"Shockwave Flash has crashed" workaround for vSphere Web (Flash) Client

On Saturday, I started to notice that logins to the vSphere Web (Flex) Client stopped working with Google Chrome. Upon a successful logon, it would immediately crash with "Shockwave Flash has crashed" message. I had seen this message plenty of times in the past and usually restarting Chrome would resolve the problem but this time it looked to be persistent even after a system reboot.

I took to Twitter to see if I was the only one hitting this issue since I was not able to find anything on the web and literally in minutes, I had several dozen replies with folks experiencing the same issue which apparently started several days ago but like most, including myself, thought it was an isolated event.

After a bit of back/fourth and a few other folks chiming in, it looks like Google actually went and published a newer version of Flash (27.0.0.170) with latest Chrome (61.0.3163.100) update. This newer Flash version is not even available for download and the current version as listed on Adobe's website should be 27.0.0.159. This issue not only affects VMware products that uses Flash but any website that has Flash content and I had also noticed few others sharing frustrations on Twitter for other flash-based websites.

Luckily, one workaround that I had found which others have also confirmed is to switch to Firefox which currently does not have this issue Its also been reported that latest updates from Firefox is also distributing the latest Flash which causes the exact same issue. Like most, Chrome is my default browser and it was annoying that I had to switch to another browser but that was the only way I could access the content I needed. Earlier this evening, I was looking at the VMware Reddit Channel and noticed a thread had popped up regarding this exact issue and it looks like more and more folks are now noticing.

Continue reading

VPN Configuration to VMware Cloud on AWS using pfSense

Provisioning a new SDDC on VMware Cloud on AWS (VMC) is not an operation that I perform on a regular basis. Usually, one of the first tasks after a new SDDC deployment is setting up a VPN connection between your on-premises datacenter and your VMC environment. Given this is not a frequent activity, I always forget the specific configurations required for my particular VPN solution and figure I would document this for myself in the future as well as anyone else who might also have a simliar setup.

Since the VMC Gateways are just NSX-v Edges, any VPN solution that supports the NSX-v configurations will also work with VMC. In my environment, I am using pfSense which is a popular and free security Virtual Appliance that many folks run in their VMware home lab. Before getting started, it is also important to note that there are two gateway endpoints that you can setup separate VPN connections to. The first is the Management Gateway which provides access to the management infrastructure such vCenter Server, NSX and ESXi hosts and the second is the Compute Gateway which provide access to the VM workloads running within VMC. Since the instructions are exactly the same for setting up the VPN for either gateways, I am just going over the Management Gateway configuration and where applicable, I will note the minor differences.

Step 1 - Login to the VMC Portal (vmc.vmware.com) and select one of your deployed SDDCs. Click on the Network tab and you should be taken to a page like the one shown in the screenshot below. Here is where you will be applying your VPN configuration from the VMC side. Start off by making a note of the public IP Address for the Management Gateway (highlighted in yellow), this will needed when configuring the VPN configuration on the on-prem side. It is probably a good idea to also note down the Compute Gateway IP Address if you plan on configuring that as well.


Continue reading

Enabling shell access for Active Directory users via SSH to vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA)

I had a question the other day on whether it was possible to enable shell access for Active Directory users when logging into the vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA) via SSH? The answer is yes and though this is documented here, it is not very clear whether this is only applicable to SSO-based users only. In any case, the process to enable this is pretty straight forward and simply requires two steps which I have outlined below.

Step 0 - Ensure that your VCSA and/or PSC is joined to Active Directory before proceeding to the next step. If not, take a look at the documentation here for more details.

Step 1 - Login to vSphere Web Client and under Administration->System Configuration->Nodes->Manage->Settings->Access, go ahead and enable boh SSH and bash shell options. The first setting turns on SSH to the VCSA and the second setting allows users (local, SSO and AD) to access the shell on the VCSA.


Step 2 - In the vSphere Web Client and under Administration->Single Sign-On->Users and Groups->Groups, select the SystemConfiguration.BaseShellAdministrators group and add either an AD User and/or Group that you wish to allow to access the shell.


Once you have completed the steps above, you can now SSH to your VCSA/PSC using the AD user (UPN format) that you had authorized earlier. In the example below, I am logging into one of my VCSA using user primp@primp-industries.com and as you can see, I am placed into the appliance shell by default.


At this point I can access all the appliancesh commands just like I normally would if I had logged as a root or administrator@vsphere.local.

If we wish to change to bash shell, we simply just type "shell" which will enable shell access, assuming you had performed Step 2.


One thing that I noticed is that the default home directory for the AD user is /var/lib/nobody and apparently that does not exists by default, so users end up in / directory by default after enabling shell access. I am not sure if this is also related, but the username shows up as nobody as you can see from the prompt. This is something I will share with Engineering to see if we can improve upon as I am sure most of you would rather see the user that is actually logged in.

The good news from an auditing and logging standpoint is that for operations that are logged, it does properly show the username even though the prompt is showing up as nobody.

Continue reading

VMware Fusion Powershell community module

During the VMware Fusion 2017 Tech Preview, I was experimenting around with the new Fusion REST API and I had built a small prototype PowerShell Module as a way for me to learn how the API works. This allowed me to provide valuable feedback back to the Fusion Engineering team on improving the REST API UX. I was pleasantly happy to see that the majority of the feedback was indeed implemented for Fusion 10 which GA'ed a few weeks back.

Given the PowerShell module was pretty useful for my own use, I figure I would also publish it for others who might also be interested in Automating VM management using the new Fusion REST API, especially those with a PowerShell/PowerCLI background. Another nice thing about the module is that it can run across macOS/Linux via PowerShell Core or Windows using full blown PowerShell. I have been slowly tweaking the module to include the updated REST API changes and I am please to announce that the VMware.Hosted PowerShell Module which supports the new Fusion 10 REST API is now available!

The module includes the following 14 functions:

  • Connect-HostedServer
  • Disconnect-HostedServer
  • Get-HostedNetworks
  • Get-HostedVM
  • Get-HostedVMNic
  • Get-HostedVMSharedFolder
  • New-HostedVM
  • New-HostedVMSharedFolder
  • Remove-HostedVM
  • Remove-HostedVMSharedFolder
  • Resume-HostedVM
  • Start-HostedVM
  • Stop-HostedVM
  • Suspend-HostedVM


If you have ever used PowerCLI before, these functions should feel very familiar. We have basic Connect/Disconnect-HostedServer which will set an environmental variable called $DefaultHostedServer. This variable contains some basic information about the Fusion API endpoint as well as the base64 encoded credentials which are required when connecting to the new Fusion API. Below are a few examples using the new Fusion module, they are pretty basic and I have only implemented a sub-set of the Fusion REST API, so any community contributions are most welcome!

Continue reading

VMworld Hackathon Hardware/Software BOM

I know many of you have been asking about the hardware setup that we had used in this years VMworld Hackathon. I finally got a chance to document the details and you can find the complete hardware and software BOM below. For VMworld US, we had two different HW configurations, one for the primary Hackathon which was also re-used for VMworld Europe but we also had another configuration for the Hackathon Training sessions which was new this year. For VMworld Europe, we re-used the primary Hackathon hardware, but we also had the opportunity to take advantage of the new VMware Cloud on AWS offering and built a similiar configuration that teams could also remotely connect to as well. The only difference between the on-premises hardware and VMWonAWS, is the latter required users to RDP to a Windows jump host. Both options were provided and teams could select either environment to use.

Note: Internally, CDW is one of our vendors for purchasing hardware/software and that is why there are links directly to their site. However, you may find better pricing by looking online, especially Amazon which majority of the components are cheaper except for the server which you can get an exclusive vGhetto Discount at MITXPC. I have added links to both CDW/Amazon where applicable and I recommend doing research to find the best pricing if you are on a budget.

Here is a picture of the setup at VMworld US:


Here is a picture of the setup at VMworld EU:

Continue reading