VCDX workshop notes

Below are the notes I have taken during the NJ/NY VCDX workshop at @iamAntonZ  ‘s place. We had a great opportunity to have 2 VCDX panelists giving the VCDX workshop, Niran Even-Chen ( @NiranEC) and Agustin Malanco (@agmalanco).  You could find more info on this at 

 These notes are by no means to be used or relied on as primary source for your VCDX preparation.

Your design must include all the VCDX blueprint points.

Don’t use any kind of blogs as an official source for your references . Official VMWARE docs are the only sources that you can quote or reference to in your VCDX design.

One of the main changes to VCDX is removal of the “Troubleshooting” scenarios from the defense.

One design can be submitted 2 more times, if it did not get accepted the 1st time around. This means that you will need to make some modifications to your design, before resubmitting it again. You won’t get any detailed information on why it failed the submission, but you might get a generic response such as ” Storage or Networking needs more info”.

Same design could potentially be submitted by 3 different people, and they must submit it at the same time for the same VCDX track. Also, each and every applicant must know the design inside out, not just the portion he or she design.

It takes an average of 4-7 month to prepare the design and validate it. Once you got accepted for defense, get yourself an official VCDX mentor. The mentor will not be fixing your design for you, but rather guide you and advise you on proper documentation. Lookup the directory, and work with him to help you out on this. Just keep in mind that they are ( VCDX mentors) are not being paid for it and do it rather on their own time.

Continue reading →

Recovering VMs after a vmware’s Purple Screen of Death (PSOD)

I had an interesting case a while ago. One of our test ESXI hosts running ESXi version 5.5 has crashed taking down number of test environments with it.

All the attempts to bring the host back to life was in vain, as each reboot was giving us a Purple screen of Death.  We needed these test environments up and running ASAP, and due to time limit on hands, it was decided to :

  1. keep the current VMFS datastore and install partition intact,
  2. Install ESXI 5.5 from scratch onto a USB flash drive, and
  3. Re-create the vSwitches
  4. Re-import the VMs into inventory
  5. Re-import and start up the vCenter
  6. Login to vCenter and bring up the test environment back online

Luckily this test server- a Cisco UCS C220- had its CIMC enabled, and IP configured for remote access.  So, I was able to connect to the hosts’s remote management panel (CIMC) and install the new Esxi via Continue reading →

Some useful UNIX shell commands for VMware admins

These are the esxi host log files one needs to be quite familiar with. These logs should be checked depending on the issue you facing, and trying to troubleshoot.

  1. /var/log/auth.log: ESXi Shell authentication success and failure.
  2. /var/log/lacp.log: Link Aggregation Control Protocol logs.
  3. /var/log/hostd.log: Host management service logs, including virtual machine and host Task and Events, communication with the vSphere Client and vCenter Server vpxa agent, and SDK connections. Continue reading →

Error while upgrading from VMware vCenter 5.1 to vCenter 6.0


I have not seen any special feature improvements in 5.5 over 5.1 that would have benefited our environment, and as with any other major new releases  was patiently waiting for VMware to come out with Update 1 for vSphere 6. Originally I had the SSO, VMware Update Manager, and vCenter each running on its own server. Databases for SSO and vCenter are separated to a standalone SQL 2008 R2 server.   I ended up combining the VUM and vCenter on one single server, and upgrading the SSO to PSC (Platform Services Controller) and kept it separate, in case if we go with 2nd vCenter in the future.

Upgrading vCenter from 5.1.x to 6.0 is quite straight forward process, mount the vCenter 6 VMware-VIMSetup iso image to the vCenter server, and run the installer. It will recognize that there is a previous version installed and offer you to upgrade it.But first, make a backup of working production servers, before the upgrade. Shutdown the VMs, and copy the SSO and vCenter vmdks to a separate folder – in case if snapshots decide to take a break from work. Take the SSO, vCenter snapshots, and of course backup the SQL databases, if you have them running separately.

Don’t despair, if you receive the below error during vCenter upgrade: Continue reading →

Working with OpenDJ Server configs

This post provides examples of dsconfig usage for OpenDJ config management. I might expand and update the post in the future, as i find more info.

All the logs audit trails will be saved as long as you use OpenDJ supplied tools for modifying the DJ configs:
Tools are:

  • OpenDJ Control Panel and
  • openDJ command line tools, located under /bin directory, of the OpenDJ install

You could also modify the config files directly, via vi or nano, if you don’t care about proper audit trail or automatic config file backups, each time you modify something. Continue reading →

Find emails with specific subject via Exchange management shell (Powershell) in Exchange 2007 and 2013


I have recently needed to find out if an email with specific subject ever hit our Exchange servers or not. Using  Meesage Tracking via Toolbox was not an option, given that we have number of exchange servers and email boxes across several  Exchange 2007 and Exchange 2013 SP1 servers.

After some searching on Technet forums and via Google, I ended up with the following Powershell commands. The commands were ran under Exchange 2007 Exchange management shell. I did not need to run it seperately on Exchange 2013 servers, it pulled the logs from both; Exchange 2007 and Exchange 2013 SP1 servers.

1)  Get all the transport servers, then get all the message logs, and find emails with Subject of “Some Subject” -or  “Some other subject” , and export it to a csv file


2)  Get all the transport servers, then get all the message logs, and find emails with Subject of “Some Subject” -or  “Some other subject” ,   from  “5/25/2015 12 :01:00 PM” TO “5/26/2015 11 :01:00 PM”  and  Recipient is “” and export it to a csv file


3) Get all the transport servers, then get all the message logs, and find emails with Subject of “Some Subject” -or  “Some other subject” ,   from  “5/25/2015 12 :01:00 PM” TO “5/26/2015 11 :01:00 PM”  and  Sender  is 





Install Java JRE on CentOS7 and set JAVA_HOME

Lets find Java packages for CentOS 7

I am looking for a Java JRE , so I will install it via yum install command:

once its finished installing check the version:

Find if there is any java registered for our $JAVA_HOME:

Find where java is installed, if the above echo command comes back empty:

Now we need to make sure that JAVA_HOME is in the path each time we login or reboot the server, and for that we need to add it to a startup file under profile.d :

The command “echo $JAVA_HOME”  should return the java path now deffinetly:

reboot, and test again to confirm that  “echo $JAVA_HOME” is returning the Java install path.


This should be it, at least for now for the majority of apps we going to use.

Enable networking on CentOS 7 minimal distro

Ifconfig is not included in the minimal install of the CentOS7, and needs to be installed manually. We need to add an IP address to our system via “ip” command, before we can install the net-tools or anything else from repos.

Find network cards attached and their associated names:

Lets add an IP address, network, and name servers:

Now lets add DNS name servers:
edit /etc/resolve.conf and add the DNS servers in the following format

Time to test if IP networking works or not. Lets go with Networking 101:

Lets test the name resolution:

Lets install the ifconfig tool using command “yum install net-tools” it will install couple of packages, and ifconfig works like a charm.


Change the following entry ONBOOT=no to ONBOOT=yes so your networking comes up after each server reboot under  /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-NICName in my case that  is /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-eno16777728

The file should look similar to the following:


Now that is up and running we can ssh into it, and make our life a bit easier with managing it remotely.

Great collection of Tips and Tricks for admins on CentoOS’s official website.

Lab1:Server for nested ESXi Host

Currently using a Dell C1100 (cs24-TY) with 2x quad core L5520 CPUs and 72 GB of RAM. Ebay has them plenty for anywhere from $500-$699 with out HDDs, trays included. Unfortunately this server does not come with a RAID controller, and is quite loud when running under a load.
This particular server does not come with hardware RAID, and VMware does not support software RAID. It means you will need/have to use individual drives and wont be able to take advantage of any kind RAID setups for a speed/IOps boost.
I bought it at the moment due to its cost, size (1U), performance/RAM (72GB), and requirements I had in place, originally.

I have populated it with  2 x SAMSUNG 840 240GB and 1 SAMSUNG 850 EVO 250GB SSD drives, and a 2 TB WD 7200 RPM drive, which is used primarily for backups and VMs that require low IOPS.

I am currently running several nested ESXi 5.1, and 5.5 on it, and its handling it all quite well.

Categories: lab