Installing ESXi6 on VMware Workstation 11 – part 1

In my job I spend most of my days on-site with customers or in a classroom teaching for VMware. I have found it convenient to carry my lab with me. I have a laptop with a quad core i7, 32 GB of RAM and 1 TB combined of SSD and Hybrid drives. The laptop running VMware Workstation has made an effective mobile lab. AS it stands now, I have windows 2008 R2 and 2012 R2 domain controllers configured to provide AD, DNS, DHCP and CA services. Additionally I have a MS SQL 2012 server and vCenter 6 server. In this article I am going to go through the process I followed to deploy an ESXi 6 VM.

Creating a new VM for ESXi 6

File > New Virtual Machine
Select Custom and click Next >.

I chose Workstation 11.0 as the VM hardware compatibility level.
Click Next >.

On the Guest OS Installation page, browse to your ESXi 6 ISO.
Click Next >. Notice that The OS was detected! If we chose I will install the operating system later, the next page in the wizard select ESX Server and VMware vSphere 2015 Beta for the version.


On the Name the Virtual Machine page, enter your desired virtual machine name and verify the location. On my machine, I store my VMs on a separate drive.

Click Next.

On the processor configuration page, I chose the preselected default of 2 CPUs with one core each.
Click Next.

On the Memory for the Virtual Machine page, I kept the default of 4096 MB.

Click Next.

On the Network Type page, I selected Use host only networking so that the VM would get an IP address with existing management VM DHCP server and use the private DNS and AD that are already configured on a private vmnet.
Click Next.
Accept the default selection of the LSI Logic adapter.
Click Next.

On the Select a Disk Type page, accept the default disk type of SCSI.
Click Next.

On the Select a Disk page, accept the default: Create a new virtual disk.
Click Next.

On the Specify Disk Capacity page, I took the defaults. I could have lowered the size to 5GB and still met the recommended minimum disk size for ESXi 6. Additionally, I kept the default Split virtual disk into multiple files.
Click Next.

On the Specify Disk File page, accept the suggested file name (<VM display name>.vmdk).
Click Next.

On the Ready to Create Virtual Machine page, I select Customize Hardware… so I can configure the VM’s NIC connection for the specific private vmnet I use for accessing management VMs and infrastructure services.
On the VM’s Hardware page, I selected the CD/DVD device, then under Device status, I removed the check from the Connect at power on so I could power on the VM without starting the deployment of ESXi. This allows me to get the MAC address that is assigned to the VM’s NIC so that I can configure a DHCP reservation and the associated DNS A and PTR records.

Click OK.

I select the Network Adapter from the device list. In the Network connection section, I select Custom then selected VMnet2 from the list (because my management systems are on VMnet2). Note that the Device status shows a checkmark for Connect at power on.

Click Close.

Back on the Ready to Create Virtual Machine, I deselected Power on this virtual machine after creation so I could look at the contents of the .vmx file.
Click Finish.

Browse to the location of the ESXi6.vmx file and open it for editing. (VMware KB 1714- Tips for editing a .vmx file)


Notice that the .vmx file already contains the vhv.enable = “TRUE” setting required to run 64-bit VMs in the nested ESXi host. Previously this required a manual addition to the file (VMware KB 2034803 – Installing ESXi in VMware Workstation).

Close the .VMX file, then power on the virtual machine.


After powering on the VM, I reopened the .vmx file and recorded the MAC address – called “ethernet0.generatedAddress”:esxi6-20

Then I opened up my Windows DHCP server console and created a new DHCP reservation:esxi6-21
Configured lease:

Then I created the DNS records

New Host record:

Check the reverse lookup record:

Back in the virtual machine settings, select the CD/DVD and check the box next to Connect at power on so the ISO image will be mounted when we power the VM back on.


That is it for part 1!. Next is the install and configuration of a ESXi 6

Upgrading vCenter Server to 5.5 in my lab – part5

Upgrading Update Manager

Read the following KB article:

Upgrading to vSphere Update Manager 5.5 on a Microsoft Windows platform (2058423)

Upgrade procedure:

Mount the vSphere 5.5 installation media. The installation wizard appears.

In the left pane, under VMware vCenter Support Tools, click vSphere Update Manager and then click Install.

Note: If any of the prerequisites are not met, they are listed in the right pane under Prerequisites.

Select the appropriate language from the dropdown and click OK.

If a previous version of vSphere Update Manager is already installed, the installer displays the message:
An earlier version of VMware vSphere Update Manager is already installed on this computer. Click OK to upgrade to 5.5.0
Click OK.

In the welcome screen, click Next.

Review the End User License Agreement. If you agree, select the I accept the terms in the license agreement option and click Next.

Optionally, select the Download updates from default sources immediately after installation option and click Next.
Note: This option automatically checks for downloading updates. If you want to review the default download sources or configure vSphere Update Manager to use a shared repository, deselect this option.

Enter the vCenter Server URL and a username and password and then click Next.

If the Fully Qualified Domain Name (FQDN) or IP address of the vCenter Server and/or the username are not auto-populated, enter the FQDN and/or username manually.
Ensure that the username entered has a minimum of Register extension privilege to be able to register vSphere Update Manager with vCenter Server.

When prompted, enter the database user name and password for the existing database and click Next.

Select one of these options when prompted with a database upgrade warning:

Upgrade existing Update Manager database
     Note: You must acknowledge that a backup has been taken of the Update Manager database.
Do not upgrade the existing Update Manager database

Click Next.

Optionally, from the dropdown, select either the IP address or the FQDN of vSphere Update Manager and then, check if the alternative TCP port numbers for the SOAP, Web, and SSL ports of vCenter Server appear and then click Next.

Note from the KB article: These fields are automatically populated with the appropriate URL and port numbers if the service is installed in the current system. The default ports are 8084, 9084, and 9087 respectively. Ensure that vCenter Server and the ESXi/ESX hosts can resolve the vSphere Update Manager.

Note: The next few steps from the Upgrade procedure were not required in my upgrade. The settings from my previous installation were reused including the patch repository location.

Optionally, select the Yes, I have Internet connection and I want to configure proxy settings now option and click Next.

Provide the proxy server address and the proxy server port and then click Next.

Optionally, select the Authenticate proxy using the credentials below option if your proxy server requires authentication and then click Next.

Optionally, provide an alternative installation location and then click Next.
If the current system does not have 120 GB of disk space available, a warning is displayed when you click Next. Click OK to acknowledge the warning.

In the Ready to Install screen, click Install to start the installation.


When the installation completes, click Finish.

Installed programs shows the upgraded vCenter Update Manager:

Update Manager Client Plug-in Install

Connect the vSphere Client to a vCenter Server system with which Update Manager is registered.

Select Plug-ins > Manage Plug-ins.

In the Plug-in Manager window, click Download and install for the VMware vSphere Update Manager extension.

If you receive a security warning, click Run.

Choose the appropriate language.

On the Welcome screen, click Next.

Review the End User License Agreement. If you agree, select the I accept the terms in the license agreement option and click Next.

On the Ready to install page, click Install.

If you are prompted by User Access Control, Click Yes.


Complete the Update Manager Client installation, and click Finish.

The status for the Update Manager extension is displayed as Enabled.

Click Close to close the Plug-in Manager window.

With vSphere Update Manager upgraded, I can now experiment with upgrading ESXi hosts from 5.1 to 5.5 automatically. There are still a few components left to upgrade, including the vSphere ESXI dump collector, the vSphere Syslog collector and vShere Auto Deploy. More posts to follow!

Upgrading vCenter Server to 5.5 in my lab – part 1

Upgrading vCenter Server 5.1 update 1 to 5.5 in my lab
Part 1

This past summer I had a student in one of my vSphere 5.1 Install, Configure and Manage courses who had attempted an upgrade from an earlier version of vSphere to 5.1 with disastrous results. This fellow was hopping mad and was not impressed by me asking him if he had read the upgrade guides or knowledgebase articles covering the proper sequence and compatibility issues he had encountered.

So with him in mind, I am documenting the process I followed to upgrade my lab vCenter Server and related components to vCenter Server 5.5.

My vCenter system is split between two windows 2008 R2 VMs. The vCenter server, SSO, Inventory service, ESXi Dump collector and vSphere Syslog Collector are on “vc5.mylab.local,” while the vSphere Web Client and vCenter Update Manager are installed on “app-01.mylab.local.” I have another Windows 2008 R2 VM running MS SQL Server 2008 R2 that handles the vCenter and Update Manager databases.

Here are the beginning software versions on my Windows 2008 R2 vCenter VM

In order to avoid the difficulties my former student encountered with a similar upgrade, check out the following before getting started with the upgrade:

VMware Product Interoperability Matrixes

vSphere Upgrade Guide

Best Practices for vCenter Server Upgrades

Required Information for Installing or Upgrading vCenter Single Sign-On, Inventory Service, vCenter Server and the vSphere Web Client  — Print this topic and use it as a worksheet for the upgrade and save it for later so you have the answers for the next upgrade!

Update sequence for vSphere 5.5 and its compatible VMware products (2057795)

Upgrade the various products in numerical order.


From the KB article:
Before you update the vCenter Server, disable vCenter Server from vCloud Director. Also ensure that you stop or disable other VMware services so that they do not communicate with vCenter Server during the update process.

In this article I will be running through the upgrade to vCenter Server 5.5 and its related products. The VMware KB article Methods of upgrading to vCenter Server 5.5 (2053130) describes the requirements for upgrading to vCenter 5.5. I will be following the order specified in the section “Upgrading components separately for vCenter server 5.5”:

  1. Upgrade vCenter Single Sign-On.
    For more information, see Upgrading to vCenter Single Sign-On 5.5 on a Microsoft Windows platform (2058249).
  2. Upgrade vSphere Web Client.
    For more information, see Upgrading to vSphere Web Client 5.5 on a Microsoft Windows platform (2058265).
  3. Upgrade vCenter Inventory Service.
    For more information, see Upgrading to vCenter Inventory Service 5.5 on a Microsoft Windows platform (2058272).
  4. Upgrade vCenter Server.
    For more information, see Upgrading to vCenter Server 5.5 on a Microsoft Windows platform (2058275).
  5. Upgrade vCenter Update Manager.
    For more information, see Upgrading to vSphere Update Manager 5.5 on a Microsoft Windows platform (2058423).


Upgrading vCenter Single Sign-On

Read the KB article below:
Upgrading to vCenter Single Sign-On 5.5 on a Microsoft Windows platform (2058249)

Information Required for vCenter Single Sign-On Installation

Follow the steps outlined in this KB article to back-up the existing 5.1 SSO database:

Backing up and restoring the vCenter Single Sign-On (SSO) 5.1 configuration (2034928) (You will need the “old” SSO admin password for this.) You won’t need the password for the upgrade.

You need to make sure that forward and reverse DNS lookups return the correct information about your SSO server and the vCenter server. See DNS Requirements for vSphere.

Additionally, you need to check the SSL certificate subject name and the registry of the VM running Single Sign-on. In my case SSO and vCenter server are installed on the same VM.

The registry key to check is referenced in this KB article:
Upgrade from vSphere 5.1 to vSphere 5.5 rolls back after importing Lookup Service data (2060511)

Check the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\VMware, Inc.\VMware Infrastructure\SSOServer\FQDNIp registry key value:

  • If the registry key value is an IP address, this issue might affect your system.
  • If the registry key value is set to the FQDN value you see in the certificate, your system is       not affected by this issue.

The installer will perform a prerequisite check, but it will not stop you from proceeding if the values do not match.

For example:


If there is a mismatch, you need to change the registry value to match the “Subject” name used for the SSL certificate.



Upgrade procedure:

Mount the vSphere 5.5 installation media.

Note: I prefer to browse the install media and launch the “autorun.exe” with the “Run as Administrator.”
If you are prompted by User Account Control, click Yes.

In the left pane, under Custom Install, click Single Sign-On Install and then click Install.

Note: If any of the prerequisites are not met, they are listed in the right pane under Prerequisites.

In the welcome screen, click Next.

If a previous version of vCenter Single Sign-On (SSO) is installed, you see this message in the welcome screen:
An earlier version of vCenter Single Sign-On is already installed on this computer and will be upgraded to vCenter Single Sign-On 5.5.0.

Review the End User License Agreement. If you agree, select the I accept the terms in the license agreement option and then click Next.

Review the Prerequisites check screen and then click Next.

The installer notifies that a previous version is detected and that Users, Groups, Solution Users, and Lookup Service artifacts will be migrated.

Click Next.

Select a deployment mode and click Next.

vCenter Single Sign-On for your first vCenter Server – Select this option to deploy your first SSO server. This server becomes the first SSO server in a new vSphere authentication domain.

After you select this option:
Provide a password for the SSO administrator user and click Next.

Note from the KB article: This dialog shows information related to a domain by the name vsphere.local.  This is not a domain that is auto-detected within the existing environment, but a net new domain used      internally by vSphere. The administrator@vsphere.local account performs the same function as the admin@System-Domain account in previous versions of vSphere. For more information about the administrator@vsphere.local account,  see the vSphere Software Components section of the vCenter Server and Host Management Guide.

Provide a site name and click Next.

Note: The site name is used in environments where there are SSO servers in multiple sites. Ensure to select this name carefully because it cannot be changed in the vSphere Web Client after the installation  completes. “Default-First-Site” is the default site name.

Optionally, provide an alternative installation location and then click Next. (I had previously installed SSO to the “D:” drive on my VM.)

The installation requires 2 GB of disk space to be available.
In the vCenter Single Sign-On Information screen, click Install.



When the installation completes, click Finish.


vCenter SSO 5.5 upgraded!

The first component is now upgraded. Next up is upgrading the vSphere Web Client to 5.5.

Configure vSphere 5.1 for remote debug logging

Recently I have been working with customers on designs for new vSphere 5.1 installs and upgrades. As part of the design, I have been specifying the installation and configuration of the vSphere ESXi Dump Collector service on their Windows vCenter Server. The ESXi dump collector service allows the collection of the diagnostic dump information generated when an ESXi host has a critical fault and generates a “purple diagnostic screen.”

This post is a walk through of installing and configuring the ESXi Dump Collector service on vCenter and configuring an ESXi host to use it.

The Windows Server 2008 R2 VMs I use for vCenter are configured with additional drives for installing applications and storing data. In this example from my virtual lab, I have a “d:\” drive for applications and data.

Install the vSphere ESXi Dump Collector

The installer for the dump collector in included on the vCenter installer ISO image. I mount the ISO image to the Windows 2008 R2 VM where I have installed vCenter server.

Launch “autorun.exe” as an administrator.

From the VMware vCenter Installer, select “VMware vSphere ESXi Dump Collector”. Then click “Install” to begin the installation.

After the installer starts, select “English” as the language.

On the Welcome… page, click “Next >.”

On the End User Patent Agreement page, click “Next >.”
On the End User License Agreement page, select “I accept…”; click “Next >.”
On the Destination Folder page, click the “Change…” button beside “vSphere ESXi Dump Collector repository directory:”
On the Change Current Destination Folder page, change the “Folder name:” value to “d:\…”. Click “OK.”
Back on the Destination Folder page, observe that the path has been updated and click “Next >”

On the Setup Type page, select “VMware vCenter Server installation”, then click “Next >.”

On the VMware vCenter Server Information page, enter the appropriate information for connecting to vCenter. Click “Next >” to continue.

If you are using the default self-signed SSL certificate for vCenter, you will receive a message with the SHA1 thumbprint value for the vCenter server’s certificate.  Click “Yes” to trust that the certificate for connecting to the vCenter server.

You can verify the thumbprint by looking at the certificate properties on your vCenter server.  Notice that the thumbprint from the installer matches the thumbprint on the vCenter server’s certificate.

On the vSphere ESXi Dump Collector Port Settings page, click “Next >” to accept the default value of UDP port 6500.

On the vSphere ESXi Dump Collector Identification page, select the FQDN of the vCenter server and click “Next >.”

On the Ready to Install page, click “Install.”

After the installer has completed, click “Finish” on the Installer Completed page.

You can view the configured settings with the vSphere Client by selecting VMware ESXi Dump Collector from the Administration page.

You can also view the configuration with the vSphere Web Client by selecting the vCenter server, then browsing to the “Manage” tab and selecting “ESXi Dump Collector” under “Settings.”

Configuring an ESXi host to transmit the core dump over the network to the dump collector service.

Now that we have installed the dump collector service, we need to configure the ESXi hosts to send their diagnostic dump files to the vCenter server.
I set this up through the ESXi console. You will notice that I am logged in a “root” as I had not configured the ESXi host to use Active Directory authentication yet. Any user account that has the “administrator” role on the ESXi host can configure these settings.

First, checked the current coredump network configuration:

~ # esxcli system coredump network get
   Enabled: false
Host VNic:
Network Server IP:
Network Server Port: 0

Next, I confirmed the name of the vmkernel connection I planned to use: “vmk0” with the old “esxcfg-vmknic -l” command

Then, I configured the system to send coredumps over the network through the “vmk0” vmkernel port to my vCenter server’s IPv4 address at port 6500:

~ # esxcli system coredump network set –interface-name vmk0 –server-ipv4 –server-port 6500

You have to enter the interface name and server IPv4 address. The port is optional if you are using the default of 6500.

Then, I enabled the ESXi host to use the dump collector service:
~ # esxcli system coredump network set –enable true

I verified that the settings were correctly configured:
~ # esxcli system coredump network get
   Enabled: true
Host VNic: vmk0
Network Server IP:
Network Server Port: 6500

I checked to see if the server was running:
~ # esxcli system coredump network check
Verified the configured netdump server is running
~ #

Here is a screenshot of the process:

FYI, by default, the diagnostic dump file (core dump) is stored on a local disk partition of the ESXi host. You can find the local partition from the local ESXi console (if it is enabled) with the following command:

# esxcli system coredump partition get

I have highlighted the command in the figure below:

More information about managing the ESXi core dump disk partition is in the online documentation here.

Now that the vCenter server has the dump collector service installed and the ESXi host is configured to use it, I had to try it out!

Using the vsish tool and specific setting that Eric Sloof or NTPRO.NL described in his post “Lets create some Kernel Panic using vsish“, I crashed the ESXi host. As you can see in the screenshots, I was rewarded with a purple screen and success with transmitting the dump over the network to my vCenter server!

The “CrashME” PSOD

Here is the coredump file that was transmitted. Success!

The coredump file on the vCenter server in the repository

For more information check out these KB articles:

ESXi Network Dump Collector in VMware vSphere 5.x

Configuring the Network Dump Collector service in vSphere 5.x