Category Archives: vSphere

Building My Capture and Deployment Server – Part II: Windows Server 2008 R2 install and configuration

This is the second part of my series on building my capture and deployment server. In Part I, I defined the virtual machine settings I used. In this part I will go through the install of Windows Server 2008 R2 x64 SP1 Enterprise Edition and the initial configuration.

Installing Windows Server 2008 R2 x64 SP1 Enterprise Edition

The install is a standard Windows Server 2008 R2 x64 Enterprise Edition full installation. I chose the Enterprise Edition so I would have all the roles if I needed them. In a production environment you should choose the appropriate edition to cut down on licensing cost.

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Building My Capture and Deployment Server – Part I: Virtual Machine Settings

This is the first part of my series on building my capture and deployment server. In this post I will cover the settings I used for my virtual machines.

DEV-DC-01

DEV-DC-01 is going to be the first virtual machine in my Development environment. This virtual machine will act as the deployment and image capture server to build the first STIGed image.

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Building My Lab Environment – Part V: Shared Storage Configuration

This is the fifth part of my series on building my lab environment. In Part I, I laid out the hardware that I would use for my lab. Part II covered the installation of VMware vSphere 5 on the hardware. Part III covered the VMware vSphere 5 network configuration. Part IV covered the resource pool configuration. In this post I will cover the shared storage solution I purchased and setting it up in vSphere.

The Hardware

QNAP TS-459U-SP+

The QNAP TS-459U-SP+ is a small to medium sized NAS solution. This particular model can come in a standard desktop NAS chassis, or a rack mountable chassis as denoted by the U in the model name. As I am going for a rack mount setup, I chose the U model. For the rack mounts it also comes in an SP (single power supply) or RP (redundant power supply) model. Considering this is just for my home lab I went with the cheaper SP model.

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How To Patch a vSphere 5 Server Without Update Manager

I found myself wanting to play around with the new Windows Server 2012 Release Candidate the other day, but found that there was no virtual machine profile to choose when installing it. What does this mean? That’s right. Time for a patch. As it has been awhile since I’ve patched my host, I found myself unsure of where to begin. Since I don’t have a vCenter license, I had to figure out how to do it the manual way. This great blog entry by Chris Colotti provided all the information I needed to update my server. Now, to start playing with Windows Server 2012 RC.

Building My Lab Environment – Part IV: Configuring vSphere 5 Resource Pools

This is the fourth part of my series on building my lab environment. In Part I, I laid out the hardware that I would use for my lab. Part II covered the installation of VMware vSphere 5 on the hardware. Part III covered the VMware vSphere 5 network configuration. In this post I will cover the vSphere 5 resource pools that I setup.

Resources

Before going into resource pools, I’m going to talk a little bit about resource sharing. Most of this was gleaned from Mastering VMware vSphere 5 by Scott Lowe that I mentioned in a previous post and I highly recommend picking it up.

There are two main resources that a host has to manage for all virtual machines. These are the memory and CPU. When you create a virtual machine, you specify the amount of RAM and the number of CPUs that the virtual machine will have. If you have a host with 4GB of RAM available to the guests, you can create four virtual machines each with 1GB of RAM and there will be no contention for memory. (While not “technically” true, as there is a little bit of memory overhead, it is still useful for our purposes.) The same can be said of having a four processor/core host and creating four single CPU virtual machines.

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Building My Lab Environment – Part III: Configuring vSphere 5 Networking

This is the third part of my series on building my lab environment. In Part I, I laid out the hardware that I would use for my lab. Part II covered the installation of VMware vSphere 5 on the hardware. In this post I will cover the vSphere 5 network settings.

Configuring the vSphere 5 switches

I created two vSwitches with no physical adapters for my Development and Production LANs. The reason I created two vSwitches with no physical adapters was for two reasons.

The first and primary reason is that on my home router I have MAC address filtering turned on. I turned this on for better security for my Wi-Fi connections, but as it turned out, it also enabled filtering on the physical connections as well. If I used the default vSwitch0, every time I create a virtual machine, I would have to add its MAC address to the router as well as a DHCP reservation.

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Building My Lab Environment – Part II: Installing vSphere 5

So after putting together all the hardware that I listed in Building My Lab Environment – Part I: The Hardware, it’s time to install vSphere 5.

BIOS settings

As far as the BIOS goes, there was only three things I changed from the defaults.

  • I set the CD-ROM to be the first boot device
  • Set the system time and date to current
  • Enabled VT-D – This allows virtual machines direct access to hardware. For instance I have three physical hard drives. One of them controlled by vSphere and setup as a datastore. I could then create an OpenFiler virtual machine that connected directly to and managed the remaining two physical hard drives. Then I could create LUNs and add those back to the vSphere server as iSCSI datastores. It’s a bit convoluted, but this would allow all the tinkering and benefits of a SAN, without the extra physical server. The physical drives are still there, it’s just the OS that is managing them is virtual.

VMware has a “Performance Best Practices for VMware vSphere 5.0” document that goes into great detail on things like BIOS settings, virtual machine configurations and more. You can find it on their site here.

Now on to the installation.

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Building My Lab Environment – Part I: The Hardware

In order to build and deploy STIG images for testing (which is the whole reason I started this blog) I need a lab environment to work in. This is the first part of a series that will cover how I set up my lab and the reasons for some of the choices I made.

This particular post will focus on the hardware I chose for my lab.

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