VMware vSphere 6.5 Series (Part 3) – VCSA PSC Install

VMware vSphere 6.5 Series

This is my first attempt at a series and I decided to make it about vSphere 6.5.  I’ll be covering as many new components and features of vSphere 6.5 as possible here so sit back and enjoy!

VCSA PSC Install – Stage 1

The next few entries in this series are going to cover installing the vCenter Server Appliance.  The vCenter Server Appliance or VCSA, for short, is a Linux-based pre-packaged deployment of vCenter.  We no longer need a Windows and SQL license to build vCenter.  The vPostgres database is embedded within the appliance and neither the OS or database requires any additional licensing.  In vSphere 6.5 the VCSA now contains a ton of new features and capabilities like vCenter HA and Update Manager.  This means in most cases using the VCSA is going to be a no-brainer.

In vSphere 6 we were introduced to the Platform Services Controller.  For those that aren’t aware the Platform Services Controller or PSC is the new component of vCenter that handles global licensing, permissions, authentication (SSO) and certificate management.  It can be deployed “embedded” within a vCenter server as an integrated component or it can be deployed as “external” which means it runs on its own server.  PSC’s can be deployed on both Windows and Linux-based (VCSA) servers.  If you want to use Enhanced Linked Mode, you have to go with an “external” PSC.

For this article, I am going to install an “external” PSC using the VCSA installer.  There are two parts to the deployment.  Stage 1 covers the Install of the PSC itself.  Stage 2 covers the configuration of the PSC, once deployed, through the installer.  The actual configuration of the PSC, joining it to the domain and setting administrative user permissions will be in the next article. Continue reading

Windows Server 2016 – Active Directory Setup – Part 3

Active Directory Setup

With this series I hope to put my own spin on the well documented process to build an Active Directory Domain Controller from scratch.  I’ll of course be using Microsoft Windows Server 2016 for this.  I’m going to include tons of screenshots to document the process step-by-step.  The new AD domain is going to be VILAB.local which is clearly for my lab.  It will be the cornerstone of my lab in terms of authentication, authorization and centralized LDAP domain management.  I’ve broken this series into 3 parts as below:

Active Directory Configuration & Validation

In Part 1 and Part 2 of this series I covered the hardware requirements, recommended server configuration settings, installed the Roles needed for Active Directory Domain Services and then promoted the server to the first domain controller in our new forest.  So we’re done right?  No, not exactly.  A few things I noticed a lot of articles on this topic didn’t talk about is that we need to validate things are working and there is additional configuration necessary to get us closer to a best practice scenario.

Continue reading

Windows Server 2016 – Active Directory Setup – Part 2

Active Directory Setup

With this series I hope to put my own spin on the well documented process to build an Active Directory Domain Controller from scratch.  I’ll of course be using Microsoft Windows Server 2016 for this.  I’m going to include tons of screenshots to document the process step-by-step.  The new AD domain is going to be VILAB.local which is clearly for my lab.  It will be the cornerstone of my lab in terms of authentication, authorization and centralized LDAP domain management.  I’ve broken this series into 3 parts as below:

Adding Active Directory Domain Services Roles

In Part 1 of this series I covered the hardware requirements and some recommended server configuration settings for building a Windows Server 2016 Active Directory Domain Controller.  The next step is to actually install the Roles needed for Active Directory Domain Services and then to promote the server to the first domain controller in our new forest.

Continue reading

Windows Server 2016 – Active Directory Setup – Part 1

 

Active Directory Setup

With this series I hope to put my own spin on the well documented process to build an Active Directory Domain Controller from scratch.  I’ll of course be using Microsoft Windows Server 2016 for this.  I’m going to include tons of screenshots to document the process step-by-step.  The new AD domain is going to be VILAB.local which is clearly for my lab.  It will be the cornerstone of my lab in terms of authentication, authorization and centralized LDAP domain management.  I’ve broken this series into 3 parts as below:

Active Directory Domain Controller Hardware Requirements

Right from the start we have a minor issue here.  Microsoft doesn’t list any physical or virtual hardware requirements for an Active Directory Domain Controller.  Go ahead and Google it, I’ll wait.  You’ll be presented with a ton of non-Microsoft websites giving you the minimum OS hardware requirements for either Windows Server 2008 R2, 2012 R2 or 2016.   That’s not very helpful of course.  I was personally curious and even dug through TechNet’s Windows Server 2016 Documentation Library for Active Directory Domain Services.  This time there is a ton of information regarding AD topologies and design methodologies but again no hardware specifications.

Continue reading

VMware vSphere 6.5 Series (Part 2) – VMware Host Client – Configuration

VMware vSphere 6.5 Series

This is my first attempt at a series and I decided to make it about vSphere 6.5.  I’ll be covering as many new components and features of vSphere 6.5 as possible here so sit back and enjoy!

VMware Host Client – Configuration

So by now you may be asking, “How do I configure this thing?” and by “this thing” you mean the VMware Host Client.  I’ll be going over that here by configuring networking, storage and building a VM.  This is the follow up to the article I recently posted called VMware Host Client – Introduction.  That article was, as the name implies, an introduction to the VMware Host Client including what it looks like and what’s new.

This article should demonstrate a few fundamentals for configuring a host using the VMware Host Client.  I’m going to configure networking components on the host including vSwitches, VMKernel NICs and Ports Groups,  On the storage I will configure the iSCSI Initiator and present a pre-provisioned datastore to the host.  Finally I will install Windows Server 2016 on a new virtual machine. Continue reading

VMware vSphere 6.5 Series (Part 1) – VMware Host Client – Introduction

 

VMware vSphere 6.5 Series

This is my first attempt at a series and I decided to make it about vSphere 6.5.  I’ll be covering as many new components and features of vSphere 6.5 as possible here so sit back and enjoy!

VMware Host Client – Introduction

So I actually went to the documentation for the proper name of the VMware Host Client.  I’ve heard/read it called the ESXi Host Client, vSphere Host Client and just the Host Client.  Whatever you want to call it, the VMware Host Client is the new way to configure or manage a host once you’ve installed ESXi onto your server hardware. Continue reading

VMware vExpert 2017 Awarded!

      1 Comment on VMware vExpert 2017 Awarded!

So that just happened.  The announcement for the 2017 VMware vExpert program was last week.  My name was most certainly not on the list.  I have applied a few times previously but didn’t make the cut.  I actually spoke with Corey Romero at VMworld this year and he mentioned a few things I should be doing to improve my visibility and contributions to the community.  This blog is clearly part of that although the diversity of content here so far should indicate that’s definitely not the only reason for it’s existence.

Anyway, I got home tonight and checked my email to find a welcome email for the VMware vExpert 2017 program.  Continue reading

VMware vSphere 6.5 – Is it all it’s cracked up to be?

VMware vSphere 6.5 - Is it all it's cracked up to be?

I won’t keep you in suspense.  VMware vSphere 6.5 is good.  It’s really good.  Packed with new features and updates, many of which people have been asking for since forever.  It’s certainly not all roses and rainbows here but the list of negatives is far outweighed by the positives.  If you want the VMware marketing take you can check out the “What’s New in VMware vSphere 6.5” PDF they published recently.  Many sites have published articles on a lot of these features already.  I’ll try and not be redundant and give you my quick thoughts on the features I find the most interesting.  This may be a bit of a read, so I won’t waste space reposting images from the What’s New. Continue reading

My first home lab is finally here!

      2 Comments on My first home lab is finally here!

VILab - My first home lab is finally here!

In my quest to build a home lab I’ve been using a number of computers or servers and VMware Workstation to build and test things for years.  The problem almost always comes down to not enough resources to really test infrastructure components the way I want to.  I’ve been researching ways to make it happen for quite a while.  There are many options to consider from NUCs to building white box servers, all with varying degrees of resources and capabilities.  The pricing for those solutions also varies widely.  For whatever reason I never got very far trying to put one together that I was happy with. Continue reading

Windows 10 – AppX Packages Can Break Sysprep

      13 Comments on Windows 10 – AppX Packages Can Break Sysprep

win10appx2

Metro Apps, Modern Apps, Windows Store Apps, AppX, Universal Apps.  Whatever you want to call them they have become a substantial part of Windows.  If you’re having trouble understanding how they work and why, you are not alone.  If you’re interested check out this quick read that may help clear things up a bit here.  Some AppX Apps are the Tiles you see on the Start Menu or in the list that come preinstalled or even automatically installed by the Windows Store.

As the title suggests, if not handled properly these Apps can cause Sysprep to fail.  Sysprep in Windows 8 and 10 has a validation mechanism that checks each of these installed Apps and determines if they’re provisioned for All Users or if they’re just installed for a single user.  If for some reason you remove provisioning on an app that was installed for a user (VMware OS Optimization Tool comes to mind, but more on this later) it can cause the validation to fail and Sysprep won’t succeed. Continue reading