My ramblings about all things technical


iSCSI by default on IBM HS22 Blades

On a recent client engagement fellow Xtravirt colleague Darren Woollard and I were awaiting the build out of the IBM HS22 blades the client had procured for our usage as ESXi5 hosts. IBM services came in to complete the configuration of these servers which was stated to only take a mornings worth of work. Unfortunately due to a very strange default setting that the HS22 blades seem to come with it took us almost four days and the below work around to fix the “problem”.

Our problem was that the second NIC on all the blades was set to iSCSI by default so if we looked in the BIOS the NIC wasn’t presented due to this configuration. The only way we found we could get it back to a normal NIC for usage in ESXi was to do the following:

  1. Boot the server into a Microsoft OS (This was a fun part for us as all our hosts were stateless in readiness for Auto Deploy so we had to “steal” a drive from another server)
  2. Download the OneCommand Software from the IBM website
  3. With the OneCommand software installed ,Select the OCManager program from the MS Windows Start Menu.


4. The application will launch and enumerate the adapters; this typically takes 30 seconds to populate the left hand pane.


5. The populated pane should resemble the screenshot below.


6. Highlight the OCm adapter. The Personality section will reveal the NICs are to set to iSCSI.

7. Click the NIC-only radio option.


8. Click Apply.

9. Reboot the Blade.

10. That’s the “re-configuration” complete for this blade, now to repeat the above steps across all your remaining blades Smile .

I’m sure there must be a simpler way of fixing it but we spoke to a few IBM services people and the only way to fix it seems to be this which we find very hard to believe.



Auto Deploy TFTP file won’t download

I’m currently doing a POC of vSphere 5’s Auto Deploy in an attempt to streamline/perfect my knowledge of all the PowerCLI commands and steps in preparation for a client delivery. I’ve built a whole test environment on my laptop in VMware Workstation following pretty much all the steps detailed in these three postings:

After setting everything up and adding my image profile to the deploy rule, I kept getting an error whenever my ESXi hosts tried to get the “undionly.kpxe.vmw-hardwired” file from my TFTP server as shown in the screenshot below


After trying everything from rebuilding Auto Deploy to re-creating the whole AD and the TFTP server I decided to try change my networking from Host Only to another setting in the hope this would do something and for reasons i’m actually unsure of at the moment it worked Open-mouthed smile .

Changing the setting from Host Only to a Custom VMnet2 on all my VM’s hosting my vCenter Server come Auto Deploy Server come TFTP server and all my ESXi hosts allowed the communication to let the ESXi servers get the “undionly.kpxe.vmw-hardwired” file and thereby allow all my stateless hosts to now boot perfectly. Now to finish off all my Auto Deploy Testing Smile


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VCAP5-DCA: Objective 9.2

Install ESXi Hosts Using Auto Deploy

I know this isn’t following the flow but I wanted to get Auto Deploy tested in my lab early so I jumped to this so I could have all of my Auto Deployed Hosts done before doing all my other lab work.

For this objective I would do an install in your lab/on your laptop and learn it as I think this the only way to learn how it all goes together. Duncan Epping has done a great blog posting here:

Also VMware have done a really great POC step by step that is a really great way of building it and is the one I’ve followed to learn it.

  • Knowledge
    • Identify Auto Deploy requirements

For me this is about knowing what are all the prerequisites and parts that make up the Auto Deploy solution. There is a really great VMware article that covers this and is what I think they based this objective on as it seems to have links for all the parts of this objective here:

  • Skills and Abilities
    • Install the Auto Deploy Server

This is really simple and if clicking next,next and finish is all they test you on I’ll be happy as the installation is really easy

I would also learn how to configure the auto deploy server as I think the installation steps above are surely too simple:

    • Utilize Auto Deploy cmdlets to deploy ESXi hosts

Covered here:

    • Configure Bulk Licensing

This is quite straight forward but is something that is also extremely important and therefore is something I think you need to make sure you really who how to do. The steps are detailed on pg75 and 76 of the vSphere Installation and Setup Guide.

    • Provision/Reprovision ESXi hosts using Auto Deploy

Provisioning is covered on pg 81 of the vSphere Installation and Setup Guide.

Reprovisioning is covered on pg 82 of the vSphere Installation and Setup Guide.

    • Configure an Auto Deploy reference host

This is covered on pg 84 vSphere Installation and Setup Guide.

I think this is something that may be asked as it incorporates host profiles and auto deploy and is something that can be easily tested in the lab. That’s my opinion though.

This objective was really quick and seeing as it is the last on the list I think a fair amount of people may speed through it but I think this is one of the most important as it’s a new feature and also is something any VMware Admin/Architect should be learning as it’s likely to be the way vSphere goes in the future


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    All Things Virtual 27


    Yep I’ve decided to start trying to build up my All Things Virtual postings so as to try help myself keep up to date on the latest news happening in the virtualisation arena and also help people like myself who don’t have the time during the day/work week to keep up to date on the latest blog postings,news and articles. I’ve only listed the past few week’s worth of blog postings that have caught my interest and for future All Things Virtual I’m planning on doing it fortnightly/monthly.

    First on my list is a reminder to all that the “applications” for the VMware vExpert title are still open. there are now three paths for the title which I blogged about in my VMware vExpert 2012 nominations and applications are open blog posting. You can find the application form and all the information also on the vExpert communities page here

    Next was the results of Eric Sieberts yearly Top Virtualisation Blog poll. I was very honoured to be included in the voting this year for the first time and came in at 103rd which I’m really pleased about Smile. A massively congratulations to all the top 10 and top 25 blogs and it’s amazing to see that 1 in 10 of the blogs in the votes were from the London VMware User Group #LonVMUG crew.

    The mad rush for the VCP5 upgrade before the end of February cut off date is in full swing. Almost all my colleagues at Xtravirt have done theirs in the past week and almost every day loads and loads of the people I follow on twitter are posting about their passing of the exam. For those that have decided to bypass the cut off date due to possibly already having done the what’s new course or are happy to do the what’s new course there is a massive amount of top resources out there for you to use. I’ve tried to list them all on my VCP5 page. Cody Bunch’s VCP5 Brownbag series is now in full swing with videos of all the objectives listed by Cody in his VCP5 Brownbag Playlist posting.

    Talking of certifications there were four new VCDX’s announced, so a massive and envious congratulations to Tom Arentsen @tomarentsen,Mike Brown @vmikebrown, Matthew Meyer @mattdmeyer and Hugo Phan @hugophan. Hugo did a very helpful blog posting all about his 5 simple steps to the VCDX certification . His steps do seem very manageable and are great for those people out there feeling up for the challenge. One of the people who has already thrown his hat in the ring is fellow vExpert and top blogger Christian Mohn who announced his intent in his blog posting here . Good luck Christian, maybe now that my new role with Xtravirt is gaining me some serious design exposure and experience I may join you in attempting the VCDX if i can find the time to do what I couldn’t do for VCAP4 and gain both my VCAP5-DCA and DCD. I’ll keep you all posted on my decision Smile

    Next is a posting by Gabrie van Zanten all about the Auto Deploy GUI VMware fling. Gabrie does a great walkthrough of how to use the tool and how it makes your life much easier. I’m currently planning to use the tool in my testing of Auto Deploy in my home lab and hopefully it’s as good as he describes

    As I’ve mentioned loads of times in my VCAP4,VCP5 and VCAP5 study resources pages, the trainsignal videos are an amazing learning resource in my opinion and are as good if not better than attending the respective courses. TrainSignal have recently released the VMware View 5 Essentials Training videos. The videos are described by Trainsignal as  “Virtualisation experts Brian Knudtson and Lane Leverett guide you from VDI basics, through app virtualization and more. Learn how to get your View environment up and running and reduce costs for your end-user desktops”. I’m currently started to use these videos in my attempt to strengthen my VDI skills and hopefully if all goes to plan try obtain my VCP5-DT.

    Talking about VMware View and the VCP5-DT, the VMware View 5 Install Configure and Manage course was released in early January and Eric Sloof posted all about it in his posting here. The course looks really good and maybe if I am given the opportunity i may be able to attend it and give a good overview for anyone thinking about attending the course.

    Lastly, a massive thanks to John Troyer and Alex Maier for the vExpert gift and Certificate. I’ve already started using my bag as my main bag and geekingly added my vExpert and blogger badges from the past two VMworld’s also (yep I’m sad)