Enable ssh on ESXi 3.5

First ESXi shell access;

How to get shell access to your VMWare ESXi server?
By default the VMWare ESXi server don’t offer shell access (through the menu).
But by doing the following, you will be able to access the shell (although its limited):

1. Hook up a screen and a keyboard to the VMWae ESXi server.
2. Press “Alt+F1″
3. Write “unsupported” and press Enter (if you screw up, and think you’ve typed something wrong,
you can use Ctrl+U to clear the input field).
4. Enter the root password, an voila, shell access.

Then enable ssh on ESXi 3.5

By default, ssh access is disabled on VMware ESXi 3.5, so how do i enable ssh on VMware ESXi 3.5?

1. Type “vi /etc/inetd.conf” and press “enter”.

2. Locate the line that starts with “#ssh     stream  tcp     nowait  root    /sbin/dropbearmulti…….”

3. Move the marker over the “#” and press “x”.

4. Press “Escape” and write “:wq”, then press “enter”.

5. Type “/sbin/services.sh restart” and press “Enter”. Note: If you are running ESXi 3.5 Update 2, the services.sh no longer restarts the inetd process. You will have to manually kill the inetd process, in order to restart it and enable ssh access without a reboot.  Type “ps | grep inetd” and press “enter”. You will then see something similiar to “1289 1289 busybox              inetd”. Then write “kill -HUP 1289″, and remember to write the number “ps | grep inetd” returns to you!

VMKUSAGE is back! in VC 2.5 U4

If you have been working with ESX for a while, you might remember VMKUSAGE on the MUI (the old ESX web interface), well it is finally back again. VMware released yesterday Update 4 for VC2.5 and ‘included’ a new plugin. It is not part of the normal install or in my case upgrade, and the install procedure might scare you away, but it is worth it!

If you want to use this, please check out this knowledge base article (http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=1008296 ). If you are like me, upgrading your VC, make sure you stop your webaccess service before the upgrade, else you have to uninstall the service and start over again (see this kb article http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=1008330 ). One more tip, if you are using SQL Express, read this KB article (http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=1008329)

Well after you get it all working, you will see that on any host, resource pool or VM view you have a new tab (not on your datacenter for some silly reason).

Resource Pool stats

Resource Pool stats

VM stats


Best practices for deploying Citrix on vmware ESX

First and foremost: this tuning list is my own experience and the experience of several users on the VMware forum . Your mileage may vary.

The goods:

  • Virtual Infrastructure 3
  • Windows 2003 Std (or Enterprise) Edition R2 (x86, not x64)
  • Citrix Presentation Server 4.0 (yes, I know, the old one ;))

The tips:

  • First this: it all depends on the applications used! Context switches is the key here…
  • Use Windows 2003 , not Windows 2000
  • Don’t P2V your servers, but use clean templates
  • Make sure the correct HAL (single or multi) is installed in the virtual machine. Otherwise, your vCPU will spike.
  • Always assign 1vCPU . If necessary, add a 2nd vCPU. Do not use 4 vCPUs!
  • Use 2 GB to start. Scale up to +-4 GB of vRAM if necessary
  • Use 1 .vmdk for your system partition (C:\ or other remapped drive letter) and 1 separate .vmdk for your program files.
  • Put the page file on the 2nd .vmdk
  • Important: disconnect any .iso file in your virtual CD-Rom
  • Use roaming profiles and cleanup your profiles at logoff
  • Disable sound for your published apps
  • Install the UPH service (download it here )
  • User sessions: for me, 30 users on a VM is the sweet spot. Do not expect to get as many users on it as on a physical box!
  • Scale out, not up. A major advantage of VM is to clone/NewSID/sysprep existing servers and put them into your existing Citrix farm. Just stop & disable your IMA service , clean up your RMLocalDB (if you use enterprise) and NewSid the thing. Refer to this support article for more info.
  • Use dual core or quad core systems. This because ESX will have more CPU to schedule its vCPUs on.
  • Don’t ever use a 2 vCPU Citrix virtual machine in a 2 pCPU physical machine!
  • Do not install the memory ballooning driver while installing the VMware Tools
  • Do not use a complete installation Vmware tools : there is an issue with roaming profiles and the shared folders component. See my previous article for more info.
  • Disable COM ports, hyperthreading, visual effects & use speedscreen technology where possible.
  • Use snapshots when installing applications or patching your servers (yes! With VMware you can do this!). In case of disaster, you can still revert to the original working server without using backups. Make sure all snapshots are removed ASAP when finished!
  • Always check that there are no snapshot leftovers (f.e. the infamous _VCB-BACKUP_ when using VCB)
  • Don’t forget you can use DRS rules to run your citrix servers on separate physical hosts.
  • Check out this vmworld 2006 presentation
  • And last but not least: do not forget to read ESX’s (excellent) performance tuning white paper .

Continue reading

VMware vCenter Converter released

VMware vCenter Converter can run on a wide variety of hardware and supports most commonly used versions of the Microsoft Windows and Linux* operating systems. With this robust, enterprise class migration tool you can:

  • Quickly and reliably convert local and remote physical machines into virtual machines without any disruption or downtime.
  • Complete multiple conversions simultaneously with a centralized management console and an intuitive conversion wizard.
  • Convert other virtual machine formats such as Microsoft Virtual PC and Microsoft Virtual Server or backup images of physical machines such as Symantec Backup Exec System Recovery or Norton Ghost to VMware virtual machines.
  • Restore VMware Consolidated Backup (VCB) images of virtual machines to running virtual machines.
  • Clone and backup physical machines to virtual machines as part of your disaster recovery plan.


Download your copy here: https://www.vmware.com/download/converter/

*Linux P2V support is available for Standalone version only

New VMware Visio Shapes released

I just saw a nice present in one of my RSS feeds:

  1. ThinApp-Stencil- Objects for ThinApp
  2. Build your Own-Stencil – Stand-alone objectsto create your own diagrams
  3. VM-STencil – Objects that are related Virtual Machines
  4. VMware-Stencil – General Objects for VMware
  5. Products-Stencil – Diagrams and objects that are related to VMware products or technologies

Grab your own copy here: http://viops.vmware.com/home/docs/DOC-1346

An introduction to VMware View 3

In this three-part article series, Roland van der Kruk, a freelance consultant in The Netherlands, takes a look at the new features of VMware View 3, as well as best practices learned while doing a deployment for a customer. Part 1 provides information and insight on new features, Part 2 looks at Linked Clones, and Part 3 will look at special considerations and best practices for deployment.

Part 1 of 3 – An introduction to VMware View 3 features and best practices



Early December 2008, VMware released their new product for the VDI market, VMware View 3.0. As a rather substantial update to the former version, VMware VDM 2.0, apparently the product name also had to undergo a change to underline the differences between the new product and its predecessor. In this article I will discuss the (new) features in View 3.0 and the way they work. I will first describe the components on which the product is based. Then I will focus on the different deployment types possible with View 3.0 and what happens during and after deploying different types of ‘desktop pools’.

My experience with the new product is mainly based on an implementation that I did for a customer, who had a specific use case to provide desktop operating systems to developers around the globe. I will sometimes refer to other use cases as there are quite a few, however perhaps the biggest question that everyone probably has will remain unanswered, as the technology that makes up VDI is still developing. Where we can speak of an accepted and well known technology like Citrix XenApp, VDI is not nearly there yet. The question of how VDI will result in better return on investment than desktop deployment methods being used for many years now is not clear. It all depends on use cases and things like high availability requirements and hardware cost. Financial differences and justifications for using VDI or a traditional desktop model are not discussed in this article.

Part 2 of 3 – Linked Clones


Linked Clones

The big question to most people is probably: ‘What are linked clones and how do they work?’. Some of you may expect similar functionality to Citrix Provisioning Server where optimization in disk space can be significantly realized, and indeed VMware does somewhat the same, but with very different technology. Let’s see how VMware does it.

The essence of linked clones is Thin Provisioning; saving on expensive storage cost. Thin provisioning with View 3.0 can be realized using a “master virtual machine”, which is just a regular virtual machine that you create and then take a snapshot. That virtual machine will be used as the basis for rapid and thin OS deployment. Please notice that I mentioned a virtual machine “snapshot”, not a virtual machine “template”.

Part 3 of 3 – Special Considerations and Best Practices


High available, secure remote access

Unfortunately, a high available configuration to access VMware View while being outside the corporate network can be very different between organizations. I have been doing some research reading the VMware VDM 2 Load Balancing Guide to find out more about load balancing and secure remote access. In today’s enterprise environments, gateway devices like Citrix Netscaler/Access Gateway or Cisco ASA are more or less common practice. They are configured as a mandatory termination point for sessions originating from outside the corporate network connecting to resources inside the corporate network.

SCVMM 2008 and VMware integration

I downloaded and installed SCVMM 2008 today and installed it to check out the VMware integration. I created a new virtual machine with Windows Server 2008 x64 with 1,5GB of RAM and started the installation from an attached ISO. When I did that the installation failed during WAIK installation. I copied the WAIK files (from \Prerequisites\WAIK\1033) to the server and installed WAIK from there. I than reran the setup procedure and SCVMM installed fine.

The first thing you do after installation is to add some hosts. This beta of SCVMM 2008 supports the following virtualization hosts:

  • Virtual Server 2005
  • Hyper-V (on Windows Server 2008)
  • VMware VI3 (with VirtualCenter)

To manage ESX you need to add a VirtualCenter server. SCVMM cannot connect to ESX servers directly. The result (click to enlarge):


In the screenshot above at the right, you’ll see an action called Add VMware VirtualCenter . That action launches a wizard that asks you for the name of your VirtualCenter box and your credentials. Upon completion, the wizard adds folders to SCVMM for each VMware datacenter object and then adds the ESX boxes.

If you look at the screenshot further, the Summary tab shows some information about the ESX host like CPU, memory, storage and the virtual machines on the host. The Storage and Networking tab shows the following info:


When you click on the Virtual Machines button and select the ESX host you get a list of virtual machines:


From that list you can do what’s expected: stop, start, suspend, modify the virtual machine settings, VMotion, etc… You can also connect to the console of virtual machines. The first time you do this you need to install an ActiveX control. The console looks like this:


That’s all I have time for today. Next I will check out how SCVMM works with ISOs and virtual machine templates and how that ties in with VirtualCenter. I will report those findings later.

VMware: Hyper-V on Server Core vs ESXi


Video 1 : http://www.vmware.com/technology/whyvmware/resources/esxi-hyper-v-installation.html

This first video shows every step required to install Hyper-V and ESXi on a fresh machine. We kept count of the elapsed time, reboots, mouse clicks and keystrokes each product needed and it clearly shows the huge advantage the truly thin and OS-free ESXi architecture has in installation speed and simplicity.  ESXi goes from bare-metal to fully installed in one-third the time, half the mouse clicks, hundreds fewer keystrokes and just one reboot vs. seven compared to Hyper-V.  The simplicity of the ESXi wizard-driven installation is striking compared to the arduous process needed to first get the Server Core OS installed and then configure Hyper-V in a command line environment.

Video 2 : http://www.vmware.com/technology/whyvmware/resources/hyper-v-side-by-side-esxi.html

Our second video starts where the first left off and takes Hyper-V and ESXi through the steps needed to configure two iSCSI datastores for VM use. iSCSI setup is a standard task for any virtualization user that wants to take advantage of shared storage for VM migration and high availability.  ESXi’s Windows-based Virtual Infrastructure client makes the iSCSI setup quick and easy.  For Hyper-V, the "Windows you know" is nowhere to be seen.  Instead, working with Server Core requires you to key in a long sequence of obscure commands to configure iSCSI initiators and targets, partitions and file systems.  We generously showed the Hyper-V setup executed with no delays, although it took us hours of digging through Microsoft documents and knowledgebase articles to find the right commands to use when configuring iSCSI in Server Core.

Source: http://blogs.vmware.com/virtualreality/2008/09/esxi-vs-hyper-v.html

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