Remko Weijnen's Blog (Remko's Blog)

About Virtualization, VDI, SBC, Application Compatibility and anything else I feel like

Recently support for NPAPI has been removed from Google Chrome. While understandable from a security point of view it does mean that some plugins no longer work.

A good example is VMware’s Client Integration Plugin where we’ve lost the ability to upload an ovf template. While VMware has published a fix for vCenter (see this kb), it has not been fixed for vCloud Director:

The attempted operation cannot be performed using this browser. Re-try using an alternative method:

- Use the VMware OVF Tool to perform the operation. You can download the OVF Tool and its User Guide from the OVF Tool product page at https://www.vmware.com/support/developer/ovf/.
- Use a browser and platform combination that is supported by vCloud Director for this operation. For the supported browser and platform combinations, see the Release Notes for this version of vCloud Director.

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In versions prior to 6.0 VMware supplied the VCSA (vCenter Server Appliance) as an OVF template that could be imported directly.

Starting with version 6.0 the installation process has changed and now consist of an .iso file containing a custom, HTML based, installer. Vladan Seget has a nice blog post where he describes the installation.

This installation process is annoying, it needs a separate client (Windows) machine to run the installer on, requires the Client Integration Plugin (which doesn’t appear to run well on chrome now that support for npapi/dpapi has been removed):
Please install the Client Integration Plugin 6.0 provided in the vCenter Server Appliance ISO image (requires quitting the browser)

But even worse is that we cannot import VCSA 6.0 in vCloud Director. Even converting the OVF inside the iso file doesn’t help because vCloud directory lacks support for Deployment Options.

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Dumping passwords in a VMware .vmem file

imageBenjamin Delpy the author of the well known mimikatz toolkit has released a very cool extension to WinDbg today.

In summary the extension can extract Windows passwords from memory dumps, hibernation files and Virtual Machine .vmem files (paging, snapshots).

Especially the ability to extract passwords from .vmem files was very interesting. So I decided to to test this out, so let’s see how it works!

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  • 6 Comments
  • Filed under: VMWare
  • Magic Filter Preview

    In Enterprise environments users are often working on a remote (virtual) desktop such as when using SBC or VDI.

    They typically get a full screen session, perhaps on a thin client, and have not idea that they are using a remote desktop.

    The Problem
    imageHowever when they press Ctrl-Alt-Delete they get either the local Security Attention Screen / Task Manager or nothing at all if it has been blocked.

    Clever users know they can use alternative key combinations such as Shift-F2 for Citrix or Ctrl-Alt-End for RDS.

    But that’s not the seamless experience we want to give our users, is it?

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  • 2 Comments
  • Filed under: ThinKiosk
  • For a research project I tried to install Windows NT 4 Terminal Server on VMWare Workstation (version 8).

    The setup would always fail however with the following error:

    Setup was unable to verify drive C:\ | Your computer may lack sufficient memory to carry out the verification, or your Windows Terminal Server CD-ROM may contain some corrupt files. | Press ENTER to continue

    Obviously the installation doesn’t really fail because of too little memory and neither is the installation disc (an iso file) corrupt, it’s a bug.

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  • 0 Comments
  • Filed under: VMWare
  • Virtualized Mac OS X Freezes

    Mac OS X Snow LeopardI am running a virtualized Mac OS X machine in my VMWare Workstation but I noticed that after a period of inactivity the virtual machine would sometimes freeze.

    Because this only happens after inactivity I assumed it had something to do with Power Saving so I changed the Energy Saver settings and that fixed it!

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  • 2 Comments
  • Filed under: Apple, VMWare
  • I was deploying virtualized Citrix XenApp Servers on HP BL460c G6 servers and somehow the storage (direct attached) responded very slowly.

    I had expected reduced performance (see my earlier post) since I didn’t have the  Battery Backed Write Cache module installed.
    I did order them but had to start deployment before they arrived.

    I did not however expect such an extreme bad performance. Deployment took ages or sometimes failed completely and when logging in to a VM it responded very sluggish.

    Disk Latency

    I looked in the vSphere console what the Disk Latency was. Latency under 10ms is usually considered good while a latency between 10 and 20ms is a potential performance problem.

    I was shocked to notice that the Disk Latency was much higher with peaks toward 2.000 ms (2 seconds!):

    DiskLatency

     

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  • 2 Comments
  • Filed under: Citrix, VMWare
  • Add VMXNET3 driver to Windows PE PXE Image

    After compiling the VMWare VMXNET3 Driver for Linux I needed a driver for the Windows PE Image as well.

    Compared to what I needed to do for Linux this was a breeze!

    First we need the VMWare tools again so I grabbed windows.iso from /vmimages/tools-isomages.

    The driver files are in a cab file, VMXNET3.cab, extract this cab file somewhere and open the Altiris PXE Configuration tool.

    Select the Windows PE Entry and click Edit:image

    Then click Edit Boot Image:
    image

     

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  • 1 Comment
  • Filed under: Altiris, VMWare
  • First we need to setup a Linux Virtual Machine with a distro of choice (I recommend a 32 bit version). I will be using Ubuntu here and the first step is to download the iso.

    At the time of writing Ubuntu 10.10 was the Latest version so I used that one.

    Create a new Virtual Machine and use the iso as install media, I am using VMWare Workstation and it recognises Ubuntu and performs an “easy install”:

    image

    The install is unattended (when VMWare Tools are installed you need to perform a login) and took only 6 minutes on my laptop!

    Now we need to install gcc (the compiler), open the Ubuntu Software Center:

    image

     

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  • 1 Comment
  • Filed under: Altiris, VMWare
  • STOP: 0x0000005D when booting Windows PE

    I was booting a new VMWare Virtual Machine with Windows PE through Altiris for initial deployment but Windows PE halted with a BSOD:

    image

    0x0000005D means UNSUPPORTED_PROCESSOR (defined in bugcodes.h) so I expected there was a x86 vs x64 problem.

    The VM was configured for a 32 bit OS:

    image

    The Altiris Job was configured to use Auto Select:

    image

    But instead of the x86 version of Windows PE, Altiris attempts to boot the x64 version and this explains the BSOD: VMWare prevents the CPU from going to x64 mode and thus Windows has no choice but to halt.

    Workaround is to change the Automation pre-boot environment in Altiris to x86:

    image

    Note that it’s no problem to deploy an x64 OS using the x86 version of Windows PE so I don’t see any real problems with this workaround.

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