Uncategorized Virtualization Vmware

VMware vCenter vVOLs Host Certificate issues

As of late I have been running into a few issues with VMware vSphere and vVOLs. I could go on for hours about my hatred of SSL certificates and how much of a pain that they have been for me in the past. But that is not what you are here for (at least I hope not).

This post is going to be a little bit different from my normal “How To” posts that I normally do. In this article I will focus more on the things that I have learned, and steps that need to be taken when working with VMware’s vSphere and vVOLs.

Here is a little back story on what a vVOL is and how it integrates with vSphere. To be completely honest with you, I am not an expert on the subject by any means. I would say that everything that I learned from this technology is either self taught or from VMware Support. Speaking of VMware Support, on numerous occasions I have been told by their Level 2 and 3 storage engineers that they know very little about how it actually works. This actually makes sense and let me explain.

A vVOL or Virtual Volume is a block of storage that gets presented from the storage provider (SAN usually) and vCenter just connects to it as a subscriber. From there vCenter replicates the connections to the ESXi hosts which these connections are independent of the vCenter connection. All of the actual provisioning and managent is actually done on the storage array. So unlike a VMDK where you have to mount the LUN and then format it. A vVOL gets connected to vCenter by via the VASA Provider screen and create a vVOL in vCenter which then gets “trickled” down to the ESXi hosts that you want to be able to see it.

Now here is where the tricky parts come in. At least in the case of Pure Storage only 1 vCenter may connect to a particular Storage controller at one time unless you are using a CA issued certificate. Which lets face it, half the time IT teams barely use DNS and you expect them to use SSL certs if it is not client facing. The good news is, Pure thought of this and that is why when you connect to the storage controller from vCenter the storage controller will issue a self signed certificate which will be used for the connection. The bad news is, the SSL cert is only good for a year and vCenter starts to alert that the certificate is expiring after 100 days or something like that.

As long as everything is good connectivity wise, renewing the certificate is as easy as logging into vCenter >clicking on the vCenter object > going to configure and clicking on storage providers > finding your Certificate and clicking refresh. From there vCenter sends a request to the storage controller and the storage controller will generate a new certificate and send it to vCenter and that is it.

Well sort of, see if it was that easy, I would not be writing this post. A few months back I had gone through the above process and it worked just fine. All was well for about 2 weeks, and then I started getting alerts (little yellow triangles in the vCenter console) saying that the storage paths to the vVOLs lost their redundancy. I opened a case with VMware support and they looked at it and said it was not a them issue it was an issue with the storage. Now to cut a long support story short, my case ended up getting routed to the VMware certificates team after my hosts started disconnecting from storage and I had to escallate the case to a P1.

The Certificates engineer saw something in the logs saying there was a certificates mismatch and wondered if that could be part of the issue. By that point things had gone too far and the fix was to delete the storage provider and add it back in manually and that brought it back up. However a few months after that on a completly different vCenter I started to see the same thing. I again opened a case and got the same engineer as before. They showed me a little trick which is to right click on the hosts that are connected to the vVOLs, go to Certificates, and click renew certificates and refresh CA certificates and that fixed the issue!!

So here is my understanding of what happened here. Even though I refreshed the vVOL certificate on the vCenter, something happened which did not allow the certifcate to propagate down to all the vCenters which required manual intervention before the ESXi hosts terminated their connections with the vVOLs.

So now going forward my process is to renew the Certificate from the VASA Providers > Refresh the host Certificates > and Renew the CA certificates on the ESXi hosts.

I hope you found this post helpful and I apologize for it being so wordy. Hopefully this will help someone in the future which is the whole purpose of this blog.

Uncategorized Virtualization Vmware

vCenter – Unable to login with WinSCP

Hey all it has certainly been a while since I have posted anything, but I am back now and I have quite a few things in the pipeline including a walk through of my new home lab!! For now lets get down to business with being unable to login with WinSCP.

Today I wanted to cover an issue that has been plaguing me quite a bit the last few months. As I am sure you are all aware, VMware vSphere and ESX 6.7 has been out of support since October 2022. Back in August of 2022, my team members at the company I work for worked dilligently to upgrade all of the vCenters and ESXi hosts in out environment.

If you are not aware, upgrading a VCSA appliance from 6.7 to 7.0 involves deploying a new 7.0 appliance and migrating your settings from one to another. Our Friends at VMware have done an amazing job with building a wizard that does most of the work for you. Perhaps as part of my new lab I will try do a guide on the upgrade process as I am sure there are many companies out there who have yet to do the upgrade. In fact I might even go as far as upgrading to 8.0!! Tune in for more.

Back to the matter at hand, When you deploy a new vCenter one of the issues you may run into is not being able to log in with WinSCP. For those of you that do not know, WinSCP is a free application (donations are accepted and appreacated) that allows you to transfer files using the SCP protocol (among others) on a Windows PC and it gives you a nice graphical user interface. You can download a copy of WinSCP here. You can also download it using Chocolatey if that is your thing.

When you try to connect to vCenter using WinSCP you may get this message:

Host is not communicating for more than 15 seconds. If the problem repeats, try turning off ‘Optimize connection buffer size’.

This can be particularly annoying when you need to add or remove a file from vCenter and because like me you probably don’t add or remove files from vCenter all that often so most times you forget that this could be an issue.

To solve the issue you will need to log into vCenter using SSH as root and run this command:

chsh -s /bin/bash root

and press enter.

Once you have done this you can then retry connecting via WinSCP and the issue should be resolved. If you don’t have the root credentals, please check out this article to find out how you can get around that.

Uncategorized Virtualization Vmware

How to enable BASH shell on vCenter 6.0

According to VMware’s KB articles they claim that this settings change is no longer needed when logging into VCSA Appliances in 6.5 – 7.0. However I am not 100% certain that that is true as, to be honest I always log in as root and have never had to do it. Do have some collegues who claim that they need to do this when they are using their AD Authenticated credentials.

While logged into vCenter as you not root account you will need to type (or copy and paste) this into your SSH session:

shell.set –enable True

In reality, you could also just log into the VAMI and start the BASH service there which I think is what I normally do anyway and thus why I have never had to run this command.


NEW LINUX TOOL!! df vs duf

So recently I switched to using a Linux laptop (which I will talk about at a later date). But while I have been working on trying to acclimate to using Linux, one of the things I have never been able to figure out is how to see how much space I am using.

When you google “how to see used disk space in Linux” you will undoubtedly be sent to a blog post or tech article on how to use the df command. For those of you wondering what that looks like here is what I get on my laptop:

Now I don’t know about you, but I have no idea what I am looking at here. From what I can tell I am using 13% on my / volume.

Enter duf. duf is a linux application that you can download from your favorite linux application repository.

In my case I ran the following command to install it

sudo apt-get install duf

Once you get duf installed you can run the command by just typing duf.

As you can see you can read this so much better than using the simple df command.

I hope you found this post interesting and helpful. Please make sure you share this with your friends. Remember Knowledge is Power!

Microsoft Tools Uncategorized

Need help resizing your Hard drive?! AOMEI Partition Assistant to the rescue.

I was asked to assist with a SSD replacement for a drive that was starting to degrade. I started off by using CloneZilla to backup the drive but de to the degradation of the 90 GB SSD I was not able to complete the backup to my drive. In order to get around this issue I was able to use the Windows backup utility to create a disk image (which for some reason worked) an then restore the image to a new 1 TB drive.

At that point I thought I was made in the shade. Until I realized that I was not able to expand the C:\ Partition as there was another partition at the end of the disk. Windows Disk Manager would not allow me to move partitions (thanks Microsoft!) so I had to look for a third party solution to help. I came across AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard which said it would do the trick.

For the purpose of this exercise I went with the freeware download as I was only going to need to do this once and the Freeware edition should have been able to do what I needed. Let me tell you, I was not disappointed.

I installed it on the computer and from there I was able to not only move the partition on the disk, but I was able to expand the C:\ from 90 GB to 990 GB all at the same time. After submitting the job, it asks for a reboot which took a while but once the computer came back up it was working great!.

If you are ever in this situation you should totally check these guys out as they are now going to be a staple in my tool kit for the foreseeable future.


The Best Laptop you never heard of – The Motile Laptop 14″ from Walmart.

A couple of months ago I was watching a Linus Tech Tips video about the Motile 14″ Laptop that was only $250 on After watching the video a few times I thought to myself I have to give this a shot.

I spoke with my wife about it and due to all the technical issues we ran into with COVID-19 and “remote learning” we decided we needed to upgrade our kid’s laptops. By this point my son and youngest daughter were using 15 year old laptops that I had laying around and were still working. You got to love the old Dell Latitude D630 and Inspiron M500 models. I went to and placed and order for a silver one for my wife and I to play with. By the time we placed our order the laptop was about $329, which is still a really good deal and I will explain why below. It comes in 3 color which are Black, Silver, and Rose Gold (which is next to impossible to get).

I ordered the laptop on a Sunday and the laptop was on my doorstep by Tuesday. I was impressed with the speed in which this laptop was delivered.

Now for the moment you have been waiting for, details about the Motile laptop. The computer is a metal clam shell design (which is very uncommon for a budget laptop) the keyboard deck is very sturdy and there is very little flex. Powering on the laptop you have the option for the Microsoft Hello Face Unlock which is a surprise considering I have a few flagship laptops that are only a year old that don’t have this ability. It is super lightweight and my wife has commented that it is lighter than her Surface Go. It also comes with a full version of Windows 10, which is contrary to other budget laptops which are usually running Windows S (which has limited functionality). This is thanks to the fact that the the Motile 14″ has an AMD Ryzen 3 processor. With the average Chromebook costing between $250 – $400, why not save your money and get a full blown computer that will out perform a Chromebook.

If you are brave enough to open the laptop up, you will find that the memory (RAM) is up-gradable from 4 GB (which is great for most users) to 16 GB (theoretically….. WOAH) and the M.2 SSD is not only replaceable, but there is a second M.2 slot so you can add a higher capacity drive! This is not normal for a budget laptop like this one is supposed to be. Heck, almost every laptop these days <cough> Apple <cough> integrate (solder onto the board) Memory and Storage, and they don’t allow you to add additional storage at all.

Like I mentioned earlier, this laptop is a great choice for remote learning in a COVID world, but it could easily be upgraded to become a pretty capable daily driver for even the most discerning power user.


We are growing!!

Today we have added another World Class Z Wave manufacturer. It is truly amazing to see how much potential we have and how bright the future is looking.


Hello world!

Here’s to a new start, on a new platform. This is the first time I will have have gone public with this site. For those of you who used to follow me on, Welcome back! I look forward to exploring many different Facets of IT and Home Automation and recently I have taken up Python and working with the latest version of

Check back soon for more updates!


Outlook for Mac user unable to see shared Calendars

One of my users came to me with an issue regarding his Outlook for Mac Client. He said he was able to see a persons calendar but when he opened them up they were blank.

Most of our users are using Outlook 2013 on either Windows 7/8/10 and are not having this issue. After about an hour of searching online and digging through message boards I discovered that someone has suggested changing the permissions that the user is granting to Full Details. The default setting is Availability only.

Although this is not something I discovered on my own I figured I would share it anyway as it may help someone down the line.


After a small hiatus…..

I have been out of the game for a little while trying to sharpen my skills and keep up with things going on in my life.
We have a several very large projects as work that am proud to say I am working on. Although the information is confidential it should hopefully give me some more material for this blog.
I recently took the Riverbed WAN 200 class and became certified as  RCSA – WAN Optimization. I will be working on getting my second certification in the next month or so and then I will be dedicating all my time to getting my VCAP-DCV.