Saturday, May 30, 2009

Top VMware blogs and sites - in short

If you're new to VMware it can be a little overwhelming to figure out what and where to get info to get started. The web is full of excellent blogs and sites with VMware stuff, not to mention the VMware communities. I've come across numerous sites that list top blogs and sites and they are very rich on info but maybe it's a little too much if you're just starting out. So in stead of going full throttle, I will list just a few of the most popular blogs and sites. If you follow these, then you'll get a good picture on what's going on. I recommend using an RSS reader like Netvibes for keeping the overview. Here's the sites I recommend:

Blogs - Duncan Depping, VMware Employee. One of the most popular VMware blogs. - Eric Sloof, has his own consulting firm. Dutch guy. The Netherlands is probably one of the most advanced European countries in regards to VMware. - Go ugly green with Rich Brambley - EMC guy. Writes some very technical an in depth posts


VMware Communities - an account in the communities is a must. People here are very fast to respond and very helpful. Try google before you post, though...


vSphere Land - this site has two very cool subsites. vLuanchpad is a comprehensive list of top blogs and sites. Use this if you want to get further inspiration. And then the Top 10 lists where I especially like the one with Tools.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

VMware icons for Powerpoint

At the VMware VIOPS page you'll find a whole package of icons for making snazzy Powerpoint presentations. Basically they're the same as the Visio stencils mentioned in an earlier post but just in a PP friendly format for easy copying and pasting. Go here for download.

Visio stencils for VMware - icons and diagrams

When making visio diagrams of virtual infrastructures, there are plenty of icons for depicting the IT infrastructure. But when it comes to VMware and virtualization specific icons, then Visio is all out. Earlier on, one could go to the VMware VIOPS page to download the official VMware stencils. Today, it seems, that VMware is releasing only the icons in Powerpoint format. These (ppt icons) can be downloaded here.

Maish Saidel-Keesing over at Technodrone has taken it upon him to convert these icons and diagrams into a set of Visio stencils which will give you all you need for making boss friendly diagrams (latest update 2012.06.11). These stencils are compatible with Visio 2010.

The VMware Visio stencils can be downloaded here.

A new set of VMware View stencils has been release on 2012.09.17 by Joshua Townsend at

Thursday, May 21, 2009

A first look at installing ESX 4.0 GA

As most people probably know by now, vSphere 4.0 was released in GA earlier today (2009.05.21). To try it out, I have installed ESX 4.0 in Workstation 6.5.1 on a Lenovo T61 - and it works fine. For those who haven't had a chance to play with it yet, here's some screenshots of the installation process, see below.

Workstation VM settings:
  • OS type: Redhat Enterprise Linux 4 64-bit
  • Mem: 2 GB (that was minimum on the beta)
  • Network: Bridged (tick the "Replicate physical network connection state)
  • Processor: 1, choose Intel-VT or AMD-V as preferred mode

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

P2V - Error with NIC after migration with static IP

When doing a P2V and the server has to have a static IP address after the migration, then you may recieve an error message stating that there's an IP conflict and the ip is already configured on an existing NIC - even though only one VMware NIC is visible in network connections.

The reason is that the physical NICs have not been entirely uninstalled in Windows, they still exist in the device manager as hidden devices. Do the following to uninstall the hidden NICs:

Open a command prompt and type the following commands:

set devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices=1

Click ‘View’ and then click ‘Show Hidden Devices’.
Expand the Network Adapters tree and right click the dimmed network adapter and click ‘Uninstall’ (You may also see a hidden 'RAS async adapter' device under NICs. This cannot be uninstalled. However, it doesn't matter as it doesn't influence the NIC issue, so just leave it).

Now you can configure the static IP with no errors.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Making ISO's with MagicISO

MagicISO is a good tool for making ISO files. It's easy to use, just choose your files in an explorer like view make the ISO. In the free edition, there is a limitation on the size of the ISO's - around 300 MB. Get it at .

On another note, ISO's is an easy way of transferring files to a VM. It can cumbersome to transfer files to a VM via the network. Sometimes you have to go through one or more jumpstations. In stead, you can make an ISO of the files you want to transfer, and then mount the ISO directly to the VM from within the VI client.

PsTools: Remote execution of commands in Windows

PsTools is a number of command-line tools that lets you execute useful commands remotely. Below is a list of tools included in the package which is free and can be dowloaded from the MS Technet site .
I have found a number of these tools very helpful:
PsExec: Lets you execute commands remotely. Use this command to start a command prompt:

psexec \\'computer name or ip' -u 'user' -p 'password' cmd.exe

PsKill: If you have a server that are maxing out its CPU and it takes forever to RDP to it, then you can use first PsList to show running processes and then PsKill to stop the process which is using the CPU.

PsShutdown: If you want to reboot a server via RDP it often hangs in the process. And if you haven't got ILO, then your screwed if you haven't got physical access to the server. Normally it helps to RDP to the console (Start -> Run -> mstsc /console) but if not PsShutdown lets you shut down the server or reboot it.

If, for some reason, you can't execute the commands remotely, then a trick is to make an ISO file containing the PsTools and mount that ISO on the VM. That will make the tools directly available on the VM.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Howto: Network configuration from the Service Console

Configure service console ip from scratch

If you have screwed up your network configuration and you have lost the connection to your ESX host, here's a couple of commands to configure the network settings from scratch (alternatively, you can try the new console-setup tool that has been introduced as of ESX4.0 U2).

First, delete the service console port group (the vswif) and then delete the virtual switch (typically vSwitch0) so you can start from scratch:

esxcfg-vswif -d vswif0
esxcfg-vswitch -d vSwitch0

(To remove a vMotion portgroup named vMotion: esxcfg-vswitch -D vMotion vSwitch0. If you have an active vMotion portgroup you may recieve the following error when trying to delete the vSwitch: Failed to remove portgroup: vMotion, Error: Unable to delete portgroup "vMotion", for the following reasons: 1 active ports, VM Kernel NIC. In that case, use esxcfg-vmknic to delete active NIC: esxcfg-vmknic -d -p vMotion)

Then create a new vSwitch, attach one or more pnics, add a service console port group (vswif), and configure and ip address for the service console:

esxcfg-vswitch -a vSwitch0

esxcfg-vswitch -L vmnic0 vSwitch0
esxcfg-vswitch -L vmnic1 vSWitch0

esxcfg-vswitch -A 'Service Console' vSwitch0
esxcfg-vswitch -v 55 -p 'Service Console' vSwitch0 (adds VLAN55 to the Service Console)

esxcfg-vswif -a -i -n -p 'Service Console' vswif0

Check your results with:

esxcfg-vswif -l
esxcfg-vswitch -l

Edit the host IP address in the /etc/hosts file (use: #nano -w /etc/hosts)

When done, restart the network with:

service network restart

For changing the default gateway, edit the /etc/sysconfig/network file. Or use the command:

esxcfg-route ip-of-gateway

Reboot the server when done.

See which physical nics are connected to a switch
This command can be handy if you're not quite sure which of your physical nics have in fact been cabled to a switch:

esxcfg-nics -l

Retrieve CDP (Cisco Discovery Protocol) info from service console
With this command you can access CDP info from the COS. This is useful if, for example, your network department has not trunked the proper VLANs through and they want to know exactly which switches and ports are connected to your ESX host.

First enable CDP in both listen and advertise mode (default is only listen, so network dep can't see the nics):

esxcfg-vswitch -B both vSwitch0

vmware-vim-cmd /hostsvc/net/query_networkhint more
(insert 'pipe' before the 'more' command, I can't display it here)

look for the following lines:
device = "vmnic0"
devId = ""
portId = "GigabitEthernet9/28" (if it says FastEthernet or just Ethernet it is a 100 Mbit and 10 MBit port and the cable should be changed to a Gigabitethernet port)