Logic SAS (Next), SCSI (Next), and creating a new virtual disk (Next)
  • On the Specify Disk Capacity page, I typically chose to store my virtual disks as a single file, this is up to you – I don’t like having a bunch of files in my VM folder, feels messy. Also leave Allocate all disk space now unchecked to thin provision your disk and click Next
  • Optionally you can rename your disk file, this again I prefer to have the same as my VM name, click Next and Finish. Your VM will be created, albeit with no OS yet.
  • Right click on your new VM and select settings
  • Click on CD/DVD and select the appropriate option to install Windows, in my case I have a downloaded ISO so I have selecte the Use ISO image file radio button and selected the desired ISO image.  Click OK to close the settings window.
  • Right click on your VM, go to Power and click on Start Up Guest.

From here on out you’ve got a standard Windows install wizard to follow.  Once Windows is installed and you set your password, install VMware Tools by right clicking on the VM and selecting Install VMware Tools – follow that wizard, reboot and patch your Windows VM.  Next up a quick post on cloning VMs in Workstation so we can get to the fun part.

VMware Workstaion Home Lab Setup Part 1 – Windows VM

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