vSphere 6.0 – Create a Windows VM from a VHD

Deutsche Version

This part of my workshop is about creating the Microsoft Windows Server VMs for our domain controller / database server and VMware vCenter Server. Certainly you know how to install Windows Server from a Windows DVD ISO file. So I will present an alternative approach.

In addition to the ISO file, a preinstalled VHD file is available at the MSDN Evaluation Center. We can use this VHD to create our VMware virtual machines.

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HPiLO Cmdlets Version

Deutsche Version

Last year, I wrote a series of posts about automating tasks on Hewlett-Packard iLO boards with Microsoft PowerShell and the HPiLO cmdlets from HP. Since then, scripting iLO boards has become an important part of my daily work. Common use cases are mass configuration and reporting of iLO settings and migrating groups of iLO boards to a different VLAN or network segment.

Up to now I was using the HPiLO cmdlets version The current version available on the HP Scripting Tools for Windows PowerShell website is

This post is about the changes between both versions.

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vSphere 6.0 – Required Software

Deutsche Version

After a *very* long time where I was busy dealing with lots of work and other stuff, I’m finally going to continue my vSphere 6 workshop. Sorry for the long break!

Virtualization Layer

I usually build my test environments on VMware Workstation. My laptop is capable of hosting a whole vSphere infastructure so that I’ve always got my testlab in my pocket.

Of course you can use other VMware products, other vendor virtualization software or even install bare-metal on hardware.

Though VMware Workstation 12 is already available, don’t own a license for it yet. So I’ll use version 11 for this workshop.

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vSphere 6.0 – Required Hardware

Deutsche Version

The vSphere environment we’re heading for will consist of 5 systems. Or a little bit more / less depending on the products and options you’d like to evaluate. You can install all systems bare-metal or (preferably) as virtual machines. Using VMs allows you to deploy more than one system on a peace of hardware.

In general, you can use anything from a discharged PC up to enterprise server hardware. I use a single laptop to host my whole VMware infastructure.

Information about the vSphere requirements can be found in the “vSphere Installation and Setup – vSphere 6.0” guide at VMware Documentation.

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vSphere 6.0 – New Workshop

Deutsche Version

When VMware vSphere 5.5 was new, I started a workshop series about building a vSphere test environment. It became very famous and I got a lot of response from my readers. Now, this post is the first part of a new series about VMware vSphere 6.0.

With the experience of the last workshop I thought a lot about possible improvements. The new series will be structured more like a WIKI than a series of sequenced posts. This will make it more flexible and allows me to show you more options and different configurations. At the same time, it will be easier for you to pick the sections you like without the need to read all the preceding parts.

The workshop will show you how to install a near-production vSphere environment. You don’t need much experience with VMware vSphere – I will start right from the beginning and show you the whole installation and configuration progress step-by-step. Though we build just a test environment, many of the configurations we’ll use also apply for production Environments.

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About Active Directory Primary Group

Deutsche Version

In the german IT community, Nils Kaczenski is known as an author and consultant for many years. Microsoft awarded him with the MVP title several times for his contribution and deep knowledge of Microsoft’s Active Directory.

A few weeks ago he wrote the post “Die Primary Group in Active Directory“. This article is available in German language only, so here are the key facts:

  • The Primary Group attibute of the user object is a relict of the early days of Active Directory. Neither Windows needs it nor Active Directory.
  • There is no reason to use the Primary Group. But some administrators misunderstand it’s purpose and use it as a “default group” property.
  • This can lead to both – functional and security problems.
  • If you change the Primary Group, the user in fact is removed from the member list of the group.
  • Some administrative tools will cheat you by adding Primary Group users when they display group members, others will not. This will handicap your administration. If you use reports of user group memberships and rights, they will most likely be wrong.
  • Some applications will accept group memberships by the Primary Group, others (like Microsoft Exchange) will not.
  • Conclusion: you can get serious problems by using the Primary Group, maybe even without noticing. But there is no benefit. So don’t do it. EVER!

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Download VMware vSphere 6.0 now!

Deutsche Version

VMware finally announced the general availability of the new vSphere major release.

You can download the software here.

This technical white paper describes the changes that come with the new version.

You should also read this VMware KB-article:

Important Information before upgrading to vSphere 6.0 (2110293)

I will do the download on the weekend and will post a series of articles about vSphere 6 soon.

Determine VM memory overhead

Deutsche Version

What is memory overhead?

Memory overhead is the amount of additional memory an ESXi host needs for every running virtual machine. According to the VMware support, the calculation of overhead memory is very complex – there is no easy formula to do this.

Though vCPU count and configured memory have the biggest impact on it, many other properties affect the overhead memory, like the ESXi build version or the guest operating system.

The “vSphere Resource Management Guide” for vSphere 5.5 contains a small table with a few sample values. The maximum configuration in this table is a 8 vCPU VM with 16 GB RAM which has a memory overhead of 168,60 MB.

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Scripting VMware NTP

Deutsche Version

When implementing a VMware vSphere Infastructure, you should think about timekeeping at least once. Time synchronisation issues can lead to serious problems, depending on the applications you run in your environment. A webserver probably will do fine even if the clock goes wrong. A domain controller or database server might get confused, especially if the clock starts jumping forward and back again.

VMware Tools Clock Synchronisation

Let’s first talk about the VMs. Basically you have two options:

  • use the NTP feature of your VM’s guest operating system
  • synchronise time by the VMware tools

Both are valid methods, but you should only use one of them at a time.

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Change vSphere Cluster EVC mode

Deutsche Version

Today we will have a look at the “Enhanced vMotion Compatibility” feature. EVC can limit CPU capabilities to make different CPU generations compatible. As a result, you can combine hosts with differing CPUs in a single cluster and use vMotion for your VMs.

VMware EVC can be enabled within the cluster settings and can be set to different modes either for AMD or Intel CPUs. A combination of different CPU vendors is not possible.

EVC for AMD Hosts

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