Patching the vCenter 6.x Appliance

With the latest version of the vCenter Appliance (vCSA) there is a new process to patching the appliance. Gone is the old Web UI of the 5.x era. The new process isn’t anything to be scared about though and should be familiar to most Admins and techs. Instead of the old web interface the upgrade process is basically just to attach the patch ISO and run a few commands via the console or SSH.

While researching the proces to update my own server however I came across a few unclear instructions concerning the process. I worked out what I needed to do after a few searches and a couple KB’s. Most of this guide will be a rehash of others and the official instructions but I will be including a few clarifications as well as some visual representations of the process to help those that got a little confused by the regular instructions.

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ESXi / vSphere 6.0 General Availability Offline Depot

VMware released vSphere 6.0 to GA (General Availability) on 3/12/15. If you want to upgrade you can pretty easily go to the VMware site and download the appropriate files. What is missing however is a Offline Depot for that who want to perform a in-place upgrade. It seems that VMware has chosen to only make the Depot available to those that have purchased a license for vSphere 6.0. I’m sure in time they will change this but until then I’ll be making the Offline Depot available for download here.

Offline Depot via Mega [Resumable]

Otherwise, head to My VMware and get upgraded. You can see my previous post on upgrading with a Offline Depot here.

Update: Patching VMWare ESXi 5.1

So I finally got around to patching my ESXi server which was several months behind. I thought I would just be able to use the same command I used previously wrote about to update it. That proved to be unsuccessful and all I got for my efforts were errors about the profile name. After some searching I discovered a new command to accomplish what I wanted.

Datastore is the name of the datastore the update is on and update.zip will be the patch file name. The complete command would look like this:

After running the command you should get a message saying something similar to result above. It will usually be followed by a long list of all the individual packages. Reboot your host either through the vSphere client or by typing  reboot  and your host should be updated once it finishes rebooting.

 

Installing Box.net Sync on Windows Server

Anyone who’s tried to install the Box.net Sync client on Windows Server knows how much trouble it will give you. Since Box.net does not officially support server operating systems (which strikes me as odd considering how much they market to businesses) you can’t install it on Windows Server with the regular package. Any attempt will result in a compatibility error. So how do you get around this? Don’t use the regular install package. Box.net offers MSI versions of the sync client which will install without a single complaint on Windows Server (Server 2008 32-bit for mine).

You should be able to find the links on the right side of the Sync page. Just download the version for your server, install and you’re good to go!

Screenshot 2013-07-12 05.38.53

Shell Script: Splunk Syslog Server Update script

Here is a set of upgrade scripts I’ve created to automatically upgrade Splunk Syslog Server on Linux. This is primarily written with ubuntu server in mind, specifically 12.04 LTS, though it’s easily editable for other distributions. You can download the files below (they are automatically zipped with the latest version.

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Weekend Project: Windows 8 Enterprise

So I ended up having to reset a password on a Windows 8 notebook for a guest this weekend (which turned out to be a massive headache) and had to make a recovery CD. Since I had to make a Windows 8 VM to do that I figured I’d pack it up and share it for anyone who’s interested. It’s a 90-day evaluation using the Windows 8 Enterprise 64-bit ISO from Microsoft Technet. It’s a basic install, nothing fancy. It’s built in VMware Workstation 9 on the latest vmx-9 virtual hardware so it should work fine in most installations and with ESXi 5.0/5.1. It’s in my one of my dropbox accounts for the moment. Let me know if you have issues or have another host you’d like to see it on. I’ve included a link to the download page for the ISO’s if you want to install it yourself.

User: Test
Password: <no password>

OVA: Windows 8 Evaluation OVA.exe (3.71 GB) | Resumable Download via Mega
Microsoft Technet Windows 8 Enterprise Evaluation: Download Page

Logitech K800 Illuminated Keyboard and Performance Mouse MX

After several years, my old Logitech MX3200 set was on it’s way out. The paint on the keyboards was worn off half of the left side of the keyboard. Keys stuck or wouldn’t click on the first press. Not to mention after years of use it had become filthy, despite my best efforts to keep it clean. The mouse was also randomly double clicking everything, making it frustrating to do anything. After it began to take several attempts to right-click and drag anything I finally had to accept it was time for a purchase.

After a lot of research and reading tons of reviews I settled on the Logitech K800 illuminated keyboard and Logitech Performance MX mouse. Neither of these are cheap devices, both running $99.99 retail. Luckily there’s eBay so I was able to get them for just over $100 together. So how do this keyboard and mouse compare? See for yourself after the jump…
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Using Google Chrome to make administration a breeze

Many people use Google Chrome on their personal computers to browse. It’s likely you use it on your work PC as well if your organization allows. Google Chrome loads most sites with ease, is frequently updated and has many customization options. It’s an all around good choice. It can also make your life as an admin much easier. A browser making administration easier? What magic is this? Well, lets look at some of the options.
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On the Dell CS24-SC Server….


I sure anyone looking for a cheap rackmount server on eBay or many other sites has come across this server. It’s everywhere but information is hard to come by about it. Even Dell Support doesn’t know about this server. I recently purchased one with the intent on using it to upgrade my existing ESXi server (basically a Dell Studio 540 PC). I’ll be returning it but I wanted to do a quick review and list of features and resources I found in researching this.

The Dell CS24-SC are custom, 1U 2-way servers manufactured by a unknown company for clustered and cloud computing. They are full depth, about 28″ and weigh roughly 36lbs/16.3kg with 4×3.5″ drives. It has 2xGBic (1000Mbit) network ports running on the Intel® 82567 Gigabit Ethernet Controller and an additional 100Mbit management port. There are 2 USB 2.0 ports on the front and 2 USB 2.0 ports on the back along with a VGA port, Serial, and PS2 Keyboard/Mouse ports. It has a single PCI-E x8 expansion port on a riser. One major reseller is Stallard Technologies, Inc though most of the server on the market are resold through eBay. The closest PowerEdge server seems to be the Dell PowerEdge 1950 Gen III or one of the earlier PowerEdge C1100 Cloud servers.
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Virusscan Software for Windows Server

Anyone who has tried to install virusscan software on their server knows that the activity can quickly become more of a pain than it is worth. When trying to find virusscan software for Windows Server you typically run into one of three issues:

  1.  There’s no support for Windows Server at all.
  2.  The Windows Server version commands a massive price compared to a home/personal version, sometimes as much as a 2000% markup.
  3. The Windows version somehow manages to lack features that even the most basic of desktop version have.

So what do you do? Read more of this post