Accessing network equipment via console cable from your ESX / linux server

Ever wondered how you can access your Cisco router, switch, or other network device over console cable from your ESX host / other linux machine? Obviously you’ll need a COM port on the physical hardware to start… Here’s a guide I wrote for SysAdmin-Talk. Have a read if you are interested in finding out how to achieve this. They have some other great articles and how-to’s posted up there. I have already found some extremely useful Exchange how-tos and guides and am looking forward to writing more for SysAdmin Talk!

SysAdmin Talk – Don’t Tear your Hair Out over Access to Cisco Devices

Restarting the VMWare ESX 3.5 Pegasus health monitoring service

Here is something I ran into the other day at work that might help anyone else getting this issue. VMWare also told me that this tends to happen from time to time on an ESX 3.5 infrastructure. Apparently the issue has been sorted out in vSphere. It doesn’t have any negative effect on production though, apart from the fact that you can’t see your host health statuses correctly.

Also I wouldn’t recommend only relying on these health statistics. Install Dell’s OMSA for extra health monitoring and statistics if you are running Dell servers for example.


The Pegasus hardware health service needs restarting or a specific ESX host in the Virtual Center cluster is not showing it’s hardware health indicators in VC correctly. (Could be showing as “Unknown”).


Log into the console of the ESX Host in question using PuTTy (SSH).

Run the following command from the ESX server console as root to restart the Pegasus service.

service pegasus restart

I did speak to VMWare support about this and they have said that this does not have any effect on live VMs. I have tested this in a live environment twice now and it did not affect any Virtual Machines.

In both cases I needed to wait 5 to 10 minutes for the ESX host health to update in Virtual Center.

Note that restarting the pegasus health monitoring service does not affect any running VMs on your host.

VMware Partner Forum 2009, Esher

I just got back from the VMware Partner Forum 2009 in Esher. It was held at the Sandown Park Racecourse this year. I attended a bunch of different break out sessions choosing the most interesting or applicable options for myself. Here is what I attended at the forum:

1. Keynote
2. How to upsell vSphere for VI3 customers – 5 great reasons to upgrade customers from VI3 to vSphere 4.
3. Partner enablement – Profit from your knowledge and meet your new competency requirements.
4. Technical session – Configure Host Profiles / Distributed Virtual Switch.
5. Hosting – vCloud and the VMWare Service Provider Program.
6. Technical session – Upgrade VI3 to vSphere 4.

There were lots of refreshments and breaks in-between each session as well as a great lunch.

Naturally I found the technical sessions the most interesting. In the Upgrade VI3 to vSphere 4 session I found out about the three different methods of upgrading ESX 3/3.5 Hosts to vSphere 4.0. The Host Profiles / dvSwitch session was something I already knew about, but had not yet tried it in a lab environment until today.

Hosting was quite interesting too – there were a bunch of people that got caught out providing hosted vmware solutions to the public without the required partner program status. Good thing my company has the necessary credentials to provided hosted platforms!

I also got to see a demo of Veeam’s new Backup 4.0 – still in development but they have many improvements and new features.

As per usual there was a bag of goodies given out to each attendee.

My workspace and hardware zen

Everyone has their own relax or zen area where they like to spend time getting away from reality and de-stressing. One of mine just happens to be the same place where I get a lot of work done – my main gaming platform and home office area! Since we moved into our new flat, I found that there wasn’t much space to set up my PC. Last weekend I whipped out the old jigsaw and sliced a couple of inches off the side of my PC desk in order to get it to fit into this corner.

I then decided to neaten up and organise everything a bit to enhance my working conditions when I do work from home. I made a “ghetto” iPhone dock out of the packaging the phone came in, using the plastic dish the phone is cradled in. I cut out a small area at the bottom for the iPhone connector to fit in, then routed the cabling into the box itself, which sits diagonally in the lid of the box, flipped upside down. The cable then comes out the back and plugs in to the power socket behind my desk. This keeps the cabling nice and neat and I just plonk the phone down into the dock when I get home for a charge. I don’t need a USB connection to the PC as I have SSH enabled via a jailbreak – I therefore use Wifi access and WinSCP or SCP from Putty to transfer files between PC and phone.

Behind this is my touch sensitive desk lamp, in front of the dock is my work IP phone which connects up to our VOIP server. Then we have my main PC which consists of the following: Asus P45 P5Q motherboard, E8400 3.0GHz Core2Duo CPU overclocked to 3.6GHz in Summer and 4.0GHz in Winter. 4GB OCZ DDR800 RAM running at DDR1000 speeds and an ATI HD 4870 graphics card which has a custom flashed bios which overvolts the GPU and applies a generous overclock. I used to have a nice quiet watercooling loop in the PC, but sold it recently and went back to air cooling. I plan on doing another Watercooling build soon and will hopefully post the process and worklog here when I do. The other peripherals consist of a Dell 24″ LCD (1920×1200), G15 Keyboard and Logitech MX518 mouse.

I use this PC for just about everything – all my PC gaming, Web browsing, a little bit of programming and Virtualisation (On top of Windows 7 Professional it is running VMWare Server 2.0) with a variety of guest VMs that I use for testing and practising various Windows and Linux server technologies.

Other hardware I have lying around is an old Dell Poweredge 2U server which I run VMWare ESX 3.5 and a Dell Optiplex machine running uBuntu 8.04, with VMWare Server 2.0 for linux and a guest VM operating system running on top of that which runs uBuntu Server 9.04 and this very website.

Anyway here are a few photos of my nice clean new workspace.

Update, life and VMWare

So lately I have been quite busy. Here are some of the major events that have happened over the last six months.

1. Got married. We did all the planning in just under one month. As you can imagine there was a ton of stress involved! You wouldn’t believe the amount of documentation/admin work that is created when you get married.

2. Started a new job. I now have  a more challenging and stimulating job where I am learning much more than what I was at the last company. Minus the cushy Audi A3 2.0 TDI though.

I seem to have settled in to my new company quite well. Its been six months since I started.  The staff are friendly, we often have social get togethers after work, and I got to take my first long holiday (two weeks) since moving to the UK. I have been learning a lot and also taking more and more interest in VMWare. Incidently, my first encounter with VMWare was the free “Server” version back in 2007. I first got to play with ESX near the end of last year and since starting my new job I now have far more exposure – I work on Virtual Center all day managing VMs and our various ESX hosts and the clusters they form. I have also built myself my own little ESX lab at home complete with it’s own NAS/iSCSI datastore. All I need now is a second ESX host to build myself a HA/DRS cluster.

The other part of the VMWare story that has been keeping me busy is studying. Although I would ideally like to be concentrating on doing my VCP (VMWare Certified Professional) for vSphere, I have recently completed a VTSP (VMWare Technical Sales Professional) accreditation for my company. See the shiny new logo below. Next on the agenda is to complete the vSphere VCP course though! My company has agreed to send me for the mandatory class room training course, so hopefully this will be under way soon.

3. Moved house. After sharing a stunning two bedroom house in Wimbledon with a best friend and his fiancé, we all decided to go our separate ways earlier this year after my wife and I got married. It was quite a mission packing up and moving to a new area and even more of a mission to settle in to the new area and get all the new utility bills in place. The plus side is that we now have our own place to ourselves. I just need to break free from the public transport system. I can’t stand not having a company car any more and absolutely hate travelling on the bus to work when it is too cold to cycle in to work!