I just purchased a nice little touch screen for my Raspberry Pi 3 (rPI) which I had shared on Twitter yesterday and a number of folks were also interested in the details. First off, I want to give a huge shoutout to Frances Wong who I came to learn about this nifty touch screen in the first place. I noticed that Francis only had the screen adaptor and I was also interested in getting a case that can house both the rPI and the touch screen. After a quick search online, I found there was a companion case which I had also purchased and you can see what it looks like fully assembled below.
Today, I am very excited to announce a new Fling that I have been working on which is a Native Driver for ESXi that will enable support for three of the most popular USB network adapter chipsets found in the market today. The ASIX USB 2.0 gigabit network ASIX88178a, ASIX USB 3.0 gigabit network ASIX88179 & the Realtek USB 3.0 gigabit network RTL8153. This effort had initially started back in 2016 as a side project with Songtao, a VMware Engineer who works on our USB stack for ESXi. Based on the enormous amount of feedback from the community as well customer Production use cases, this side project evolved into the development of a full fledge Native Driver for ESXi.
This Fling is more than just adding additional network interfaces for vSphere Home Labs, which is definitely a use case, but it is also about enabling new and future computing platforms that may not always have the traditional network connectivity that we have come to expect. Today, ESXi supports a number of high-end network controllers (10G/40G/100G) designed for Enterprise Data Centers that include advanced networking & low latency features. As more & more workloads appear at the Edge like IoT, point-of-sales & remote office use cases, the traditional networking solutions may no longer meet the needs of these new infrastructures.
For Edge computing environments, reducing the cost & power consumption is definitely one of the driving factors. However, with some of these platforms, their form factors can make it difficult or impossible to support traditional high-end network controllers. Luckily, there are a number of options for network adapters in the market but is can also be difficult to support them all.
USB has become one the most widely adopted connection type in the world & USB network adapters are also popular amongst Edge computing platforms. In some platforms, there is either limited or no PCI/PCIe slots for I/O expansion & in some cases, an Ethernet port is not even available. This Fling will hopefully help enable some of these Edge use cases today and with the help of the community and feedback, we can see how this can be enhanced or evolved over time including where it could even be part of the ESXi distribution.
Another use case for USB-based network adapters as mentioned earlier are for vSphere Home Labs, platforms like the Intel NUC or Apple Mac Mini have limited number of built-in Ethernet ports, but plenty of USB & USB-C ports which can enable these platforms with additional networking capabilities. These systems could also be potential Edge platform candidates given the right connectivity.
For download and instructions, please visit https://labs.vmware.com/flings/usb-network-native-driver-for-esxi
Did you know VMware PhotonOS can also run on a Raspberry Pi (rPI) 3? I definitely did not until recently when I found out the latest 3.0 version also had an image for the rPI. This is great for anyone who is already familiar with PhotonOS and wish to run it in an even smaller form factor such as an rPI. There are definitely some interesting use cases for an rPI such as a tiny management host, troubleshooting tool for consultants or even a quick PowerShell/PowerCLI host that contains some basic tools and scripts which you can quickly access.
I was definitely interested in getting PowerShell and PowerCLI running on top PhotonOS on the rPI. Although you can already run PowerShell on an rPI using the Raspbian OS, the current distribution from Microsoft is actually only 32-Bit, which is a problem for PhotonOS as it is a 64-Bit OS. I was about to give up but while browsing the Microsoft PowerShell repo, I came across their upcoming PowerShell 6.2.0 (Preview) release which now looks to include a 64-Bit ARM build, which is exactly what I needed. For PowerCLI, although I was able to get the modules loaded, I was not able to connect to a vCenter Server or ESXi endpoint, you can find more details at the bottom of this post.
Below are the instructions for installing PhotonOS on the rPI and getting PowerShell setup:
Step 1 - Download and install the Etcher tool which will be used to flash our rPI
Step 2 - Download and install PhotonOS 3.0 RC rPI image using Etcher
Next we will install PowerShell as well as the latest PowerCLI modules.
[Read more...] about PowerShell for PhotonOS on Raspberry Pi 3
With the latest Intel Hades Canyon now being able to run ESXi, a number of folks have been interested in taking advantage of the integrated GPU that is included in the system. There are two models of the Hades Canyon, NUC8i7HNK which is the lower end system with Radeon RX Vega M and the NUC8i7HVK which is the higher end system with Radeon RX Vega GH. One of the first thing I had attempted after getting ESXi working on the Hades Canyon was to try to enable passthrough of the iGPU into a Windows GuestOS but in all my attempts, it resulted into a PSOD'ing the ESXi host once you start installing the AMD Drivers from Intel.
A few days ago, one of my readers, Chris78 shared an update where he was able to prevent the ESXi host from PSOD'ing by adding a VM Advanced Setting but he he was still having issues where the Windows GuestOS would now BSOD. This sounded promising, I figure it would not hurt to gave it a try and to my surprise, I was able to successfully passthrough the iGPU to a Windows 10, Windows Server 2016 and 2019 system from my limited testing. After reporting the success back to Chris78 who was still having issues even after using the settings I had used, his conclusion was there may be a difference between the HNK and HVK models, with the latter having BSOD issues. For now, it seems like iGPU can only be passthrough if you have the NUC8i7HNK model.
For those that have been following along, I have been testing the Supermicro E300-9D (SYS-E300-9D-8CN8TP) kit in my home lab which I have written about here. One of the last things I was looking into was storage expandability with this platform, especially since Supermicro has a PCIe Add-On Card (AOC-SLG3-2M2) which can add two additional M.2 devices supporting 2260 (60mm), 2280 (80mm) & 22110 (110mm) form factors.
At the same time, our friends over at Intel had just given me access to a couple of their pre-release Intel M.2 Optane 4801x devices which were then released right before the holiday last year. For those wondering why Optane is so interesting, especially from a vSAN perspective, check out this blog post here from my good buddy Pete Flecha over in our Storage and Availability Business Unit (SABU).
This was actually perfect timing as I was also interested to see if there were any high performance and supported M.2 devices that could be used for for vSAN Caching and this device would definitely fit the bill! When I had initially received all the components, I was scratching my head as the AOC was too big to fit horizontally in the E300-9D.
When deploying the VMware Cloud on AWS (VMC) vCenter Cloud Gateway (VCG), there is a minimum amount of vCPU and memory that is required for deployment. For customers who wish to evaluate this solution for non-production usage, such as a lab environment, it would be nice to be able to reduce the requirements purely for testing purposes. Today, the vCPU and Memory is not configurable and is currently encoded within a JSON configuration file as well as the VCG OVA. The fact that this is not part of the installer itself but within the OVA means we can actually change the default 🙂 Below are the instructions for updating the vCPU and Memory requirements for the VCG.
Step 1 - Download the VCG ISO from MyVMware and extract the ISO.