How to install VisualEsxtop

If you haven’t already heard, VisualEsxtop is a Fling developed by a few VMware Engineers that provides a java based GUI to the every useful ESXTOP. As an added bonus provides a description of each counter, multiple windows, the ability to sort metrics, and even provide basic graphs. Oh and it’s FREE!

Setup and install on Windows 7 is pretty easy as well:

Visual ESXtop

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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.

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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

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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

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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…

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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.

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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.
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