Live at VMworld 2010 – 5 PM Central

September 1, 2010 – 11:48 am

Watch me live at 3pm PST/5pm CST with Cincinnati Public Library IT Director, Isilon CTO, Wikibon Founder.

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VMware Server 2 on CentOS 5.4

November 20, 2009 – 9:47 am

Well, I’m sure that there are many people that are running VMware Server 2 on CentOS 5. After all, it’s one of the major Host OSes that VMware recognizes. Popularity notwithstanding, there is a major bug that can bring your VM screamer to a hault.

CentOS 5.4 has a new glibc package that essentially breaks VMware Server’s hostd process. There are many posts out there regarding the issues, and various means of fixing them. However, I am just going to summarize info I’ve found out there on the net, and hopefully you should be able to follow very easily and get your VMs back up and running.


VMware Server 2 (hostd) crashes on CentOS 5 after upgrading to the latest releases of glibc and glibc-common

NOTE ON SOLUTIONS: There are two methods to solve this. The first requires downgrading the libraries system-wide. This should be fine if you only use the CentOS host as a VMware Server Host and nothing else. However, if you are in doubt whether your other applications, etc. on that host will run on a slightly older version of glibc, please use SOLUTION METHOD 2 as it will only affect VMware, and essentially tell VMware Server where to look for the correct libraries it needs.

Disclaimer: I am not responsible for you rendering your server useless. When in doubt, don’t upgrade to CentOS 5.4… Although, you probably already did that, and this is why you’re here.


Step 1: Go to /etc/yum.repos.d and copy the file CentOS-Base.repo to CentOS53-Base.repo

Step 2: In CentOS53-Base.repo, rename all the packages to reflect the 5.3 version. So, change:

[base] --> [base53]
[updates] --> [updates53]
[addons] --> [addons53]
[extras] --> [extras53]
[centosplus] --> [centosplus53]
[contrib] --> [contrib53]

Step 3: In CentOS53-Base.repo, replace all instances of release=$releasever with release=5.3

Step 4: Now, downgrade the glibc and glibc-common libraries by running the following commands:

yum downgrade glibc glibc-common

Step 5: To avoid any problems with future upgrades/updates, it would be best to exclude them from the list of available updates on yum. Add the following to your /etc/yum.conf file:

exclude=glibc glibc-common glibc-devel glibc-headers glibc-utils nscd

Step 6: Reboot the server, and now re-run /usr/bin/ to reconfigure with downgraded glibc libraries.


Step 7: (Optional) Run the following command to make sure future upgrades/updates will not download the updated glibc* libraries.

yum list glibc*

Now, if you have other applications installed on CentOS, and you don’t want to worry about any issues with future use of glibc on your server, please follow the next method to manually link VMware hostd process to use the older glibc libraries.


(Make sure you are logged in as root for these steps)

Step 1: Install the latest 2.0.2 VMware Server package and run the configuration. It will crash, but just ignore this for now.

Step 2: Run the following command, and make note of the response.


Step 3: Run the following commands, and replace any instance of {ARCH} with the result of Step 2:

mkdir ~/vmwareglibc
cd ~/vmwareglibc
rpm2cpio glibc-2.5-34.{ARCH}.rpm | cpio -ivd
mkdir /usr/lib/vmware/lib/
mv lib64/ /usr/lib/vmware/lib/

Step 4: Open the VMware hostd process script for editing.

vim /usr/sbin/vmware-hostd

Step 5: At line 372, before the program is called, insert two empty lines and add the following:

export LD_LIBRARY_PATH=/usr/lib/vmware/lib/$LD_LIBRARY_PATH

Before Example:

if [ ! "@@VMWARE_NO_MALLOC_CHECK@@" = 1 ]; then
     export MALLOC_CHECK_=2
eval exec "$DEBUG_CMD" "$binary" "$@"

After Example:

if [ ! "@@VMWARE_NO_MALLOC_CHECK@@" = 1 ]; then
     export MALLOC_CHECK_=2
export LD_LIBRARY_PATH=/usr/lib/vmware/lib/$LD_LIBRARY_PATH
eval exec "$DEBUG_CMD" "$binary" "$@"

NOTE: In Step 3, the wget command may in the future be this as 5.3 repositories are taken off of the main CentOS Mirrors:


Either method you use should get you the desired end result: VMware Server 2 running on CentOS 5.4

Be sure to comment if this helped you. Thanks.

2/11/2010 UPDATE: A bug exists to where if you’re on the VMware Host server and trying to access the VMware Web Access UI with HTTPS via Firefox you will simply see a blank screen. Instead, use http://<HOST_IP_ADDRESS>:8222/ui

2/12/2010 UPDATE: Firefox 3.6 does not work with the Remote Console Plugin – you must use 3.5.7 or earlier, Internet Explorer, or use the VI Client. – VMware Communities Thread

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VMware vSphere Client not working on Windows 7

October 8, 2009 – 4:54 pm

UPDATE: vSphere Client supports Windows 7 as of vSphere 4.0 Update 1. If you aren’t running vSphere 4 Update 1 or later, following the below will allow you to function until you are able to upgrade.

Well, I finally took the plunge on my workstation and installed Windows 7 Professional 64-bit. I really am impressed with the usability. And, like the improvements that have been made. I have been on the Beta on one of my home machines, so I’m not entirely new to the Windows 7 look and feel.

My company is heavily into VMware virtualization, management and disaster recovery, and as such I use VMware vSphere\Infrastructure Client all the time. However, I got some strange errors when I tried to log in to one of our vCenter Servers. I realized that the vSphere Client was not supported on Windows 7, and so I started to do some digging. Here is a result of things I’ve found, and this should help get you going…


Error parsing the server “SERVER IP” “clients.xml” file


Note: I’m running the 64 bit version of Windows 7, so any reference to “Program Files (x86)” should be referenced as “Program Files” if you are running 32 bit Windows 7.

Step 1. Download the following file: System.dll (this file is a .zip file)

Step 2. Once downloaded, unzip the file into the directory:

C:\Program Files (x86)\VMware\Infrastructure\Virtual Infrastructure Client\Launcher\Lib

If the “Lib” directory does not exist, then create it and drop in the DLL file.

Step 3. Next, we want to edit the “VpxClient.exe.conf” file which can be found in the C:\Program Files (x86)\VMware\Infrastructure\Virtual Infrastructure Client\Launcher directory and add the following three lines just before the end </configuration> tag:

<developmentMode developerInstallation=”true”/>


Step 4. Now we have to create a system environment variable for Windows.  Right-click on “Computer” and go to “Properties”. Now click on the “Advanced System Settings” option:

Advanced System Settings

Now, go into the “System Properties” box and click the “Advanced” tab and then click “Environment Variables”

Environment Variables

Now create a new “System” variable called ‘DEVPATH’ and assign the following variable value:

%ProgramFiles(x86)%\VMware\Infrastructure\Virtual Infrastructure Client\Launcher\Lib

(again, making note that it would be %ProgramFiles%  instead of %ProgramFiles(x86)% if you are on 32 bit Windows 7)


Done! You will probably have to reboot your Windows machine to make sure the DEVPATH variable is loaded. Also, some people may have to “Run as Administrator” in order for this workaround to work properly.

Note: This workaround bypasses the normal .NET Framework loading mechanism so that assembly versions in the DEVPATH folder are no longer checked. Handle with care.

Sources: ftubio @ VMware Communities, Xtravirt, TechHead

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Guest VM Settings Migrator 1.0

September 8, 2009 – 3:28 pm

If you have used VMware for any length of time, you have probably done a P2V(Physical to Virtual) conversion on a Windows server, to migrate that system into a virtualized environment. If you’ve got specific NIC settings – such as Static IP, DNS, etc. – those have to be recreated on the new virtual NIC. You also have the duty of cleaning up all the non-present hardware of the system after the conversion is finished in order to get respectable boot times, and better stability inside of Windows.

There are a lot of repetitive tasks, so I decided to put all those common commands in a batch script. Things should be self-explanatory but let me know if you have questions. Note: Fully works only on Windows 2003 server

Guest VM Settings Migrator Screenshot

Guest VM Settings Migrator Screenshot

Read the rest of this entry »

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VMware Server 2 on Linux Host with Parallel Port Passthrough

April 17, 2009 – 9:52 am

Not being too familiar with linux printing, I blindly assumed that as long as the parallel port worked in the Linux host OS, that parallel port passthrough would work just fine. So, I proceeded to add a virtual parallel port to my Windows VM running on VMware Server 2.0.1 under CentOS 5.3.

I soon realized that this wasn’t as easy as it seemed. CentOS printed test pages, etc. just fine from the host using the device /dev/lp0. However, VMware wanted to use the device /dev/parport0 – actually, I really didn’t have an option as it was simply a drop-down menu and not a simply text field to enter whichever device I wanted to specify.

I tried manually editing the .vmx file and changing the line:

parallel0.fileName = "/dev/parport0"


parallel0.fileName = "/dev/lp0"

No dice… Even though CentOS worked when trying to print to the device /dev/lp0, it did not seem to work this way with VMware Server. With a little digging, I was able to find a way to make the passthrough work correctly, albeit not 100% smoothly due to what may be a bug with VMware Server.

Here is what I did in order to get the port working:

1. Remove lp module:

user@computer:$ rmmod lp

2. Edit the file /etc/modprobe.conf, and beneath the existing ‘alias’ lines, add these lines:

alias lp off
alias parport_lowlevel parport_pc

3. Make sure no modules are using the parport0 device (output should be ‘none’):

user@computer:$ cat /proc/sys/dev/parport/parport0/devices/active

4. Reboot the system and run the above command again to make sure that lp module does not bind to parport0

user@computer:$ cat /proc/sys/dev/parport/parport0/devices/active

5. Make sure the lp module is not loaded:

user@computer:$ lsmod | grep lp

6. Add the virtual parallel port to the VM while it is powered off, and make sure it’s set to the hardware device /dev/parport0 and checked to Connect at Power On:

7. Boot VM, and it should auto-detect the LPT1 port inside of Windows:

8. Once Windows is loaded, go back to the host and edit the parallel port settings to disconnect the port, and then reconnect the port.

9. This parallel port passthrough should work until the next reboot of Windows, and then simply complete Step 8 again, and it will be back.

Hope this helps someone else that’s looking for a solution!

Tags: , , , – Now with iPhone Support

March 2, 2009 – 1:55 am

Thanks to, and their WPtouch WordPress plugin, anyone using an iPhone, iPod Touch, or Android web browser, can now view my site and blog entries in a much better format!

If anyone has been looking for an easy way to be able to make their WordPress blog viewable in mobile browsers, you need not look further than WPtouch.

This is an awesome little plugin that takes the headache out of making your site more mobile-friendly. As of February 17, 2009, this plugin is on version 1.7.5. And now, since this code has been released on the official WordPress plugins repository, you can upgrade automatically through the WordPress 2.5+ admin panel – pretty slick indeed!

So, check me out on your nearest mobile device, and if it’s an iPhone, iPod Touch, or Android browser, you will see the alternate theme and layout. Let me know what you think, and let the guys over at know that they did an awesome job with this.


VMware View Implementation Goes Well

December 30, 2008 – 7:27 am

It’s nice when you get to finally see a lot of project pieces come together. I have been working with an insurance company for about three weeks now finishing up on a VMware View install and setup.

Nice beefy intel servers, world-class Isilon storage, and a lot of planning in order to replicate the entire installation offsite. There are a total of 11 virtual servers for their numerous apps(and I do mean numerous) and about 40 virtual desktops. We’ve set up some Persistent pools and some individual pools for special desktops such as accounting/check printing, etc.

My company specializes both in Disaster Recovery(DR) and virtualization – through offsite backups and mirrored server/cluster solutions.

It’s great to be on the edge of technology and show clients some great products and solutions that they can really benefit from; both short and long term.

They had an aging Active Directory, so one of the pieces of this project was starting fresh with a new domain, setting up Exchange 2007, and consolidating two domain’s mail to the one Exchange server.

Everything was actually switched over in one weekend. (it’s a dirty job, but someone’s got to do it) that was fun, working through the night has been a way of life on different projects like this.

Now what’s been on our plate is getting all the little helper applications working again, and trying to organize file structures, etc.

Well, I just wanted to update on recent things, but feel free to ask me if you want more details or have any questions.



Ubuntu 8.10 and VMware Workstation 6.5 – Virtual Unity

November 17, 2008 – 7:09 pm

UPDATE: Read full post for the edit containing a much better alternative!

I am loving the new VMware Workstation 6.5 with Unity mode(among other features) I hope to be rid of the need for a dedicated boot entry for Windows. If you haven’t checked it out yet, Unity mode alows you to have access to your Guest OS’ applications menu in order to start and run those apps in the ‘space’ of your Host OS’ desktop. Not the most technical explanation, but it essentially allows the focus to be on what you’re doing with your VM as opposed to the OS itself – cool stuff.

Which brings me to the reason for this post – it seems as though the latest release of Ubuntu (Intrepid Ibex – 8.10) doesn’t play well with VMware Workstation(or vice versa). Then throw in the added complication of an Acer laptop that I’m dealing with (TravelMate 3260), and it becomes more complex.

Of course I searched around the internet for answers, and found bits and pieces. I was able to fix my keymap issue here. I made use of compiz-check to verify my hardware was capable of running Compiz and then installed it.

So, now I am pretty much set, from what I have read and can tell that I should be able to utilize Unity mode in my VM now. (Of course, I have already created my Windows XP VM, installed updates/VMware Tools, etc.)

Well, I booted up the VM and once it was up and ready, clicked the Unity button. I was finally ready to try this puppy out. VMware Workstation minimized and the Unity “Start” button was created at the top left, just under the top Applications bar in Ubuntu. I clicked the button for my VM and… nothing! It did absolutely nothing. Well, the first thing I tried to do was bring up my VMware Workstation window again, and it came up all gray and was basically not responding.

Well, this was all after a bit of time trying to get this thing to work, so I was dissapointed. I searched the net again to no avail, just turning up post after post of different people having the same issues (apparently not this guy). So, I tried different combinations of VM settings in displays, Unity settings, etc. It still would just show the button, almost defiantly.

I decided to try something else – I noticed that while in VMware Workstation preferences, there are a couple options that are grayed out unless you are running VMware Workstation as root. So, I opened up a terminal and ran:

sudo /usr/bin/vmware

It opened up the VMware Workstation window, and I started my Windows VM once more. I just knew it was going to work this time. Once loaded I again pressed the Unity button and it minimized VMware Workstation; leaving my Unity Menu at the top left again. I pressed the Menu button this time with added confidence, only to find that the result was the same.

However, I noticed that in the terminal window, there was a message:

VMware Workstation Hint:
A language-specific mapping from X keysyms to machine scancodes will be used,
based on the detected keyboard type of "us101", because you are not using an
XFree86 server running on the local machine.
However, this program's language-specific mapping may not be correct for your
keyboard in all the details, because X keyboard mappings vary.
You can override specific key mappings in the virtual-machine configuration.
For more information, please see VMware Workstation documentation available
on our Web site at "".

0) OK

Please choose a number [0-0]:

Obviously, I had grown weary of this “Hint” earlier on and had already set it to not show this again. As soon as I typed in 0 and hit Enter, a game of Solataire popped up on my screen in all it’s Compiz-enabled, Windows 95 prowess.

I was finally enjoying Unity mode and bouncing back and forth between windows(literally), apps, OSes. It was a touching moment to see such vastly different OS models come together like that!

Ok, maybe not that touching, but it’s sure nice to have my proprietary apps running side by side with the open-source goodness that it Linux.

Anyone else have issues like this? Any tips, or suggestions? I am just glad I got this far on it, as I’m by no means a Linux guru. Maybe this will help some others that have struggled with the same issues as I.

Kudos to VMware for another slick release of Workstation, and Ubuntu with a nice release of Interpid Ibex – And to all those whose information helped me along the way, Thank You!

EDIT: Just as an update to anyone reading this, I found out that there is a much better way to do this. Instead of using the “xkeymap.nokeycodeMap” line in your VMware workstation config file, if you manually specify the keymap instead of simply having it ignore it, you can actually run Workstation 6.5 as your user and no need to have a terminal window open, so it’s much more fluid.

Look at this post on the VMware Community site.

Hope this helps someone!


VMware Training in Raleigh

May 18, 2008 – 11:20 pm

Just flew in to Raleigh, NC today for the VMware Fast Track Training this week. I’m pretty excited to be able to participate in some ‘official’ education from VMware, and this will hopefully be a good week with plenty of valuable information to take home. My biggest fear is… Read the rest of this entry »

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At the laundromat…

April 2, 2008 – 8:19 pm

Well, I’m at the laundromat tonight, and am now realizing how crappy my phone is for realistic web use.

It’s actually really hard to do this because my text box to write in only renders about one third of an inch on my browser, so basically any word more than three characters long is broken up on multiple lines. Read the rest of this entry »

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