Category Archives: Uncategorized

Update Plex Plugin on FreeNAS 11

If you are rocking your own FreeNAS storage at home or office, you’ll know that FreeNAS’ built-in plugins are hardly up to date. Updating the Plex plugin is fairly straightforward.

1. SSH to your FreeNAS
2. type: jls
3. Take the note of the Jail # of your Plex plugin
4. type:  jexec # csh (where # is the number of the jail noted in last step)
5. type:  fetch -o PMS_Updater.sh https://raw.githubusercontent.com/mstinaff/PMS_Updater/master/PMS_Updater.sh
5. type:  chmod 755 PMS_Updater.sh
6. type:  ./PMS_Updater.sh -u PlexPass_User -p PlexPass_password -a

 

vSphere Web Client Integration Plugin Not Working

When trying to manage your vSphere environment using the web client (or forced to in 6.5+), the Web Client Integration plugin is required to make use of many features the web client has to offer, like remote console, enhanced authentication, and deploying OVF appliances.

If you have downloaded and installed the plugin, but IE, Chrome, or Firefox do not activate the plugin, it can most likely be resolved by doing one of the following:

  1. Add the vCenter FQDN to the trusted site list:
    For vSphere 6.0-6.5: https://vCenter_FQDN
    For vSphere 5.5: https://vCenter_FQDN:9443
  2. Add the vCenter FQDN to the Local Intranet list (IE & Chrome)
  3. Uninstall Plugin, Clear Cache/Cookies, Reinstall Plugin, and Repeat option 1

 

HPE Proliant G7 Servers and vSphere 6.5 Purple Screen of Death

Upgrading VMware to ESXi 6.5 on HP G7 Servers will crash and cause you to scream and will require you to waste your time building a custom ISO that HPE could have easily done.
Best practice is to use the vendor’s custom ISO’s that have the hardware drivers integrated, so I used HPE’s latest Custom ISO.

HPE G7 Server support is being dropped by both HPE and VMware. In fact, vSphere 6.5 is supposedly the last version that will support the G7s. Knowing this info, I assumed upgrading from ESXi 6.0 to 6.5 on G7 would work, but I found out quickly that after the upgrade the hosts would “Purple Screen of Death” (PSOD) right after boot.

The Error: “PF Exception 14 in world 67667:sfcb-smx IP 0x0 addr 0x0″

The Issue: There are incompatible driver(s) in the customized ISO from HPE. Yes, there are more than one driver with issues.

The Workarounds: There are various workarounds that I have personally found to work, while others have been resolutions I have read about after I dealt with this, so I was not able to verify that they do indeed work, but I will list them nevertheless. Upgrading the firmware, BIOS, etc did not resolve the issue.
Note: All these workaround require a fresh install of ESXi. Running an Upgrade does not remove the incompatible drivers, and the host doesn’t stay alive long enough before crashing to manually remove them via SSH.

Solution 1: Use VMware’s Standard ISO Media
While this goes against many best practices, VMware doesnt offer too many vendor drivers in their ISO builds, so the offending drivers do not get installed and crash the system. While you can certainly use this method, you will want to follow-up and manually install the appropriate driver VIBs from HPE.

Solution 2: Build your own Custom ISO
This takes a bit more work, but is probably the most comprehensive path to resolution. You will basically need to remove drivers from the HPE Customized 6.5 ISO and inject those from the 6.0 ISO. The following are instructions on doing this.

Create Custom VMware ESXi Media

Prerequisites:

Instructions:

  • Launch vSphere PowerCLI

  • Add the HP ESXi 6.5 image bundle
    Add-EsxSoftwareDepot -DepotUrl C:\ESXi\HPE-6_5.zip

  • Check the Profile
    Get-EsxImageProfile

  • Copy the Profile
    New-EsxImageProfile -CloneProfile HPE-ESXi-6.5.0-OS-Release-6* -Name “G7-ESXi”


    Use “HPE Custom” for Vendor

  • Check the Profile
    Get-EsxImageProfile

  • Remove the driver from the image
    Remove-EsxSoftwarePackage G7-ESXi hpe-smx-provider

  • Add the HP ESXi 6.0 image bundle
    Add-EsxSoftwareDepot -DepotUrl C:\ESXi\HPE-6_0.zip
  • Check the Profile
    Get-EsxImageProfile

  • View both drivers in the two bundles
    Get-EsxSoftwarePackage | findstr smx

  • Add the necessary driver into the custom build
    add-esxsoftwarepackage -imageprofile G7-ESXi -softwarepackage “hpe-smx-provider 600.03.11.00.9-2768847”

  • Convert your custom bundle to ISO
    Export-EsxImageProfile -ImageProfile G7-ESXi -ExportToIso -filepath “C:\ESXi\G7-ESXi.iso”

  • Now take that ISO file that was created and use it to do a FRESH INSTALL. (Remember, upgrade will not work).

Find Unknown Wireless Password for Aruba Wireless SSID

If you don’t remember what password you or another Administrator set for a particular SSID on an Aruba Wireless Access Controller (or Instant Access Point), you can find this by connecting to any Access Point via SSH, Telnet or Console, and running the following commands:

show run no-encrypt

Scroll up until you get to the wlan ssid-profile section, and the password will be listed next to wpa-passphrase

If you had just ran a show run without the “no-encrypt“, you would have see a random hash like this:

 

vSphere 6.5 – Transport (VMDB) error -45: Failed to connect to peer process

While upgrading some Cisco UCS B200 M3 Servers from vSphere 6.0 to 6.5, I ran into an error that I could not figure out. After upgrading the first Cisco Blade to 6.5, I could not vMotion any VMs from the older 6.0 host to the newly upgraded 6.5 host. I would get the following error:

Transport (VMDB) error -45: Failed to connect to peer process

I was able to vMotion a powered off VM to the new host, but when I attempted to power on the VM, I got the same error: Transport (VMDB) error -45: Failed to connect to peer process

After poking around for awhile, I decided to turn to the VMware community, where I most mostly seeing this error with people using Workstation and Fusion products, but there wasn’t much going on with ESXi environments. I made sure to use the ESXi 6.5 Cisco Media for the original installs and this upgrade, and I assumed there had to be a driver/component issue with all of this. I tried updating by booting into the ISO and running the upgrade from there. After attempting to manually upgrade drivers and firmware, the solution that worked for me was the following:

Reinstall the freaking host from scratch! 

There you have it. Such a simple solution 🙂
Honestly, I have no idea why the reinstall was necessary. I ran into the same issue again when trying to upgrade that second host, and I even tried upgrading it using the an alternative method (Using ESXCLI and Update Manager), but no luck.

I did not call VMware Support on this, but I did submit the bug report. I would love to hear from someone who figured out the root cause and workaround.

Enterprise Wireless Access Points Benchmarks: Cisco, Aruba, Meraki, Aerohive

As more and more aspects of a business now require some type of mobility, the companies that sell you a way to connect them all-together are a dime a dozen. I have spent a considerable amount in my pursuit for wireless knowledge. I have also spent a LOT of time (just ask my wife) with some of these Access Points I have benchmarked and can say I know them fairly well. I’ve decided to take them head-to-head in some various tests and provide my readers with a quick and simplified version of the detailed data I collected during this process. A process that will be a “work in progress” as I find new testing criteria and new hardware to play with. Two of the tested access points are 802.11ac Wave 2 devices, which can provide over 1Gb of throughput using bonded links or MGIG. But all APs were tested with one 1Gb Ethernet (no LAGs)

The Access Points I will be benchmarking are:
Cisco Airnonet 1830i (802.11ac Wave 2)
Meraki MR42 (802.11ac Wave 2)
Meraki MR18 (802.11n)
Aruba 225 (802.11ac)
Aruba 205 (802.11ac)

Let me preface this with a disclaimer that I have no official training or degree in the methodologies of benchmarks. I have tried to take what I believe are some real world tasks a user will encounter daily, and tested them in the best way I know how. I will explain my testing environment, and how I chose that environment, and then move onto the actual benchmarks.

Client OS and Wireless Chipset
2015 Macbook Pro – OS X 10.11 (El Capitan): Broadcom BCM43602
Lenovo T450S – Win 10 Pro: Intel Dual Band AC-7265 (Integrated)
Lenovo T450S – Win 10 Pro: Netgear A6200 (USB 3 Adapter)

Results: I ran a 1GB file upload and download to a local server using each of the above clients. I ran these tests three (3) times on each, and took the averages of each and compared them with each other. I found they each were within ~1/20th of upload/download seconds, and throughput difference was also negligible. I used the Lenovo with integrated Intel chipset for the official benchmarks.

Environment
I placed each access point 9’ high and tested each client ~12’ away. I used the exact placement for each test. I only had one AP powered on during each test, and these tests were done in a very secluded area, with absolutely zero interference from neighboring wifi or Microwave signals. Acrylics Wifi Professional was used to verify this. Each Access Point was connected via POE. No other devices connected to the Access Points besides my client machine

Network Backbone
The bulk of these benchmarks tested for local upload/download speeds of files on the local LAN. I tested the Access Points using two switches. The first one being a Netgear GS728 TP and the second a Cisco Meraki MS350. Surprisingly, I was getting lower latency on the Netgear switch (between 1-3ms), and used the Netgear for the official benchmarks.

Internet Speed Tests
The Internet Speed Tests were semi-irrelevant, since some of these APs can download/upload much faster than my Internet Plan and modem allow. I am using Comcast Xfinity Blast (105 Down/10 Up), but it looks like Comcast is allowing me to burst above those speeds. I am using a Motorola Surfboard SC6121 DOCSIS 3.0 Modem, which has a ~172 Mbps max throughput, which would be the weakest link even if I had faster Internet. What is interesting though, is all these Access Points support multi-streams which should allow internet speeds on the 2.4 Ghz range to exceed the results I am getting in benchmarks. Am I missing something on this opinion?

2.4 Ghz vs 5 Ghz Tests and Features
Each Access Point offers its own array of extended features and configurations, some of which are unique to the access point. Most of these features really only shine under a multi-device scenario, so I think the single-device head to head benchmarks are fairly accurate, as these unique features aren’t needed. 5 Ghz tests were done by shutting off the 2.4 Ghz radios and vice versa. Attempt to “tweak” some of the default settings to more “optimized” ones had little effect, and in some cases made things worse. Again, these Access Points are made for the Enterprise and are built to handle multiple users with multiple devices. I welcome any feedback on any of these testing mechanisms.

Ok, now the good stuff. Here are the results! I ran each aspect of the benchmarks three (3) times and took the average of those results. Some results were surprising and seemed odd and were re-tested but results were similar. Here we go!

Test 1: 20 MB File Transfers over 5 Ghz Radios

Test 2: 20 MB File Transfers over 2.4 Ghz Radios

Test 3: 1 GB File Transfers over 5 Ghz Radios

Test 4: 1 GB File Transfers over 2.4 Ghz Radios

More benchmarking to come. This is definitely a work in progress!

Exporting VMware Logs for Analysis

Sometimes there are issues that arise with your VMware environment that require advanced troubleshooting from VMware Technical Support. Sending them your VMware logs preemptively or upon request is a great way to get to the bottom of an issue.
To get those logs, just do the following.

– Open vSphere (vCenter)
– Click File – Export – Export System Logs

– Select all System Logs

– Choose a location to Download Them
– And Watch the Progress of the Download

It may take awhile to gather and export all the logs, but once finished, you can FTP the logs to VMware Support for further analysis!

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