Build Photon OS appliance using packer.io

I found a great article from William Lam about how to build an Photon OS virtual appliance which includes OVF settings for configuration. During my initial tests I faced some issues like the virtual machine network did not connect properly and others. First I had changed the existing scripts to work with the vmware-iso builder which was in the end working but the performance was pretty bad. So I decided to convert the existing template from vmware-iso to vsphere-iso.

The base code is really good an most of it can be re-used. My changes can be found in my fork of his repo.

https://github.com/mdhemmi/photonos-appliance

And here a video of a build run.

Source:

https://www.virtuallyghetto.com/2019/11/packer-reference-for-building-photonos-virtual-appliance-using-ovf-properties.html

Quick tip: How to query CPU microcode revision on a ESXi

SSH to the ESXi host and execute the following command:


vsish -e cat /hardware/cpu/cpuList/0 | grep -i -E 'family|model|stepping|microcode|revision'

Output:


[root@esxi:~] vsish -e cat /hardware/cpu/cpuList/0 | grep -i -E 'family|model|stepping|microcode|revision'
Family:6
Model:60
Stepping:3
Number of microcode updates:1
Original Revision:0x0000001c
Current Revision:0x00000027
[root@esxi:~]

Create snapshot including memory on ESXi command line

Today I have been asked how to create a snapshot directly on the ESXi host using vim-cmd including virtual machine memory.

Quick example from my lab:

Get the VMID of the virtual machine

[root@esxi:~] vim-cmd vmsvc/getallvms

Sample output:

Create snapshot including memory

[root@esxi:~] vim-cmd vmsvc/snapshot.create 124 "SnapshotName" "Snapshot Description" true true
Create Snapshot:
[root@esxi:~]

Result:

[root@esxi:~] vim-cmd vmsvc/snapshot.get 124
Get Snapshot:
|-ROOT
--Snapshot Name        : SnapshotName
--Snapshot Id        : 1
--Snapshot Desciption  : Snapshot Description
--Snapshot Created On  : 3/7/2019 14:33:24
--Snapshot State       : powered on
[root@esxi:~]

ESX IP STORAGE TROUBLESHOOTING BEST PRACTICE

VMware has released a new White paper about ESXi IP storage troubleshooting.

In this paper, we:
• Describe how you can analyze packet traces to identify functional and performance issues in an
ESX IP storage environment.
• Compare packet capture alternatives, and explain why we recommend an inline optical network
tap connected to a packet capture system.
• Present the challenges of 10G packet capture, and describe key features of commercial 10G
capture solutions.
• Describe the design of an inexpensive, self-assembled 10G packet capture solution optimized for
troubleshooting that you can build relatively easily. We also describe our experience with multiple
prototypes of this design, which we have used in our ESX IP storage testbeds for NFS and iSCSI
performance for many years.
• Present examples of analyzing packet traces to solve ESX performance issues for NFSv41, software
iSCSI over IPv6, and hardware iSCSI.

ESX-IP-storage-troubleshooting.pdf