How to add Realtek R8168 to ESXi 5.5 Update 2 ISO


Over the past weekend I was working on a whitebox ESXi host and wanted to upgrade it to ESXi 5.5 Update 2 from an older version of ESXi 5.1 using a realtek R8168 network card. While I could have performed an in place upgrade, such as via command line, a clean install was preferred. However, VMware has removed a number of NIC drivers from ESXi 5.x and trying to install with the base ESXi image would result in a “No Network Adapters” error during install.

In order to do a clean install you have to re-add the Realtek R8168 NIC drivers back into the ESXi 5.5 image, otherwise a NIC will not be found and thus ESXi will not install. These are the steps to easily re-add the Realtek R8168 drivers into ESXi 5.5 ISO by making a custom ESXi 5.5 image.

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Edit Virtual Hardware 10 VM’s with vSphere 5.5 U2 client

When ESXi 5.5 came out so did a new virtual hardware version, 10, as well. However the ability to edit virtual machines have have been upgraded to virtual hardware 10 was restricted to only the vSphere web client. In some cases people have put off upgrading to virtual hardware 10 either for dislike of the web client or knowing you cannot edit the VM in the event of the web client being down.

That all changes today, VMware has just released vCenter 5.5 Update 2 today and one of the “resolved issues” in today’s release notes is the ability to now edit virtual machines with Virtual Hardware 10 using the vSphere thick (C#) client.

edit virtual hardware 10

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Securing your Synology NAS, Part 2

synology logo

Earlier this year I posted instructions on how to install an SSL certificate on your Synology NAS. That was before the Dogecoin malware were found infecting Synology NAS boxes early this summer or now the “SynoLocker” ransomware that encrypts all the data on your NAS and forces you to pay $350 to decrypt the data. Below I’m going to list several ways to help protect your NAS, I’ll be using my Synology DS412+ for demo.

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VMware vCenter Server 5.5 Update 1b released

vCenter Server 5.5 Update 1b released

VMware released vCenter Server 5.5 Update 1b today. The release does not bring any new features but instead patches a few bugs and possible security issues such as the heartbleed fix and most recent OpenSSL as mentioned in CVE-2014-0224. vCenter 5.5 Update 1b now includes the OpenSSL library which has been updated to versions openssl-0.9.8za, openssl-1.0.0m, and openssl-1.0.1h.

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How to install VMware vSphere Update Manager 5.5

If you don’t already know, VMware Update Manager (aka, VUM) is a tool which allows you to easily automate patching and upgrading VMware hosts as well as virtual machine hardware and VMware tools. It’s a wonderful tool and makes upgrading and patching so much easier and allows you to quickly see how compliant/up-to-date your environment is with the built in pie graph.

Recently we had some pretty serious array issues which corrupted the VUM database taking Update Manager down. Since we was going to have to rebuild Update Manager I opted to move from Windows Server 2008 to Windows Server 2012, in the steps below I’ll document step by step how to install VMware Update Manager 5.5 on Server 2012 and a separate database.

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Clone VMware ESXi USB boot drive to another USB flash drive

A few days ago one of my hosts in my home lab was displaying an alarm message:

Lost connectivity to the device

Lost connectivity to the device mpx.vmhbaXX:XX:XX:XX backing the boot filesystem /vmfs/devices/disks/mpx.vmhbaXX:XX:XX:XX. As a result, host configuration changes will not be saved to persistent storage.

The last part of the message (“persistent storage”) made me think it might have something to do with the USB drive due to the fact that a similar message appeared when setting up the home lab on the Intel NUC’s. After some research it appears my assumption was correct and that the USB flash drive I was using to boot from was indeed starting to fail.

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Thank you VMware Community!

VMware vExpert 2014

So far, 2014 has been a very rewarding year for a number of reasons, two of which has happened in just a week or two span. First, Eric Siebert (@ericsiebert) announced on March 27th, this years results of the 2014 Top VMware & Virtualization Blog voting. My first year entered into voting and made it to 71st place! A huge thanks goes out to not only Eric but just as much so to everyone who voted for me!

To top it off, yesterday VMware announced 2014’s first quarter VMware vExpert list. While vExpert isn’t a technical certification or even a general measure of VMware expertise. The VMware judges selected people who were engaged with their community and who had developed a substantial personal platform of influence in those communities. There were a lot of very smart, very accomplished people, even VCDXs, that weren’t named as vExpert this year. VMware awarded this title to 754 people this year and on that list of many impressive names you’ll find yours truly, Michael Tabor!

I’m both honored and humbled by both lists. It’s a great feeling to be recognized by not only my peers through the voting in the Top vBlog but also by VMware themselves through the vExpert title.

So again THANK YOU very much to the entire VMware community, a spectacular community indeed, and congratulations to everyone else that made the Top vBlog and vExpert lists!