How to enable Lockdown Mode on VMware ESXi

The Lockdown Mode is a nice feature of VMware ESXi. When an ESXi host is in Lockdown Mode, it will only perform operations coming from the vSphere Server that is controlling it. vSphere Clients and other sources won’t “work”.

The ESXi Shell, the DCUI (Direct Console User Interface) and SSH won’t be affected.

Lockdown Mode has been created to offer improved security in complex virtual environment. It’s really easy to enable the Lockdown Mode from the DCUI.

How to create a vApp on VMware vSphere

VMware vSphere is a very flexible platform, making you able to manage a group of virtual machines and resource pools in a single entity named vApp.

Let’s think about a web application running on a VM. The application also needs a database and other resources running on differente virtual machines. From a service point of view, all the virtual machines are part of the same entity and that’s why vApp exists.

How to configure NIC Teaming on Windows Server 2012

Load balancing and failover (LBFO), also known as NIC Teaming, is a powerful feature introduced by Microsoft only with Windows Server 2012. With previous versions of Windows you could only rely on third party software, a curious limitation.

NIC Teaming allows an administrator to place in a team multiple network adapters being part of the same machine.

Working as a team, the network adapters improve bandwidth and protect from failures, sharing the same IP and network configuration.

The reason is pretty straightforward, if one of the adapters breaks, the others will take care of the local connectivity. Windows supports up to 32 adapters placed in a single team.

How to create a Template from a VM on VMware vSphere

Cloning virtual machines is a common task in virtualized environments, so common VMware created a different type of virtual machine to be used as a Template (and named Template). The difference between a VM and a Template is simple: you can’t power on a Template so you can’t modify it without converting it back to a virtual machine.

When a VM is converted to a template its .vmx file become a .vmtx file.

It’s pretty easy and quick to convert a VM to a template with VMWare vSphere Web Client, just follows these steps.

How to reset NTFS permissions with ICACLS

File and folder permissions are really important to Windows. Sometimes a user may mess with the permissions causing software or even the operating system to work in an undesired way.

There’s a simple way to solve this kind of problems without headaches, using the ICACLS command.

Launch the command prompt as an Administrator and navigate through the tree of folders you need to fix.

Then launch the command ICACLS * /T /Q /C /RESET.

ICACLS will reset the permissions of all the folders, files and subfolders. After a while, depending on the number of file, the permissions will be fixed.

Sometimes, you may need to take the ownership of a tree of folders. You can use the command takeown /R /F * before launching the ICACLS.

Be careful, taking the owenership of system folders may break your operating systems.

How to configure USB passthrough from an ESXi host

USB passthrough is a very useful feature that allows to add to a virtual machine residing on a VMware ESXi host USB devices connected to the host itself.

Usually USB passthrough is used to connect security dongles or storage USB devices to virtual machines. The USB devices must be connected only with a VM at time. In order to assign them to other VMs you need to perform a disconnection.

The configuration is extremely simple and involves just a few steps.

Configuring and using Windows Deployment Services (WDS)

Windows Deployment Services (WDS) is a really interesting tool from Microsoft. It allows an administrator to remotely deploy Windows operating systems to machines booting from a network adapter.

In environments with a high number of clients WDS can be very useful, a new computer can be formatted just plugging the Ethernet, without any physical support like Windows DVDs or USB drives.

The configuration isn’t difficult but there are some requirements:

  • There must be an Active Directory Domain Services
  • At least one partition on the server must be formatted as NTFS
  • A DHCP server must be active to assign IP addresses to the WDS clients

Let’s see how you can configure and use the Windows Deployment Services.