My VCAP 6.5 Journey Begins!

Today at work I got the approval from my boss to schedule training to upgrade my VMware VCP 6.5 to the VCAP 6.5.
I am so excited that I can hardly sleep. Although my training does not start until September I plan on going full force at this before the class even starts. I am seen several blogs online and I will be reading them all to prepare.
I look forward to detailing my journey here so please stay tuned.

Airwatch on a Mac 003 – The rebuild

So when it comes to the world of Mac’s and Apple products in general I tend to steer clear of them as much as possible.
In my company however we have a few Mac users and supporting them can be challenging at times. That being said and after bricking this device on my first trip around the block, I got a pretty good view of how to reload the OS from the internet. For documentation purposes I ended up bricking the Macbook again just to see if I got the same results. You can find that post here.

After the wipe completed the Macbook reboots and you are presented with this Lock Screen. This is to prevent unwanted access if the device is lost or stolen. 

Type in the 6 digit pin number and click the arrow next to the last box to unlock the machine. You are then presented with the OS X Utilities screen.
From here you have the option to restore from Time Machine Backup, Reinstall the OS, Get device help or go into disk utilities. I can tell you from personal experience, at this point if you go into reinstall OS you will find that the disk is not available as seen below. 
 you will need to Shut down the laptop, and restart it back up into recovery mode. 
From here you will want to select disk utilities and click continue.
Once the Disk Utilities loads up you will see that the Drive is there and there is a volume available, however if you select the volume you cannot do anything with it. the options to inspect is are grayed out.  You will need to go to the Erase tab to continue.

On the Erase tab you have the ability to rename the volume, select the new formatting and then click Erase. After the volume has been reformatted you can then go back to the First Aid Tab.

you will see that the option to verify disk has been enabled and if you run it you will see something like this.

As long as you get this then I would say you are safe to proceed. Click the close button in the upper left hand side (looks like a red circle) and this will bring you back to the OS X Utilities Screen.

Now click on the Reinstall OS X and it will take you through the wizard to reinstall the OS. 
Click Continue

click Continue Again
Agree to the terms and conditions (does anyone read these)
Are you really sure you read them???
Hey look! there is a drive there now!!! Click on the image of the drive and then click Install.

I have worked in IT for more than 15 years, and I have seen all kinds imaging and deployment of operating systems but this was pretty cool.

After you click install the laptop reboots with the Apple Loading Screen.

Then the OS actually gets installed, and after about 2 hours of downloading and installing we are back to the welcome screen as if it was fresh out of the box.

 Then after going through the setup wizard I am now back to the desktop.

I then reinstalled the Air Watch client which I will cover in a different post, connected it to my server, and it is now ready for action!

I hope you find this helpful. Please leave a comment if you do, I would love to hear from you. 

Airwatch on Mac 002 – Bricking the Macbook

In my previous post I mentioned about how Airwatch destroyed the OSX volume on my test Macbook Pro. Just encase you were wondering what steps I took to do this with Airwatch I have decided to document the process for you here.

First, while logged into Airwatch you will need to find the device you are looking to wipe.

Click on the device name to be brought to the details window.

 Click on more in the upper right hand corner and go to wipe device.

 Enter a description of why you are wiping the device and click continue.

Then enter and unlock pin. This is used to unlock the device after wiping it (encase the device has been lost or stolen) and then enter your security pin to authorize the device wipe. Once the pin number has been entered the signal is sent to the Macbook and the wipe begins almost immediately.
I will be documenting and posting the Resurrection of this Macbook Pro in a later post.  

Airwatch on a Mac 001 – Savage just savage

So I have been working on installing and configuring VMWare Airwatch on a Macbook Pro running macOS High Sierra.

 In the process of configuring the profiles I ended up really messing up the GUI, and things did not look right.

 I have quite a bit of experience using AirWatch on mobile devices (phones and tablets) but I had never done it on a mac.

So I figured what the heck, let’s give it a go.

After messing things up I decided to test the device wiping feature which I figured would behave much like the phone.

 I was wrong, not only did it wipe the OS, but it corrupted the volume so I could not reinstall without deleting the volume.

 This was my first try at this so as I continue this further I will post updates but sheeh, that is rough.

Unable to import Infoblox 7 OVA into vSphere 6.5

The other day I was tasked with deploying a Infoblox OVA in our Lab environment. I was under the impression that this was going to be a simple task however I found out from my Coworkers that about 3 people had already tired to deploy it an all had failed. After spending WAY too much time on this task I eventually figured it out. Here are the steps I took to get this working in my lab.

First I started out by just trying to install the .OVA the normal way using the Deploy OVF Template Wizard hoping that my colleagues were just having permissions issues. Then I was greeted with this  screen below.

I then thought maybe something was wrong with the .OVA so I researched how to convert a .OVA to a .OVF and manually import it that way. It turns out all you need to use is use a product called 7zip and use it to extract the files from inside the .OVA.

Once you go into the new directory you just created you will see that the .OVA is made up of 3 files

I then tried to import those files and got the same result. Yay for consistency!!!

I then did some more reading and found that the issue may have been caused by a checksum error of the .ovf file so I found a PowerShell command that will tell me what the checksum of the .ovf file was

$(Get-FileHash .vmname.ovf -Algorithm SHA1 | Select -ExpandProperty Hash).ToLower()

You then take the value that Powershell kicks back and put it into the vmname.MF file. You can open this file with any text editor. You should take care when pasting the checksum hash value into the .MF file that you only use lower case letters.

After that was all done I tried to import the .OVF which means you have to include all 3 files. I still had the same result. Then I reread the error message and found that the .MF file was referencing a file that did not exist is the .OVA.


So I went back into the .MF file and deleted the value that was not needed and tried the import again.
This time I was met with a different message

Issues detected with selected template. Details: – 17:3:SECTION_RESTRICTION: Section Product Section (Information about the installed software) not allowed on envelope.

After banging my head against my desk and cursing out by boss for a while I went back to the Google to find out what this error message means. 
It turns out that this is in fact a know issue with Infoblox and they are planning on fixing it in version 8.2. However to get past this they recommend connecting directly to the virtual host and deploying it that way. You can read more about it on this blog that I found while searching for a fix.
So I connected directly to my virtual host and attempted to deploy it from there when I get this message
The host is currently being managed by the vCenter Server with IP Address xx.xx.xx.xx. Changes to this host during the session may not be reflected in the vSphere Client sessions currently viewing the vCenter Server.

I then discovered I would need to disconnect my ESXi host from vCenter to make this work. Fortunately I discovered that by connecting to my ESXi Host using SSH I could stop the services necessary for communication with vCenter.

So I connected to the host via SSH and ran the following commands
/etc/init.d/vpxa stop
/etc/init.d/hostd restart

I attempted to deploy it again and it was successful. I then ran /etc/init.d/vpxa start to set everything back to normal, did a few refreshes in vCenter and we were good to go. 

I hope this helps someone out there with the same issue. 

How to add vMA to Windows AD Domain

While working in my lab at work I wanted to see about adding my vSphere Management Assistant (vMA) to our lab Active Directory so it would be easier for me to connect to resources. After going through the process I decided to make a guide on the steps I took to get it working.

Just an FYI I was working with vSphere Management Assistant version at the time of taking these screenshots so I am sure things may have changed in later versions… or not.

First you will need to get to the console of the machine.

Select the option to login

and log in using the vi-admin account

Once you are logged in you are presented with a command prompt. You will need to use the following command to add your appliance to a Windows domain.

Sudo domainjoin-cli join <> <Domain User Name>

You will then be prompted for the vi-admin password

Once your Appliance is added to the domain you will see a screen like this.

Once the reboot has been completed you will can verify that you are on the domain by running this command:
sudo domainjoin-cli query
and you will be presented with a response something line this
Now your appliance is on the domain and you will now have an easier time connecting to resources in your VMware environment.  

How to edit a VM hardware after it has been created

So after you go and make your Virtual Machine you realize you forgot to mount the .ISO for Windows Server 2012 and you left the Floppy Drive in the config which is not really hurting anyone but it makes things more aesthetically pleasing to not see it there.  So what do you do….
Here are the detailed steps to change the hardware configuration of a virtual machine from the VMware vSphere Client.
With the virtual machine selected in the navigation pane you should see the “Getting Started” tab in the center panel. On that tab towards the bottom you will see the “Basic Tasks” section as seen in the screenshot below. 

Click on “Edit Virtual Machine Settings” and the Virtual Machine Properties Window will open up for you.

From here you can see all of the virtual hardware that is assigned to the virtual machine in question. You can also make changes to the virtual hardware as you see fit.

Please note: you will not be able to modify all of the settings if the VM is powered on. Some things like Memory and CPU will require the VM to be off before VMware will let you modify it.

To remove the Floppy drive select the device by clicking on it and click the remove button.

You will now see that the device has a line though it, meaning that this is a pending change for removal and will not take effect until you click okay at the bottom. 
To add the boot ISO you will need to click on the CD/DVD Drive to highlight it.

To add an ISO stored on a Datastore like a LUN or the Local Datastore on the virtual host click Datastore ISO file radio button.

Once you click on the radio button the browse button then becomes available to you. Click on the Browse button to open the Browse Data store window. 

Navigate to where you ISO is stored and click Open.

The file path for the ISO is now populated for you. I suggest that you click connect at power on up at the top of the window. This will make sure that the CD drive presents the ISO to the VM at boot up and allows you to boot into the VM. 
Click okay to close the window and to commit the changes. Once the tasks have been committed you will then be able to power the VM back on. 

How to create a new VM using VMware vSphere 5.x

Greetings all, this will be my very first technical blog post. I am pretty new to the game but I figured that starting with a how to guide may be beneficial to others as well as a great way to track all of the things I have worked on.

In this post I will go over the process of creating a new Virtual Machine (VM) in with VMware vSphere 5.5 in my lab environment. I will be doing this in a series with the end goal of having Microsoft Exchange 2013 SP1 installed and running in my Lab environment.

Things to consider before proceeding is that this is a preexisting lab environment that has a lot of things going on. Now what we are working on here should not be disruptive to the rest of the ecosystem but you never know. the moral of the story here is to make sure that you are mindful of what you are working on and do not touch what is not yours.

Now with that out of the way, lets get started:

Build 1 VM with the following specs:
CPU: 1 Socket 2Cores
HDD: OS 60 GB and Data 80GB

Note – I know that these spec’s are not recommended by Microsoft to run a production Exchange server. Remember that this is a Lab, If you are using this as a guide for Production then I recommend that you check the system requirements from Microsoft

Step 1 – Log into vCenter using the vSphere client

Fill in the IP/Name of your vCenter Server/ESXi host,username (in my case DomainUsername), and password

Once logged in click on the Virtual Host that you want to create the VM on and click create VM on the Getting Started Tab under the Basic Tasks section.

This will launch the create a New Virtual Machine Wizard.

Click Next to continue to the Configuration Screen
From here you have the option to select Typical or Custom configuration. For the purpose of this guide we are going to click Custom to give us the options that we need that are not available under typical.
Once you click Custom you will see the menu tree on the left hand side expand out. Click next to continue.
On the Name and Location is where you can name your VM. You can name it whatever you would like, it does not have to be the name of the computer but believe me when I say that is does help. 
Click Next to proceed

After the Computer is named you may be asked to specify the resource pool you would like to have the VM in. We will talk about resource pools at a later date. Unless you know what you are doing, just leave the defaults and click Next.

You will now be able to select what Storage you would like to use for your VM. My suggestion is to pick some kind of shared storage solution (NAS/SAN) but if that is not available then Local storage will work. Just make sure that you have sufficient space for your VM.

Click Next to Continue.

 On the Virtual Machine Version Window you will be able to select what hardware version you would like the VM to be. This will be important if you are running different version of ESXi in your environment and you plan to use vMotion to migrate machines. For the purpose of this exercise and because all of my ESXi hosts are at least version 5.5 I will select Virtual Machine Version 8.

Click Next to continue.

Guest Operating System allows you to select what OS you are going to install on your VM. This comes in handy as VMware has pre-configured options based on the OS you are installing on the VM.

Since we are installing Exchange 2013 I thought it would be nice to install Server 2012 as the base OS.

Click Next to continue.

On the CPUs section allows you to select the number of Sockets and Cores that you would like to use and because we are installing Exchange we would need to allow more cores to be available to this VM. The default is 1 Socket and 1 Core but for my purposes I set the cores value to 2 for this case.

Click Next to continue.

Memory Configuration is exactly what it sounds like. You are able to specify the amount of memory for this VM, the Default is 4 GB and I have changed it to 8 GB for now.

Network not only allows you to define the number of network adapters your VM will have but what network you are putting it on and what adapter you would like to use.

The default is to have 1 NIC and I am going to leave it the same for this, and the default adapter is the Intel E1000. I have changed it to VMXNET3, however if you use this NIC you will need to install VMware tools for it to work. For more information for your network choices you can read the KB Article here

Click Next to continue onto SCSI Controller.

The next option that you get to set is the SCSI Controller, By default LSI Logic SAS is selected. Depending on the OS and other factors you may wish to change this however I will leave the default.

Click Next

 You are given a few option for creating a new disk for your VM. 99% of the time I would say that “Create a new virtual disk” will be the only option you will use. However there are a few time where you may want to map your new VM to a preexisting disk (VMDK) or a Raw Device Mapping (RDM).

Click Next to continue.

Now that you have selected a disk it is now time to create it (Format) how you would like it.
For our purposed I have made the disk Size 60 GB and I plan on using this for the OS only. I have also chosen to “Thin Provision” this VM, this will allow for faster creation time, however there may be a performance impact during disk operation as the disk will be provisioned as the data is being written. This is perfect for my lab environment. You will need to figure out what will work best for you and you needs.

Click Next to to continue.

Since we are using a SCSI controller we have the option of changing the address of the disk and even specifying what mode we would prefer.

Virtual Device Node can be left a default as vCenter does a decent job of handling this for us.

Mode – if you are intending on using vCenter to Snapshot your vm you can just click Next as I have to move past this.

Click Next

Right before you VM is created you have the Option to Review all of your choices before you click Finish.

 As you will notice there is a check box that will allow you to edit the virtual machine before it is created. This is great to use if you need to add an additional Disk or you would like to mount an ISO of your preferred OS before making you VM.

Click Finish and your task will be submitted.

Once the Task is completed the VM should be created and be ready to start.

Well that is all for now, I hope to see you all on my next post for Installing Windows 2012 R2.