• Category Archives ESXi
  • ESXi Customizer and Windows 10 Fix

    ESXi-Customizer is a great tool to add vibs and custom drivers to a VMware ESXi installation. I had to do this for my lab for the Network interface drivers which I blogged about with instructions here.

    From the product page:

    ESXi-Customizer is a user-friendly script that automates the process of customizing the ESXi install-ISO with drivers that are not originally included. Unlike other scripts and manuals that are available for this purpose ESXi-Customizer runs entirely on Windows and does not require any knowledge of or access to Linux

    I recently went to use the ESXi Customizer as I am doing updates and refreshes of my lab (more on that later) and like many folks out there I have already taken the plunge into Windows 10 (actually have been running Win 10 Enterprise since Jan 2015).

    I got the following error message.

    Error: “!– FATAL ERROR: Unsupported Windows Version: 10.0. At least Windows XP is required!”

    Luckily there is an easy fix.  The ESXi-Customizer is a .cmd file which is easily editable so I did a search in Notepad++ (Great tool, go get it.)

    Resolution: Add a REM at the beginning of line 260 as follows. This will eliminate the Operating System check as it fails on Windows 10

    REM if “!WinVer!” LSS “5.1” call :earlyFatal Unsupported Windows Version: !WinVer!. At least Windows XP is required & exit /b 1

    Voila!! That’s it. It worked great in my lab (and according to folks from twitter)

  • VMware Fling : VIB Author – Custom ESXi installs

    VMware has announced another fling which I always enjoy trying. This fling will allow users to make a customized vSphere Installation Bundle (VIB). Previously this was only available to VMware partners such as Cisco, Dell etc to make customized installations.

    From the article

    There are a couple of use cases for creating custom VIBs.  For example, if you are using Auto Deploy and you need to add a custom firewall rule to your host, or you need to make a configuration change that can’t be made using Host Profiles.
    One word of caution however, the ability to create custom VIBs does come with some responsibility.  If you plan to create your own VIBs here are a few things to keep in mind:

    1. VIBs provided by VMware and trusted partners are digitally signed, these digital signatures ensure the integrity of the VIB.  Custom VIBs are not digitally signed.  Be careful when adding unsigned VIBs to you ESXi hosts as you have no way of vouching for the integrity of the software being installed.
    2. Before adding a custom VIB you will need to set your host’s acceptance level to “Community Supported”.   When running at the community supported acceptance level it’s important to understand that VMware support may ask you to remove any custom VIBs.   Here’s the formal disclaimer:

    IMPORTANT If you add a Community Supported VIB to an ESXi host, you must first change the host’s acceptance level to Community Supported. If you encounter problems with an ESXi host that is at the CommunitySupported acceptance level, VMware Support might ask you to remove the custom VIB, as outlined in the support policies:”

    If you are not familiar with VIBs I recommend you start with a quick review of this blog: http://blogs.vmware.com/esxi/2011/09/whats-in-a-vib.html
    With that, I know several folks have been chomping at the bit to create their own custom VIBs so I’ve attached a short tutorial that shows how to use the vibauthor tool to create a  VIB to add a custom firewall rule.

  • Autolab – Packaged VMware Nested Lab

    Recently Autolab, a new tool promising to make deploying your labs a LOT easier was released. I deployed my new lab yesterday using this tool and it couldn’t be simpler.


    This lab builder kit is designed to produce a nested vSphere 5.0 or 4.1 lab environment with the minimum effort. Prebuilt shell VMs are provided along with automation for the installation of operating systems and applications into these VMs. The lab build was originally created to aid study towards VCP5 certification however it has many other possible uses.

    This is version 0.5 – Please submit bug reports to feedback@labguides.com

    Installation Instructions PDF
    Nested AutoLab on Workstation 8
    Nested AutoLab on ESXi 5

    Hardware Requirements

    The hardware requirements for the lab are moderate. Hopefully you won’t need to buy a new computer, although you may need to do some upgrades.  If you can dedicate a computer to the role then the lab runs extremely well under ESXi.

    Hardware Minimum Great Choice Used to build the lab (laptop bought in 2009)
    CPU Dual Core, 64Bit Quad Core, i7 Core2 Duo
    RAM 8GB How much can you afford? 8GB
    Hard Disk 60GB free space 120GB SSD free space Second SATA hard disk, Laptop OS on small SSD
    Operating System 64 Bit ESXi 5.0 Windows 7 64Bit
    Virtualization Software VMware Player (untested) ESXi 5.0 VMware Workstation 8.0.2

    Additional software

    The AutoLab kit contains open source software and so can be freely redistributed. The full lab requires licensed software components some of which are quite large. Below is a list with download links where these are easily  available.

    For the older vSphere versions and for PowerCLI you will need an account with VMware or a good contact at VMware or a VMware partner.

    The version 4.1 components are only required if you plan to build a 4.1 environment, usually so you can run the upgrade to 5.0.

    • vCenter 5.0 Install DVD
    • ESXi 5.0 Install CDROM
    • vCenter 4.1 Install DVD
    • ESXi 4.1 Install CDROM
    • ESX 4.1 Install CDROM
    • VMware PowerCLI installer
    • VMware vSphere CLI Installer
    • Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 180 day trial DVD
    • Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Client 64bit
    • Microsoft Windows 2003 Server 32bit or Windows XP 32bit CDROM