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Stuck at a Black Screen and Connecting on a vCloud console

On a computer running Windows 7 x64 SP1 Enterprise running Internet Explorer 11 browser, I had issues connecting to the console of Virtual Machines hosted by VMWare vCloud.

vCloud Console black screen

This was resolved by completing the following:

  1. Adding the website to the Trusted Site list
  2. Adding the website to Internet Explorer’s compatibility list
  3. Updating Java on the workstation to the newest

How to create and mount an NFS datastore on ESXi using a Drobo 5N

This quick guide will run you through installing an NFSv3 server on your Drobo 5N and then mounting it on an ESXi host- the same setup can also be used for adding the NFS share using vSphere.

I will be setting this up on a VMWare ESXi 6.5 host, running off an Intel NUC and my NFS datastore will be hosted using my Drobo 5N

Note: Make sure you have the latest Drobo Dashboard and firmware installed on your Drobo before proceeding.

How to create the NFSv3 datastore

Open Drobo Dashboard and login with your Admin credentials

Navigate to DroboApps

Select Network Applications and select NFSv3 and click Install to install the NFSv3 application

NFSv3

The NFSv3 application uses the inbuilt Drobo Shares functionality to allow a mount path, this will only accept shares which have Everyone specified with Read/Write permissions. In the Drobo Dashboard navigate to Shares

Click on Share Settings

Click on Add

Give your new Share a name such as ‘NFS_Datastore’ and click Ok

On the right hand side select Everyone until the Pen appears, this will allow Everyone to have Read/Write access to the share click Ok

NFS Datastore

You have now created your NFS share, navigate back to DroboApps and NFSv3 and click Configure

Navigate down to select Rescan to rescan the Share list and permissions

Once the rescan has been completed look in the Exports log for your share, it should be listed at the bottom and take note of the mount path – as you will need this later to mount your datastore.

How to mount the NFSv3 datastore

Now open Internet Explorer or another browser and connect to your ESXi host

Navigate to the Storage pane

VMWare ESXi

Select New Datastore and click Mount NFS datastore and click Next

Type in the name you want to name your NFS datastore – I am following my own naming standard so: DATASTORE_NFSv3_Hotdog

Type in the IP address of your NFS server (which is your Drobo) and then type in the mount path that was given to you by the NFS export log on the Drobo in the previous steps

Once that is filled out click Next, verify the information is complete and click Finish to mount your NFS datastore, you should now be able to create a VMDK or VM on your network share and share it between hosts.

You can test that your host has read/write access to the datastore by selecting the NFS datastore and click Actions, Browse and creating a new Directory and verifying that it gets created without an issue.

If you get permission issues – make sure that Everyone is set on the Share in the Drobo Dashboard and in ESXi – Navigate to Networking, Firewall Rules and make sure NFS Client is Enabled and the properties either has All Connections from all IP addresses or the IP of your Drobo is assigned.

Firewall Rules

Using PowerShell to remove Snapshots from Virtual Machines in vSphere

Although vSphere 5.5 has a scheduled task to create Snapshots, it appears to be missing a scheduled task to remove them.

I had to find a way of automating the removal of the Snapshots for specific Virtual Machines at a specific time (ie not during business hours).

To do this required 3 things, a Scheduled Task and a PowerShell script using the VMWare Snapin and a TXT document with the hostname of the Virtual Machine that needs the Snapshot to be removed.

This script is quite simple – it connects to the vSphere server, checks for a VM name under a TXT document that people add their servers to and then when the scheduled task runs it removes the Snapshot for that VM and clears the TXT document ready for the next day.

Note: You can add Credentials for the vSphere connection to the script, however I am running the script under a Service Account that has been granted Remove Snapshot rights.

Feel free to add any comments, suggestions to the comments section below.

ESXi on an Intel NUC NUC5i7RYH

I have just configured ESXi on my new Intel NUC – NUC5i7RYH (Intel NUC i7-5557U 3.1GHz 16GB 256GB SSD).

VMWare ESXi

Due to incompatibility with ESXi-Customizer on Windows 10  – I used the now recommended: ESXi-Customizer-PS Power CLI script.

Following the instructions at the ESXi-Customizer website: http://www.v-front.de/p/esxi-customizer-ps.html with installing the VMWare Power CLI PowerShell dependencies onto my workstation (you need a register My VMWare account to download this directly from VMware).

I was able to use the following command from the directory where the PowerShell script was saved:

This will make the script connect to the V-Front Online Depot and add the sata-xahci and net55-r8168 packages from there to the latest ESXi 6.0 Imageprofile.

Entirely with no user interaction it was able to download the latest v6 ESXi release and slipstream the sata-xahci drivers leaving a clean ISO I was then able to use Rufus with the default settings to deploy the ISO to my USB Flash drive which was then used to install on the Intel NUC successfully.