Archive for the ‘esxi’ Category

Migration to a new lowpower server (Thinkpad T420)

Monday, November 24th, 2014

I recently bought myself a spar’o’meter, (kill’a’watt like device) which is able to measure the power usage of electrical equipment. To my horror I found that my “lowpower” AMD fusion based server consumed around 50 watt! Clearely something had to be done.

Luckily I had the right piece of equipment at hand. A lenovo thinkpad T420 with a broken/shattered LCD. Any decent laptop is built to minimize power consumption, so using an T420 alone would save on the electrical bill, but I went a bit further. More precisely:

  • Took off the (broken) TFT and disconnected it from the mainboar
  • Took out the bluetooth module
  • Took out the wireless module
  • Disabled all unneeded peripherals, serial ports, usb ports,
  • Bouht myself a 1TB WD red 2.5″, which consumes around 1 watt.
  • Removed the DVD drive.
  • Enabled maximum power settings in the bios.

I then put in 2 x 4GB of memory and together with the core i5 cpu, this would be a nice server with a built-in “ups”. On the software part, I migrated away from one big server years ago. I run esxi on my servers now. There was a small issue here, as ESXi 5.5 does not have support for the Intel Gigabit 82579 LM chip out of the ISO file.

This is not a biggie. You patch the iso with the correct driver for the E1000E chip using the esxi-customizer script and then you boot the customized .iso file.

I ended up with a esxi host that consumes 12 watt. A factor 4 better than my old AMD fusion based setup. And it feel snappier as well. The trade-off: I had to go from 2 x 2TB disks to 1 x 1TB. But that alone saved 10-15 watt.

Installing OS-X on ESXi 5.0.0, 469512 running on an AMD Fusion APU

Monday, August 13th, 2012

I wanted to run OS-X at home, preferrably on my AMD Fusion based ESXi 5.0.0, 469512 host. If you search the net for that combination you will find a lot of posts about people having issues and not many about people having a great success. Digging into this it turned out to be relatively simple to do.

  1. Obtain OS-X Snow leopard ISO image
  2. Obtain Donks OS-X unlocker for vmware. I used
  3. Backup you ESXi host and VMs before doing anything! I am not liable in any way for any issues you encounter! It worked for me. Your millage may vary and that is actually your problem ;-)
  4. Patch ESXi with Donks unlocker by unzipping the zip file on the ESXi host and running esxi/ Make sure to read the readme file beforehand and make sure that all the prereqs are in place before you start!
  5. Reboot your ESXi host and hope for the best.
  6. After a successful reboot of ESXi with Donks patches, create a new OS-X based VM. 64-bit, 4GB memory, 1 processor (and one processor only, otherwise you will get panics during installation), LSI Logic Parallel SCSI, E1000 network
  7. Do NOT power up the VM.
  8. Enter the ESXi cli.
  9. Browse to the location of the VM on the ESXi datastore
  10. type vi *.vmx <enter>
  11. remove all references to CPUID
  12. insert the following CPUID information (this will make ESXi present the VM as a core2duo based machine to the guest allowing OS-X to boot on the hardware)
    hostCPUID.0 = "0000000668747541444d416369746e65"
    hostCPUID.1 = "00500f100002080000802209178bfbff"
    hostCPUID.80000001 = "00500f1000001242000035ff2fd3fbff"
    guestCPUID.0 = "00000006756e65476c65746e49656e69"
    guestCPUID.1 = "000006f10000080080802209078bfbff"
    guestCPUID.80000001 = "00500f1000001242000003e92bd3fbff"
    userCPUID.0 = "0000000668747541444d416369746e65"
    userCPUID.1 = "00500f100002080080802209078bfbff"
    userCPUID.80000001 = "00500f1000001242000003e92bd3fbff"
  13. Save the vmx file
  14. Attach the Snow Leopard ISO to the VM and boot it.
  15. Perform a normal OS-X installation.

Nothing much actually. The final solution

And seen from vnc



Quite simple …. as promised :-)

Reducing RHEL5 idle cpu usage under esx

Tuesday, July 5th, 2011

Today I installed two RHEL5 servers on my ESXi rig. To my surprise they idled at around 300MHz?! My Debian 6.0 based server and my Win2k3 based server idles at around 50MHz, sowhat was the problem?!

Looking inside the vm showed that the vm was idle. So what was going on here? I tried to use vmxnet3 instead of E1000. I tried to stop a lot of services. To no avail.

It turns out that it is the frequency of the context switches. Edit /etc/grub.conf and add divider=10 to the ‘kernel’ line and reboot the beast. Usage will drop to sane levels!