Shrink a thin provisioned VMDK disk

When maintaining a Horizon View environment I like to keep my parent images as small as possible and over time a thin provision disk can start to grow on you if you don’t watch it – be it from downloading installers, updates, or even running disk defrag. While there isn’t a simple, one click button in the View Administrator Console there is a fairly easy manual method using vmfkstools.

Before we can use “vmkfstools” to shrink the VMDK file we must zero out any unused space on the thin provisioned disk. A simple way of doing this is by using a free utility called SDelete from Sysinternals.

VMware vCenter Server 5.5.0a update released

VMware has released an update to vCenter 5.5 Server. The new updated, numbered 5.5.0a doesn’t appear to add any new features but instead focus on squishing a number of bugs in the 5.5 version – mostly around vCenter Single-Sign-On and the vSphere web client.

Issues resolved with this release are as follows:

  1. Attempts to upgrade vCenter Single Sign-On (SSO) 5.1 Update 1 to version 5.5 might fail with error code 1603
  2. Attempts to log in to the vCenter Server might be unsuccessful after you upgrade from vCenter Server 5.1 to 5.5
  3. Unable to change the vCenter SSO administrator password on Windows in the vSphere Web Client after you upgrade to vCenter Server 5.5 or VCSA 5.5
  4. VPXD service might fail due to MS SQL database deadlock for the issues with VPXD queries that run on VPX_EVENT and VPX_EVENT_ARG tables

How to shadow a VMware Horizon View desktop

Ever work on a View 5.x Desktop issue and needed access to the desktop it self while in use? While not a feature that is easily enabled say via the vmTools or the View Administrator console – it can however be easily enabled via Group Policy, similar to some other settings that I mention in the Windows 7 Optimization Guide.

Enable PCoIP Shadowing

  • Import the pcoip.adm GPO Template.
  • Navigate to: Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Classic Administrative Templates (ADM) > PCoIP Session Variables.
  • Enable “Enable access to PCoIP session from a vSphere console”.
  • Link the GPO to the OU where your View Desktops reside.

shadow pcoip policy

VMware Horizon View 5.3 has been announced

Horizon View 5.2 is receiving an update to 5.3! Doesn’t sound like much, but in that tiny dot number increase VMware has in fact brought a number improvements and features to Horizon View.

In a nut shell, some features Horizon View 5.3 brings is the ability to connect to a virtual desktop from any HTML5 capable web browser (yes, even Chromebook!), ability to bring full workstation class user experience with 3D graphics, deploy Windows Server 2008 as a desktop, as well as completely rewritten the Windows client with support for Windows 8.1 and a new iOS7 client too.

In more detail, Horizon View 5.3 brings…

Setup Synology Syslog server for VMware ESXi

After performing my home lab upgrade, ESXi now runs from a USB stick and because of that vSphere would complain that the system logs where on non-persistent storage:

ESXi syslog error

If I wanted I could have ran the vCenter Server Appliance (vCSA) as it comes with it’s own syslog server, or I could have used something like KIWI or Splunk to be my syslog server. I instead went the route of my Synology NAS as it too has the ability to act as a syslog server and these are the steps I performed to setting it up.

Become a VMware Certified Associate for FREE!

During the San Francisco VMworld 2013, VMware announced the start of their new VMware Certified Associate certifications.

There’s no training class requirement for the new exams although VMware offers a free self-paced e-learning course which is recommended to help you prepare for the exams. The exams normally run $120.00 but VMware is currently running a $60.00 discount for those who take the exam in 2013. NTPRO.nl has an additional coupon code (VCA13ICS) to take the remaining $60.00 off making the exam FREE!

VCA Exam for free

The VCA13ICS coupon code expires on October 30, 2013!

Update:
Global Knowledge also has a coupon code (VCA13GKN) which does not expire until January 31, 2014. Limit one free exam per individual!

Easy ESXi 5.5 upgrade via command line

ESXi 5.5 was just released general availability (GA) on Sunday (9/22) and I’m itching to upgrade the home lab to run the latest version with all it’s goodies. I wanted to try upgrading my hosts without having to go through the same process that I followed setting up ESXi on the NUC in the first place, injecting custom NIC drivers, etc.

Enter the command line…

  1. Move all VM’s from the host and then put the host into Maintenance Mode.
  2. Go to the Configuration tab > Security Profile and Enable SSH under Services.
    ssh enabled
  3. Under Firewall, enable httpClient (outbound http).
    httpClient enable
  4. Open PuTTY (or other SSH client) and SSH into your host.

VMware ESXi 5 home lab upgrade

In the past I’ve been using a single server to run my VMware ESXi home lab. it was slow, old, big and loud. I’ve been meaning to upgrade my home lab for a while and just never got around to it, until now! When looking for new hardware I wanted the servers to be as compact as possible, quiet, and low energy usage as possible while still having some horsepower.

I debated on going the whitebox solution as I build all my own desktops anyway, I also looked at several other solutions such as the HP ML310e server, Shuttle XH61V barebones machine, but ultimately decided to go with two Intel NUC i5’s.

Intel NUC i5 and 16GB ram

Intel NUC i5 DC53427HYE Features:

  • Uses very little energy
  • Completely quiet
  • Supports up to 16GB RAM
  • A dual core CPU that scores nearly 3,600 in PassMark benchmarking
  • Includes vPro which allows me to easily run both NUC’s headless
  • Extremely small, nearly 4 1/2″ inch square footprint

ESXi 5.5 free edition removes 32GB memory limit

There have been a ton of exciting announcements coming out of VMword 2013, one of which is vSphere 5.5 and all of it’s improvements and additions. Along that note, VMware has changed ESXi 5.5 free version to remove the physical RAM limit which was limited to only 32GB in version 5.1.

The new virtual hardware, version 10, we can now grow our home labs into more powerful VM’s as most all configuration maximums have been doubled:

Scroll to Top