Raspberry PI Raspbian Tools VMUG

VMUG Controller and how I finally got it working

So a last year one of the projects I was working on that consumed me was trying to set up a VMUG Controller. The VMUG Controller is a Raspberry Pi appliance that allows you to check in and events and has a printer to print out a name badge. The whole system is a closed environments which means to access the web page you need to be connected to the vmugc Wifi. The whole process for setup has been very well documented by Dan Barr of the Central PA VMUG. You can find the instructions here on his Github.

However no matter how good the instructions are there are a few issues that need to be addressed.

Hardware: You need to use either a Raspberry Pi 2 or Pi 3 B+

Operating System: Rasbian Jessie – In order for the installation script to work you need to find the right version of Raspbian Jessie (I think this is the right version). If not you can find older versions of Rasbian here.

Do not Update the OS or this will break the whole thing. You will also need to install PHP7 as Jessie only has PHP 5 which you can find instructions on how to do that below.

How to install php7 on Raspbian

Once this is complete you can proceed with following the installation script.

Once the install has completed you will then see the new WiFi SSID VMUGC which you will need to connect to in order to access the web page.

After that it should just work.

I hope you found this post helpful, If so please share it with your friends. We could really use the support and to get the word out there.

Virtualization Vmware

Home Lab 1.5 – Razor Blade 15

To continue with my Home Lab Journey Series. In my previous post on the subject I covered what I consider my workhorse laptop. Once I realized that my laptop was just not powerful enough to do what I wanted to do I decided that I needed to look into a different solution. After watching some of my favorite YouTubers it came to my attention that there are laptops that could exceed the 16 GB barrier. So after reviewing some of the videos I came to the conclusion that I should look into Razer. Specifically the Razer Blade 15 as it has the gaming power to allow me to play games (like Skyrim) but it is also portable for me to carry around for presentations.

So after weeks of agonizing over it, I pulled the trigger and finally bought it. At first I was gun shy and definitely had buyers remorse. But after a few days I was able to peel myself away from my HP laptop and make the switch over to the Blade, and my first impression was WOW. It was so fast, powerful, and LOUD. This was all before the 32 GB upgrade which I had to wait for Amazon to deliver. I provided the link to the kit above just encase you were wondering as it was a PiTA to find it.

After the upgrade I then proceeded to install VMware Workstation (I can’t remember the version…. 15 maybe) and then began to deploy vSphere. I was able to deploy VCSA and 3 hosts with 8 GB of RAM each. I was even able to run some (like 2) VMs on those ESXi Hosts. After about 3 months or so I learned that I had more bottle necks that I originally anticipated such as:

  • Memory (32 GB for 3 hosts, vCenter, and Windows 10 was not enough)
  • Network (running off of WiFi, nuff said)
  • Storage (512 GB SSD was not enough)

To combat the network bottleneck I purchased a USB-C dongle with a network connection, and for storage I thought about using a iSCSI NAS but I was not able to convince my Wife to allow me to spend the money at the time. Who am I kidding, I am just cheap and didn’t want to spend the money.

So at this point I am need of additional storage and more memory. That is when I started to think about building my latest creation…. THE BEAST. You can find my parts list here on KIT.CO

I hope you found this post helpful and if so please share with your friends and help us to grow.

Home Lab Virtualization VMUG VMUG Advantage Vmware

Home Lab Version 1.0 – HP Envy x360

So I mentioned in a previous post about my history with setting up a lab. Now that I was without a place to test things I figured that I really didn’t need one and that I would be totally fine, and I was for a time. But then I joined VMUG and went to a UserCon for the first time. While I was there I got to meet other professionals in the “local” area and we talked about things that we are doing at our respective places of employment and I had the opportunity to see some the the amazing things going on in the industry at the time. I also learned about the VMUG Advantage, but I was not able to drop that kind of money ($200) on something that I was not ready to mess around with it. I did however go back to my work and tell my boss about it. Then I promptly forgot about it.

Fast forward a year later and VMUG USERCon is right around the corner. I am getting ready to ask off of work, and my boss reminded me about the VMUG Advantage and how I has asked to get a subscription. He remembered, he actually remembered!! So I took him up on the offer but I said I wanted to wait until I was there because they offer a discount.

Before going to UserCon my wife got me a New Laptop! It was an HP Envy x360. It came with an Intel i5 Processor, 8 GB of RAM, and a 1 TB HDD. Not only that, she got me the 16 GB upgrade kit! So I thought to myself that I could make this work. Being an engineer I came up with this whole plan to make it work.

So I go to USERCon and I purchase my first VMUG Advantage Subscription. It was amazing, I couldn’t wait to get home to play with it. the first thing that I did was install and configure VMware Workstation (I can’t remember what version it was at the time) and then I started building out a Domain Controller which I also installed VMware vCenter Server 5 on and even deployed 1 ESXi host. Then…. I ran out of RAM…. damn. I tried several times to make it work but I was just too constricted by my lack of memory and it was Maxed out.

I was really bummed out, but I did not allow that to deter me. I continued to use my laptop as my virtual lab, testing various version of Linux and appliances. It was actually the first laptop I used when I started my Blog back on To this day it is still my workhorse and I consider it a cornerstone of my 3D Printing operation as I use it for 3D Modeling, Slicing, and controlling my printer. I still call it my work horse.

I am going to continue this series about my home lab adventure because there are some really exciting things ahead. I really want you to get the feeling for where I am coming from.

I hope you find this whole thing helpful and enlightening. If you do please thing about sharing this with your friends and Social media.

Home Lab Virtualization Vmware

My Journey to my own VMWare Home Lab – The Background

So a while ago I mentioned that I was planning on creating a Hyper Converged VMware Home lab. It has been my dream to have rig at my house that I could play with. Having came from a job where I was a consultant I figured out early that you need a lab to test out configurations and updates before it goes live. I first setup a lab at my previous employer using some old server hardware that we had laying around and was just collecting dust. This was before anyone had ever heard of the word Virtualization. That first lab was built on VMware Infrastructure server 3.5 (yeah I am that old) before that I had been mostly working with VMware workstation and VMware GSX ,you know the one you would install on a Windows server and had an MMC console (Yeah I am that old). That lab became the proof of concept for the company which was the first brick in a very long road to 100% Virtualization. I didn’t know it at the time, but that was the beginning of my love affair with everything VMware. From that Lab we started to virtualize non critical servers and then next thing we new we had a SAN and 2 brand new Virtual hosts. My Lab stayed in place but eventually I upgraded it to ESX 4 (yep not ESXi as that was witchcraft). I then went to VMware training and got my first VCP. I came back from that and Immediately started to upgrade my lab to ESXi 5.x. With every upgrade I did my little lab grew larger and better and I took a sense of pride in maintaining it as mine.

Unfortunately the Lab that I setup for myself was taken over by another division and then became their DEV environment which meant I didn’t have a place to try out new things. I tried to come up with alternatives which I will cover in a later posts. But you should always try to stay up on the latest and greatest in our industry. If you don’t you will just get left behind.

If you are interested in setting up your own VMware Home lab you should really check out the VMUG Advantage Program here!

For a mere $200 you will get access to THOUSANDS of dollars worth of VMware Software as well as some Cloud Compute and discounts on training and certifications. I have been a member now for 4 years and the resources that I have gained are invaluable. On the subject of VMUG, you should also be sure to check out your local VMUG as that too can be an amazing resource of knowledge.

I am going to end this post here but if you found this post helpful please share with your friends.

Virtualization Vmware

VMWorld is in 2 days!!!

Image result for vmworld 2019
VMWorld 2019 will be in 2 days!! I will be attending this year for my first time. I must say I am very excited and anxious to go. I am looking forward to all the people I will meet and events that I will have the opportunity to take part in. 
I will do my best to post updates throughout the week. Be sure to follow me on twitter @kenbshinn where I am sure I will be posting updates as well. 

Virtualization Vmware

Philadelphia VMUG UserCon is on Thursday!!!

Well it is almost here, Philadelphia USERCon at the Valley Forge Casino and Resort! It is not too late to sign up to attend. 

Registration, Parking, and Breakfast and Lunch are all Free!!
Not to mention all the speakers, vendors, and networking that will be open to you!!
Click on this link to register now

17 Days until UserCon !!!

Hey everyone, there is only 17 days until the Philadelphia VMUG UserCon. Registration is free to attend and you can register at the link below:
Click on the link to get registered!! 
We have so many awesome speakers coming out to speak with Ducan Epping, Frank Denneman as our Keynote Speakers and Ariel Sanchez coming out to speak about the vCommunity. 

Philadelphia VMUG UserCon just a month away!!!

I am very proud to announce that Philadelphia’s VMUG UserCon is only a month a way. 

Have you registered yet? If not, here is the link to the registration page.
I have always had a great time at the UserCon in years past, and I am sure that this year will be no different. 
As always registration is free and this year we have a list of All Star speakers such as:
Duncan Epping

Frank Denneman
Ariel Sanchez

Just to name a few. We also have some amazing giveaways just to add icing to that cake.
If you are able to attend, I can assure you that you will not be disappointment. 

Philly VMUG has scheduled it’s first meeting of 2019

Hey guys, as you all know I am a VMUG Leader for Philadelphia (AKA Philly VMUG) and I am very excited to announce that we have our first meeting of 2019.

This being the first meeting that I am involved in with scheduling and setting up, I am very excited to see the outcome.

To learn more about VMUG click on the link here.

To learn what a VMUG Leader is Click here.

If you are interested in attending out meeting click on this link to register.

Virtualization Vmware

How to install ESXi 5.5

Continuing the saga of building out my VMware home lab I will be covering the process off installing ESXi 5.5 as a Virtual machine in my environment. As stated in my previous posts, I am a VMUG Advantage Member so I do have access to newer versions of VMware software. 
That might make you wonder why I am going with ESXi 5.5, well you are going to have to wait and see what my plan is for that. 
Lets get started with the installation of ESXi 5.5
Once the ESXi .ISO has been booted up on the machine you will be presented with this screen.
Press Enter to boot, or let the countdown continue and it will boot automatically. 

The ESXi installer will load into memory. It may take some time for this to complete depending on how much Memory you have on your machine, so your mileage may vary. 

After all of this you will be presented with the ESXi 5.5 Welcome Screen. Press Enter to continue. 

Press F11 to Accept the End User License Agreement to continue on.
Once you press F11 the install will start scanning the System it is installing on to see what Storage is available. 

On the next screen you will be presented with a list of Datastores that are available to you to install ESXi on. Select the Datastore that you want to use and press Enter. 

You will then be asked to select your Keyboard layout. Press Enter to continue.

Now you will have to set the Root Password for the OS. Once you confirm the password press Enter to continue. 

The ESXi Installer will then can your system again .

You will then be asked to Confirm your decision to install ESXi on the datastore you selected. Press F11 to continue. 

Now the installation will begin, again your mileage may vary as to how long it will take to complete. 

Once the installation has been completed you can press Enter to reboot the machine to complete in installation. 

After the reboot has been completed and the system boots up you will be presented with the following screen. 

This concludes the ESXi install guide. I hope you found this helpful an please check back for more updates to come.