Desktop Computer Upgrade

I last posted about my computer specs six years ago when I first built my VMWare ESXi Whitebox server.  Here’s an update to what happened to it: From the software point of view, it was all and well for the first 2-3 years.  I had FreeNAS, Windows 7 and Windows 8 virtual machines running on it, and some lesser used Ubuntu virtual machines for playing around.  With the IOMMU capabilities of the motherboard, I even was able to get the GPU accessible by the Windows virtual machines to use it as a desktop and even play some games on it. Continue Reading

VMware ESXi Scratch Space

If you installed VMware ESXi on a USB stick like I did, the “scratch space” (used for storing logs and debug information) is stored on a RAM disk.  This takes up 512MB of memory that could otherwise be provisioned to virtual machines.  In addition, it does not persist across reboots, which explains why I was never able to find any logs after a crash. Also I was seeing random “No space left on device” errors when I was trying to run the munin monitoring script for ESXi. The solution to this is to simply create a folder on a disk, and Continue Reading

USB Controller Passthrough with VMWare ESXi 5.1

Earlier last year I built myself a VMWare ESXi whitebox computer.  VMWare ESXi is a light operating system which allows multiple virtual computers (referred to as virtual machines or VM) to be run inside of one computer (called the host) at the same time.  For example, I usually have three VMs running on my box including a FreeNAS file server, Ubuntu, and Windows 8. One of the features of ESXi (and other hypervisors) is that you can pass through physical devices such as a video card and USB devices into the VMs.  That way, you could interact with one of Continue Reading

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 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: After downloading the file, scp it to the ESXi host, Continue Reading