Tuesday, November 23, 2010

ESX 3.5 Local Storage Block Size

One limitation of the default install of ESX 3.5 is that the local VMFS storage gets formatted with 1Mb Blocks.  So what do you do if you want to store servers on local disk storage and want a virtual disk larger then 256GB?  ESX 4.x changes things a bit, but for 3.5 here is how to fix that.

vmkfstools --createfs vmfs3 --blocksize 8M vmhbaA:T:L:P

1. Move any virtual machines off to other storage.  (NFS, iSCSI, or somewhere else)
2. Logon to the console as root
3. Execute the vmkfstools command, this will reformat the partition with the block size specified (2M, 4M, 8M) and without a volume label.
4. Logon to the VI Client
5. Select the host, configuration tab, storage, and refresh.
6. Find the local storage with the UID number, and rename it to a logical name.
7. Move virtual machines back to local disk.

Additional Ref: how-to-change-the-blocksize-of-a-vmfs-filesystem

For ESX 4.x take a look at this KB from VMWare.  KB Article: 1012683

Monday, November 22, 2010

File Associations from the command line (ie. in a batch file)

In all of my years of administering workstations, I haven't had to use this until today.  I was surprised to learn that is has been around about as long as I have been administering workstations.

Two commands, ASSOC and FTYPE, allow you to manage file associations from a command prompt (or in a batch file).

Typing ASSOC, without parameters, displays the currently defined extensions.
Type ASSOC .{ext} to display the .{ext} file association.
Typing ASSOC .{ext}= will delete the .{ext} association.

Typing FTYPE without options displays the file types that have defined open command strings.
Typing FTYPE {AppName} will display the open command string for the file type {AppName}.
Typing FTYPE {AppName}= will delete the open command string.

To define a new association for .mug files which you want to open with mspaint:
assoc .mug=MugShot
ftype MugShot=%Systemroot%\System32\mspaint.exe %1

For a complete explanation, type ftype /? or assoc /? at a command prompt.

Here are a couple other references too:

VMware KB: Sysprep file locations and versions

After rebuilding the VM Virtual Center Server, don't forget to put the Sysprep files back if you plan to deploy templates or use VM View. Here is where they go.

  • If vCenter Server is installed on Windows Server 2008, is %ALLUSERSPROFILE%\VMware\VMware VirtualCenter\sysprep which translates to C:\ProgramData\VMware\VMware VirtualCenter\sysprep by default.
  • If vCenter Server is installed on any other Windows operating system, is %ALLUSERSPROFILE%\Application Data\VMware VirtualCenter\sysprep\ which translates to C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\VMware\VMware VirtualCenter\sysprep\ by default.

VMware KB: Sysprep file locations and versions

Outlook Profile Builder

One nice thing about VM View is the ability to tear down and rebuild a client system each time they disconnect, but the downside, rebuilding a profile each time the user logs on.  The worst part of this is the users outlook profile.  Here is a great tool to help with that.

RichProfile http://www.block.net.au/help/RichProfile/

UPDATE:  Here is a new site for RichProfile http://www.richprofile.com/ and the licensing has been updated so that it is free.

Storage VMotion before vSphere 4

Need an easy way to move a virtual machines' storage location without knowing all of the command line stuff for ESX 3.5?  Take a look at http://sourceforge.net/projects/vip-svmotion/files/

It has been very helpful in moving storage of live systems off of direct attached storage.  This then allowed for a vmotion off of a host and now I can upgrade to ESX 4.1 and have storage vmotion built in.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Easy way to save paper...and time.

I have a situation where users consistently create a printed copy of information requested by someone else.  Then the printed copy gets picked up and filed, but before filing it usually gets scanned to be saved in an electronic report.  Well it was electronic to begin with...surely there is a better solution.

Enter YAFPC appliance...  Have the user print it to PDF and e-mail a link to the PDF to the person that requested the printed copy.  Then the requesting person can save the electronic version in the report, and if it is really necessary, print it out on their own.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

License Key requires a known MAC address, but the MAC is Dynamic...???

I have a new server installation and a license key that gets installed on one of the virtual servers. The license key requires a MAC address to associate to, but with virtual machines there aren't any physical properties to really tie that license key to. So how do you make those two opposing items work together? Assign the virtual machine a static MAC address.

VMware KB: Setting a static MAC address for a virtual NIC