How-To: Setup SNMP on ESX 3.5 Servers

To monitor your ESX 3.5 server by using SNMP, we need to enable SNMP on ESX before adding it to your monitoring software. This How-To will show you the steps involved.


Log Into ESX Server


Log into your ESX Server either through SSH or through the console of the server.

Use Nano to Edit Snmpd.conf


Use Nano (which is a notepad like text editor) to edit the file /etc/snmp/snmpd.conf file by using the command:
nano /etc/snmp/snmpd.conf

Add SNMP Community to Config File


Use the arrow keys to go down to the section “rocommunity public”. Replace “public” with your community string for your environment (1). Then use “Ctrl+X” to exit out of Nano. You’ll be asked if you would like to save. Type in “y” for yes and hit enter. Press enter again when confirming the filename to save as.

Enable SNMP to Start Automatically After a Reboot


Since SNMP is not started by default, you’ll need to type in this command to ensure it will be started after a reboot of the ESX server. The command is:
chkconfig snmpd on

Enable SNMP Through the ESX Firewall


We’ll need to allow SNMP traffic through the built-in ESX firewall. To do this, type in the following command:
esxcfg-firewall -e snmpd

Start the SNMP Service


Now we’re ready to start the SNMP service. Type in:
service snmpd start

Ready for Monitoring

At this point, SNMP is enabled on your ESX 3.5 server and you can monitor it using your SNMP monitoring software! Happy monitoring!

Timekeeping best practices for Linux

If you’ve ever battled with time-drift with Linux virtual machines, this KB article is for you.

The KB provides a table of Linux distro’s and versions, along with the appropriate kernel parameters to help make them keep time properly when virtualized. Also includes NTP config options to help NTP cope with time jumps.

See Hidden Devices In Windows on Converted VM’s

Whenever performing a P2V (Physical to Virtual) process, you’ll usually have some devices that are left over in the system which are no longer present. It is best practice to remove these devices from the VM so that it is no loading unnecessary drivers for hardware that’s been removed.

To see hidden devices through Device Manager that are no longer present in the system, follow these steps:

Open up a command window and type in:

Then start device manager from the same command window by typing in:

Choose the option “Show Hidden Devices” under the “View” menu.

Go through the different hardware sections and look for greyed out devices (which represents that they are no longer present in the system) and right click on the device and choose “Uninstall”. This will remove the greyed out device permanently.

Happy converting!

Customizing Windows 2008 Template

I’ve recently spent some time working on deploying Win2K8 servers, and thought it’d be handy to have a template to automate future deployments.

Problem is, under current (U3) VI3 code, you can’t customize the 2008 server.

I found a work around for this in the forums – at

The short version is that before making your VM into a template, tag it as being Windows Vista rather than Server 2008.  You’ll be able to deploy and customize.   Just remember after you deploy that VM, you’ll want to go back into it’s options and set it as being Win2008.

Have fun!

VMware – Enable SSH by Root and Connecting via SSH (CLI)

ESX 3.5 has a command line interface called the Service Console, which you can SSH (Secure Shell) into in order to manage ESX or to run commands/scripts. This is how you connect to ESX 3.5 via SSH.

Why Can I Not Login as Root Automatically?

By default, SSH is turned on for ESX 3.x installations however the “root” user is denied from logging into the server as a security precaution. We will need to enable the root user to login by editing a configuration file and restarting the SSH services to take into effect the change.

Login via Console


On the console of the server, press ALT and F2 buttons to show a login prompt. Log in as root.

Make a Backup of SSH Config File


First we’ll save a copy of the /etc/ssh/sshd_config file as /etc/ssh/sshd_config.original in case we need a backup. Type in the following:
cp /etc/ssh/sshd_config /etc/ssh/sshd_config.original

Open SSH Config File


Next we’ll edit /etc/ssh/sshd_config using a notepad-like program called Nano. Type in the following:
nano /etc/ssh/sshd_config
Find the line that says:
PermitRootLogin no

Edit SSH Config File


Change the line to read:
PermitRootLogin yes

Now save the file and exit by pressing CTRL and X.

Restart SSH Service


Next, restart the SSH daemon (service) by typing:
service sshd restart

Connecting through SSH via Putty


To connect via Secure Shell (SSH), you’ll need to use a SSH program, like Putty. Putty is widely known and used since it’s a free open source program. A copy of Putty can be downloaded off the internet by searching Google for “putty ssh download”. Putty is a standalone executable program which does not require installation. I usually copy it to My Documents or a network share and then place a Shortcut on my Desktop or Quick Launch bar. Once downloaded, go ahead and start Putty.
Then type in the IP address of the ESX server into the address location field as shown. You can also type in the IP address and give it a name under ‘Saved Sessions’ and then press “Save”. This will create a session you can easily load by selecting the name and pressing “Load”. This makes it easy so you don’t have to remember IP addresses of your different ESX servers.

Logon to ESX Server


Once you connect to the server, you’ll need to login as “root”. Type your password (it will not be displayed on the screen). When you login, it will show you the host where root last logged in from and then it will display a command prompt where you can issue commands.

Xtravirt XVS iSCSI SAN VM Appliance

VM/ETC posted awhile back an excellent article about a free iSCSI SAN VM appliance that you can download from Xtravirt, which I just found today. It doesn’t sound like it can scale beyond using storage from 2 ESX servers, but for a really small environment or a home lab, it might do the trick. 

This post is similar to these other options we’ve mentioned for iSCSI SAN VM appliances:


DropBox – Online Sync, Backup for Multiple Computers

I found this really useful program called DropBox. It’s another Beta program that’s taking a “cloud” approach to storing files and data. It looks to be for home/SMB use but I’ve found it very useful so far. You can use it on Mac, Windows or Linux and store your files online and sync all of the files between computers (for those Mac users out there, think .Mac or MobileMe functionality, without the Apple pricetag). It also does versioning (for backup sake), as well as un-delete and all that jazz. You can also share files with users by giving them a direct link to folders or files, say for a team project or something.

Hope it’s useful to you!