The musings of an IT Consultant

February 27, 2009  4:33 PM

HP and EDS Pay Cuts

Raj Perumal Raj Perumal Profile: Raj Perumal

Hi folks, the recent pay cut announcement at HP and EDS has been taken with mixed reactions. If you haven’t heard yet, they have announced that workers will be receiving a pay cut in lieu of layoffs.


Now I don’t know about you but in an industry where workers are already underpaid to begin with, the prospect of a pay cut is that much more crazy. Of course on the other side of the coin, would you rather lose your job or lose some of your pay? For most people it’s almost the same thing because they need that pay to make ends meet.


The executives have also taken a pay cut as well. Unfortunately that isn’t being taken very well by some employees and they are concerned about this whole situation regardless of that fact. I sincerely hope everything works out well in the end and that all the people involved are able to keep their jobs. I also hope that once the tough times are over, that HP rewards their employees for their loyalty and hard work.



February 15, 2009  10:22 PM

Rumours regarding Windows 7 upgrade from Vista

Raj Perumal Raj Perumal Profile: Raj Perumal

So unless your head has been under the sand lately, you’ve probably heard the latest rumours. The rumours are that Microsoft is considering providing a Windows 7 upgrade to recent Windows Vista buyers for free or for a substantially low upgrade price.

There is a post out there on a site called Tech ARP that lists a timeline for rollout of Windows 7. The question is if this is legitimate or not?

Regardless if it is, I think it’s a great idea for Microsoft to offer Windows 7 as a free upgrade or at least as a low cost upgrade to it’s current Windows Vista user base. This would go a long way to gaining trust and support from a user base that feels that Microsoft has largely given them the shaft.


February 15, 2009  2:28 AM

VMware Infrastructure Management Assistant (VIMA)

Raj Perumal Raj Perumal Profile: Raj Perumal

Hi folks, I wanted to bring your attention to a VMware virtual appliance. This appliance is called VIMA, VMware Infrastructure Management Assistant. It is a virtual appliance running Red Hat Enterprise Linux from which you can run scripts and agents from.

There are many cool scripts out there that you can run from VIMA, especially some of the cool scripts from William Lam. Many scripts out there use VIMA as a launching pad.

To install and configure VIMA, just launch your VMware client and follow the simple instructions posted here.

After a while the import will finish and you will now  have a new virtual machine. At this point you can boot it up and set the IP address for the VIMA box. After you have done that you can mount an NFS share if you need one by modifying the /etc/fstab file just like you normally would in Red Hat Linux.

In future blogs I will write about some of the cool things you can do from within VIMA.


February 14, 2009  11:22 PM

Configuring NFS in Windows

Raj Perumal Raj Perumal Profile: Raj Perumal

Hello again folks! As I had mentioned previously, I want to talk a little bit about configuring NFS in Windows. Since last we spoke I had mentioned using the Allegro NFS product and that I was considering purchasing it after my trial was over.

NFS is a great solution to use along with the ghettoVCB scripts I mentioned in my previous posts. This way you can backup your virtual machines to USB storage connected to a workstation or server.

Well my trial is over and I have now purchased it for use in my home lab. I have to say it works flawlessly. I experimented with some free NFS software that is out there but nothing seemed to work perfectly. I found that a lot of products would just stop working after a period of time and then you’d have to restart the service or program in question.

Allegro NFS is pretty easy to configure. You start the program, you specify the windows path name you want to share out via NFS, then you specify the hosts and rights you want to give to the share. Then you just go to your client computer and mount the NFS share as you normally would. Pretty straightforward, it doesn’t get any easier than this. This is a great solution for users using workstation operating systems such as Windows Vista to share out external USB drives as NAS storage.

However if you want to use a workable free solution in your server environment then I would suggest using the Windows Services for Unix download with your Windows 2003 install. To get this working please do the following:

  • Download the files /etc/passwd and /etc/group from your ESX or ESXi server using WinSCP
  • Create a folder on your C drive called c:\nfs and place the passwd and group files in there
  • Download Windows Services for Unix 3.5 from here and install it
  • Make sure you install the Server for NFS and User Mapping components during the install
  • During the user mapping configuration portion of the install, choose Local User Name Mapping Server and choose Password and Group files
  • In the User Name mapping screen type in the path name for the passwd and group files (c:\nfs\passwd and c:\nfs\group)
  • After it’s installed, click on Start and Run then type MMC
  • Add the Windows Services for Unix Snap-in to the MMC console
  • Select User Name Mapping on the left hand pane and then select the MAPS section in the right hand pane
  • Ensure Simple Maps is checked and then click on Show User Maps
  • Then click on list Windows Users and list UNIX users
  • Select Administrator from the Windows user list and select root from the UNIX users list and then click Add
  • Check the Display simple maps in Mapped users list checkbox
  • Click on Apply in the top right hand corner of the MMC console
  • Close the MMC console
  • Create a folder and right click on it and choose Sharing and Security
  • Click on the NFS Sharing tab
  • Click share this folder and give it a share name, in this example we’ll call it NFSBackup
  • Click on permissions
  • Check the Allow root access box
  • Change the Type of Access drop down menu to Read-Write and then click OK and then click OK again

Now you can mount the share from VMware. When you go to add NFS storage just point it at the IP of the server and the path. So if the server’s IP address is for example, then the serer name would be and the NFS path would be /NFSBackup.

That’s it!

-Cheers, RP

February 8, 2009  12:29 AM

Scheduling jobs in ESXi the Easy Way

Raj Perumal Raj Perumal Profile: Raj Perumal

So continued from my previous blogs, I wanted to discuss scheduling jobs in ESXi. Due to the way ESXi is made, you cannot edit the cron jobs and expect them to still be there with their changes past a reboot. Rebooting an ESXi server clears the cron jobs. The cron jobs reset back to their default settings.

In my last blog post I spoke of a program called Plink. Plink is a command line interface to Putty. This allows us to connect to an SSH session from the command line. This can be leveraged using batch scripting and windows scheduled tasks to schedule ESXi jobs.

For my example I will show you how to schedule the script I spoke about in my last blog entry. Please see my detailed instructions on how to do this in my blog post here.


February 7, 2009  11:09 PM

Creating virtual machine backups in VMware continued…

Raj Perumal Raj Perumal Profile: Raj Perumal

Hello again, so here we go continued from my previous post. I am going to explain how to implement this script in VMware ESXi as this is the most likely way people will be using this script. Most peole using the full VMware ESX version will probably go with a commercial 3rd party product backup solution.

So in order to implement this script you will first have to enable SSH access to the ESXi server. You can do this by following my enable SSH instructions in my blog post here.

Then after you have enabled SSH, please follow my detailed instructions in my blog post here.

-Cheers, RP

February 7, 2009  6:10 AM

Creating virtual machine backups in VMware ESXi or ESX for free with ghettoVCB

Raj Perumal Raj Perumal Profile: Raj Perumal

Hello again folks! Today I wanted to talk a little bit about virtual machine backups. When backing up in a virtual environment there are two types of backups you are looking at. File level backups and virtual machine level backups.

File level backups are self explantory, they are the backups you run with backup software to backup the individual files, folders and system state data on a server. Everyone should already be doing these kinds of backups.

Virtual machine level backups are backups of the entire virtual machine itself. Virtual machine backups consist of the actual files that make up the entire virtual machine. For example in the case of VMware, the vmdk and vmx files for example. By backing these files up, you can restore the entire virtual machine to another location if your ESX server and the storage area that holds the virtual machine blows up. You can install a new ESX server and restore the entire virtual machine to a new storage location managed by a new ESX host.

One of my favorite products to do this is the free script from William Lam called GhettoVCB. You can read more details about it in my post here.


February 6, 2009  4:54 PM

Enabling SSH on a VMware ESXi Server

Raj Perumal Raj Perumal Profile: Raj Perumal

For those of you that are used to having service console access in VMware ESX server, you might find yourself in for a bit of surprise when you try and do this with ESXi. By default you do not have access. However there is a way to enable access to the console.

Why do you need access to the console? With access to the console this gives you the ability to troubleshoot larger support issues when things aren’t working the way they should and it also enables you to run some pretty cool scripts that are available out there on the Internet.

The ESXi console uses BusyBox so it is different from ESX even after you get console access. To enable SSH access to the shell, please do the following:

  • From the ESXi console hit Alt-F1
  • Type in the word unsupported and hit enter (you will not see the characters appear on the screen)
  • Type in your root password
  • Edit the /etc/inetd.conf file by typing in vi /etc/inetd.conf
  • Scroll through the file until you find the line that says #ssh and delete the # sign
  • Save the file
  • Now you can reboot the ESXi server and you will have shell access
  • Alternatively you can run the /sbin/ restart command to restart the management services without rebooting the box.


January 31, 2009  11:18 PM

My hardware arrived for my home built VMware computer!

Raj Perumal Raj Perumal Profile: Raj Perumal

So all the hardware finally arrived for my machine that I’m using to build a VMware ESXi computer. This is a computer I’m building for my test lab at home.

I’ve just finished putting it together and I’m getting ready to install VMware. This will be a great machine to use along with my Cisco test lab equipment to prepare for the CCNP.

Here is a list of the computer hardware I purchased to build my machine. I purchased all my equipment at NCIX.


  • Two Intel PRO/1000 GT network adapters
  • One Asus P5K SE Motherboard (LGA775, FSB1333, DDR2, PCI-Express x16, SATA controller)
  • 8 GB of RAM (Four 2 GB sticks of Kingston RAM KVR800D2N5/2G)
  • One Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 3.5 inch 500 GB SATA hard drive
  • One Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 2.40 GHZ (Kentsfield)
  • One BFG GeForce 9400 GT Video Card (PCI-Express)
  • One 20 pin ATX to 24 pin ATX power supply adapter cable
I’ll let you know if this works or not!
-Cheers, RP

January 31, 2009  11:12 PM

Writing the latest version of the VCP

Raj Perumal Raj Perumal Profile: Raj Perumal

So some time in February I’m getting set to write the latest version of the VCP. I figured it’s time to get that out of the way.

I work with VMware so often it should be a pretty straightforward exam I figure. From what I hear there are a lot of questions regarding very specific requirements or answers as opposed to case study type questions. From the sounds of it it’s more of a memorization certification than a real test of VMware knowledge.

I will write the exam and then let you guys know my thoughts on it. Sometimes I wish these companies would just make the exams harder so not just anyone can get them as I’ve ranted about in the past. From the sounds of things the VCP exam should be a joke.


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