Author Archives: Stephan

Configuring ESXi for iSCSI Storage Using PowerCLI

Configuring host VMKernel adapters for iSCSI can be a time consuming process. PowerCLI can take away a lot if not all of the effort.

Below is an example of using PowerCLI to create a Standard Virtual Switch (vSS), configure a VMKernel adapter, set the VLAN, enable the software iSCSI adapter (if that’s what you are using), bind it to the required network adapter and finally, add a dynamic Discovery target and rescanning the HBA’s.

This is based on targeting a single host at a time and re-running it with the paramaters for each host.

#Load PowerCLI Modules
Import-module VMware.PowerCLI

#Variables
#vCenter or Host to Connect to 
$vCenter = "smt-lab-vcsa-01.smt-lab.local" 
#ESX Host to target
$ESXHost = Get-VMHost "smt-lab-esx-01.smt-lab.local"
#Name of the iSCSI Switch
$iSCSISwitchName = "vSS_Storage_iSCSI"
#vmnic to be used for iSCSI Switch
$iSCSISwitchNIC = "vmnic2"
#MTU size
$MTU = "9000"
#Name of the Portgroup for the VMKernel Adapter
$iSCSIVMKPortGroupName = "vSS_VMK_iSCSI_A"
#iSCSI VMK IP
$iSCSIIP = "10.200.33.50"
#iSCSI VMK SubnetMask
$iSCSISubnetMask = "255.255.255.0"
#iSCSI VMK VLAN ID
$VLANID = "300"
#iSCSI Portal Target
$Target = "10.200.33.1:3260"

#Connect to vCenter
Connect-VIServer $vCenter -Credential (Get-Credential) -Force

#New Standard Switch for iSCSI
$NewSwitch = New-VirtualSwitch -VMHost $ESXHost -Name $iSCSISwitchName -Nic $iSCSISwitchNIC -Mtu $MTU
$NewPortGroup = New-VMHostNetworkAdapter -VMhost $ESXHost -PortGroup $iSCSIVMKPortGroupName -VirtualSwitch $NewSwitch -IP $iSCSIIP -SubnetMask $iSCSISubnetMask -Mtu $MTU
Set-VirtualPortGroup -VirtualPortGroup (Get-virtualPortGroup -VMhost $ESXHost | Where {$_.Name -eq $iSCSIVMKPortGroupName}) -VLanId $VLANID

#Enable Software iSCSI Adapter
Get-VMHostStorage -VMHost $ESXHost | Set-VMHostStorage -SoftwareIScsiEnabled $True

#Bind the iSCSI VMKernel Adapter to Software iSCSI Adapter (credit to Luc Dekens for this)
$esxcli = Get-EsxCli -V2 -VMHost $ESXHost
$bind = @{
    adapter = ($iscsiHBA = $ESXHost | Get-VMHostHba -Type iScsi | Where {$_.Model -eq "iSCSI Software Adapter"}).Device
    force = $true
    nic = $NewPortGroup.Name
}
$esxcli.iscsi.networkportal.add.Invoke($bind)

#Add Dynamic Discovery Target
$ESXHost | Get-VMHostHba $iscsiHBA | New-IScsiHbaTarget -Address $Target

#Rescan Hba
Get-VMHostStorage -VMHost $ESXHost -RescanAllHba

The results –

v Physical Adapters 
vmnic210000 Full 
VLAN ID: 300 
v VMkernel Ports (1) 
vmk3 :
Ad apter 
Model: 'SCSI Software Adepter 
e vmhbe65 
Type 
'SCSI 
Sta tus 
Onllne
Properties 
Devices 
Paths 
Dynamic Discovery 
Static Discovery 
VMkemeI Adapter 
vmk3 
Network Port Binding 
Addm X Remove Vlew Details 
Port Group 
Advanced Options 
Port Group Policy 
Compllant 
Path Status 
Actlve 
Physical Network Adapter 
vmn.c2 (10 Gblt's, Full)
Properties 
Devices 
Paths 
Dynamic Discovery 
Advanced___ 
Static Discovery 
Network Port Binding 
Advanced Options 
Addm X Remove 
iSCSI server

Something you may also want to do is set the Path Selection Policy (PSP) to the commonly used; ‘Round Robin’. The first command will provide a list of attached storage, showing you the CanonicalName (which is what you need for the second command), the current Multipathing Policy and the size of the storage device.

Identify the device you wish to set the pathing policy on and substitute the Canonical Name (naa.xxxx) into the second command.

#Get storage
$esxhost | Get-ScsiLun -LunType disk | Select CanonicalName,MultipathPolicy, CapacityGB

#Set Path Selection Policy (PSP)
$esxhost | Get-ScsiLun -LunType disk -CanonicalName naa.6589cfc0000004ac4d8f1fb0d7d02184 | Set-ScsiLun -MultipathPolicy "RoundRobin"

You could of course take this further by importing all the data required for multiple hosts using an array, whether as a a manually created array in PowerShell, or by importing a csv or txt file to enable you to configure numerous hosts at once by making use of a ForEach loop.

Now, if you are using Virtual Distributed Switches (vDS), here is an alternative (I have assumed you already have an operational vDS in place).

#Load PowerCLI Modules
Import-module VMware.PowerCLI

#Variables
#vCenter or Host to Connect to
$vCenter = "smt-lab-vcsa-01.smt-lab.local"
#ESX Host to target
$ESXHost = Get-VMHost "smt-lab-esx-02.smt-lab.local"
#Name of the vDS
$iSCSISwitchName = "smt-lab-dc01_vDS_01"
#Name of the Portgroup for the VMKernel Adapter
$iSCSIVMKPortGroupName = "smt-lab-dc01_vDS_VMK_iSCSI_B"
#MTU size
$MTU = "9000"
#iSCSI VMK IP
$iSCSIIP = "10.200.34.51"
#iSCSI VMK SubnetMask
$iSCSISubnetMask = "255.255.255.0"
#iSCSI VMK VLAN ID
$VLANID = "301"
#iSCSI Portal Target
$Target = "10.200.34.1:3260"

Connect-VIServer $vCenter -Credential (Get-Credential) -Force

#New VMKernel Adapter on vDS
$NewPortGroup = New-VMHostNetworkAdapter -VMhost $ESXHost -PortGroup $iSCSIVMKPortGroupName -VirtualSwitch $iSCSISwitchName -IP $iSCSIIP -SubnetMask $iSCSISubnetMask -Mtu $MTU
Set-VDPortGroup -VDPortgroup (Get-VDPortGroup | Where {$_.Name -eq $iSCSIVMKPortGroupName}) -VLanId $VLANID

#Bind iSCSI VMKernel Adapter to Software iSCSI Adapter (credit to Luc Dekens for this)
$esxcli = Get-EsxCli -V2 -VMHost $ESXHost
$bind = @{
    adapter = ($iscsiHBA = $ESXHost | Get-VMHostHba -Type iScsi | Where {$_.Model -eq "iSCSI Software Adapter"}).Device
    force = $true
    nic = $NewPortGroup.Name
}
$esxcli.iscsi.networkportal.add.Invoke($bind)

#Add Dynamic Discovery Target
$ESXHost | Get-VMHostHba $iscsiHBA | New-IScsiHbaTarget -Address $Target

#Rescan Hba
Get-VMHostStorage -VMHost $ESXHost -RescanAllHba

A slight change to the cmdlts used; PortGroup > VDPortGroup.

Here are the results –

v smt-lab-dc01_vDS_01_uplinks 
> Uplink 1 (1 NIC Adapters) 
VLAN ID: 301 
v VMkernel Ports (1) 
vmk4 : 10.200.34_SO 
Virtual Machines (O)
Properties 
Devices 
Paths 
Dynamic Discovery 
Static Discovery 
VMkemeI Adapter 
vmk3 
Network Port Binding 
Addm X Remove Vlew Details 
Port Group 
(smt-lab-dc01 
Advanced Options 
Port Group Policy 
Compllant 
Compllant 
Path Status 
Actlve 
Acuve 
Physical Network Adapter 
vmn.c2 (10 Gblt/s, Full) 
vmn.c3 (10 GblVs, Full)

There are now two paths to my iSCSI device, one via a Standard Switch (vSS) and one via a Distributed Switch (vDS) across two subnets.

Storage Devices 
Refresh Attach 
Detach 
Name T 
Rename___ 
Turn on LED 
Turn Off LED 
Target 
Erase Pertltlons___ 
disk 
disk 
cdrom 
disk 
disk 
disk 
Mark as HDD Disk 
Mark as Local Mark as Perennlally Reserved 
Capacity 
FreeNAS 'SCSI Disk (nee.658gcfc0000004ac4d8fifbOd7d02184) 
FreeNAS [SCSI Disk (nee.6589cfcOOOOOOcaf3bc8066g7077d193) 
Local NECVMWar CD-ROM 
Local VMware Dlsk 
Local VMware Dlsk 
Local VMware Dlsk 
25000 GB 
5000 GB 
1600 GB 
2500 GB 
17500 GB 
Data store 
smvlab-ds-vmf._ 
Not Consumed 
Not Consumed 
Not Consumed 
smt-leb-ds-vsa___ 
smt-leb-ds-vsa___ 
Operational 
Attached 
Attached 
Attached 
Attached 
Attached 
Attached 
Name 
Hardware Acceleration 
Supported 
Supported 
Not supported 
Not supported 
Not supported 
Not supported 
Properties 
Enable Dlseble 
Runtime Name 
Paths 
Partition Details 
Acuve (I/O) 
Active (1/0)

Hope this has been helpful. It has saved me plenty of time throughout the countless builds and tear downs of my VMware home lab.

Thanks

Centos Based Certificate Authority For The VMware Lab

A useful thing for a home lab or VMware lab, is a certificate authority. There are Windows based CA’s as well as Linux based and many others. I wanted to take the Linux based route for my home lab to give me some administration time in Linux, being that Windows is my safe place! After a bit of googling, I settled on Easy-RSA as it looked like it would do what I needed in the lab. There are already a few guides out there for this, but this is my take on it for use in my VMware home lab.

I settled on CentOS 8 as a base OS. Why? Why not, I don’t have any Centos VM’s and I decided it would be good to use something other than Ubuntu or Photon.

Firstly, I stood up a low resource VM (1 vCPU, 1GB RAM) giving it a static IP and creating an admin account.

I then kicked off the update of all the install packages on the OS by first elevating to the root account using ‘SU’ and then running the upgrade command for the DNF package manager.

dnf upgrade

This prompts a ~600MB download after confirming you want to continue. Once the download completes it gets on with upgrading.

Once done, its time to install some additional packages starting with epel-release, easy-rsa and openssl. Lets quickly give some background to each.

epel-release (Extra Packages for Enterprise Linux) is a repository of popular packages which aren’t available by default. easy-rsa is one of the packages in this repository.

easy-rsa This is a utility for managing Public Key Infrastructure(PKI) aka Certificate Authority. Check out some info here.

openssl A widely used tool, in this case to create Certificate Signing Requests (CSR). I’ll let you read about this here.

Lets get to the install. You can run them as separate installs like this –

sudo dnf install epel-release
sudo dnf install easy-rsa
sudo dnf install openssl

or as a one liner –

sudo dnf install epel-release easy-rsa openssl

Now for ease of administration, create a directory in the admin users home directory and create a symbolic link so it remains updated. You also want to limit access to your admin user in my case ‘ca_admin’.

mkdir ~/easy-rsa
ln -s /usr/share/easy-rsa/3/* ~/easy-rsa/
chmod 700 /home/ca_admin/easy-rsa

If you’re not familiar with chmod commands, ‘chomd 700’ = Protects a file against any access from other users, while the issuing user still has full access.

Now to initialise your new PKI. Change Directory (cd) to the easy-rsa directory you created in your admin users home directory and run the initialisation command.

cd ~/easy-rsa
./easyrsa init-pki

You will get a message showing it is complete and it will state the new pki directory that has been created inside the easy-rsa directory (/home/ca_admin/easy-rsa/pki)

You now need to create and populate a file called ‘vars’ in /home/ca_admin/easy-rsa and populate it with your organisation/lab information. You can achieve this with the vi editor.

set_var EASYRSA_REQ_COUNTRY "GB"
set_var EASYRSA_REQ_PROVINCE "Labshire"
set_var EASYRSA_REQ_CITY "Lab City"
set_var EASYRSA_REQ_ORG "Home Lab"
set_var EASYRSA_REQ_EMAIL "admin@lab.local"
set_var EASYRSA_REQ_OU "Lab"
set_var EASYRSA_ALGO "ec"(or rsa if you wish...)
set_var EASYRSA_DIGEST "sha512"

Once created, you are now ready to create the root certificate and private key by running the following command –

./easyrsa build-ca

You will be prompted to specify a passphrase which you need to keep safe as you will need it when issuing certificates. There will then be a second prompt to provide a common name; Enter you CA’s name. eg. CA01.

This process will have now created your root certificate and the private key (keep this safe). You will find them in the following locations /home/ca_admin.easy-rsa/pki/ca.crt (root certificate) and /home/ca_admin.easy-rsa/pki/private/ca.key (private key).

If you are using a Windows device to access your HomeLab, you are going to want to add the ca.crl file to the ‘Trusted Root Certification Authorities’ store on your Windows device so that any certificates issued are trusted. You can copy the ca.crt file using a tool such as WINSCP to transfer the file to a local directory to then install. You can do the equivalent on Mac and Linux OS’s too.

You will also need this handy for any certificates that require the full chain to be included.

I won’t go into every Certificate Signing Request (CSR) scenario as there are many. I will however, show you the commands needed to produce a certificate from a CSR.

To issue a certificate from a CSR, you will need to copy the .req or .csr file to a directory such as /tmp on your CA server, again using a tool like WINSCP.

You can then run the following commands to import the certificate signing request. The Common name is often the device name or FQDN.

cd ~/easy-rsa
./easyrsa import-req /tmp/<csr_file_name>.req <CommonName or FQDN> 
./easyrsa sign-req server <CommonName or FQDN>

The import command will import the .req or .csr file into /home/ca_admin.easy-rsa/pki/reqs (you can’t place the .req directly in here!) which is then processed by the sign-req command, again asking for the passphrase, leaving you with your new certificate in the /home/ca_admin.easy-rsa/pki/issued directory.

You can then use WINSCP again to transfer the file off the CA, and install it on the device or service in which you requested it from.

As always with any root CA, you don’t want it to become compromised. To help with this, keep it turned off when you’re not issuing, or administering your certificates.

I have also not included any Certificate Revocation List details as this isn’t something I need in my lab environment.

Now the VMware bit… below is the process for acquiring the CSR and installing the generated certificate on an ESXi host and a vCenter server using the methods above.

Standalone ESXi Host 6.7

First for a standalone ESXi Host, browse to – Host > Manage > Security & Users > Certificates

Select Import new certificate then select either ‘Generate FQDN signing request’ or ‘Generate IP signing request’.

You will be presented with a screen like this.

Copy this into a file with the extension .req. This can then be imported and issued using the method above.

Then, go back the the ‘Import new certificate’ wizard and import the certificate in the same format at the CSR into the box. (Open the .crt file using notepad)

Once complete close and open your browser and head back to your hosts web client and you will see you no longer have a certificate error.

vCenter Server 6.7

Log into your vCenter appliance using via SSH. Then run the following command –

/usr/lib/vmware-vmca/bin/certificate-manager

Select option 1, (you will be prompted to provide your SSO credentials), followed by option 1 again.

You will then need to provide the following information for the CSR.

As you complete the wizard you will have a .csr and a .key file in /tmp which again can be issued using the process above.

If using WinSCP you may hit the following error.

You will need to change over to the bash shell.

chsh -s /bin/bash root

You could then face another error…

root@vcsa02 [ ~ ]# chsh -s /bin/bash root
You are required to change your password immediately (password aged)
chsh: PAM: Authentication token is no longer valid; new one required

This is due to the password expiring. To change the password on the account run the passwd command

Further info on both of these errors can be found at these two VMware Articles. Here and here.

Once you have issued the certificate, you need to then copy the .crt file back to the /tmp directory along with the root certificate (or chain).

Now back to the Certificate Manager. Selecting option 1 to now import the certifictes. You will be prompted to provide the path and file name of each component. The certificate you created, the .key file that was created during the CSR generation and the root or CA chain certificate. Finally you will be asked to confirm you want to replace the Machine SSL certificate, type y.

It will take a few minutes, but eventually you will get confirmation that the task is complete and you can then reload your browser to see the Web Client is now showing a valid certificate.

Hope this has been useful. I will cover vCenter 7.0 Machine SSL certificate replacement in a future post.

Thanks for reading!

Configuring Encrypted vMotion With PowerCLI

Encrypted vMotion is a feature available in vSphere 6.5 onwards. It is something that is always used to secure vMotions of encrypted virtual machines, its a required option, but is optional for non encrypted virtual machines.

By default, non encrypted virtual machines will be set to ‘opportunistic’. If both the source and destination hosts support it (so ESXi 6.5 onwards), vMotions will be encrypted. If the source or destination does not support it, then the vMotion traffic will not be encrypted.

The ‘required’ option is exactly what it says, encrypted vMotion is required. If either the source or destination host does not support it, the vMotion will fail. As I’ve said, encrypted virtual machines have no choice, they have to use encrypted vMotion.

The final option is to set it to ‘disabled’, for when you don’t want it to even attempt encrypting vMotion traffic for a virtual machine.

To set this option on either a singular virtual machine or all virtual machines, you can use the options below. Firstly to view the current settings you can run this. If you want to target a single VM enter the VM name after Get-VM.

Get-VM | Select-Object Name, @{Name="vMotionEncrpytion";Expression={$_.extensiondata.config.MigrateEncryption}}
Name vMotionEncrpytion
---- -----------------
CentOS opportunistic
vRepDR opportunistic
vcsa01 opportunistic
pho01 opportunistic

Now to change these all to ‘required’ you can run the following:

$VMView = Get-VM | Get-View
                    $Config = New-Object VMware.Vim.VirtualMachineConfigSpec
                    $Config.MigrateEncryption = New-Object VMware.Vim.VirtualMachineConfigSpecEncryptedVMotionModes
                    $Config.MigrateEncryption = "required"
            $VMView.ReconfigVM($Config)

You can confirm this by re-running the get command:

Name vMotionEncrpytion
---- -----------------
CentOS required
vRepDR required
vcsa01 required
pho01 required

To set them back to opportunistic, use the following:

$VMView = Get-VM | Get-View
                    $Config = New-Object VMware.Vim.VirtualMachineConfigSpec
                    $Config.MigrateEncryption = New-Object VMware.Vim.VirtualMachineConfigSpecEncryptedVMotionModes
                    $Config.MigrateEncryption = "opportunistic"
            $VMView.ReconfigVM($Config)

As you can see, they are then back to the default setting.

Name vMotionEncrpytion
---- -----------------
CentOS opportunistic
vRepDR opportunistic
vcsa01 opportunistic
pho01 opportunistic

And finally, setting it to ‘disabled’:

$VMView = Get-VM | Get-View
                    $Config = New-Object VMware.Vim.VirtualMachineConfigSpec
                    $Config.MigrateEncryption = New-Object VMware.Vim.VirtualMachineConfigSpecEncryptedVMotionModes
                    $Config.MigrateEncryption = "disabled"
            $VMView.ReconfigVM($Config)
Name vMotionEncrpytion
---- -----------------
CentOS disabled
vRepDR disabled
vcsa01 disabled
pho01 disabled

Here is a link to the official documentation on Encrypted vMotion for further information – here.

Thanks for reading!

Exporting and Importing Active Directory OU Structures

Recently I needed to build out some test Active Directory Forests that resemble production in order to complete some testing. One of the forests contained a significant amount of OU’s that I had no intention of manually recreating.

To run the New-ADOrganizationalUnit cmdlet, you need to provide the OU name and the Path where you want to create it. However, Get-ADOrganizationalUnit doesn’t provide the path, so you need to determine it from the DistinguishedName.

After a number of google searches, I couldn’t find exactly what I needed, so I began piecing together various bits of Powershell that I found. I ended up learning a bit of Regex in the process! Powerful tool if you know how to use it.

I came up with two versions in the end, you can see both below with the differences highlighted.

$OUs=Get-ADOrganizationalUnit -Filter * | select name,DistinguishedName,@{n=’OUPath’;e={$_.distinguishedName -replace '^.+?,',''}},@{n=’OUNum’;e={([regex]::Matches($_.distinguishedName, “OU=” )).count}} | Sort OUNum | export-csv C:\<Path_to_CSV>\OUTree.csv -NoTypeInformation
$OUs=Get-ADOrganizationalUnit -Filter * | select name,DistinguishedName,@{n=’OUPath’;e={$_.distinguishedName -replace '^.+?,(CN|OU|DC.+)','$1'}},@{n=’OUNum’;e={([regex]::Matches($_.distinguishedName, “OU=” )).count}} | Sort OUNum | export-csv C:\<Path_to_CSV>\OUTree.csv -NoTypeInformation

The first one effectively takes everything up to the first ‘,’ and replaces it with nothing, effectively removing the OU Name. The second one captures everything after the first ‘,’ and replaces the whole string with what was captured. Both have produced the same result in my scenario, but it was useful to understand both methods for future use of Regex.

Both also have a property called ‘OUNum’, this property counts how many time ‘OU=’ appears in the original DistigushedName string. OU’s need to be created in order, so that the parent OU exists before the child. This orders the OU’s in ‘tiers’ before exporting them to CSV. All OU’s in the root of the directory will get a value of 1, OU’s within these will get a value of 2 and so on. Credit to ‘David Z’ for this bit!

Once you have your data, you may or may not need to modify the domain. If you are importing it into a different domain, you’ll need to. In my case it was simple enough to do a find and replace in a text editor (eg. DC=lab,DC=local to DC=lab2,DC=local). You could look at using concepts from above to achieve this before exporting the data if you so wish.

Now you have your data, you need to import it. You can run the following in the target domain.

$OUs = import-csv C:\<Path_to_CSV>\OUTree.csv
ForEach ($OU in $OUs) 
          {New-ADOrganizationalUnit -Name $OU.Name -Path $OU.OUPath}

Hope this has been useful. Thanks for reading!

Creating Virtual Distributed Port Groups Using PowerCLI

I recently needed to create a new Distributed Port Group and set a specific load balancing policy on an existing Distributed Switch. Nothing to exciting, but a task many have to complete. As this is a common repeatable task, i put together this short .ps1 to allow a repeatable way of completing this.

You can find the file here on GitHub

Just populate the Variables section with required information like so…

Save the file, then run the the .ps1 file from PowerShell prompt. (Ensure you have the PowerCLI Module installed; see my previous post)

Note you must add .\ to the beginning of the file name if you are executing the file from the directory you’re already in

Enter credentials with sufficient privilege in vCenter.

You will then see an output similar to this:

If you now take a look in the Web Client you will see the freshly created Distributed Port Group.

Creating just a single portgroup could potentially be quicker in the Web Client. What isn’t quicker, is multiple.

If you have a requirement to create multiple Distributed Port Groups on a vDS, you can use this script to do so in one go.

Just populate the Variables section with required information like above, then run the the .ps1 file from a PowerShell prompt. (Ensure you have the PowerCLI Module installed; see this post.

This uses and Array Table to build your source data, in this example, the PortGroup Name and VLAN ID for each. You can add further rows (more Port Groups) to the array by repeating the line in the red box, or add additional attributes by repeating the text from the green box on each line.

There are many ways you could modify this script to change the source of data, including ‘Get-Content’ from a .txt file for instance.

You can get the script here.

This is just one way to create Port Groups using PowerCLI, have a play around and make it work for you!

Thanks for reading.

VMWorld 2020 Registration is open!

This year, as much as we have lost the ability to travel and connect with people in person at this event, it has presented an opportunity for individuals to attend from the comfort of the home or office that many have been unable to attend in person in previous year for a variety of reasons.

Don’t waste the opportunity! Head over to the website to register for this years VMWorld 2020! – https://www.vmworld.com/en/index.html. This years event is being held from 29th September to 1st October inclusive.

There are 2 pass options one of them is free! Why wouldn’t you attend?

Let me know in the comments if your attending!

vCenter Tag Administration Permissions

The use of VMware tags recently became a requirement for some of my colleagues in an environment that was inherited.  They were faced with being unable to create Tags & Tag Categories or Assign and Delete them, despite ‘having admin rights’.

Upon investigation it became apparent that while the admins had been granted the Administrators Role at the vCenter Object Level, they had had not been granted sufficient rights at the Global Permissions Level, or any rights for that matter.

The following graphic shows the vSphere Inventory hierarchy.

Link to VMware’s article – Here

As you can see from the graphic, assigning privileges at the Global Level is required to manage Tags and additionally, Content Libraries.

You can see below a vSphere Admin, who has the Administrator Role assigned at the vCenter Level, is not able to select the New, Edit, Delete or Add Permission options for Tags or Tag Categories.

In this scenario there were two different permission requirements, one for a vSphere Admin team, the other for a Storage team both of which could be addressed by two existing roles; Administrators and Tagging Admin.  You could of course create a custom role should you have a requirement to do so. Here are the privileges assigned to the tagging admin role for reference.

The vSphere Admin Team required the Administrator Role at the Global Level (root object) so they could manage Content Libraries and Tags, while the Storage Team required the ability to Create and Assign Tags only.

You can assign permissions to a user or a group from multiple Identity Sources, in this scenario, an Active Directory source.  You will need to do this from an account that already has the Administrator Role at the Global Level.  By default, the administrator@vsphere.local account has this privilege. (replace the domain as needed if you have used a different SSO domain name)

From the Menu, select ‘Administration’ and select the ‘Global Permissions’ option in on the left-hand side.

From here, select the Add Permission icon.

You can now select the domain of the user or group you wish to add from the drop-down list and begin to type the name of that user or group.  It will begin to narrow your selection as you type. 

Select the user.

Now select the appropriate role and select the ‘Propagate to child object’ option.

If you have multiple users, groups or roles you need to assign, repeat the process.

You will now see both permissions in the Global Permissions menu.  If logged in, you will need to log out and back in for this to take effect. Both scenarios are shown.

If you now return to the Tags & Custom Attributes menu, logged in as a user from either of these groups, you will see that the New, Edit, Delete or Add Permission options for Tags or Tag Categories are now available.

Note: Providing a user or group privileges at the Global Permissions Level and selecting, ‘Propagate to child objects’ will give that user or group the privilege’s on the child objects such as vCenter, Cluster, VM and Datastore. 

This can be useful if you have multiple vCenters in Enhanced Linked Mode (ELM) as you only need to apply it once.

vCenter –

Host –

Datastore –

Further information can be found in the following VMware article which explains how you can grant permissions on a Tag object, rather than at the Global or vCenter Levels to give you further granualar control.

https://docs.vmware.com/en/VMware-vSphere/6.7/com.vmware.vsphere.security.doc/GUID-2199584C-B422-4EEF-9340-5449E1FB7DAE.html

Inheriting any environment can be difficult and full of unknowns, hopefully this could help you if you are experiencing a similar issue!

Thanks for reading!

vSphere 7 / VCF4.0 HOLs now available

Want to get hands on with vSphere 7 and VMware Cloud Foundation 4.0 (VCF4) but don’t have a either access to it or a HomeLab to install it?

VMware have announced the availability of both HOLs! Check out the link below to find out more and the links to these labs.

https://blogs.vmware.com/vsphere/2020/06/announcing-the-vsphere-7-hands-on-labs.html?

These are a great way to gain experience with VMware products. Check it out!

Adding an Identity Source (LDAP) – Username Format Error

I recently needed to validate some permissions using LDAP as an identity source. I hadn’t actually had a need to add an identity source to my Lab until now, so I set about adding my lab domain as a source, but hit the following error when trying to add it.

‘Check the network settings and make sure you have a network access to the identity source’

To start, I looked at connectivity, firewall rules, DNS forward and reverse lookup zones but still had the issue. It was none of these…

The issue? It was the format of the username… I originally used the format ‘domain\user‘. This doesn’t work. You need to use ‘user@domain‘ !

As soon as I changed the format, the source added successfully.

Some VMware links on setting up identity sources if you need some extra info –

https://docs.vmware.com/en/VMware-vSphere/6.7/com.vmware.psc.doc/GUID-B23B1360-8838-4FF2-B074-71643C4CB040.html

https://docs.vmware.com/en/VMware-vSphere/6.7/com.vmware.psc.doc/GUID-B23B1360-8838-4FF2-B074-71643C4CB040.html

Hopefully this is useful to anyone facing this problem!

Thanks for reading.

Deploying Custom Virtual Standard Switches for Management

I have been rebuilding my lab hosts a lot lately! Once because I fiddled too much with my vSAN cluster and killed it… Another more interesting occasion being the release of VCF 4.0 on VMUG and beginning the deployment of this!

I prefer to use Standard vSwitches for my management network in my labs and needed a quick and easy way to get the hosts back online with minimal effort. One thing I don’t like is seeing vSwitch0… I prefer seeing useful and descriptive naming, like I’m sure many others do!

Below are a few lines of PowerCLI to quickly and easily create a new vSwitch using a spare VMNIC (you should be using more than one physical NIC for resiliency), then migrate the Management VM Kernel adapter and original VMNIC over to it, followed by a clean up of vSwitch0.

#Variables
<#ESX Host to target#> $ESXHost = "ESX102.lab.local"
<#Name of the Management Switch#> $ManagementSwitchName = "vSS_Management"
<#vmnic to be used for Management Switch#> $ManagementSwitchNIC = "vmnic1"
<#MTU size for Management Switch#> $ManagementSwitchMTU = "1500"
<#Name of the Portgroup for the VMKernel Adapter#> $ManagementVMKPortGroupName = "vSS_VMK_Management"
<#Name of the PortGroup for VM's#> $ManagementPGSwitchName = "vSS_PG_Management"
 
<#Management VMKernal Nic to be migrated#>$vNic = "vmk0"
<#Management VMKernel assosiated pNic#>$PhysiscalNic = "vmnic0"
<#Old vSwitch#> $OldvSwitch = "vSwitch0"
 
#New Standard Management Switch
$NewSwitch1 = New-VirtualSwitch -VMHost $ESXHost -Name $ManagementSwitchName -Nic $ManagementSwitchNIC -mtu $ManagementSwitchMTU
$NewSwitch1 | New-VirtualPortGroup -Name $ManagementVMKPortGroupName -VLanId 0
$NewSwitch1 | New-VirtualPortGroup -Name $ManagementPGSwitchName

Once the new vSwitch is in place, the next block of code migrates the Management VM Kernel adapter and the VMNIC over to it.

#Migrate Mangement VMKernel Adapter
$mgmt_vmk = Get-VMHostNetworkAdapter -VMHost $ESXhost -Name $vNic
$pnic = Get-VMHostNetworkAdapter -VMHost $esxhost -Name $PhysiscalNic
Add-VirtualSwitchPhysicalNetworkAdapter -VirtualSwitch $NewSwitch1 -VMHostPhysicalNic $pnic -VMHostVirtualNic $mgmt_vmk -VirtualNicPortgroup $ManagementVMKPortGroupName -Confirm:$false

Now the clean up block. This removes the now redundant vSwitch0.

#Remove Original vSwitch0
Remove-VirtualSwitch -VirtualSwitch (Get-VirtualSwitch -VMHost $ESXHost  | Where-Object {$_.Name -eq $OldvSwitch}) -Confirm:$false

Note: If you have more than two VMNIC’s associated with the vSwitch, you will need to adjust this to include them.

Thanks for reading.

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