SSH Tunneling to Access Remote Services (ESXi and IPMI)

Awhile back I built an ESXi server and because I’m up at school, I have to be able to do 99% of things 400 miles away. Up until now, I’ve been establishing an SSH session with my router (ASUS RT-N16 running Tomato) and then from there, SSH-ing into my ESXi server where I can execute esxcli commands to power up my VPN server

Using SSH tunneling, I’m able to manage the IPMI & KVM web interface as well as use vSphere Client to connect to my ESXi server without using a VPN of any sort. This is useful if for some reason your VM’s set to auto power on fail, or if you need to manually power on the server ...

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Enable Nested Virtualization in ESXi Without the Web Client

Note: This information is outdated. There is now a HTML5 Web Client for ESXi standalone. However, there are some bugs so this may still be applicable. See here.

So I decided to start studying for the RHCSA/RHCE exam and wanted to set a test lab up. I currently have an ESXi server that hosts various VM’s for stuff I do back home – I manage it remotely from school

With the RHCSA exam, I needed to be able to deploy KVM’s. This requires Intel’s VMX CPU flag. The issue is that by default, the VM’s on ESXi will not have VMX capability. There’s something called nested virtualization that became “unofficially” supported in ESXi 5.0, and officially supported in ESXi 5.1+

Unfortunately, if you run the free version of ESXi, you’re unable to enable nested virtualization as it’s only able to be enabled via the web client as opposed to the C# vSphere client… As far as I know, you’re not able to get the Web Client without vCenter, a paid product ...

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Determining VM’s not protected by any Veeam Backup Job

You can skip to the script below if you’d like, but I recommend setting up a separate user and the following permissions if you plan to run it as a scheduled task.

I needed to create a script that automatically detected any VM’s that were not being backed up on any of the three Veeam Backup and Replication servers we had. This script reads an exception list where you can list VM names as exceptions so it will not report them as not backed up

I specifically created a separate Unprivileged AD user that would run this scheduled task, these are the instructions on how to apply the appropriate permissions ...

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ESXi Server with unRAID

Back in 2011 I decided to go ahead and build my first computer. My first computer that I built was not a desktop, but a server that would run ESXi. I had planned to run unRAID, a non-standard software RAID solution as one of the VM’s with a SAS RAID Controller in I/O Passthrough. As well as a few other VM’s as a test lab to learn :smile:

These are the full specs:

  • Intel Xeon E3-1230 3.2GHz Quad-Core Processor
  • SUPERMICRO MBD-X9SCM-F-O LGA1155 Motherboard
  • 2 x Kingston 8GB (2 x 4GB) ECC Unbuffered DDR3 1333 (16GB Total)
  • SUPERMICRO AOC-SASLP-MV8 PCIe x 4 SAS RAID Controller
  • NORCO RPC-4220
  • SeaSonic X Series X-850 850W EPS12V

It was a pretty easy install with no problems to be honest. Here are a few pictures ...

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My Home Network Switch

About a year ago we had the ceiling of the basement all open for radiant floor installation – I decided to wire every room in the house (Why not? Everything was open) Yeah it’s not a rack, but I didn’t feel it was necessary to purchase one for a household installation. Anyway, here’s what it looks like – not too shabby if I say so myself. (I did separate the power cord from the Cat-5e cable.)

Home Network Switch

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