VCP5 Notes – Objective 1.2 – Install and Configure VMware ESXi

We started with installing and configuring VMware vCenter Server in Objective 1.1. Now we move on to installing and configuring VMware ESXi as part of the VMware VCP5 certification. My first thought is why would the next objective go into ESXi.. shouldn’t that be the first objective? It’s probably because I install vCenter Server as a virtual machine after installing ESXi.

Objective 1.1 - Install and Configure vCenter Server
Objective 1.2 – Install and Configure VMware ESXi

Perform an interactive installation of ESXi

  • Typically this would be done through a DVD, ISO, or USB drive to run the vSphere installer.

Below is a table of the vSphere 5.0 Editions. It’s handy to figure out which features are supported in each edition. Just note the Enterprise Plus supports everything.

vSphere 5.0 Editions
Enterprise Plus
Product Components
Processor entitlementPer 1 CPUPer 1 CPUPer 1 CPU
vRAM entitlement32 GB64 GB96 GB
vCPU entitlement8-way8-way32-way
SUSE LINUX Enterprise Server for VMwareXXX
Thin ProvisioningXXX
Update ManagerXXX
Data recoveryXXX
High AvailabilityXXX
Storage APIs for data protectionXXX
Virtual serial port concentratorXX
Hot addXX
vShield zonesXX
Fault ToleranceXX
Storage APIs for array integrationXX
Storage APIs for multipathingXX
Storage vMotionXX
Storage I/O controlX
Network I/O controlX
Distributed switchX
Host profilesX
Auto DeployX
Profile-driven storageX

Deploy an ESXi host using Auto Deploy

  • Leverages PXE and host profiles.
  • Auto Deploy server deploys image and host profile to each host.
  • Rules engine determines which images and profiles to send to each host.
  • Image profiles are VIBs (VMware Infrastructure Bundles).
  • Host profiles hold ESXi host configuration.
  • Answer files are used during boot process. One per each host.
  • No state stored on the host – Auto Deploy server manages state information.

Store information type

Information Type
Source of State Information
Image StateExecutable software ran on ESXi hostImage profile
Configuration StateSettingsHost profile
Dynamic StateRuntime stateStored in host memory. Not persistant.
VM stateVM stored on hostManaged by vCenter Server
User inputState based on user input
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Configure NetApp NFS Export for ESXi

Configuring an NFS datastore for ESXi is simple using the NetApp OnCommand System Manager interface. I won’t get into the details of NFS vs iSCSI in this post but it is something I am evaluating. What I have learned about NFS is there is no multipathing. Instead, I have teamed my 10GbE interfaces on my controller to the switch to form one VIF. On the switch I am then using LACP. My other controller has it’s 10GbE in a VIF configuration too and both serve as partner interfaces for each other.

This post will go over the configuration of the Volume and Export on a NetApp FAS2240-2. It is a dual-controller in a single chassis. After configuring the Export and the proper permissions for the NFS Export, you then add it to your ESXi hosts as a datastore.

To start, create a volume for NFS. Select NAS as the Storage Type and configure your Volume size. In this example I am not using Thin Provisioning.

NFS Volume Storage Type

Creating the NFS Volume

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Cisco ASA Zero Downtime Upgrade

Cisco ASA 5512XIn this post I will describe how I upgraded the software of my Active/Standby Failover Cisco ASA 5512X from 8.6 to 9.1. Additionally, I will upgrade the ASDM to the latest version.

When upgrading the software of your Cisco ASA it’s important to read the release notes beforehand. Go through each major and minor release version. According to Cisco, you should upgrade to the latest minor release version before upgrading to the next major version.

This is important if you want to maintain a zero downtime upgrade.

A minor release upgrade is, for example, going from 8.3 to 8.4. Which means zero downtime is not supported from 8.3 to 8.6.

A major release upgrade is going from the base version to the next release. For example, 8.6 to 9.0. This would be supported for zero downtime. It would NOT be supported if you were to go from 8.6 to 9.1.

In my process, I went from 8.6 to 9.0 and then from 9.0 to 9.1.

Before we do any sort of upgrades on the ASA, we need to make a backup. After the backups, we will upload the bin file to the primary ASA and secondary ASA. The same goes for ASDM. After the bin is uploaded, you change the active and standby ASA boot system order. You can have multiple boot systems and the ASA will pick from the top. Then you reboot the ASA and it should be on the latest version.Continue Reading…