Tag Archive for VCAP5

NanoLab – Part 9 – Installing VMware vSphere ESXi 5.5 on Intel NUC

I successfully ran my VMware vSphere ESXi 5.1 Nanolab for 18 months on my pair of Intel NUC DC3217IYE hosts. Early this year I got around to upgrading to 5.5. I had experienced some issues with my vCenter Server Appliance so ended up just rebuilding the lab from scratch and reattaching my old data stores. Having written all of this up, I then promptly forgot to post it! So for the sake of continuity (before I do the same for 6.0 shortly), this article covers the process.

In addition I also purchased a 3rd node for my lab, the 4th Gen D34010WYKH model (also with a Core i3), with which I was able to test and prove the process on as it uses the same NIC chipset.

The following are updated instructions for installing vSphere 5.5 on Intel NUC (any model with the Intel® 82579V or Intel® I218V onboard NIC should work).

I recommend before you start, you upgrade the NUC to the latest firmware, to avoid any potential bugs (of which there were a few when they were first released). Copy the latest firmare image onto a USB stick, boot the NUC, hit F7 at the bios, find your firmware on the USB stick and let it do it’s thing:

Intel NUC Firmware Upgrade

Intel NUC Firmware Upgrade

vSphere 5.5 Install Requirements

  • A USB Stick. This should work on anything over 1-2GB but personally am using 8GB PNY Micro Sleek Attache & 16GB Kinston DataTraveler Micro drives as they’re tiny, so less likely to catch on anything as they stick out the back of the NUC box, and they cost less than £5 each.
  • A copy of VMware Workstation 8 / Fusion 6 or newer.
  • ESXi-Customizer 2.7.2 (created by Andreas Peetz)
    http://v-front.blogspot.com/p/esxi-customizer.html for adding VIBs to your image. NOTE: This can also be done by Powershell, but I like the GUI as it’s easy! (http://blogs.vmware.com/vsphere/2012/04/using-the-vsphere-esxi-image-builder-cli.html)
  • The ESXi driver for the Intel® 82579V Gigabit Ethernet Controller (e.g. for the original models using ESXi 5.5):
  • OR The ESXi driver for the Intel® I218V Gigabit Ethernet Controller (e.g. for the Haswell based D34010U models):
  • (AND) The ESXi AHCI driver for the SATA controller (if you want to use local drives in the  Haswell based D34010U models):
    • sata-xahci-1.10-1.x86_64
    • If you do choose to add this in as well to your image, simply run the customiser twice, once for the network VIB, then a second time for the SATA vin, using the interim image as your source for the final image.

Process Overview

  • Create a customised ISO with the additional Intel driver.
  • Install ESXi to your USB stick using VMware Workstation / VMware Fusion and the customised ISO you will create below.
  • Plug in your NUC, insert the USB stick, boot and go!

Part One – Create the Custom ISO

  1. Run the ESXi-Customizer-v2.7.2.exe (latest version at time of writing).
  2. This will extract the customer to the directory of your choosing.
  3. Navigate to the new directory.
  4. Run the ESXi-Customizer.cmd batch file. This will open up the GUI, where you can configure the following options:
  • Path to your ESXi Installer
  • Path to the Intel driver downloaded previously
  • Path where you want the new ISO to be saved
  1. Ensure you tick the Create (U)EFI-bootable ISO checkbox.
ESXi-Customizer with 2.3.2 vib

ESXi-Customizer with 2.3.2 vib

This will output a new custom ESXi installer ISO called ESXi-5.x-Custom.iso or similar, in the path defined above.

Part Two – Install bootable ESXi to the USB stick.
I stress that this is my preferred way of doing this as an alternative is simply to burn your customised ISO to a CD/DVD and boot using a USB DVD-ROM. That would however be a whole lot slower, and waste a blank CD!

  1. Plug your chosen USB stick into your PC.
  2. Open VMware Workstation (8 or above), VMware Fusion, or whatever you use, ideally supporting the Virtualize Intel VT-x/EPT or AMD-V/RVI option (allowing you to nest 64-bit VMs).
  3. Create a new VM, you can use any spec you like really, as ESXi always checks on boot, but I created one with the similar specs as my intended host, single socket, 2vCPU cores. RAM doesn’t really matter either but I use at least 4GB normally. This does not require a virtual hard disk.
  4. Once the VM is created, and before you boot it, edit the CPU settings and tick the Virtualize Intel VT-x/EPT or AMD-V/RVI checkbox. This will reduce errors when installing ESXi (which checks to ensure it can virtualise 64-bit operating systems).

VMware Workstation Nesting

Screen Shot 2014-08-29 at 22.09.01

VMware Fusion Nesting

  1. Set the CD/DVD (IDE) configuration to Use ISO image file, and point this to the customised ISO created earlier.
  2. Once the above settings have been configured, power on the VM.
  3. As soon as the VM is powered on, in the bottom right of the screen, right click on the flash disk icon, and click Connect (Disconnect from Host).

Attach USB in VMware Workstation

Screen Shot 2014-08-29 at 21.38.18

Attach USB in VMware Fusion

  1. This will mount the USB stick inside the VM, and allow you to do a standard ESXi installation onto the stick.
ESXi Install

ESXi Install

  1. At the end of the installation, disconnect the stick, un-mount and unplug it.
Install Complete

Install Complete

Part Three – Boot and go!
This is the easy bit, assuming you don’t have any of the HDMI issues I mentioned in the first post!

  1. Plug your newly installed USB stick into the back of the NUC.
  2. Don’t forget to plug in a network cable (duh!) and keyboard for the initial configuration. If you wish to modify any bios settings (optional), you will also ideally need a mouse as the NUC runs Visual BIOS.
  3. Power on the NUC…
  4. Have fun!

That’s it!

Any questions/comments, please feel free to hit me up on twitter as I have recently disabled comments on my blog due to the insane volumes of spam bots they were attracting!

Congratulations to the VCAP5-DCD Official Cert Guide Winners!

The VCAP5-DCD Official Cert Guide (with DVD) by Paul McSharry

Firstly, congratulations to the winners of the signed VCAP5-DCD Official Cert Guide competition!

Thanks very much to everyone who entered, and particularly to Paul @pmcsharry, who kindly provided his book and at draw time added a second copy for another lucky winner, as well as the London VMUG @LonVMUG for providing the VMware View book!

For those of you who haven’t seen the book before, I recently did a review, which is posted here: VCAP5-DCD Official Cert Guide – Book Review

The prize list is as follows:

Prizes will be posted this week; good luck with your exams and let us know how you all get on!

VCAP5-DCD Official Cert Guide Competition

The VCAP5-DCD Official Cert Guide (with DVD) by Paul McSharry

Well here it is, the moment you’ve all been waiting for… a chance to win a signed copy of Paul McSharry’s VCAP5-DCD Official Cert Guide!

If you haven’t already heard of it, I recently did a review of it here.

To summarise, I can whole heartedly recommend the book, not only as a key component in your VCAP5-DCD study, but as an excellent reference resource for designing vSphere infrastructures out “in the wild”.

To enter the competition, simply retweet the following:

 

One runner up will also receive a copy of VMware View 5: Building a Successful Virtual Desktop by Paul O’Doherty.

That’s it!

Thanks to Paul McSharry (@pmcsharry) for providing the VCAP5 book, and London VMUG (@LonVMUG) for the VMware View book!

The obligatory Competition Terms:

1. You don’t have to follow me on twitter and this will make no difference on whether you are in the draw or not, but feel free to follow me if you like! 🙂
2. Winners twitter handles will be drawn from a hat by my 3 year old daughter on Sunday 23rd February 2014 and will be notified by twitter within 48 hours
3. Winners to provide postal details for sending of the prize after the competition (I will get this out within the week if you send me your details quite quickly, but please allow up to 30 days for delivery, especially if you are not in the EU!)
4. This is only for a bit of fun, so I obviously wont use your details for anything other than sending you the book. I will not spam you, etc.
5. Although I will be paying the postage of the book out of my own pocket, I am happy to open it up world wide, so don’t worry about your location before entering (though if you’re in an Antarctic research post, I am happy to deliver the book by hand if you can fund my travel!)
6. One entry per person only please (no fake twitter accounts!)
7. No cash alternative is available, remember this is just a private competition for a bit of fun, I am not a multinational corporation with loadsa money! 🙂
8. If for some reason a winner chooses not to accept either the primary or runner up prize, a replacement name will be drawn at random via the child+hat methodology as before

 

VCAP5-DCD Official Cert Guide – Book Review

The VCAP5-DCD Official Cert Guide (with DVD) by Paul McSharry

Written by Consultant, VMware Certified Trainer and vExpert Paul McSharry, the VCAP5-DCD Official Cert Guide is an excellent resource for solidifying and testing your knowledge in advance of sitting the actual exam, as well as a useful reminder guide for your day to day role in design.

As I mentioned in my VCAP5-DCD Exam Prep Resources article, I saw my study as being split into two distinct areas, Holistic Design and Technical Design. For me, this book falls very much into the former category, mainly covering the process and methodology for producing a design.

The main chapters are:

  1. Introduction to Technical Design
  2. Creating a Design
  3. Thoughts on Good Choices for Virtualization and Design
  4. Developing a Design on Paper and Delivering It Physically
  5. Virtual Machine Design
  6. Project Execution
  7. Tips for Passing the Exam

I was fortunate enough to attend the official VMware Design workshop (for v4) run by Paul a couple of years ago and his personality and teaching style really come through in the book. For me the strongest positives in the book are:

  • Great use of real life examples and case studies throughout the book
  • Plenty of great practice questions at the start and end of each chapter as well as the included practice exams. For me this was one of the most valuable features of the book as it helped me build confidence in my knowledge and highlighted areas for improvement.
  • Many tips / suggestions of processes and activities to use in your real design engagements, my favourite or which is to spin up an internal wordpress site or similar and use that to disseminate project information to stakeholders and users.

The only minor tweak I would like to have seen would be in the practice questions, where there are some questions which require multiple answers. In the real exam, VMware generally specify the number of answers to select [e.g. Select three of five answers]. This would have been good in Paul’s test questions too.

The print version of the book also comes with a DVD that includes test exams, another great resource, especially when genuine (not brain dump!) tests are not common and can be quite expensive. I did not have time to go through these tests prior to my exam, so cannot reasonably comment on their quality, but based on the sample questions in the book I would suggest they should be of a good standard.

The book is available from all the usual outlets including in both hardback (with DVD) and Kindle formats.

To summarise, I can whole heartedly recommend this book, not only as a key component in your VCAP5-DCD study, but as an excellent reference resource for designing vSphere infrastructures out “in the wild”.

Finally, keep an eye on my blog later HERE I will be providing an opportunity for one lucky person to win a signed copy of this book!

Disclaimer: I was kindly provided a copy of the book by Paul, however there was no expectation or requirement to review or publicise the book.

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