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How to install Windows in VMware Fusion using Easy Install

This video demonstrates how to install Windows guest operating system using the Easy Install feature in VMware Fusion.

Before creating a virtual machine, you must obtain the operating system and any necessary product keys for installation in that virtual machine. VMware Fusion does not come with any operating systems to install in virtual machines you create.

This method assumes that you are using a physical CD or a disk image (.iso / .cdr /.dmg file). You cannot create a Windows virtual machine by using .exe files downloaded from Microsoft, as those files need to be run on a Windows PC.

How to install vSphere 6 ESXi using the Interactive Installer

Interactive installations are recommended for small deployments of four or less hosts. Installation using this method involves booting from the ESXi 6.0 installation media by inserting the media in to the host and following the prompts from the installation wizard to choose a destination disk in the host and begin the installation. Our video today demonstrates how to install vSphere 6 ESXi using the Interactive Installer.

The ESXi installation media can be connected to the host in a few different ways:

  • Inserting the CD/DVD in to the DVD-ROM drive in the server
  • Plugging in a bootable USB device
  • Mounting an ISO remotely

When instructed to begin, the installer reformats and partitions the target disk and installs the ESXi boot image. If you have not installed ESXi on the target disk previously, all data located on the drive is overwritten, including hardware vendor partitions, operating system partitions, and associated data.

Note: The formatting and partitioning done by the ESXi installer is permanent and overwrites existing data. To ensure that you do not lose any data, migrate any important data from the host to another machine before you install ESXi. If you are installing ESXi on a disk that contains an installation of ESXi/ESX or a VMFS datastore, you are presented with upgrade options.

For additional information, see VMware Knowledge Base article Methods for installing ESXi 6.0 (2109708).

Patching ESXi 5.5 for Heartbleed without installing Update 1

On April 19th, VMware released a series of patches for ESX 5.5 and ESX 5.5 Update 1 to re-mediate the CVE dubbed “Heartbleed” (CVE-2014-0076 and CVE-2014-0160).

VMware also recently announced that there was an issue in the newest version of ESXi 5.5 (Update 1 and later), which can cause difficulties communicating with NFS storage. This NFS issue is still being investigated, and customers are encouraged to subscribe to KB article: Intermittent NFS APDs on ESXi 5.5 U1 (2076392) for updates.

Due to the confluence of these two unrelated issues, you might find yourself trying to patch ESXi to protect yourself from the Heartbleed vulnerability, while at the same time trying to avoid installing ESXi 5.5 Update 1.

Here is the information from the VMware Knowledge Base on the topic:

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The note at the bottom is the key. Stated simply, if you are…

  • Using NFS storage
  • Concerned about patching to Update 1 due to change control
  • Not already running ESXi 5.5 Update 1 (build-1623387)

… then you should patch your install for the Heartbleed issue and at the same time stay at ESX 5.5 by applying Patch Release ESXi550-201404020, and not ESXi550-201404001.

An Explanation of Patch Release Codes

To better understand the Patching process in a VMware environment, it is valuable to understand the codes which are used in VMware Patch Releases.

When VMware releases a patch, or a series of patches, they are bundled together in what is known as a Patch Release. A Patch Release will have a coded name which is formed using the following structure. I have added braces to demonstrate the different sections better in each example.

[PRODUCT]-[YEAR][MONTH][THREE DIGIT RELEASE NUMBER]

For example, the patch release for ESXi 5.5 that was released in January 2013 would be coded like this (without the explanatory braces):

[ESXi550]-[2013]-[01][001]

As part of a Patch Release, there will be at least one Patch. Each Patch is given a Patch (or Bulletin) ID. Patch IDs are similarly structured to Patch Release codes, but also have a two letter suffix. For Security Bulletins, the prefix will be SG. For Bug Fix Bulletins, the prefix will be BG.

For example, the two Patch IDs which were released to patch Heartbleed are:

[ESXi550]-[2014][04][401]-[SG]
[ESXi550]-[2014][04][420]-[SG]

Note that the only difference in the Patch IDs here is in the three digit release number (401 vs 420).

Patching with VMware Update Manager

There are a number of methods for patching ESXi hosts, and the most commonly used is VMware Update Manager (VUM). VUM will present a pair of Dynamic Baselines which will be automatically updated when patches are available. The danger in this case is that VUM may show you both the Pre-Update 1 patch, as well as the Post-Update 1 patch. If you are not careful as to which patches you apply, you might accidentally end up patching your host to Post-Update 1.

Here are the patches which were released on April 19th, as seen in VUM. The Update 1 patch is highlighted in red, while the Pre-Update 1 patch is marked in green.

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Note: VMware also released two other ESXi 5.5 patches on April 19th, as part of Patch Release but these are not related to the Heartbleed vulnerability in any fashion. (ESXi550-201404402-BG, and ESXi550-201404403-BG).

Creating a Fixed Baseline

Patching a host using ESXi550-201404420-SG (Pre-Update 1), while avoiding ESXi550-201404401-SG (Post-Update 1) requires the use of a Fixed Baseline in Update Manager.

  1. Start in the Update Manager Admin view.
  2. Select the Baselines and Groups tab.
  3. Click Create… in the Baselines column.
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  4. Give the new Baseline a descriptive Name (and optionally a Description).
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  5. Click Next.
  6. For Baseline type, select Fixed.
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  7. Use the Search feature to find the only Patch we want to apply. You will need to select the Patch ID option from the dropdown menu to ensure the search scans for the appropriate column.
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  8. Enter the Patch ID into the search field: ESXi550-201404420-SG and click Enter to search.
  9. Select the Patch which shows up in the filtered list, and click the Down Arrow to move it into the selected Baselines.
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  10. Click Next and confirm that the Patch ESXi550-201404420-SG is the only one selected.
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  11. Click Finish.

The Baseline is now created and available for use.

Remediating a Host using the Fixed Baseline

Once the Fixed Baseline has been created, we can use it to Scan and Remediate an ESXi host.

  1. Select the host you wish to patch, and place it into Maintenance Mode.
  2. Click the Update Manager tab.
  3. Make sure that there are no Dynamic Baselines attached to the host you wish to patch. Detach any baselines which are currently attached:
    Critical Host Patches (Predefined)
    Non-Critical Host Patches (Predefined)
    Any other Custom Baselines which you have created
  4. Click the Attach link.
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  5. Select the newly created Baseline and click Attach.
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  6. Click the Scan link and make sure Patches and Extensions is selected. Click Scan again.
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  7. When you are ready to patch the host, select Remediate.
  8. Complete the Remediation wizard.

Once the host is patched, it will reboot automatically.

Patching an ESXi host manually via the command line

Another option to patch an ESXi host is to use the esxcli command line tool. The patch files required are the same. For more information on how to proceed with this route, refer to the vSphere 5.5 Documentation under the heading Update a Host with Individual VIBs.

References

Author: Andrew Lytle
As a member of the VMware Mission Critical Support Team, Andrew Lytle is a Senior Support Engineer who is specializes in vCenter and ESXi related support.

Top 20 ESXi 5.x issues

Following on our earlier post about focusing our efforts on helping our vSphere 5.5 customers, we present to you a list of the current top 20 ESXi 5.x KB articles.

  1. ESXi 5.x host experiences a purple diagnostic screen mentioning E1000PollRxRing and E1000DevRx (2059053)
  2. Unable to delete the virtual machine snapshot due to locked files (2017072)
  3. Installing async drivers on ESXi 5.0, 5.1, and 5.5 (2005205)
  4. Collecting diagnostic information for VMware ESX/ESXi using the vSphere Client (653)
  5. Determining Network/Storage firmware and driver version in ESXi/ESX 4.x and ESXi 5.x (1027206)
  6. Broadcom 5719/5720 NICs using tg3 driver become unresponsive and stop traffic in vSphere (2035701)
  7. Investigating virtual machine file locks on ESXi/ESX (10051)
  8. Installing or upgrading to ESXi 5.5 best practices (2052329)
  9. Unmounting a LUN or detaching a datastore/storage device from multiple ESXi 5.x hosts (2004605)
  10. Restarting the Management agents on an ESXi or ESX host (1003490)
  11. Understanding virtual machine snapshots in VMware ESXi and ESX (1015180)
  12. Creating a persistent scratch location for ESXi 4.x and 5.x (1033696)
  13. Using esxtop to identify storage performance issues for ESX /ESXi (multiple versions) (1008205)
  14. Enhanced vMotion Compatibility (EVC) processor support (1003212)
  15. Methods for upgrading to ESXi 5.5 (2058352)
  16. Permanent Device Loss (PDL) and All-Paths-Down (APD) in vSphere 5.x (2004684)
  17. Commands to monitor snapshot deletion in ESX 2.5/3.x/4.x and ESXi 3.x/4.x/5.x (1007566)
  18. Updating an ESXi/ESX host using VMware vCenter Update Manager 4.x and 5.x (1019545)
  19. VMFS Heartbeat and Lock corruption on Dell EqualLogic Arrays (2049103)
  20. Configuring syslog on ESXi 5.x (2003322)

Top 20 vCenter Server 5.5 issues

For the next few weeks, we are focusing our efforts on helping our vSphere 5.5 customers find answers to questions as quickly as possible. We tend so see a surge in March of customers installing, upgrading, and configuring their new vSphere 5.5 environments so we present you this list of the top 20 vCenter Server KB articles. Please share if you find this list useful :^)

  1. Re-pointing and re-registering VMware vCenter Server 5.1 / 5.5 and components (2033620)
  2. Upgrading to vCenter Server 5.5 best practices (2053132)
  3. Resetting the VMware vCenter Server 5.x Inventory Service database (2042200)
  4. Installing vCenter Server 5.5 best practices (2052334)
  5. Enhanced vMotion Compatibility (EVC) processor support (1003212)
  6. Configuring VMware vCenter Server to send alarms when virtual machines are running from snapshots (1018029)
  7. Migrating the vCenter Server database from SQL Express to full SQL Server (1028601)
  8. Unlocking and resetting the vCenter Single Sign-On administrator password (2034608)
  9. Methods of upgrading to vCenter Server 5.5 (2053130)
  10. Reducing the size of the vCenter Server database when the rollup scripts take a long time to run (1007453)
  11. Troubleshooting transaction logs on a Microsoft SQL database server (1003980)
  12. Determining where growth is occurring in the VMware vCenter Server database (1028356)
  13. Consolidating snapshots in vSphere 5.x (2003638)
  14. Updating rollup jobs after the error: Performance data is currently not available for this entity (1004382)
  15. Collecting diagnostic information for VMware vCenter Server 4.x/5.x (1011641)
  16. Verifying jobs and stored procedures installed in vCenter Server 5.1 and 5.5 (2033096)
  17. Installing VMware Tools 5.1 on a Windows virtual machine reports Unity warnings in Windows Event logs (2038263)
  18. Update sequence for vSphere 5.5 and its compatible VMware products (2057795)
  19. vCenter Server 5.5 displays a yellow warning in the Summary tab of hosts and reports the error: Quick stats on hostname is not up-to-date (2061008)
  20. Cannot take a quiesced snapshot of Windows 2008 R2 virtual machine (1031298)

Working with packet filters in vCenter Heartbeat

vCenter Heartbeat provides rapid failover and failback on both physical and virtual platforms. It does this by monitoring VMware vCenter Server using the concept of active and passive server with same IP (Public IP) on both the servers.

Packet filter drivers are installed on a public network adapter during the installation of Heartbeat. Packet filter drivers make Public IP accessible from the active server by making it passthru and block it on the passive server. When switch-over or failover takes place it reverses the state of the packet filter.

Here is the packet filter enabled
You can check the state of your packet filter drivers using the command line. Navigate to the installation directory of vCenter Heartbeat and run nfpktfltr.exe gestate to see the status of drivers as shown:
Here it results passthru and this state of packets is on active server and public IP is accessible in the network. For passive servers the state of packet filter is filter and this means the Public IP is filtered for outside Network.
We can also install and uninstall packet filter drivers using the command line. Go to the install directory of vCenter Heartbeat and run nfpktfltr.exe uninstall
“<installdir>\VMware\VMware vCenter Server Heartbeat\r2\drivers\nfpktfltr\<HB version>”
For more information on installing and uninstalling the VMware vCenter Server Packet Filter Driver refer to KB article:
Installing and uninstalling the VMware vCenter Server Heartbeat packet filter driver (1009567).

You may also be interested in these related articles:

Installing vCenter Server 5.1 best practices

Here’s a presentation providing best practice information on implementing a new install of vCenter Server 5.1. Included in the presentation is more information on the new vCenter Single Sign On.

For the full article on this, refer to Knowledgebase KB: Installing vCenter Server 5.1 best practices (2021202).

Installing VMware vCenter Server 5.1 using the Simple Install method

Here is our second vSphere 5.1 video for your viewing pleasure today.

This video discusses and demonstrates how to install VMware vSphere vCenter Server 5.1 using the Simple Install method.

In particular, this video tutorial shows how to perform a basic installation of the vCenter Single Sign On, Inventory Service, and vCenter Server components on a single host machine using the vCenter Server Simple Install option.

Before installing vCenter Server 5.1, vSphere 5.1 requires you to install vCenter Single Sign On and install the Inventory Service. You can install vCenter Single Sign On, Inventory Service, and vCenter Server all on a single host machine using the vCenter Server Simple Install option. This option is appropriate for small deployments.

For more information, see VMware Knowledge Base article Methods for installing vCenter Server 5.1 (2032885).

Note: Installation sequences are shortened in the video for the sake of time. In reality, installations will take a little bit longer to complete.

Note: For best viewing results, ensure that the 720p HD option is selected and view in full screen mode.

Installing ESXi 5.1 using the Interactive Installation method

Ok, so we promised some vSphere 5.1 material for you earlier today and here is the first of many videos relating to vSphere 5.1 which we will upload throughout the month of September.

In this video we discuss and demonstrate how VMware vSphere ESXi 5.1 can be installed using the Interactive Installer.

Interactive installations are recommended for small deployments of fewer than five hosts. You boot the installer from a CD or DVD, from a bootable USB device, or by PXE booting the installer from a location on the network, then follow the prompts in the installation wizard to install ESXi to disk.

In a typical interactive installation, you boot the ESXi installer and respond to the installer prompts to install ESXi to the local host disk. The installer reformats and partitions the target disk and installs the ESXi boot image. If you have not installed ESXi on the target disk before, all data located on the drive is overwritten, including hardware vendor partitions, operating system partitions, and associated data. To ensure that you do not lose any data, migrate the data to another machine before you install ESXi.

If you are installing ESXi on a disk that contains a previous installation of ESXi or ESX, or a VMFS datastore, the installer provides you with options for upgrading.

For additional information, see VMware Knowledge Base article Methods for installing vCenter Server 5.1 (2032782).

Note: Installation sequences are shortened in the video for the sake of time. In reality, installations will take a little bit longer to complete.

Note: For best viewing results, ensure that the 720p HD option is selected and view in full screen mode.

Downloading and installing VMware Workstation 9.x on a Windows based system

Today, we have another Workstation 9 video for you.

In this video tutorial, we discuss and demonstrate downloading VMware Workstation 9.x using the online My VMware portal and then installing Workstation 9 on a Windows based system.

VMware Workstation 9 was released on August 23, 2012. You can choose between the Windows or Linux based versions of Workstation. Additional information and resources are available via these links:

For additional Workstation-related videos, be sure to check out the How To & Training: VMware Workstation playlist on our KBTV YouTube channel.