Updating VMware ESXi

Back in January I built a VMware ESXi 5 whitebox as my home server.  I updated the hypervisor today and I thought I’d record the process so that I can refer back to it later.  The blog post I found most useful was from VMware Front Experience.  If you’re looking for the detailed procedures, I’d suggest you look at that post.

Upgrading from 5.0 to 5.1

  1. The upgrade file can be found here on the VMware download site. For an upgrade from 5.0 to 5.1, the file to download is: VMware-ESXi-5.1.0-799733-depot.zip.
  2. After downloading the file, scp it to the ESXi host, onto one of the data stores.
  3. SSH into the ESXi host, and run the command:
    esxcli software profile install -d /vmfs/volumes/datastore1/VMware-ESXi-5.1.0-799733-depot.zip -p ESXi-5.1.0-799733-standard
    You can also run esxcli software profile update .... The difference is described in the blog post I referenced above.
  4. When the update completes, reboot the server. When you bring up the VMs again the first time, vSphere Client might ask you whether you moved or copied the VMs since the UUID changed. Select “I moved the VMs”.

Rolling back to ESXi 5.0

ESXi 5.1 wasn’t working too well for me. I was having problems passing through my USB controllers to the VMs. I decided to roll back to 5.0, and luckily VMware makes rolling back easy.

  1. When you reboot the host, press SHIFT+R when the hypervisor first boots up (you’ll see the cue at the bottom right of the screen
  2. Type ‘y’ to confirm rolling back the hypervisor
  3. The hypervisor will boot up with the old version.

Patching 5.0

So what I ended up doing was just patching the hypervisor to the latest build.

  1. The latest patches can be found on the VMware patch download portal.
  2. After downloading the file, scp it to the ESXi host, onto one of the data stores.
  3. SSH into the ESXi host, and run the command:
  4. esxcli software vib install -d "/vmfs/volumes/datastore1/patches/ESXi500-201209001.zip"
  5. When the update completes, reboot the host if required.

I apologize if this blog post is a little terse, it is mainly a reference for myself. If you want further information, please check out the pages below:

XDMCP Login from Mac to Lubuntu 11.10

My old desktops run Lubuntu (Ubuntu but lightweight!) 11.10, which just became part of the official Ubuntu release.  Life is a lot zippier in Lubuntu compared to Ubuntu when you’re on Pentium III and Celeron machines.

I wanted to be able to login to these computers remotely with a GUI, sort of like Microsoft’s Remote Desktop but Linux style.  I didn’t want VNC because I wanted to be able to create a new login session instead of using the main console. Luckily XDMCP does exactly that and most of it is built into Ubuntu.

The Setup

Following one question previously posted on AskUbuntu, I proceeded to add the following snippet to /etc/lightdm/lightdm.conf:

[XDMCPServer]
enabled=true

Logging In

Then following the procedures posted by David Winter, I opened Terminal on my Mac, and typed in: /usr/X11R6/bin/X -query 192.168.0.1 (replace 192.168.0.1 with the IP address of your Lubuntu computer).  After a few moments the Ubuntu login screen showed up.  Perfect!

Terminal Shortcut

I made myself an alias so that I wouldn’t have to remember the complicated command line.  In ~/.bash_profile, I added:

alias xdmcp="/usr/X11R6/bin/X -query"

So now I can start a XDMCP session by typing in

xdmcp 192.168.0.1

Gmail Aliases

I just found about Gmail aliases today (I know I know, some of you have known about this for years 😉 ) from this blog post. It seems like an interesting feature that Gmail should advertise on their front page since I’m sure many people would find this useful.