Virtualization Vmware

How to remove a plug-in from vCenter with the MOB

I recently ran into an issue with being unable to remove a plug-in from vCenter. When looking in vCenter under Administration > Client Plugins I found the pluging was failing to install and was continually attempting to restart the installation.The option to remove or disable the plug-in was greyed out.

I opened a case with VMware support and was directed to their KB article on how to remove plug-ins via the MOB.

Here is the a excerpt from the KB Article on how to remove the plug-ins:

To remove unwanted plug-ins from the available plug-in list:

  1. In a web browser, navigate to https://vCenter_Server_name_or_IP/mob.

    Where vCenter_Server_name_or_IP/mob is the name of your vCenter Server or its IP address. Log in with your vCenter SSO admin credentials.
  2. Click Content.
  3. Click ExtensionManager.
  4. Select and copy the name of the plug-in you want to remove from the list of values under Properties. For a list of default plug-ins, see the Additional Information section of this article.
  5. Click UnregisterExtension. A new window appears.
  6. Paste the key of the plug-in and click Invoke Method. This removes the plug-in and results in void.
  7. Close the window.
  8. Refresh the Managed Object Type:ManagedObjectReference:ExtensionManager window to verify that the plug-in is removed successfully.

Note: If the plug-in still appears, you may have to restart the vSphere Client.

To disable the plugin through the Client Plug-In manager within the vSphere Web Client 5.1 and later:

  1. Log in to the vSphere Web Client with an vCenter Server Administrative user.
  2. When the error appears, click No.
  3. Navigate to Administration > Client Plug-Ins.
  4. Locate the client plug-in you want to disable.
  5. Right-click this entry and select Disable.
  6. Click Yes on the pop-up box for disabling the plugin.

I followed the above guide however I did run into something that is not in the guide. In the:

Click UnregisterExtension. A new window appears.

The popup message actually looks like an error and doesn’t indicate that it actually does anything.

However, once it is done you can go back to the plug-ins section and either the plug-in will be deleted or it will not be attempting to install anymore so you can click remove to get rid of it.

I hope that you found this post helpful and if so please feel free to share it with others. Also be sure to check out some of my other posts on Virtualization topics.

Backups Docker Linux Windows

Urbackup – Open Source Network Backup

I know this is a little late for world backup day, but backups are needed everyday!

Today we will be talking about Urbackup. It is a Open Source network backup solution that you can use in your home or office network. I cannot express to you all the importance of a good backup solution. Working in the IT field as a consultant and MSP provider for many years I have seen my share of Clients who neglected their backups. Let me tell you, recovering from a failure without a good backup is not cheap. Remember it the question is not IF a failure will occur it is WHEN it will occur.

What is UrBackup?

Urbackup is a Web based backup solution that can backup Windows, Linux, FreeBSD and Mac (in beta) Operating systems. You can install Urbackup Server on both Linux or Windows.

There are two types of agents that you can install, Local or Internet. Internet Agents allow your computers to be backed up over the internet, however it is slower and requires a lot more configurations and infrastructure. For the purpose of this article we will focus on local.

How does Urbackup Work?

As you can see from the above screen shot the interface is pretty easy to read. Each computer that you have an agent on will be listed in the dashboard and the status columns are color coded to let you know how your backups are looking.

Installed Local agents will allow your machine to connect to 1 (you can do more, but it requires addtional configuration) Urbackup server. Urbackup will automatically perform file and image based backups (Image based is for Windows Only).

Imaged based restores can be intitated by either converting the image to a .vhd and mounting the image to a Windows computer or as a virtual machine such as Hyper-V. You can also use the bootable recovery disk to restore your image to your hardware in the event of a hardware failure.

Urbackup also allows you to view the backups that have been taken and drill down into them to restore individual files as seen below.

Reports and Statistics are also available and will show you how much space you are using without having to log into the actual server.

How can I get Urbackup?

As I mentioned earlier Urbackup is able to be installed on Linux and Windows. It is also able to be installed in a container such as Docker and there are many NAS appliances such as Synology which you can run the container on and provide storage.


I hope you found this article helpful and if you would like to learn more about it please feel free to reach out. Also if you want to learn about a different backup solution, check out this post on Duplicati.

Please share this out ot your friends as it could helpful to others.

Virtualization Vmware

vCenter 7.0: No healthy Upstream Server

I was doing some maintenance on several vCenters last week. I discovered that when a vCenter gets powered off and back on the webpage will display No Healthy Upstream Server.

What happened

Part of our process when working on a vCenter is do to an offline snapshot prior to making any changes. After the snapshot was completed, I powered up the appliance. We power the VCSA appliance up and are presented with that message when going to the vCenter URL.

I was able to get to the VAMI webpage, by going to https://vcenterserver.domain.local:5840. But I was not able to log in with AD credentials. I needed to use the root credentials for the vCenter appliance to log in.

I checked the services tab in the VAMI interface and found that most the the services that were stopped.

This is also the reason why I couldn’t login with my AD Credentials. THis is because the service responsible for it is stopped.


After opening a case with VMware support, it has been determined that it is a known issue / bug in vCenter 7.0. The work around for the solution is to stop all the services in vCenter via the Command line and start all the services to bring everything back up.

You might think that starting the services manually will solve the issue. However just as with most modern systems, there is alway a proper startup order. While you might get lucky in turning them on, it is best to let the system handle it on it’s own.

The Workaround

As mentioned above the solution is simple. You need to SSH into your vCenter and log in as root. If for some reason your vCenter has SSH disabled, you will need to enable it from the VAMI > Access > SSH login.

Once you are logged in type the following


to enter into the BASH prompt.

cd /bin

To change directory to the /bin directory

service-control --stop --all

This will stop all services which is necessary to make sure all the services are stopped and can be started in the right order. The process cannot be stopped so you will need to be patient

service-control --start --all

This will start all the services in the correct order. This process also cannot be stopped so you need to be patient.

Once completed you should be able to refresh your web browser for the vCenter screen and the login screen will appear.

You can read more about restarting services here.


I hope you found this post helpful and I hope to update if when/if I get an update that the issue is resovled. Please share this post with others if you found this helpful. Also check out some of my other articles about Virtualization.

Home Automation Smart Home WiFI Z Wave Zigbee

Smart Home Series – The Technologies

Continuing our Smart Home Series, I want to talk about the Technologies that are used in these smart home devices. As we continue towards the maturity of home automation we are seeing alot of the same products being release but using differing technologies.

There are currently 4 main technologies being used today. Those are ZigzBee, ZWave, WiFi, and Bluetooth. You may have heard of some of them before. I am sure you have heard of WiFi and Bluetooth as they are used in everyday life.

My goal here is to break down the pros and cons of each technology to give you a better idea of what is out on the market. Now lets dig a litte deeper into each of these to learn which product or products will be best for your home.


Lets start off with the most recognizable and versitile technologies in use today. WiFi is commonly used in Computers, tablets, and cell phones is available almost anywhere you go. It would make sense that WiFi would eventually show up in the home automation space. Lets not forget that WiFi smart devices are usually $10 to $20 cheaper than their ZigBee/Zwave Counter parts.

WiFi Pros and Cons


  • Easy to pair to network
  • Easy to use
  • Uses existing wireless network
  • Lower cost of devices
  • does not require a smart hub


  • Uses older Wifi Technology (2.4 Ghz 802.11 BG)
  • Security concerns with using older technology
  • Using older and slower WiFi can cause performance issues on your network
  • Range can vary depending on your network and other variables
  • Dependent upon internet connectivity for management


Bluetooth is used in the Smart home space, it is usually paired with some other technology to allow for remote managment. For instance many smart locks such as August Smart Locks use Bluetooth due to it’s short range. This means you are expected to be very close to the lock to be able to unlock it from your mobile device. If you want to integrate it with the rest of your smart home you will need to get a WiFi bridge kit which will connect to your WiFi and accept commands from the internet and send them to your lock via Bluetooth.

Bluetooth Pros and Cons


  • Short range means that it is less likely to be snooped on
  • Hub is not required, you can just use your phone.


  • Bluetooth is not the most secure technology
  • If you break or lose you phone you are sunk
  • You need to be right on top of the device to use it
  • Dependent on other technology for Smart Home integration


For the purpose of this article I am going to combine ZigBee and ZWave to the same section. Although they are two different technologies they are very similar in their form an behavior. The one thing that differentiates them the most is that ZWave operates on the 800-900 Mhz frequency range which is similar to some “older” wireless house phones. Meaning this could interfere with phone calls or vice versa. ZigBee on the other hand operates on the 2.4 Ghz frequency which can impact “older” WiFi networks and could also be impacted by microwave ovens.

I would also like to point out that both ZigBee and ZWave require a Smart Hub to work. The Smart hub can be anything from a simple USB stick (Aeotec ZStick, or Sonoff ZigBee 3.0 USB Stick) to an appliance hub (SmartThings, Hubitat, or Aeotec).

ZigBee and ZWave also treat their devices as routers and endpoint (ZWave calls it something else, but its very similar) on a network. However as seen below in the table, ZigBee is only effective up to 11 meters of open space. In order to resolve that issue both technologies encorporate the idea of hops from the hub to the devices. Meaning the Hub will connect to the closest router and that router will forward the command to the next device. There are limits to how many hops are supported and each technology is different.

Another thing to note is that both technologies employ low power devices that can run on battery for ~1 Year. These devices do not route traffic as the power requirements for that would drain the battery too quick.

ZigBee/ZWave Pros and Cons


  • Independent of network connectivity.
  • Security improving with each new version.
  • Able to create a vast network of IoT devices.
  • Routing is automatic and dynamic.
  • Battery powered devices are an option.
  • Plenty of options to manage it with Open Source and Consumer products available


  • Price – Costs more than Wifi Counterpart
  • Can be difficult to configure for beginners
  • Can interfere with Wifi and other wireless devices in your home
  • Limited range (as seen below)

Additional Information

As mentioned above, here is a comparison chart of the different technologies that we talked about and their effective ranges. Please note that these values are open space with no walls or other interference.

Docker Linux PiHole Raspberry PI

Protect Your Family from Ads and Viruses with Pi-hole

I wanted to share with you all about a tool that I have been running in my house for several years now. As you can see in the title I want to show you how you can protect your family from Ads and Viruses with Pi-hole.

What is Pi-hole?

Pi-hole is a Linux application that was originally created to run on a Raspberry Pi. The purpose of the application is to block ads for all devices on your network. You think of it as an ad-blocker that you have on your computer but for your whole house.

A few years ago I would have told you the best way to run Pi-hole would be to purchase a Raspberry Pi, but now it is next to impossible to find one new for less than double MSRP.

As this program has matured so has the installation options. Now you can install it on any version of Linux, Run it in a Docker Container.

Once the installation has been completed and you log in you will be presented with your dashboard. Obviously your dashboard will not be populated with data like my example below.

pihole dashboard

From here you can configure Pi-hole to act as your DHCP server which will allow all the devices on your network to use Pi-hole as an Ad blocker. I will go into more details about these advanced features some time soon.

What does Pi-hole do?

Pi-hole is a DNS based Ad blocker that protects your network devices from Ads. You might not think that Ads are that big of a deal, but the New York Times did a study on their own website and found that over 300 ads were being purchased by bad actors who embedded viruses and malware.

Pi-hole uses DNS to block Ads from showing up on your browser. If the browser is not able to show the Ad then malware is not able to load and therefore you are safe.

What are the downsides?

As we all know there are downsides to everything. Pi-Hole is no exception to this rule. Here are a list of the issues that I have ran into why using Pi-Hole:

  • Ads in Mobile games on your network will not work (this could annoy your family)
  • Constant Contact Links will not work.
  • Ads on web pages will not work and could result in web pages not loading correctly
  • Certain News sites will detect that you are running an ad blocker and not allow you to read the articles.
  • Ads that are blocked prevent content creators from gaining revenue from monetized ads on their site.


As with all things you will need to balance the good with the bad. If you don’t see the downsides as being doing much of a hindrance and would like to learn more. Please feel free to reach out to me for more information on how to get setup with your own Pi-hole.

I hope you found this post helpful and if so please feel free to share it around with your friends.

Virtualization Vmware

ESXi 7.0 u3g – Host unresponsive issue

I recently ran into an issue where our ESXi hosts runing ESXi 7.0 u3g connected to a vCenter Server running 7.0 u3g would go into a state of not responding. The Virtual Machines (VMs) would continue run on the host, but if you tried log into the host from the Direct Console User Interface (DCUI) the screen would freeze at the login screen.

If you are so unfortunate as to run into this issue, just be patient and the login will complete. It could take between 5 to 45 minutes for the login to complete but it will eventually get there.

After it loads you will need to restart the managment agent on the host by going to Troubleshooting > Restart Managment Agent. After restarting the services the host should report back into vCenter on it’s own.

To fully resolve the issue you should consider upgrading your vCenter to at least 7.0u3j which will resolve the issue.

I know this is a short post, but I really hope it helps someone out there. Please feel free to share this around to others who may need it.

Home Assistant Home Automation WiFI

Merkury Smart Wi-Fi LED Color Bulb – A good budget smart light bulb

Today I would like to talk about the Merkury Smart Wi-Fi LED Color Bulb. I have been planning on writing something about this for some time now and for some reason the opportunity never came about. I figured I would diverge from my new Smart Home Series a little bit to talk about one of the many different options that are out there.


A while ago, I was walking through the local Walmart, and while walking down the midway near electronics I came across a bin filled with these Merkury brand smart LED bulbs. I decided that $12 was a reasonable price for a “smart” light bulb. You can now find a 2 pack of them on Amazon for $11.99.

Merkury Innovations Smart Wi-Fi Dimmable White

I no longer have the Color LED packaging. So I am posting a picture of the white bulb which was only $9 at Walmart.


My first impressons of the product was that it looked very polished like they knew what they were doing. Not all smart devices can claim that. After unpackaging the the bulb I found the setup instructions which directs you to download the Geeni app. Doing some research you will find that they are the same company.

As I have already been using Tuya / Smartlife app for my wifi enabled smart devices I tried to pair it to that app instead and it worked which is a plus for adoption.

One of the pros of using a WiFi smart device is that it uses your already exisiting Wifi network. Another plus is that you will not need a smart hub running in your house.

Once under management you these bulbs are able to work with your favorite voice assistant (Google Home, Alexa, Homekit). Also with the correct integrations (Tuya) you can integrate the control of these lightbubs into Home Assistant.

Final Thoughts

At such a low pricepoint and it’s ease of use, the Merkury Snart WiFi Light bulbs are an excellent addtion for the beginner smart home enthusiast. One word of warning about this product is that I would make sure to pick a well established company to host the brains of your operation (Tuya, SmartLife). There have seen many companies that support WiFi devices come and go over the years. I always prefer to pick a company that is been aroudn for a while.

I hope you found this post helpful and if so please consider sharing it with your friends.

Home Assistant Home Automation Smart Home WiFI Z Wave Zigbee

Smart Home Series – It’s been a long road


From the time that I started this blog I always wanted to use it as an education tool for people looking at getting into home automation. That is why I am going to start this smart home series, starting with the basics.

For the past 3 months I have been working add and upgrade my home automation setup in my home. I think that now is the time that I am ready to start sharing what I have learned.

I try not to broadcast to the world that I am into home automation as for the most part people either don’t care or don’t know what it is. My wife however likes to tell everyone how complicated I have made things in our house due to my “tinkering”.

Home Automation is a vast subject and as time goes on it keeps getting bigger. New products and features are constantly being added to the market and it is very easy for consumers to get overwhelmed or make the wrong choices. Vendor lock-in and a lack of presence in retail stores makes it difficult for people to understand all of the subtle nuances of Home Automation. Another problem in the home automation market has always been the price.


Lets address the biggest elephant in the room when it comes to home automation, the price. The reason for the high cost of entry and additions for home automation is simple. Home Automation is an enthusiast market and they know that people who want to do these things will pay the price. Some people will say that the COVID-19 pandemic and chip shortage had something to do with it, but from having done this for about a decade, it was never cheap or even affordable.

There are opportunities out there to find reasonable deals on smart home devices, but those deals are not always what they seem.

Vendor Lock-in

Another issue that I have seen is vendors who say that they work well with others, but in reality they are not. I must admit that within the last 5 or so years vendors have gotten better about their interoperability with other vendors, but that has not always been the case. When I first started “playing” with home automation I started off with a Nexia Home router. My wife and got me a starter kit when I first started looking into Home Automation and I thought it was the greatest thing ever. It operated using Z-Wave and could control a single plugin switch that you could used to plug a lamp or something into. If you don’t know what Z-Wave is don’t worry I will be doing a post about that soon.

The problem came when I went to purchase another device and pair it to the hub. I looked on their website and nothing was less than $60 for a room sensor. On top of that they wanted to charge me monthly per device to have it connect to a Hub in my own house! On top of that I went out and found another Z-Wave certified device and tried to pair it and it would not. Then I tried to take the Nexia Z-Wave Certified device and tried to pair it to something else and that didn’t work either. Needless to say, the hub and outlet has been sitting in a box.

Installation Issues

When I first got into home automation there were only a very few players in the space. As I mentioned above this lead to higher pricing, poor support (documentation), and installations were jankie at best. If you wanted to make your lamp “smart” there were no such things as a smart lightbulb or an in-wall outlet. Your only options were having an external “smart” socket or cut your power cord and put in an inline smart relay.

Also when smart light switches started to be released they were large and bulky, which made them difficult or impossible to install in older home junction boxes. Also they required a Neutral line to the device to provide a constant flow of power to the device. This can also cause a problem with people in older houses making home automation next to impossible.

Things are getting better

Flash forward a few years and IKEA came out with their TRADFRI smart home devices that required their own hub to operate. After doing some searching online I discovered that the TRADFRI lightbulbs could be reprogrammed and with a little scripting and access to the Smartthings developer console, you could get it to work with the Samsung Smartthings Hub!

As of the writing of this article, I have since retired the IKEA TRADFRI hub (it died, RIP) and my Samsung Smartthings Hub in favor of running my own smart up with a Raspberry Pi and a Z-Stick for ZWAVE and a Sonoff USB stick for Zigbee. With it I can connect almost any device without additional programming.

As home automation and smart home devices are maturing there have been massive improvement in the number of vendors creating new and exciting products all the time such as smart light bulbs, LED strips, thermostats, motion sensors,, door locks and smart egg cartons. Switches are getting smaller and thinner and no longer requiring a neutral wire opening up a whole new world of possiblilites.

Having more vendors in the space has also caused a bit of a bidding war for customers. This is great news for consumers as that means prices are starting to drop. Also with more vendors in the space jockying for position they are also creating products using different technology (Wifi, Zigbee, and ZWAVE). This means as long as you are using a vendor agnostic controller (Home Assistant, OpenHAB, etc) , you have a world of options at your fingertips.

I am going to end this post here, but I plan on doing a deeper dive into home automation and the different technology options available to help those you are interested in making an informed decision.

Linux Zabbix

Upgrade Zabbix Proxy from 6.0 to 6.2

I was recently going through the process of upgrading one of my Zabbix Proxy nodes following the upgrade documentation from Zabbix and needless to say there were issues. That is why I have decided to document how to Upgrade Zabbix Proxy from 6.0 to 6.2. This process will probably work for 6.0/6.2 to 6.4, but I have not tested it yet.

Let’s step through the process of upgrading and I will show you were the issue is. We will be performing this work on a Debian/Ubuntu based machine.

Upgrade Procedure

Before you begin, you will need to stop the Zabbix Proxy Service

Sudo service zabbix-proxy stop

Once the service has been stopped you will then want to make a backup, just encase things don’t go as planned

sudo mkdir /opt/zabbix-backup/
sudo cp /etc/zabbix/zabbix_proxy.conf /opt/zabbix-backup/
sudo cp -R /usr/share/zabbix-* /opt/zabbix-backup/

Once the backups are complete you will need to update your repository configuration package. You will start by uninstalling your current repository package.

sudo rm -Rf /etc/apt/sources.list.d/zabbix.list

This is where the guide goes off the rails. Even if you uninstall the current package repository, it does not remove it from the sources list. I somehow figured out that you need to run the following or this process will not work.

sudo dpkg --purge zabbix-release

Once you run this command you can proceed as normal. You will need to download the a new repository package and install it. Please note that you will need to make sure that you are using the correct OS and version number. I am using Debian 11 in the below example.

sudo wget
sudo dpkg -i zabbix-release_6.2-1+debian11_all.deb

Once you have installed the package you will need to run a apt update to refresh your package list

sudo apt-get update

Here is another part of the Zabbix guide that I have had varing levels of success with. The guide wants you do to the following

sudo apt-get install --only-upgrade zabbix-proxy-mysql zabbix-frontend-php zabbix-agent

However sometimes it will not perform the upgrade if there are dependencies that need to be addressed so you should be able to just get away with

sudo apt-get upgrade

After the upgrade has been compeleted you need to restart the services or the proxy will not work until you reboot.

sudo service zabbix-proxy start

To verify that the the upgrade was successful you should run

sudo zabbix_proxy -V

If it shows the correct version of zabbix then you are good to go.

I hope you found this guide to be helpful and if so please share it with your friends. Also check out our other article on how to upgrade your Zabbix Server 6.0 to 6.2.

Virtualization Vmware

vCenter – Migrate is greyed out


Recently I was working on an issue where the option to migrate was greyed out inside of VMware vCenter. At the time we were not sure how this issue started, but we eventually figured it out. We were using a snapshot based backup solution which had an issue.

Allow me to explan the process. We learned that when a VM gets snapshotted, the VM gets locked by vCenter. This is to prevent the VM from moving while the snapshot is being created. I was never sure how this “lock” actually worked, but I learned that the VM id gets added to the VPX_Disabled_Methods table. Once the Snapshot get created, vCenter is supposed to remove the id from the table which will then allow you to perform migrations.

In our case, what happened was the backup created the snapshot, but never told vCenter to remove the lock. So after a bunch of calls with VMware we learnd about the VPX_Disabled_Methods table.


NOTE: Do not run this command unless you know what you are doing!!! However, running a select command should not cause any issues….

How to fix the issue

First you will need to log into the vCenter appliance console using SSH as root.

You will then need to run the following command to access the VCDB (vCenter Database)

sudo /opt/vmware/vpostgres/1.0/bin/psql -d VCDB

To see if you have any VMs that are impacted you can run the following command.


If any VMs are impacted then you should see something in the list. If you do, you can take that vm-id and look them against vCenter which will probably be having the migration issue.

In order to resolve the issue you will need to delete the VM ID from the table. To do this you should run a command like this


Or if you are like me, and don’t want any of your VMs to be locked, you can be like me and do the sledge hammer approach


This will clear all of the entries from the table.


I hope you found this post helpful, and if so please share with your friends.