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.

 

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

Manually upgrading ESXi 5.0 to ESXi 5.1

I finally got around to updating my ESXi server today. Since I don’t have the hardware to run vCenter and thus do not use it I had to do it the manual way. This method involves connecting via SSH but is relatively straightforward.

  1. Download the update from VMware. The following link should take you directly to your My VMware page: VMware
    1. The file should be named VMware-ESXi-<version>-depot.zip
  2. Suspend or shutdown any running VM’s and put the system into Maintainence mode.
  3. The next step is to enable SSH on your ESXi Server by going to Configuration > Security Profile > Properties. Start the SSH service and close the popup.
  4. From there you’ll want to upload the VMware-ESXi-<version>-depot.zip we downloading earlier to the server
  5. Once the zip has been uploaded, open Putty or your preferred SSH client and connect to the ESXi server.
  6. Log into the server from SSH and run the following command where <datastore> is the location of the zip we uploaded earlier and <version> is the version number of the file (in this case, ESXi-5.1.0-799733).
    1. esxcli software profile update -d /vmfs/volumes/<datastore>/VMware-ESXi-<version>-depot.zip -p ESXi-<version>-standard
  7. Once the process is finished reboot the sever. If the update was successful take the server our of Maintainence mode, and resume your VM’s.

You’ll probably have to update VMware Tools for your VM’s but your server should now be running properly on 5.1 ( or whatever version you upgraded to, assuming the command isn’t changed/removed).

VMware Reference and shortcuts

Auto-login vShpere Client shortcutvsphereshortcut

  • VpxClient.exe -i yes -s host -u user -p password
    • Auto-logins to the vSphere client with the specified host, username and password.

Convert disk from Thick to Thin Provisioning:

  • vmkfstools -i thick-disk-file thin-disk-file -d ‘thin’ -a lsilogic

Syslog

  1. http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=2003127
  • /usr/lib/vmware/vmsyslog/bin/vmsyslogd
    • to start syslog service
  • esxcli system syslog reload
    • to reload syslog service

Convert a existing Virtual Disk on ESXi from Thick Provisioning to Thin Provisioning and vice versa

I was playing around on my ESXi server and noticed most of my servers were using under 10GB yet most where consuming between 20-45GB of datastore space. This is because when I set them up I went with the default setting of Thick Provisioning like many. So what do you do? I don’t want to reinstall my servers and loose everything. I also don’t want to waste space when I can afford new disks being unemployed at the moment.  After searching around I came across 2 nice articles on using vmkfstools to “convert” (it actually is cloning the disks) to Thin Provision and vice versa.
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