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Month: February 2013

OVF Tool: Special Characters in URL Locators

This might be common knowledge, but it tripped me up recently so thought I would write a quick post on it. OVF Tool allows you to pass credential information to destination connections. The syntax of such commands is:


An issue that might arise is that the password being passed has special characters. One password special character that would cause an issue is ‘@’ as it is used to separate a password from a host.
How do you escape special characters to avoid this issue?

Rescan All Hangs ESXi

I ran into a interesting problem the other day. I was brought into an environment that had a pair of ESXi 5.1 hosts connected to an iSCSI datastore. One host could see and access the datastore without issue while the other host showed no datastore attached. Per the administrator both hosts had been mounted to the datastore and the claim was that the environment had not be touched/changed in any way.
What was going on and how can you fix it?

Automating VCSA Configuration

If you have deployed the VCSA a couple of dozen times like me then you quickly realize that it is necessary to script the initial configuration of the device. I would highly recommend taking a look at William Lam’s blog for some great setup scripts including:

Something that I noticed was missing from William’s scripts was the ability to configure application layer services such as NTP and Syslog. As such, I put together a couple quick scripts shared below.

Standardizing ESXi Configurations

Maish over at Technodrone posted a great article yesterday titled: Host Profiles Should Become a Standard Feature. In the article he states:

Having your hosts configured exactly the same should be a standard feature. It is in VMware’s best interests. It means less support calls, less anguish from customers, better customer adoption there are more than enough reasons.

I absolutely agree! The problem is in order to achieve host standardization given how vSphere is currently architected you need to abstract the configuration out of the host and into vCenter Server. Today, that is where Host Profiles come into play. The problem with Host Profiles are two-fold:

Review: VMware Horizon Mail

As I mentioned last week, VMware released an officially supported mail client (for Zimbra). About two years ago VMware released a fling called Zimbra for Android. This application was well received, but not well maintained throughout its life. It appears enough demand was generated for VMware to create and release Horizon Mail. I have been using the application for work since last week and have put together a brief review of the pros and cons from my perspective.

Overlapping Static Routes

Do you have to connect to a VPN in order to work? Do you need to connect to more than one VPN to work? Have you ever connected to a VPN that broke your Internet connection? VPNs are great, but static routes and DNS servers can really ruin your day sometimes. Recently, I had to connect to my work’s corporate VPN and from there had to connect to a separate internal VPN to access an environment I was working on (don’t ask). While connecting to multiple VPNs in and of itself is not an issue in my case I quickly learned that I did not have the connectivity I needed to access the environment through the second VPN.
What was happening and how can you fix it?

vWYNTK: BOSH Part 1 – Introduction

As many of you know, I have worked very closely with the Cloud Foundry team since the beginning. Recently, I decided to deploy a Cloud Foundry instance in my home lab based on the information available on GitHub today. I have deployed Cloud Foundry many times before while in operations at VMware, but never as an outside user. Even with my extensive knowledge of Cloud Foundry, I found the deployment to be challenging given the documentation currently published. As such, I decided to put together some additional information to assist with the process.

Host is not responding

I was recently deploying a Cloud Foundry instance and was experiencing errors during the deployment. From the several failed deployments, I received the following BOSH error messages:

Error 100: Unable to communicate with the remote host, since it is disconnected.

mysql_node/54: Unable to communicate with the remote host, since it is disconnected.

Error 100: A general system error occurred: Server closed connection after 0 response bytes read; SSL(TCPClientSocket(this=000000000de625e0, state=CONNECTED, _connectSocket=TCP(fd=-1), error=(null)) TCPStreamWin32(socket=TCP(fd=23280) local=, peer=

Looking at the events on the ESXi host I saw the following:
Host is not responding
What was causing the issue and how can it be fixed?