With the upcoming release of vSphere 7.0 Update 1 and specifically ESXi 7.0 Update 1, support for the onboard NIC of the Intel NUC 10 (Frost Canyon) is now included and the community ne1000 VIB driver is no longer needed. If you had previously installed the community driver, you can uninstall the VIB after successfully upgrading to ESXi 7.0 Update 1.
In case you have not heard, the Bay Area has recently been affected by a number of unprecedented wildfires which has destroyed several hundred thousands acres of land and is no where near containment. Thousands of families have been affected and this week, we found out our good friend Alan Renouf was also impacted and sadly lost his home in the fires.
Luckily, Alan and his family is safe, but as you can see from the devastation below (yes, this was actually his house on the left), it will take a long time to rebuild if that is even possible.
I know many of you know Alan for his work in PowerCLI, vSphere Automation and more recently his efforts in the VMware Office of CTO for Project VXR focused on Virtual and Augmented Reality. Like many, I have also benefited from Alan's work and if you feel the same way and would like to help him and his family out, please consider donating to the GoFundme page below. Like many of the affected families, they are currently staying in a hotel which is being paid out of their own pockets and any amount will go a long way! Please consider sharing this with others in your community that may be able to help and thank you for your help.
The popular USB Native Driver Fling for ESXi has just been updated to version 1.6 and is one of our larger releases.
Here are some of the key new features, for complete list, please refer to the Changelog tab on the Fling site.
- Support for 4 additional USB NICs including the highly requested RTL8156 which is a 2.5GbE USB NIC and can be found on Amazon for as low as $25 USD. For more details, please refer to Requirements tab on the Fling site.
- Support for persisting VMkernel to USB NIC MAC Address mappings which was an issue when using multiple USB NICs. Upon reboot, ESXi may randomize the mappings which can cause issues. For more details on this feature, please refer to the Instructions tab on the Fling site.
- Simplified method for persisting USB NIC bindings. For more details, please refer to the Instructions tab on the Fling site.
For Intel NUC 10 (Frost Canyon) owners who have installed ESXi may have noticed that even after disabling Intel's Trusted Platform Module (TPM), the following warning message "TPM 2.0 device detected but a connection cannot be established." is still being displayed in the vSphere UI as shown in the screenshot below.
Thanks to Reddit member mscaff and casperette who recently discovered and confirmed that the latest BIOS (FN0044) resolves an issue where disabling TPM in the BIOS was not actually working which would explain the behavior observed above. The really interesting thing is that I had initially ran into this problem several months back and after speaking with some internal VMware folks, I was able to get rid of this message without this update. This involved installing Windows 10 and clear the TPM keys which may have still been cache but since then, it has not been reproducible by other folks. In any case, it is always recommended to check and update to latest BIOS to ensure you have all the latest bug fixes.
Lastly, Intel states support for TPM 2.0 for these NUCs, so why is ESXi complaining? Well, it has to do with the interface type and not with SHA1 vs SHA256 which are both supported on the NUC 10. The NUC only supports CRB but proper compliant TPM 2.0 chip must support FIFO which is not configurable the last time I had checked. For more detail requirements and configuration of TPM 2.0 on ESXi, please refer to this blog post.
It has been awhile since I have updated my Tanzu Kubernetes Grid (TKG) Demo Appliance Fling, which is a virtual appliance that enables anyone to go from zero to Kubernetes in less than 30 minutes with just an SSH client and a web browser. For VMware Cloud on AWS customers interested in running TKG, this is a great way to quickly get started on a proof of concept, demo or for development and testing purposes. One great benefit is that everything required for TKG is self contained within the appliance including an embedded Harbor registry and the respective TKG container images, great for air-gapped or non-internet accessible environments.
Here is a summary of what is new:
Support for latest TKG 1.1.3
There have been several of smaller releases to TKG since their 1.0.0 release but due to their short lifecycle, I decided to hold off. Behind the scenes, I have actually been working closely with TKG team on the latest TKG 1.1.3 release which was just release last week. One really cool feature that was introduced in TKG 1.1.2 is the ability to upgrade an existing TKG Workload Cluster to a newer version of Kubernetes.
With TKG 1.1.3, support for Kubernetes v1.18.6 and v1.17.9 is now possible and the latest version of the demo appliance will also support this workflow. In fact, I have also updated my TKG Workshop Guide to include all new updates including the upgrade workflow. To reduce the maintenance burden on myself, the TKG Demo Appliance 1.0.0 will be removed in the near future, for now it has been deprecated but all existing content is still available. I highly recommend checking out the latest version as you will get all the latest features of TKG.
When it comes to selecting a platform for a vSphere Homelab, there are many options which include building your own "whitebox" system. For the large majority of folks, the preference is to purchase a ready to use kit such as an Intel NUC or Supermicro which both extremely popular. These systems not only work well but their form factor is also ideal for home offices where space is always at a premium.
With that said, there are many other small form factor (SFF) platforms that exists out in the market and not just Intel-based systems, but also AMD SFF kits which are being introduced and have been getting many inquiries about. As someone who keeps a close eye on this market for new and interesting platforms, I have been re(sharing) some of these new updates on Twitter.
Although Twitter is great way to share and discuss news, it is not the best place to consolidate this type of information that can easily be searched. This was one the motivation for putting together this post for both informational awareness but also something that can be updated over time. This was certainly a challenge when asked about other SFF options, especially in the AMD space where I was not able to easily point folks to. Below is a collection of SFF for both Intel and AMD that I have come across, some of which are currently being used for vSphere Homelabs and others having the potential given their specification. In addition, I suspect many of the kits below which report 32GB of memory as their max should be able to go up 64GB as I have shown in the past with NUC platform.
If folks have other SFF kits they would like to share or confirm that works with latest versions of vSphere, feel free to leave a comment which can help others in the VMware Community.