A Weekend Of VMware Fun

I decided to do some work on my VMware lab box, namely installing the 2TB drive I picked up for the VMware Data Protection appliance, getting the appliance up and running, and installing 5.1 Update 1. I was thwarted in most of that due to a faulty motherboard. I’ve got the drive in, the appliance installed, and the update applied, but the ESXi box is down due to a bad motherboard. It gets stuck in an infinite reboot cycle when hyperthreading is turned on or when I push the system by bringing up the backup appliance. I’ve disabled hyperthreading and can get it to boot, but it still crashes under even minor load. It’s not a purple screen, it just drops, like the reset switch has been pressed. I think I’ve got it back up and running with hyperthreading disabled and only three cores active. We’ll see how long that lasts…

Looks like I’ll be opening a case with Asus on Monday morning to get the board replaced.

Fixing A Failed ESXi Boot Drive

My ESXi box’s boot disk died today. Massive filesystem errors while trying to install the latest security update. Thankfully I’ve had the VMware Management Assistant appliance running regular backups of the configuration, so it wasn’t too tough to restore. I grabbed a spare SATA drive that I had laying around (yeah, I know, it’s overkill), got it hooked up, installed and patched ESXi to the same revision, and restored the latest config backup. All the VMs are on the RAID volume so it was all up and running like nothing happened. So unless you’re using vSphere Auto Deploy you really should be backing up your ESXi configuration and have a physical machine that can restore that data.

vSphere Lab Box Hardware Ordered

Since it’s becoming such a large portion of my life, I’m building out a vSphere lab box to experiment on without running the risk of breaking my customer’s production site. It’s been a heck of a project getting stuff that will work with VMware’s HCL. But I think I’ve got it nailed down. Here’s the bill of materials:

I had a good case and CD/DVD drive laying around, so I’m reusing them to keep costs down a little. Everything should be in early next week. Then I can start building it and making sure everything does work with vSphere. If not, who knows, I may end up with a pretty amazing hackintosh…