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.

How to hot-extend a virtual disk with VMware ESXi

Hot-extending a virtual disk is the act of increasing the capacity of a virtual disk while it’s operating and the guest OS is running. Today is a really simple operation to perform, on both ESXi and Hyper-V, but still very useful.

We are going to see how to hot-extend a virtual disk connected to a running VMware ESXi virtual machine with the vSphere Web Client.

How to configure and administer the ESXi firewall

Securing ESXi and vCenter servers is an essential part of any virtual infrastructure administrator’s responsibilities.

VMware makes available a several features to protect the servers, including the ability to set granular permissions, a directory authentication mechanism, a firewall, a virtual switch layer 2 security and more.

Knowing the capabilities of these features and how to use them is essential to administer ESXi and vCenter enviroments.

Some years ago, only ESX came with a firewall, but with vSphere 5, VMware added a firewall to ESXi 5.

Convert a thick provisioned disk to thin and vice versa on VMware ESXi

Thick-to-thin and thin-to-thick virtual disk provisioning conversion is one of the most common operations performed by the IT staff administering a virtual environment. The allocated spaces of a thin provisioned virtual disk is equal to the used space plus a bunch of bytes while with a thick provisioned virtual disk the maximum capacity will be allocated despite the usage of the drive.

Thin provisioned disks allow IT admins to store more virtual machines in the same datastore. It’s possible to convert a thick provisioned disk to a thin one in a bunch of clicks thanks to the powerful vSphere Web Client, for VMware ESXi virtual machines. It’s also possible to perform the inverse operation.

How to add an ESXi Host to an Active Directory Domain

This is a basic tutorial explaining how to add an ESXi Host to a directory service, like Microsoft’s Active Directory, to simplify the administration and security of the ESXi hosts.

As prerequisites, you need:

  • The ESXi host DNS server must resolve AD Domain controller and Domain Name
  • The ESXi host name must be fully qualified with the domain name of the Active Directory forest, for example, esxtest1.contoso.local
  • The time between the AD server and the ESXi Host should be syncronized

Before specifying the Active Directory credentials you need to add the ESXi host to the domain controller.

How to configure a pass-through disk with Hyper-V

Usually, virtual machines use virtual hard disks as storage device. A virtual disk is an area of space on a physical drive allocated for use by VMs.

But it’s also possible to use a physical disk connected to the host machine as storage device. This setup is named pass-through disk and Microsoft Hyper-V support it. The configuration is quick, you just need a spare HD connected to the Hyper-V server.

How to create a Virtual Switch on a Hyper-V server

Networking is a critical part of creating a VM infrastructure. Virtual machines need to communicate with other physical and/or virtual machines and/or with the Internet.

Having the possibility to build a virtual network infrastructure simplifies the job of system administrators. Furthermore it improves network efficiency and decreases costs.

Hyper-V can create and manage virtual switches, the backbone of a virtual network. A switch, physical or virtual, is a device operating at Layer 2 of the Open Systems Interconnect (OSI) reference model.

Hyper-V requires the configuration of a default virtual switch during the installation procedure. You can skip the configuration but sooner or later you’ll be forced to configure at least one virtual switch.