This is a guest post by Stine Elise Larsen: Last week, I worked with a customer on what was seemingly a straightforward VMware vCenter 7 certificate replacement job but encountered several red herrings that also turned out to be issues that needed solving. I thought I’d share these in this post, in the hope that they can help others in future. The initial issue was that during the summer holidays, the customer’s certificates had expired, and they were presented with “Error 503, service unavailable” messages when trying to log into vSphere Client. While renewing certificates with certificate-manager in vCenter BASH Shell via SSH the services got stuck at 85%, and then failed to start after several minutes.

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VMware has released an updated version of KB85685 SD card/USB boot device revised guidance (85685). Previous versions of this KB stated that in the next major version of ESXi SD Card / USB boot would be deprecated and unsupported. This has now changed, as the updated version dated 27th of April 2022 states that this will still be supported in the next major version.

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My new lab is based on Dell OptiPlex 7090 UFF hosts and after enabling vSAN on the four node cluster, the first two hosts I set up started having issues, especially with the cache devices. It seems that they just disappear from the host, especially when doing IO-intensive operations like changing the vSAN policy for a few VMs from RAID-1 to RAID-5. Once the host is rebooted, the device is back in place, seemingly without issues until the next time it disappears. Strangely this was not a problem before I configured vSAN, and only used the same devices as local datastores.

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Installing Tanzu Community Edition (TCE) on vSphere is well documented on the tanzucommunityedition.io site, but I ran into a couple of small quirks when installing it in my home lab.

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For years now my homelab has been a single Dell Precision T7500 host, with a total of 24 GB RAM and a few TB of locally attached disks. I also had a small Synology DS216play and a very old HP MicroServer N36L that I ran FreeNAS on. A few months back, the MicroServer decided to call it quits after many, many years of service (it was released in May 2010!). To replace it I got ordered a new Synology DS920+, which again forced me into have a proper look at my entire home lab environment. The conclusion was very clear; My home lab environment was in dire need of a complete overhaul!

To make a long story short, I ended up with a pretty odd choice of new hosts for my home lab!

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Back in November 2021, VMware vSphere Update 3 was released and then ultimately retracted again due to critical issues with the code base and upgrade procedures — For details, see KB article 86398.

As of January 27th, VMware vSphere 7 Update 3c is now available for download!

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Heard of Caddy 2? If not, here’s a quick intro on how I currently use it. Note that I am barely toucing the surface of what it can do, but after I have a couple of simple, yet very handy use cases for it:

Reverse Proxy and Static File Server.

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I recently bought a Google Nest Hub 2nd gen and wanted to use it as a dashboard device for Home Assistant (HA). Now. the Google Nest Hub is not really meant used like this, as there is no real way of installing 3rd party apps on it, such as the Home Assistant app. Thankfully there are ways to get it to display Lovelace Dashboards from HA, and here is how I solved it with local network access only.

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I have been running Pi-Hole since 2018, and I’m still amazed as to how much ads it actually blocks. It’s simply incredible, and I often run my VPN client on my phone to connect to my home network, just to get DNS filtering no matter where I am.

Due to some recent changes to my home environment, I have now moved to a dual Pi-Hole setup, utilizing Michael Stanclift’s excellent Gravity Sync to keep the Gravity blocklists syncronized between instances.

I am also a heavy user of Home Assistant, so natually I have statistics from Pi-Hole visible in a Dashboard there as well, utilizing the Pi-Hole integration, which works very well. However, with two Pi-Hole instances, I would like to see some combined statistics, instead of them being seperated out by instance.

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This is a guest post by Stine Elise Larsen: I recently had a case of “go with your gut” when we added some new NVMe disks to an existing VMware vSAN solution at a customer.

Normally I'm very cautious and will put hosts into maintenance mode, no matter how small the hardware change I’m doing is, but against my better judgement this time I decided to hot add some disks (which of course is supported). However, I fumbled and managed to insert it and quickly remove it again before inserting it again, and ended up with a dreaded Purple Screen of Death (PSOD) on the host.

Naturally this freaked me out and I was eager to figure out what the problem was. Searching through the KBs at VMware didn’t give me any clues, but a quick Google search took me to the

ESXi 7.0u2c Release Notes.

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About the author

Christian Mohn Profile Picture

Christian Mohn works as a Chief Technologist SDDC for Proact in Norway.

See his About page for more details, or find him on Twitter.

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