Category Archives: Uncategorized

Use Cluster Host_Upgrade to Automatically install VMware Patches on Nutanix

Many Nutanix customers running VMware today use VMware Update Manager (VUM) to apply patches.  Unfortunately VUM does not understand the process of shutting down one CVM at a time and rolling through the cluster.  With this process you can use leverage the back end of the One Click Hypervisor Upgrade feature, sit back, and grab a sandwich while your patch is applied.

Step 1: Nutanix Hypervisor Upgrade Requirements

Disable hypervisor lockdown mode on the hypervisor host

Enable vSphere HA and the following settings:

  • Enable Host Monitoring
  • Disable Admission Control > Select: Do not reserve failover capacity. Allow VM power on operations that violate availability constraints

Enable vSphere DRS and these settings:

  • Power Management > Off

vCenter Server Settings > Advanced Settings

  • config.migrate.test.CompatibleNetworks.VMOnVirtualIntranet value of false


Step 2: Download Patch from myVMware


Click on the Build Number KB and copy the md5sum of the patch.



Step 3: Upload Patch to a CVM

In this example I put the patch in /home/nutanix/tmp



Step 4: Run the cluster host_upgrade command

On the CVM that you uploaded the patch to run:

cluster –md5sum=[md5sum of patch] –bundle=[file path to patch] host_upgrade




Step 5: Sandwich run!

Error checking file system on altbootbank

I pulled out my last SATA disk from my homelab whitebox.  The ESXi boot partition was on there.  My goal is to never use a spinning disk again, so I decided to try boot from USB.

I actually installed ESXi on the USB drive in VMware Fusion, then pulled it out and put it in my host to boot from.

I plugged the drive into a USB 3.0 port.  It booted, but it didn’t save any configuration changes when I rebooted.  I plugged it into a USB 2.0 port and the changes saved, but when I went to install drivers I received the following message:

There was an error checking file system on altbootbank, please see log for detail.
Please refer to the log file for more details.

Google pointed me to this KB article: Remediating an ESXi 5.x host with Update Manager fails with the error: There was an error checking file system on altbootbank (2033564) which did the trick with the following results:

/tmp # vmkfstools -P /altbootbank/
vfat-0.04 file system spanning 1 partitions.
File system label (if any):
Mode: private
Capacity 261853184 (63929 file blocks * 4096), 261066752 (63737 blocks) avail, max file size 0
UUID: 03a06fe6-945129df-35c7-0bb4da8a6324
Partitions spanned (on "disks"):
Is Native Snapshot Capable: NO

/tmp # dosfsck -a -w /dev/disks/mpx.vmhba32:C0:T0:L0:6
dosfsck 2.11, 12 Mar 2005, FAT32, LFN
  File size is 102400 bytes, cluster chain length is > 102400 bytes.
  Truncating file to 102400 bytes.
Reclaimed 3 unused clusters (12288 bytes) in 2 chains.
Performing changes.
/dev/disks/mpx.vmhba32:C0:T0:L0:6: 53 files, 188/63929 clusters

No Port Groups listed when trying to add an interface to an Edge in vShield Manager

I wanted to add a new network segment to deploy a new domain in my lab.  When I went to add a new interface to the edge, no port groups were showing up. 


I was running version 5.5.0 so I upgraded to version 5.5.2, but still no port groups were showing up.  I saw that there was an upgrade available so I clicked Actions, Upgrade.  The Edge redeployed and then the port groups showed up.  


I had another Edge with the same problem, but this time instead of upgrading I just clicked Actions, Redeploy Edge and after it redeployed I was able to select a Port Group.

$6.40 Skype phone


I recently moved and tried using my cell phone exclusively. Didn’t work. I decided that I needed a house phone. However, I use a house phone so infrequently that it really isn’t worth $20 per month to the cable company. I decided that I could try Skype. I found this usb phone on Amazon for $6.40. A Skype subscription is $2.99/month plus $3.00 a month for a DID (phone number). That puts me at $6.00 per month using Skype vs. $20.00 using cable, which is a savings of $168.00 per year. (Probably more when you consider that Skype is not a common carrier and so they don’t charge FCC taxes, universal service fees, or 911 service fees)

So far it has worked great. The caveat is that it only works for Windows. However, I leave my Windows 7 VM constantly powered on in VMware Fusion so I connected the USB device to that VM. Once I installed the driver I noticed no audio quality issues. It sounds much better than my cell phone!

RedHat: Install packages from CD

I am giving IOmeter a try on Linux. More specifically I am creating a minimal RedHat install that I want to install the IOmeter client on, then clone the install a few dozen times. When I tried to download the IOmeter linux client I realized that the minimal RedHat install does not include wget. Since I did not have a reliable internet connection on my MacBook I wasn’t able to connect to the RedHat repos. I was able to search and find the following process on how to configure a local repo to be able to install packages from the cdrom.

  1. Create a file: /etc/yum.repos.d/cdrom.repo


  2. Mount CDrom:
    mkdir /mnt/cdrom
    mount /dev/cdrom /mnt/cdrom


  3. Run: yum clean all


  4. Install needed packages:
    yum install wget


Update Dell 2950 BIOS without Windows

I was helping a friend do P2V conversions of his older but still useful Dell 2950 servers, when I noticed the BIOS was version 2.2.6 and the latest BIOS available from Dell is 2.7.0. Unfortunately I had already finished the P2V migrations from Windows Server 2008 R2 and the servers were running ESXi 4.1. I was having limited success with booting a linux live CD and running the linux bin file when I stumbled upon this post. This man is a genius!

Modify Settings to Open Side-by-Side Excel 2007 Windows

If you have two monitors and need to open side by side excel windows you might have been annoyed by Excel’s default setting of opening everything in the same window. Here’s how to fix that:


Open My Computer

Select Tools

Select Folder Options

Select the File Types tab

Choose XLSX (XLSX for 2007 and XLS for 2003)


Go to Advanced


Uncheck “browse in same window” in advanced window.

Then highlight Open

Click Edit

Make sure in the Action box it says &Open

Copy the following and paste into “application used to perform action”

“C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\OFFICE12\EXCEL.EXE” “%1”

Check the box next to use DDE

Remove anything that is in DDE Message box and DDE Application Not Running box.

Make sure the application box says: EXCEL

And in the Topic box it says: System

Click OK and enjoy side by side Excel windows!