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Cannot Remove Content Library in VCSA 6.5 Update 1

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Opening vSphere Web Client (Flash) on Windows Server 2016

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The VM Remote Console changed to VMware Workstation instead of VMRC

Lately, I discovered an annoying feature in combination with VMware vCenter and VMware Workstation. When installing VMware Workstation on your management computer it becomes the default Remote Console viewer. To be honest, I like the VMware Remote Console (VMRC) very much. The application has all the features and is quick and light. This compared to starting VMware Workstation to open a Remote Console.

What is VMware Remote Console: “The VMware Remote Console (VMRC) is a standalone console application for Windows. VMware Remote Console provides console access and client device connection to VMs on a remote host. You will need to download this installer before you can launch the external VMRC application directly from a VMware vSphere or vRealize Automation web client.”

In October 2017, I already fixed my problem on my management computer… but after a recent VMware Workstation update, it changed the Remote Console back to VMware Workstation. Currently, there is no option in the GUI to change the default Remote Console. Ok, but how do we get VMRC back?

When I was comparing the Windows Registry, I found out that the following registry keys were different between machines. To speed up to process I created some PowerShell one-liners to fix the problem.

### View settings in registry
Get-Item HKLM:\SOFTWARE\Classes\vmrc\DefaultIcon
Get-Item HKLM:\SOFTWARE\Classes\vmrc\shell\open\command

### Change settings to VMRC
Set-Item HKLM:\SOFTWARE\Classes\vmrc\DefaultIcon -Value '"C:\Program Files (x86)\VMware\VMware Remote Console\vmrc.exe",0'
Set-Item HKLM:\SOFTWARE\Classes\vmrc\shell\open\command -Value '"C:\Program Files (x86)\VMware\VMware Remote Console\vmrc.exe" "%1"'

When you change the registry key, no Operating System or browser restart is required. The change is instant. I hope the blog post helps some vSphere Administrators that also prefer VMRC above VMware Workstation for viewing Remote Consoles.

@VMware: I would like to have an option to control the behaviour without changing registry keys by hand… 🙂 Thanks!

Environment

The issues occurred with the following combination of software:

  • VMware vCenter Server 6.5 (Update 1e)
  • VMware VMRC (10.0.2-7096020)
  • VMware Workstation (12.5.9 build-7535481)
  • Management Workstation: Windows 10 X64

VMRC Screenshots

Some screenshots that display the changes when opening the Remote Console of a Virtual Machine in VMware vCenter.

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VMware VCSA 6.5 Content Library Issue

Today I was facing a VMware Content Library issue. I was removing a newly created Content Library in the vSphere Web Client but that resulted in a Java Runtime error.
The conclusion was that there was no way to remove the Content Library item.

The environment that I was troubleshooting has an external PSC and a vCenter server. The PSC and VC were running on the VMware VCSA 6.5 U1b release.
After some searching in the logs and googling, I came across the two following articles:
Link: Notes from MWhite – Can’t create a Content Library?
Link: VMware KB – OVF deployment fails after upgrading to vCenter Server Appliance 6.5 U1 (2151085)

Based on both information sources a couple of commands would fix the problem but there was also a note about installing patch VCSA 6.5 U1d.

I can confirm after upgrading the VSCA (PSC and VC) to version 6.5 U1e the problem was resolved.

Content Library Screenshots

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vCenter Server 6.5 U1 does not support deployment of OVF files

Today I was planning a NSX manager deployment in my Home Lab… But that turn out to be a problem, because I could not upload an OVF file in the vSphere Client and HTML5 Web Client. When looking in my Home Lab notes I realized the last time I deployed an OVF was when the VCSA was running 6.5 without update 1. I think something went wrong with updating to VCSA 6.5 update 1.

Problem:

Both webpages display the problem in a different way.

vSphere Client:

With the vSphere Client the following pop-up appears when trying to deploy an OVF file:  “This version of vCenter Server does not support Deploy OVF Template using this version of vSphere Web Client. To Deploy OVF Template, login with version 6.5.0.0 of vSphere Web Client”

vSpher Client - OVF Deployment
vSphere Client – OVF Deployment

 

HTML5 Web Client:

The HTML5 Web Client does not display any error at all. It just disables the option to deploy an OVF file.

HTML5 Web Client - Deployment not possible
HTML5 Web Client – Deployment not possible
Fix:

After some googling I found the following VMware KB article 2151085 (link). This turned out to be the solution.
1. Connect to the vCenter Server Appliance with an SSH session and root credentials.
2. Run this command to enable access the Bash shell:
shell.set –enabled true
3. Type shell and press Enter.
4. Navigate to /etc/vmware-content-library/config/ with this command:
cd /etc/vmware-content-library/config/
5. Create a backup of the ts-config.properties and ts-config.properties.rpmnew file with these commands:
cp ts-config.properties ts-config.properties.orig
cp ts-config.properties.rpmnew ts-config.properties.rpmnew.orig
6. Rename ts-config.properties.rpmnew to ts-config.properties.
mv ts-config.properties.rpmnew ts-config.properties
7. Restart the Content Library service:
service-control –stop vmware-content-library
service-control –start vmware-content-library
8. Refresh or close your browser and connect with one of the web interfaces.

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Automated installation with VMware ESXi 5.5/6.0/6.5

In this blog post, we are going to automate the installation of VMware ESXi 5.5, 6.0 and 6.5. This can be done with a so-called “kickstart” configuration file which is officially supported by VMware. The file contains the configuration for a VMware ESXi Host to configure settings like IP address, subnet mask, hostname, license key, datastore, etc.

The kickstart configuration file can be made available in the following locations:

  • FTP
  • HTTP/HTTPS
  • NFS Share
  • USB flash drive
  • CD/DVD device

Personally, I prefer to use the HTTP protocol.



Use Case

You might ask yourself, why should I install an ESXi Host with a kickstart file? Some of the use cases I identified over the years are:

  • The very first ESXi Hosts for your SDDC environment (before VMware vCenter is deployed or vSphere Auto Deploy is configured).
  • A standalone ESXi Host for a small environment.
  • A Home Lab environment to install nested VMware ESXi Hosts.

Setup a web server

To make the kickstart configuration file available for the ESXi host we need a web server. Basically, every web server available on the market can serve this file. Here is a list of web server products that I have used: Apache, Microsoft IIS and NGINX.

In this environment/example I used a Microsoft IIS server on a Windows 10 Client. Do not forget to add the cfg extension to the MIME types.

Configuration file

Now it’s time to create a text file with your favourite text editor. The text file in this example is called (ks.cfg). I have added two configuration files as samples, one with the minimum settings and one I normally use for my Lab environment.

Configuration file – Simple (ks.cfg)

This is a default ks.cfg configuration file with just the minimum of settings required.

#
# Sample scripted installation file
#
 
# Accept the VMware End User License Agreement
vmaccepteula
 
# Set the root password for the DCUI and Tech Support Mode
rootpw mypassword
 
# The install media is in the CD-ROM drive
install --firstdisk --overwritevmfs
 
# Set the network to DHCP on the first network adapter
network --bootproto=dhcp --device=vmnic0
 
# A sample post-install script
%post --interpreter=python --ignorefailure=true
import time
stampFile = open('/finished.stamp', mode='w')
stampFile.write( time.asctime() )

Configuration file – Advanced (ks.cfg)

This is the more advanced version of the configuration file that also configures a lot of other settings like NTP servers, search domain, CEIP and a static IP address for the management interface.

### ESXi Installation Script
### Hostname: LAB-ESXi01A
### Author: M. Buijs
### Date: 2017-08-11
### Tested with: ESXi 6.0 and ESXi 6.5
 
##### Stage 01 - Pre installation:
 
    ### Accept the VMware End User License Agreement
    vmaccepteula
 
    ### Set the root password for the DCUI and Tech Support Mode
    rootpw VMware1!
 
    ### The install media (priority: local / remote / USB)
    install --firstdisk=local --overwritevmfs --novmfsondisk
 
    ### Set the network to DHCP on the first network adapter
    network --bootproto=static --device=vmnic0 --ip=192.168.151.101 --netmask=255.255.255.0 --gateway=192.168.151.254 --nameserver=192.168.126.21,192.168.151.254 --hostname=LAB-ESXi01A.lab.local --addvmportgroup=0
 
    ### Reboot ESXi Host
    reboot --noeject
 
##### Stage 02 - Post installation:
 
    ### Open busybox and launch commands
    %firstboot --interpreter=busybox
 
    ### Set Search Domain
    esxcli network ip dns search add --domain=lab.local
 
    ### Add second NIC to vSwitch0
    esxcli network vswitch standard uplink add --uplink-name=vmnic1 --vswitch-name=vSwitch0
 
    ###  Disable IPv6 support (reboot is required)
    esxcli network ip set --ipv6-enabled=false
 
    ### Add NTP Server addresses
    echo "server 192.168.126.21" >> /etc/ntp.conf;
    echo "server 192.168.151.254" >> /etc/ntp.conf;
 
    ### Allow NTP through firewall
    esxcfg-firewall -e ntpClient
 
    ### Enable NTP autostartup
    /sbin/chkconfig ntpd on;
 
    ### Rename local datastore (currently disabled because of --novmfsondisk)
    #vim-cmd hostsvc/datastore/rename datastore1 "DAS - $(hostname -s)"
 
    ### Disable CEIP
    esxcli system settings advanced set -o /UserVars/HostClientCEIPOptIn -i 2
 
    ### Enable maintaince mode
    esxcli system maintenanceMode set -e true
 
    ### Reboot
    esxcli system shutdown reboot -d 15 -r "rebooting after ESXi host configuration"


Installing an ESXi Host with Kickstart file

The following procedure needs to be performed to boot from a kickstart file:

  1. Boot the ESXi host with a VMware ESXi ISO (ISO file can be obtained from the VMware download page).
  2. Press the key combination “shift + o” at boot.
  3. Enter one of the following lines after runweasel:
    • For an HTTP share: ks=http://%IP_or_FQDN%/kg.cfg
    • For an HTTPs share: ks=https://%IP_or_FQDN%/kg.cfg
    • For a NFS share: ks=nfs://%IP_or_FQDN%/ks.cfg
  4. The installation will start and use the kickstart configuration file (ks.cfg).
  5. After the installation is complete the ESXi Host will reboot.

Screenshots

HTTP Path to ks.cfg file on webserver.
HTTP Path to ks.cfg file on webserver.
ESXi Host is downloading/reading file from HTTP mirror
ESXi Host is downloading/reading file from HTTP mirror

  • This article has been updated on 2018-10-04

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vSphere Integrated Containers (VIC) v1.1

This week VMware released vSphere Integrated Containers (VIC) version 1.1. Below are the product highlights and a small introduction to the new product.

Information about VMware Integrated Containers

vSphere Integrated Containers comprises three components:

  • VMware vSphere Integrated Containers Engine, a container runtime for vSphere that allows developers who are familiar with Docker to develop in containers and deploy them alongside traditional VM-based workloads on vSphere clusters. vSphere administrators can manage these workloads by using vSphere in a way that is familiar.VMware Integrated Containers (VIC) - Logo
  • VMware vSphere Integrated Containers Registry, an enterprise-class container registry server that stores and distributes container images. vSphere Integrated Containers Registry extends the Docker Distribution open source project by adding the functionalities that an enterprise requires, such as security, identity and management.
  • VMware vSphere Integrated Containers Management Portal, a container management portal that provides a UI for DevOps teams to provision and manage containers, including retrieving stats and info about container instances. Cloud administrators can manage container hosts and apply governance to their usage, including capacity quotas and approval workflows. When integrated with vRealize Automation, more advanced capabilities become available, such as deployment blueprints and enterprise-grade Containers-as-a-Service.

With these capabilities, vSphere Integrated Containers enables VMware customers to deliver a production-ready container solution to their developers and DevOps teams. By leveraging their existing SDDC, customers can run container-based applications alongside existing virtual machine based workloads in production without having to build out a separate, specialized container infrastructure stack. As an added benefit for customers and partners, vSphere Integrated Containers is modular. So, for example, if your organization already has a container registry in production, you can use that registry with vSphere Integrated Containers Engine and vSphere Integrated Containers Management Portal.

New features:

  • A unified OVA installer for all three components
  • Upgrade from version 1.0
  • Official support for vSphere Integrated Containers Management Portal
  • A unified UI for vSphere Integrated Containers Registry and vSphere Integrated Containers Management Portal
  • A plug-in for the HTML5 vSphere Client
  • Support for Docker Client 1.13 and Docker API version 1.25
  • Support for using Notary with vSphere Integrated Containers Registry
  • Support for additional Docker commands. For the list of Docker commands that this release supports, see Supported Docker Commands in Developing Container Applications with vSphere Integrated Containers.

For more information read the links below.

Links:

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VMware Product Vulnerability (CVE-2017-5638)

A security vulnerability has been discovered in some VMware products (CVE-2017-5638). It’s a critical vulnerability which allows remote code execution (RCE) on Apache Struts 2.

The vulnerability affects the following VMware products:
– DaaS 6.X / 7.X
– Hyperic 5.X
– vCenter 5.5 / 6.0 / 6.5
– vROPS 6.X

Read more

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Changing Guest Time Synchronization Setting From Within-Guest OS

I recently got a question about enabling and disabling the quest time synchronization for virtual machines. The customer asked about a solution to change the settings from within the operating system instead of the VMware vSphere Client or vSphere Web Client. Normally you would change the virtual machine time synchronization settings by hand with the vSphere Client/Web Client/HTML5 or with a PowerCLI script, but after some searching, it appears, there is a solution provided by VMware.
Read more

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PowerCLI Datastore Selection without Storage DRS (SDRS)

Overview

When deploying some virtual machines in a test environment I ran into the following problem. In most cases, I make use of a VMware vCenter Storage DRS cluster, in this case when deploying a virtual machine the best-suited datastore is selected for the virtual machines. The only problem is not all customers are entitled to use Storage DRS, because Storage DRS requires a vSphere Enterprise Plus license. So I needed to create a workaround to select a datastore with enough space. The default PowerCLI behaviour is selecting the first datastore detected on a alphabetic order.

So when you are deploying let’s say twenty virtual machines all those virtual machines will be put on the first datastore, so that isn’t going to work well in most cases.

PowerCLI Code

To solve the problem I created the following PowerCLI code. The code selects a cluster and lists all the datastore available. The datastore with the most space available is selected for the virtual machine that is being deployed.

In the PowerCLI code, I just create a very simple virtual machine but you probably get the point. The magic is the $DS line that selects the datastore.

### Variables
$CLUSTER = "Production" 		# A Cluster Name
$FOLDER = "Deployed VMs"		# A Virtual Machine folder name located in the vCenter inventory

### Select datastores available and sort them on free space (select the one with most space free)
$DS = Get-Cluster -Name $CLUSTER | Get-Datastore | Select Name, FreeSpaceGB | Sort-Object FreeSpaceGB -Descending | Select -first 1

### Create a virtual machine called VM01
New-VM -Name VM01 -ResourcePool $CLUSTER -Datastore $DS.Name -Location $FOLDER -MemoryGB 1 -CD -DiskGB 5

Note

The PowerShell code is tested with the following VMware software components on Microsoft Windows:

  • PowerCLI 6.5 Release 1
  • VMware vCenter Server 6.0

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