Archive for the 'Geek Stuff' Category

ESXi 4.1 Update 1 Whitebox

Monday, April 25th, 2011

Shopping List

  • Thermaltake V3 mid-tower ATX Case
  • Intel DP67BA Motherboard
  • Intel i7-2600k Processor
  • Corsair 650TX Power Supply
  • G.SKILL Sniper 8GB (2×4) DDR31600 Memory
  • Seagate 7200.11 1.5TB SATA Drive
  • Lite-On SATA DVD+/-RW
  • MSI GeForce8400 PCIe Video
  • I did some creative shopping, caught a lot of these on sale, and got the whole thing for ~ $800

    Whole thing went together pretty well… considering I haven’t put a machine together in YEARS. I wanted a powerful system, but I didn’t want ‘server class’ because it’s sitting under my desk. It’s hard to find a consumer box with this level of RAM, Mobo, CPU without paying a fortune because they include the high-end video, sound, and Operating System components – which I don’t care about here.

    Installing ESXi 4.1
    Here’s where I knew it was going to get tricky. I specifically picked an Intel motherboard hoping that the on-board gig nic would ‘just work.’ However, the one I picked was just a little too new and I couldn’t get through the install at all – the dreaded “vmkctl.HostCtlException: Unable to load module /usr/lib/vmware/vmkmod/vmfs3: Failure” message greeted me.
    Ok… probably the nic… let’s see what we have.
    ALT-F1 will get you to a console (yes, even though the install bombed) – login as root, blank password.
    The “lspci” command will show us (hopefully) what’s there. In my case, it did in fact show me a nic that was surprisingly in the pci.ids already for ESXi. In my case it was the Intel 82579V. I crossed my finger and ran “vmkload_mod e1000e” then “esxcfg-nics -l” hoping to see my nic appear (which then would just be a matter of editing the and running install again) Again, no joy.

    Big sigh, crack a beer, ponder my options.

    I really don’t know if I can pull off compiling a driver for ESXi… but I start looking for what it would take. It’s either that, or buy a officially supported card and hope the rest of the install goes well. Not sure I’m willing to do that yet… check flea-bay… eh. Maybe. I’ll think on it. Check back on and someone is already working on a new driver based on the 1.3.10a drivers! He came through with it (you’re the best Chilly!) so I took his driver and rolled my own install using this super-handy script.
    Some notes on the script: Not spending a lot of time in Linux lately, I made the mistake of putting a space in the path where I put the script & .iso files – that won’t work. Also, one USB stick I tried gave me some weird ‘not a multicore kernel’ error. I also had the “menu.c32: not a CM32R image” loop – grab 3.86 from here and extract. I’m on Windows 7, so find syslinux.exe in the win32 folder, right-click | properties, and on the compatibility tab make it ‘Run as administrator’ Then run “syslinux -m -a X:” (replace “X” with your USB drive’s letter)

    But I wasn’t done.

    First, none of my installed drives came up as options to install to – the 1.5TB or the SSD I had installed. Bummer. Ok, so into the BIOS we go and change the SATA mode from AHCI to IDE. Still nothing. Try changing from IDE mode to RAID and WOO! There we go. Ok, so hit F11, ready to throw a party, and I get “Unable to find system image to install” Back to to Google.
    Found a couple of options to deal with this minor setback. Most of the advice on suggests installing 4.0 first then upgrading to 4.1. I found a great tidbit earlier on with problems installing from USB where ESXi seems to ‘forget’ you’re installing from usb and suggests creating a kickstart script to get around it. So I started creating that script and started the download for ESXi 4.0… but just for giggles, decided to go back to Varazir’s script and make a custom install CD first. I had been making a USB installation media just because it was faster and I thought I’d make a few coasters, but I was pretty sure I had everything else right this time, so tried making the CD.

    Boom goes the dynamite… no problems. 4.1 update 1 installed in no time using the CD.

    Just stood up a Windows 2008R2 VM, fixed the stupid slow-response console problem with it, and attached a USB device to the host and accessed it from the guest. Doesn’t look like it’ll support VMDirectPath, but I don’t think that will matter for this machine.

    I can’t remember the last time I had an AD controller in my living room 😀

    Running converter to pull in one of my old VMs. Have a physical box to convert if that works. Only thing I have running under Workstation is a Linux box I use to play around with.

    Soooooo… more to come. Gonna install ePO and all that good stuff. We’ll see what happens. Also need to get my gig switch put in here. If my weather station will work in pass-thru, I think this’ll work out VERY well. If not… I’ll have an extra machine running until I figure it all out.

    I Came to Drop Bombs

    Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

    Just fixed a problem that had been (unbeknownst to me) plaguing this place for who knows how long.

    After rebooting a domain controller, the SQL servers would start throwing logon errors until it came back up.  Most of the errors were from IIS that use windows auth, a few errors even came from the app servers.  What made it especially tricky was that it really looked like a kerberos problem.  Depending on what machine you were looking at, you’d get an error like

    Login failed for user ”. The user is not associated with a trusted SQL Server connection.

    or maybe

    Logon Failure:
    Reason: An error occurred during logon
    … it’d go on to tell you what was wrong with Kerberos

    and one

    The Kerberos subsystem encountered a PAC verification failure

    I saw a few

    The failure code from authentication protocol Kerberos was The specified user does not exist

    Long story short – I looked and poked and Googled… I couldn’t seem to find anyone that had reported this problem before (and I’m usually pretty good at putting together search terms that get me what I want) until I finally found a KB article that fit my hunch of what was happening.  I don’t think I saw the “NO_SUCH_USER” code in any of the logs I looked through (maybe that’s what you get if you’re using NTLM?) but the rest of it sure sounded good.  I tried the work-around on the domain controllers first – stopping the netlogon service before rebooting – and didn’t get a single error.

    I deserve a raise. 😀

    ‘Splain This

    Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

    I’m adding a Windows 2008 RC2 (x64… if it matters) to an existing 2003 domain.  Join the domain, everything’s happy, run all my forestprep & domainprep goodness… but dcpromo kept shitting itself with:

    “Failed to examine the active directory forest.  The error was: The operation cannot continue because the LDAP connect/bind operation failed: error: 58”

    The only thing I could find was this page which suggested the local admin account password had to be the same as the forest root domain password.  Before I went through all the account renaming and hunting down the password (all your admin accounts get renamed, right?  And no one really has that password?) I decided to just disable the local admin account on the 2008 server first.  It worked.  “WTF?O” indeed.

    RB6:LV Is on its way

    Friday, June 29th, 2007

    And not a moment too soon.  The WarHawk beta that I’ve been playing nonstop ends next week.  I can’t wait for the retail version – they’ve made a good number of changes from the beta.  Hopefully the freezing problems will be completely resolved.  We’ll see.  Anyone with a PS3, I would suggest you pick this bad-boy up – it’s hella fun.

    While waiting for the flood of killer games to finally come in for the PS3, I decided to try something with a PSP.  I finally bought one – the first hand-held gaming device I have ever owned (unless you count the little LED football game from years ago)  So here’s my setup, and damn is it cool:
    1. Tivo Desktop “Auto-transfers” whatever shows I want to my PC  (500GB external drive)
    2. Every night I have a batch file run that strips off the Tivo encryption (don’t tell the authorities)
    I had this setup from before so I could play my recordings on my Hauppage MediaMVP on another TV in the house (I’m sorry, but I’m addicted to being able to time-shift my television watching)
    3. I installed TVersity on said PC to stream my MP3 collection, pictures, and Tivo’d shows to my PS3
    4. Remote Play – yes kids, I can play all my music and videos over the interwebs.  Anyplace there’s wireless internet access, I can get to all my media content I have stored at home from my PSP.  It’s not restricted to just what’s on my PS3’s piddly 60GB drive, it’s everything.  This is decidedly cool, and would probably piss off Senator Stevens.  So yesterday I spent my lunch hour watching Aqua Teen Hunger Force.

    It actually works very well – the quality is decent and it hardly chops at all.  The only thing I need now is a way to turn my PC at home into a bluetooth PS3 remote so I can turn it on remotely.  As it sits now, you have to leave your PS3 on in “Remote Play” mode all day so you can connect to it.

    WordPress broke it

    Tuesday, May 15th, 2007

    The editor for WordPress (what I use to update this site) changed a lot with this last upgrade I did. It seems to have broken a lot of things, including embedded video. So in case you missed the Little Big Planet video from my earlier post, here it is again:

    YouTube Preview Image

    Thanks to Viper’s Video Quicktags plugin for WordPress.

    In other news, here’s a quick review of the Hauppage Wireless MediaMVP– I already have a Tivo and the POS Time Warner DVR, so with 3 tuners recording I didn’t really need another. I was thinking of setting up a MythTV box, but decided to go with the MediaMVP instead. Right now, I have a space PC running the Tivo Desktop software. I have a few shows that are scheduled to automatically transfer. Every night I have a scheduled task that runs a command line utility that converts the .tivo files into a playable MPEG. It’s not the perfect setup (I’d like to stream shows right off the Tivo – hey Tivo, how about something like the MediaMVP to do this with Tivo?) but works perfectly for the bedroom TV.
    The device itself is a cool little thin-client. It’ll show your pictures, play music, and any compatible videos located on your PC. I really like the ability to play internet radio as well – one of my favorite stations (WOXY) is now “internet only.” Speaking of internet radio, help us save it! Seriously, a 300-1200% hike in royalties that only internet broadcasters have to pay is just asinine. Who’s pushing for this?! Has to be the Clear Channels of the world… but I digress. Back to the MediaMVP: Video streaming is actually pretty impressive. I don’t have the best signal, but I haven’t had any issues in the few shows that I’ve played. Pause, FF, and FR all work about as you’d expect. There’s a noticeable hesitation, but nothing horrible. This thing would truly shine as a MythTV front end, but I just don’t have that kind of time. I am thinking of giving mvpmc a look when I have a few minutes. It’s a replacement operating system for the MediaMVP that introduces a few new features and functions. If you’re geeky and going to go that far with it, I’d suggest picking up a router that will handle DD-WRT – it will at least save you from installing a DHCP server on your PC (you need a DHCP server that will hand out a ‘next server’ address, most consumer-grade routers won’t do that.) I’d suggest the Buffalo G54S – I grabbed one at Circuit City for $25 (after $25 rebate) and it completely spanks the Netgear wireless-G router that it replaced. I couldn’t hold a signal in the back of the house with the Netgear, I’ve got a good enough signal to stream video with the Buffalo. I should have taken some screen shots with Netstumbler, it was an impressive jump. Same channel, location, everything… Jon reported a similar increase in range when he replaced his existing (Linksys?) wireless router with a Buffalo G54S.

    One of these days I might actually try to put together a well written post that doesn’t wander from subject to subject 😀

    Time Warner Cable sucks. More later, but I think I’ll have them do all this work, then I’ll switch to Dish or DirecTV.

    Goodbye spam, hello front porch.

    Thursday, May 10th, 2007

    “Akismet has caught 100 spam for you since you first installed it.”

    Awesome. A week of using Akismet and it caught 100 spam comments. I think 4 or 5 got through that I had to moderate, but I’ll accept that. If you have a WordPress blog, check them out at – takes two minutes to install. I hope Jessica doesn’t install it – it makes me happy that she has a billion-zillion comments to delete everyday.

    In home improvement news, click through to see my new front porch… (more…)

    Comment Spam

    Tuesday, April 10th, 2007

    It’s really annoying. I’ve moderated 50 comments in the past week. Maybe I should start posting IP addresses. And it’s really pointless – they’re not getting through anywhere, they just create work.

    27 degrees and sunny here. Nothing else exciting to report.

    While writing this, another 4 comments came up to moderate…