Excalidraw replacement for Microsoft Visio?

Sometimes you want to make a design of something.
A whiteboard is then very handy. In most cases you would to like to use Microsoft Visio.
But on my home pc I don’t have Visio. A free alternative is Excalidraw.

You can draw some thing cool like this: (This for Demo only has no function)

A diagram of a computer network

Description automatically generated

Highlight some libraries.excalidraw.com:

IT icons
Microsoft 365 icons
VMware Architecture Design
Veeam
Veeam unofficial
Technology Logos
Fortinet
Kubernetes Icons Set
Microsoft Azure cloud icons
Misc Azure Icons
Azure General
Azure Compute
Azure Storage
Azure Containers
Azure Network
Azure cloud services icons
Cloud

Would be nice if we see more venders on the list.

Deploy Windows Core Server 2022 with Server Core App Compatibility Feature on Demand with Packer

I while ago I started with parker to create simple templates for use in my homelab.

It take some time to find the rights scripts and learning en understanding the HCL2 coding

But in related to Security reasons I want to use a Windows Core Server the smaller footprint.

What is Server Core App Compatibility Feature on Demand: https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-server/get-started/server-core-app-compatibility-feature-on-demand

Installing Features on Demand through Powerschell contains a bug. You may see “failure to download files”, “cannot download”, or errors like “0x800F0954” or file not found.

To Solve that I created I powerschell script to run the install twice: featuresondemand.ps1

You can find al the needed files on my Public Github Packer repository: https://github.com/WardVissers/Packer-Public

When running is showing like this:

A blue screen with white squares

Description automatically generated

It works for now, but there is one thing that would the hole thing a quiet nicer.
Passwords encrypted in a separate file.

Holodeck Toolkit Overview

Holodeck Toolkit 1.3 Overview

The VMware Cloud Foundation (VCF) Holodeck Toolkit is designed to provide a scalable, repeatable way to deploy nested Cloud Foundation hands-on environments directly on VMware ESXi hosts. These environments are ideal for multi-team hands on exercises exploring the capabilities of utilitizing VCF to deliver a Customer Managed VMware Cloud.

Graphical user interface, application

Description automatically generated

Delivering labs in a nested environment solves several challenges with delivering hands-on for a  product like VCF, including:  

  • Reduced hardware requirements: When operating in a physical environment, VCF requires four vSAN Ready Nodes for the management domain, and additional hosts for adding clusters or workload domains. In a nested environment, the same four to eight hosts are easily virtualized to run on a single ESXi host.   
  • Self-contained services: The Holodeck Toolkit configuration provides common infrastructure services, such as NTP, DNS, AD, Certificate Services and DHCP within the environment, removing the need to rely on datacenter provided services during testing.  Each environment needs a single external IP.
  • Isolated networking. The Holodeck Toolkit configuration removes the need for VLAN and BGP connections in the customer network early in the testing phase.  
  • Isolation between environments. Each Holodeck deployment is completely self-contained. This avoids conflicts with existing network configurations and allows for the deployment of multiple nested environments on same hardware or datacenter with no concerns for overlap. 
  • Multiple VCF deployments on a single VMware ESXi host with sufficient capacity. A typical VCF Standard Architecture deployment of four node management domain and four node VI workload domain, plus add on such as VMware vRealize Automation requires approximately 20 CPU cores, 512GB memory and 2.5TB disk.  
  • Automation and repeatability. The deployment of nested VCF environments is almost completely hands-off, and easily repeatable using configuration files.  A typical deployment takes less than 3 hours, with less than 15 min keyboard time.

Nested Environment Overview 

The “VLC Holodeck Standard Main 1.3” configuration is a nested VMware Cloud Foundation configuration used as the baseline for several Private Cloud operation and consumption lab exercises created by the Cloud Foundation Technical Marketing team. The Holodeck standard “VLC-Holo-Site-1” is the primary configuration deployed. The optional VLC-Holo-Site-2 can be deployed at any time later within a Pod.  VLC-Holo-Site-1 configuration matches the lab configuration in the VCF Hands-On Lab HOL-2246 and the nested configuration in the VCF Experience program run on the VMware Lab Platform. 

Each Pod on a Holodeck deployment runs an identical nested configuration. A pod can be deployed with a standalone VLC-Holo-Site-1 configuration, or with both VLC-Holo-Site-1 and VLC-Holo-Site-2 configurations active. Separation of the pods and between sites within a pod is handled at the VMware vSphere Standard Switch (VSS) level.  Each Holodeck pod connects to a unique VSS and Port Group per site.    A VMware vSphere Port Group is configured on each VSS and configured as a VLAN trunk.  

  • Components on the port group to use VLAN tagging to isolate communications between nested VLANs. This removes the need to have physical VLANs plumbed to the ESXi host to support nested labs.  
  • When the Holo-Site-2 configuration is deployed it uses a second VSS and Port Group for isolation from Holo-Site-1  

The VLC Holodeck configuration customizes the VCF Cloud Builder Virtual Machine to provide several support services within the pod to remove the requirement for specific customer side services. A Cloud Builder VM is deployed per Site to provide the following within the pod: 

  • DNS (local to Site1 and Site2 within the pod, acts as forwarder) 
  • NTP (local to Site1 and Site2 within the pod) 
  • DHCP (local to Site1 and Site2 within the pod) 
  • L3 TOR for vMotion, vSAN, Management, Host TEP and Edge TEP networks within each site 
  • BGP peer from VLC Tier 0 NSX Application Virtual Network (AVN) Edge (Provides connectivity into NSX overlay networks from the lab console)

The figure below shows a logical view of the VLC-Holo-Site-1 configuration within a Holodeck Pod. The Site-1 configuration uses DNS domain vcf.sddc.lab.

 Figure 1: Holodeck Nested Diagram

The Holodeck package also provides a preconfigured Photon OS VM, called “Holo-Router”, that functions as a virtualized router for the base environment. This VM allows for connecting the nested environment to the external world. The Holo-Router is configured to forward any Microsoft Remote Desktop (RDP) traffic to the nested jump host, known as the Holo-Console, which is deployed within the pod.

The user interface to the nested VCF environment is via a Windows Server 2019 “Holo-Console” virtual machine. Holo-Console provides a place to manage the internal nested environment like a system administrators desktop in a datacenter. Holo-Console is used to run the VLC package to deploy the nested VCF instance inside the pod. Holo-Console VM’s are deployed from a custom-built ISO that configures the following 

  • Microsoft Windows Server 2019 Desktop Experience with: 
  • Active directory domain “vcf.holo.lab” 
  • DNS Forwarder to Cloud Builder  
  • Certificate Server, Web Enrollment and VMware certificate template 
  • RDP enabled 
  • IP, Subnet, Gateway, DNS and VLAN configured for deployment as Holo-Console  
  • Firewall and IE Enhanced security disabled  
  • SDDC Commander custom desktop deployed 
  • Additional software packages deployed and configured 
  • Google Chrome with Holodeck bookmarks 
  • VMware Tools 
  • VMware PowerCLI 
  • VMware PowerVCF 
  • VMware Power Validated Solutions 
  • PuTTY SSH client 
  • VMware OVFtool 
  • Additional software packages copied to Holo-Console for later use 
  • VMware Cloud Foundation 4.5 Cloud Builder OVA to C:\CloudBuilder 
  • VCF Lab Constructor 4.5.1 with dual site Holodeck configuration
    • VLC-Holo-Site-1 
    • VLC-Holo-Site-2 
  • VMware vRealize Automation 8.10 Easy Installer

The figure below shows the virtual machines running on the physical ESXi host to deliver a Holodeck Pod called “Holo-A”. Notice an instance of Holo-Console, Holo-Router, Cloud Builder and four nested ESXi hosts.  They all communicate over the VLC-A-PG Port Group   

Figure 2: Holodeck Nested Hosts

Adding a second site adds an additional instance of Cloud Builder and additional nested ESXi hosts. VLC-Holo-Site-2 connects to the second internal leg of the Holo-Router on VLAN 20. Network access from the Holo-Console to VLC-Holo-Site-2 is via Holo-Router.

The figure below shows a logical view of the VLC-Holo-Site-2 configuration within a Holodeck Pod. The Site-2 configuration uses DNS domain vcf2.sddc.lab

 Figure 3: Holodeck Site-2 Diagram

Accessing the Holodeck Environment

User access to the Holodeck pod is via the Holo-Console.  Access to Holo-Console is available via two paths:

VLC Holodeck Deployment Prerequisites 

  • ESXi Host Sizing   
  • Good (One pod): Single ESXi host with 16 cores, 384gb memory and 2TB SSD/NVME 
  • Better (Two pod): Single ESXi host with 32 cores, 768gb memory and 4TB SSD/NVME 
  • Best (Four or more pods):  Single ESXi host with 64+ cores, 2.0TB memory and 10TB SSD/NVME 
  • ESXi Host Configuration: 
  • vSphere 7.0U3 
  • Virtual switch and port group configured with uplinks to customer network/internet  
  • Supports stand alone, non vCenter Server managed host and single host cluster managed by a vCenter server instance 
  • Multi host clusters are NOT supported
  • Holo-Build host 
  • Windows 2019 host or VM with local access to ESXI hosts used for Holodeck + internet access to download software. (This package has been tested on Microsoft Windows Server 2019 only) 
  • 200GB free disk space 
  • Valid login to https://customerconnect.vmware.com  
  • Entitlement to VCF 4.5 Enterprise for 8 hosts minimum (16 hosts if planning to test Cloud Foundation Multi region with NSX Federation) 
  • License keys for the following VCF 4.5 components
    • VMware Cloud Foundation
    • VMware NSX-T Data Center Enterprise
    • VMware vSAN Enterprise 
    • VMware vSphere Enterprise Plus 
    • VMware vCenter Server (one license)
    • VMware vRealize Suite Advanced or Enterprise
    • Note: This product has been renamed VMware Aria Suite
  • External/Customer networks required
    • ESXi host management IP (one per host) 
    • Holo-Router address per pod

Packer – Vmware Tools + Windows Server + VMTools service not installing correctly

I had a frustrating issue with Packer, specifically with VMware Tools installation.

During the Packer install, I load up a script and have VMware Tools 12.1.5 installed. It seems to install successfully, But I noticed that the VMTools service is not running. I have to re-run setup64.exe via the GUI and do a repair, then I see the service exist and runs, and Packer can discover the IP address of the VM to finish it.

The Solution

I used a older autounattend.xml which i never checked the time zone.
Setting the correcting time zone the trick:

<TimeZone>W. Europe Standard Time</TimeZone>

Windows Server Hybrid Administrator Associate certification

Microsoft announced the addition of the Windows Server Hybrid Administrator Associate certification to our portfolio, to be released in early December 2021. This new certification validates the skills of administrators working in hybrid environments.

Administrators in this role support their teams and organizations using Windows Server—both in the cloud and on-premises/

The Windows Server Hybrid Administrator Associate certification

You’ll need to pass two exams to earn this certification. These exams, Exam AZ-800 (beta): Administering Windows Server Hybrid Core Infrastructure and Exam AZ-801 (beta): Configuring Windows Server Hybrid Advanced Services, will be available in early December 2021.

SD Card Boot issue Solution in ESXi 7.x

Issue The host goes into an un-responsive state due to: “Bootbank cannot be found at path ‘/bootbank” and boot device is in an APD state.

This issue is seen due to the boot device failing to respond & enter APD state (All paths down). Some cases, Host goes to non-responsive state & shows disconnected from vCenter.

As of 7.0 Update 1, the format of the ESX-OSData boot data partition has been changed. Instead of using FAT it is using a new format called VMFS-L. This new format allows much more and faster I/O to the partition. The level of read and write traffic is overwhelming and corrupting many less capable SD cards.

The action plan for future resolution would be to replace the SD card/s with a capable device/disk. Per the best practices mentioned on Installation guide.

The version 7.0 Update 2 VMware ESXi Installation and Setup Guide, page 19, specifically says “As even read-only workloads can cause problems on low-end flash devices, you should install ESXi only on high-endurance flash media“.

https://docs.vmware.com/en/VMware-vSphere/7.0/vsphere-esxi-702-installation-setup-guide.pdf

You can also refer to the below KB:

Reference: https://kb.vmware.com/s/article/83376?lang=en_US

Resolution

VMware engineering has a fix that will be in the next release.  Planned for July 2021.

https://communities.vmware.com/t5/ESXi-Discussions/SD-Boot-issue-Solution-in-7-x/m-p/2852027

https://www.provirtualzone.com/vsphere-7-update-2-loses-connection-with-sd-cards-workaround/

HPE Oneview Powershell Clear Alerts

You need: https://github.com/HewlettPackard/POSH-HPOneView/wiki

################################################################
#
#Naam:              Oneview Clear Alarms
#Version:           0.1
#Author:            Ward Vissers
################################################################

 

# Adding PowerCLI core snapin, also check if powerCLI module is alsready added

if (!(get-module -name HPOneView.400 -erroraction silentlycontinue)) {
import-module HPOneView.400 | out-null
}

 

$oneviewserver = “oneview.wardvissers.nl”
Connect-HPOVMgmt -Hostname $oneviewserver
Get-HPOVAlert | Set-HPOVAlert -Cleared
Get-HPOVAlert -State Active | Set-HPOVAlert -Cleared

PowerCLI Move All VM’s to other Host

################### Config ##################################

$SourceVC = “vcenter.wardvissers.nl

################## PASSWORD STORE #########################

#Username

# Check if credentials exist in credential store if not ask for credentials and put them in credential store

 

If ((Get-VICredentialStoreItem).host -notcontains $SourceVC) {New-VICredentialStoreItem -Host $SourceVC -User $env:USERNAME -Password ((get-credential).GetNetworkCredential().Password)}

 

# Remove-VICredentialStoreItem * -Confirm:$false

 

#################### END INIT ####################################

 

#Login to vCenter servers

if (($global:DefaultVIServers).Name -notcontains $SourceVC) {

 

#SourceVC

$ConnectVC = Connect-VIServer $SourceVC

 

# Get-Cluster –Name $DestinationCluster –Server $DestinationVC | Get-VMhost -State Connected | Sort-Object -Property MemoryUsageGB | Select-Object -First 1

 

$ESXiHostSrc = “esx01.wardvissers.nl”

$ESXiHostDst = “esx02.wardvissers.nl”

$vmList = Get-VMHost $ESXiHostSrc | Get-VM

$vmList | move-vm -destination (get-vmhost $ESXiHostDst)

}

PowerCLI move Multiple VM’s to a VM Folder

$DestinationVC = “vcenter.wardvissers.nl”

Connect-VIServer $DestinationVC

#Optie 1

$vmfolder = “Applicatie Servers”

$tempvms = Get-VM | where {$_.Folder -match ‘vm’}

foreach ($tempvm in $tempvms){

$DestinationHost = Get-VM $tempvm | Get-VMhost

Move-VM -VM $tempvm -InventoryLocation $vmfolder -Destination $DestinationHost -ErrorAction Stop

}

#Optie 2

# Get-VM | where {$_.Folder -match ‘vm’} | Move-VM -InventoryLocation “Diverse Applicatie Servers”

Deploy Multi VM’s based on Windows Template

I love powershell. I created a little script to deploy multi VM based on a Windows Template throug CSV file.

It’s create a computer account at the specfified ou. He greates also a Domain Local Group for management. (It used in the customization not specified here)

TempVMlist.csv

server,cpu,memory,DestinationCluster,OSCustomizationSpec,VMtemplate,adgroup

WARDTEST01,2,8,CLUSTER01,W2012R2_Demo,TPL_W2012R2_STD,ServerAdmin

MultiVM.ps1

#Filename: MultiVM.ps1

#Author: W. Vissers

#Source:

#Version: 1.1

#Date: 08-05-2018

#ChangeLog:

# V1.0 – Module Active Directory

#      – Module VMware PowerCli

#      – Active Directory Computer Account, Group

#      – Host Selected from Cluster with Least Memory

#      – Storage selection based on volume with most free space

# V1.1 – Added Harddisk 1&2

#      – Changed porte group other vlan

#

<#

.SYNOPSIS

Script to create a virtual machine from template

.DESCRIPTION

Script to create a virtual machine from template

.EXAMPLE

MultiVM.ps1

#>

################################## INIT #################################################

# LoadModule Active Directory

if (!(Get-Module “activedirectory”)) {Import-module activedirectory}

Else {Write-Host “Module Active Directory is al ready loaded”}

# LoadModule VMware PowerCLI

# if (!(Get-Module “VMware.PowerCLI”)) {

#    Find-Module VMware.PowerCLI

#    Install-Module -Name VMware.PowerCLI -Scope CurrentUser

#}

#Else

# {

# Write-Host “Module PowerCLI is al ready loaded”

# }

#Config

$ouservers=”OU=Servers,DC=wardvissers.nl,DC=nl”

$ougroup=”OU=GroepObjecten,DC=wardvissers,DC=nl”

$folder=”Applicatie Servers”

$DestinationVC =”vcenter01.wardvissers.nl

#Username

if (!$username ) { $username = Read-Host “Give vCenter username ‘wardvissers\admin'”}

#Password

if ( -NOT $Password ) {

$PasswordSec = Read-Host “Give vCenter password” -AsSecureString

$Password = [Runtime.InteropServices.Marshal]::PtrToStringAuto([Runtime.InteropServices.Marshal]::SecureStringToBSTR($PasswordSec))

}

#Connect vCenter

$ConnectVC = Connect-VIServer $DestinationVC -Username $Username -Password $Password -AllLinked

$AllVMs = @()

$AllVMs = Import-Csv “D:\TempVMlist.csv”

foreach ($vm in $AllVMs) {

#Haal De Gegevens op

$server=$($vm.server)

$memory=$($vm.memory)

$cpu=$($vm.cpu)

$DestinationCluster=$($vm.DestinationCluster)

$OSSpec=”$($vm.OSCustomizationSpec)”

$VMtemplate=$($vm.VMtemplate)

$group=$($vm.adgroup)

$harddisk1=$($vm.harddisk1)

$harddisk2=$($vm.harddisk2)

Write-Host “$server heeft $memory GB memory en $cpu cpu(‘s)”

if ($server.length -gt 15) {

Write-Output “Hostname cannot contain more than 15 characters.”

$server = Read-Host “Re-enter hostname for host $server”}

Else

{

Write-Host “Server is umc server”

#Maak AD Groep aan en Computer Account

New-ADComputer -Name $server -Path $ouservers -Enabled $true

New-ADGroup -Name “DLG.$server” -SamAccountName “DLG.$server” -GroupCategory Security -GroupScope DomainLocal -DisplayName “DLG.$server” -Path $ougroup

Add-ADGroupMember -Identity “DLG.$server” -Members $group

}

# Rol server uit van Template

# Select the host with the less used memory

$DestinationHost = Get-Cluster –Name $DestinationCluster –Server $DestinationVC | Get-VMhost -State Connected | Sort-Object -Property MemoryUsageGB | Select-Object -First1

# Select DataStore with the most free space and not in maintance

$destinationDatastore = Get-Cluster $DestinationCluster | Get-Datastore | Where {$_.State -ne “Maintenance”} | Sort-Object -Property FreeSpaceGB -Descending | Select-Object -First 1

# Finally, I deploy my VM with the New-VM cmdlet using my template and OS specs. I place the VM on the ESXi host and store the VM on the datastore.

New-VM -Name $server -Template $VMTemplate -OSCustomizationSpec $OSSpec -VMHost $DestinationHOST -Datastore $DestinationDatastore -Location $folder

Get-VM $server | Set-VM -NumCpu $cpu -MemoryGB $memory -Confirm:$false

if ($harddisk1 -gt 60){Get-HardDisk -vm $server | Where {$_.Name -eq “Hard disk 1”} | Set-HardDisk -CapacityGB $harddisk1 -Confirm:$false}

if ($harddisk2 -gt 20) {Get-HardDisk -vm $server | Where {$_.Name -eq “Hard disk 2”} | Set-HardDisk -CapacityGB $harddisk2 -Confirm:$false}

Get-VM $server | Start-VM -Confirm:$false

Get-VM $Server | Get-NetworkAdapter | Set-NetworkAdapter -Connected $true -Confirm:$false

}

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