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Installing VMWare PowerCLI – A life changer

If you don’t already work every day in command line in the Information Technology world, I’d recommend you start…. if only to use this tool. This tool removes some of the time consuming clicks required in the GUI — not to say it is at all hard in the GUI, but when you are dealing with hundreds of machines at a given time, you will learn more about what I mean over time.

Installation

Run the following:

Install-Module -Name vmware.powercli -Scope AllUsers

You may also use CurrentUser for the scope if you’d prefer.

And then of course to use it:

Import-Module vmware.powercli

Research

Now get comfy and start researching. The capabilities with existing knowledge of Powershell scripting…. possibilities are endless.

https://code.vmware.com/docs/5060/cmdlet-reference/doc/Start-VM.html

Install PFSense on VMWare ESXI with VLAN tagging

I had tried virtualizing my PFSense box in the past and had not been able to get any devices to talk back to the PFSense box. It seemed like a very straightforward setup to me. I recently tackled the project again as my physical hardware was going out on my old box causing PFSense to crash. I won’t get into the details of that box. The good news is that it’s off now. 🙂 Here is an overview of how I did this.

  1. Spin up new virtual machine on VMWare ESXI with PFSense. Set up 2 network adapters within ESXI and the PFSense machine’s settings.
    1. For ease in configuration, I turned on the LAN DHCP within PFSense. That is not required though, there are plenty of ways to accomplish this task.
  2. Download a backup config from existing firewall.
  3. Once installed, restore the backup config to your newly installed PFSense machine.
  4. Modify adapters as necessary. If you didn’t turn on DHCP, another option at this stage is to use the console interface in VMWare to set the interfaces in PFSense. Both methods are very easy to do.
  5. At this stage, if I were to plug my existing WAN into the newly designated port and the existing LAN into the newly designated port, what would happen? Assuming you mapped the ports correctly in PFSense and VMware and everything is plugged into the right spot, you’ll be missing one (quite important) step. In the properties of the adapter in ESXI, you have to set the internal LAN VLAN to 4095. This ID allows VLAN traffic to pass through without being modified. VLAN 0 disregards the tags which is the default.

This process is by no means difficult, but it was tricky. It was obvious why the traffic was not passing in my first attempt but it was not immediately obvious that VLAN 4095 is the one to use to maintain the tagging. That simple change has everything working properly.

VMWare ESXi & VSphere Client

VMWare ESXi is a virtual operating system that, from the server side GUI, doesn’t do much except allow a few configuration changes. But that’s just the body of the beast. You can use VSPhere Client to remotely manage and set up virtual machines by connecting to the ESXi install.

How I got involved?
I’m just starting to learn more about servers and how they work. I just purchased 3 Dell PowerEdge 2850s. Well technically I got a whole bunch of stuff I do not need. 11 servers in total. One of which is a Barracuda Firewall which I guess I need to install Untangled on. I mostly wanted the rack for my existing server. But with all of this being said, I just wanted to point out that they all came with ESXi installed and I’ve never used it before. That will be changing very soon though as you might be able to tell. Though the servers are old, I think it will be great that I can play with them and destruct them however I like whether on accident or on purpose. I have a newer server that I’ve been afraid of messing with. It has a SAS drive, 32GB RAM, and two quad core processors. I don’t know much about RAID or really any of that stuff so I think old servers are a perfect place for me to mess things up beyond repair before I try something that won’t work on my newer faster server.

What is it? How to install it?

Where to download?
http://superuser.com/questions/439356/where-can-i-find-the-vmware-vsphere-client

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