Upgrading the VM lab

As I recently wrote in a previous post about the ESXi virtualization lab setup, we needed to upgrade the host hypervisor from the originally installed 6.5.0 to 6.7 U2. Following the instructions on TinkerTry:

   https://tinkertry.com/easy-update-to-latest-esxi

This site outlines simple easy to follow steps for upgrading a vSphere ESXi installation to the latest. However it should be noted that the following command simply did not work for my installation:

   esxcli software profile update -p ESXi-6.7.0-20190402001-standard -d   
   https://hostupdate.vmware.com/software/VUM/PRODUCTION/main/vmw-depot-index.xml

This command simply resulted in the download hanging. Network access to the Internet was not an issue, as:

   esxcli software sources profile list --depot=https://hostupdate.vmware.com/
   software/VUM/PRODUCTION/main/vmw-depot-index.xml

Worked to display the available updates, just fine, as well as the command

   esxcli software profile update -p ESXi-6.7.0-20190402001-standard -d 
   https://hostupdate.vmware.com/software/VUM/PRODUCTION/main/vmw-depot-index.xml --dry-run

produced output which indicated that downloading the installation package itself was successful.

We were finally able to upgrade the lab by manually download the update package directly from VMware’s web site:

   https://my.vmware.com/en/group/vmware/evalcenter?p=free-esxi6

Once downloaded and the file has been uploaded to the host datastore, you can install via the command:

   esxcli software profile update -p <profile name> -d <location of ZIP file> 
   esxcli software profile update -p ESXi-6.7.0-20190402001-standard -d <path to update.zip>

The latest update includes mitigations for recent speculative execution side-channel attacks targeting Intel chips.

Virtualization Lab with ESXi hypervisor 6.5.x

This is a bit of a dated post, but I’m going to discuss virtualization lab configuration for development and experimentation using ESXi hypervisor 6.5.x. It’s particular relevant now as I’ve setup a Kubernetes cluster at home to develop some orchestration scripts and cluster architecture design for scalable applications. This is a much cheaper solution that deploying a cluster into a cloud-based provider. The only resource cost is power which comes in at a significantly cheaper expense than the per-hour provisioning costs of a cloud provider.

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New laptop who dis?

If you are an information technology software engineering professional, it is inevitable that you will need to refresh your development hardware every few years (3-5, depending on workloads, projects, etc). Depending on your setup and configuration, the environments that you use, you could end up spending a considerable amount of time re-configuring your environment when you update your system with a newer model. One of the primary reasons is that it is almost always recommended that new computer systems be wiped (in the case of Windows machines, to reduce bundled bloatware) and re-installed from scratch and then any documents and settings migrated from the old installation to the new. Any software licences you use would also have to be re-installed. This all adds up to time that you could spend working on other tasks or doing client work.

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