VMUG Advantage – An essential tool to help you upgrade your skills

One of the necessities of working in IT is the need to continually learn and upgrade your skills.  Change is constant and can happen quickly.   Time is also limited – so I try to make the most of the time I spend learning.  I have found VMUG Advantage to be essential to helping me upgrade my skills and make the most of my time in the lab.

The Home Lab

I have worked at many companies in my career spanning multiple verticals, starting as a customer and then moving to a partner.  This path lead me to where I currently work – VMware.  Unfortunately, too few organizations are willing to invest the money or time to provide safe places for their people to learn.

A long time ago I decided to invest in myself.  I would not have been able to progress as I have without taking the time to learn and grow.  That is where VMUG Advantage comes in!

My home lab started small; but has grown as my needs have changed (and funds allowed).  The one thing that has always been a constant for me is time. We all have the same amount of time.  I have rarely had too much time my hands; but do try to use it wisely  ?

Most products usually come with short term evaluation licenses that let the curious explore product features and functionality.  The challenge is that when that license runs out in 30 or 60 days, I had to spend time tearing it all down just to re-install it again to get another free license.

Benefits of VMUG Advantage

VMUG Advantage provides 365 day evaluation licenses for over 15 different VMware solutions.  This helps me stop wasting time. If I still need to work with a product after the evaluation license expires, I simply download a new key from the subscription and immediately resume  what I was doing.  No rebuild needed!

VMUG Advantage also includes VMware TestDrive.  This is a cloud based service that allows you to try out features by spinning up a lab that is already set up and ready to go.  This can be very useful in a number of situations:

  • Quick Evaluations – perhaps even test out specific features without manually setting up an entire environment
  • Try out SaaS Products that you cannot setup in a home lab
  • Work with products which have significant hardware requirements – If your home lab is small or doesn’t have all of the right hardware needed for vSAN, NSX, or Tanzu you can work with it in TestDrive

Additional Discounts

Official VMware Training – You can get an additional 20-35% off from a number of official VMware courses

VMware Explore – VMUG Advantage members also get an exclusive discount for VMware Explore passes.

Invest in yourself

I absolutely believe that the investments I have made in my own career have had tremendous impact on my life.    Tools like VMUG Advantage allow you to get the most out of the time you spend learning and growing.  If you work with VMware products and are looking to grow your skillset, I highly recommend you check out the VMUG Advantage Difference today!



vToolbelt – February 2023

Let’s talk Ransomware

I am sure most everyone has heard about the latest ransomware attack called “ESXiArgs”.  If you haven’t, two sites I follow have coverage [BleepingComputer and HackerNews].Ransomware uses a software exploit to gain access to a system and block access to that system until a sum of money is paid.  There are instances where this exploit is unknown (also known as a Zero Day exploit).    In the case of ESXiArgs, the attackers are targeting an exploit found in OpenSLP.  A patch for this issue was released in February 2022 via VMSA 2019-0022.    That date is not a typo – the patch has been available for about a year.

Please take a moment and review the VMSA above to ensure you are have applied the patch.  If you cannot patch immediately, KB 76372 has steps on disabling the OpenSLP service on your ESXi hosts until you are able to find a patch window.

Protecting against Ransomware

One of the best general ways to protect your organization is to apply the relevant security patches.  VMware publishes Security Advisories about it’s products. You can sign up to be notified when any new security advisory is published.

Continue reading “vToolbelt – February 2023”

ESX Host Prep with PowerCLI

I often discuss ESX configuration with customers, and during a recent conversation the topic turned to Powershell  and automation.  This reminded of a script I wrote back in the vSphere 4.x days.    I was able to locate the file, and with just 2 minor changes found it still works with vSphere 7.  It is simple; but can save quite a bit of time.  Since that is one of the fundamentals of automation – I thought it worthy of sharing.

vSphere does offer a feature called Host Profiles that can help ensure hosts have the same configuration.  This feature does require Enterprise Plus licensing and can take some time to setup.  For those that use vSphere Standard or the older Enterprise licensing – Host Profiles are not an option.   That is where PowerCLI can be really useful!

Continue reading “ESX Host Prep with PowerCLI”

vToolbelt – January 2023

I hope all of you had a Happy New Year – welcome to 2023.
I do want to take a moment and thank you for reading.  I have been working on this blog for a few years now with no real expectations other than trying to provide some information that is helpful to others.  Getting questions and feedback on what I write provides encouragement to keep going!
I don’t normally make much of New Year’s Resolutions; but thought it might help keep myself accountable so – Here goes!
  1. Focus more on Education – In almost every industry continual learning is a necessity to some degree.   I want to deepen my skillset and branch out a bit
  2. Blog more – The last quarter of 2022 has kept me busy with work and life.   The winter months should provide time to share what I am learning.  I have a few things on tap that may be of interest so stay tuned!
  3. Dedicate Time to Physical Health – I know this one is cliche; but for this first time it seems like I am headed in the right direction in this area.  Like many who may read this, I spend most of my time on the computer for work or hobby.   My wife and I recently decided to help each other be more active and eat better.  Doing this together really does seem to be working for us.    I have a workout streak going and am having success eating healthier food with little to no snacking.  Even after a short time my blood pressure is starting to trend in the right direction and so is the scale. Queue up Rule #1 ?
VMware Security Advisories
  • VMSA-2022-0030 – vCenter and ESXi updates address multiple security vulnerabilities
  • VMSA-2022-0031 – vRealize Network Insight updates address command injection and directory traversal vulnerabilities
  • VMSA-2022-0032 – Workspace ONE Access and Identity Manager updates address multiple security vulnerabilities.  Note: This also affects Identity Manger 3.3.6 used with vRealize Suite and Horizon
  • VMSA-2022-0033 – ESXi, Fusion, and Workstation updates address a heap out-of-bands vulnerability
  • VMSA-2022-0034 – vRealize Operations updated to address privilege escalation vulnerabilities

Continue reading “vToolbelt – January 2023”

vToolbelt – December 2022

Hot Topics

  • VMware Security Advisories

Upcoming Events


Cincinnati VMUG UserCON
December 8th 2022
8am – 4:30pm
In-person at the Sharonville Convention Center

The Cincinnati VMUG community welcomes you back to the Sharonville Convention Center to networkand engage in face-to-face conversations with your peers at the Cincinnati VMUG UserCon. Learn about the latest in IT innovations to help you stay on the cutting edge of technology. Advance your knowledge, become a better IT professional and grow as a strategic leader for your organization.

Register at MY.VMUG.COM

Continue reading “vToolbelt – December 2022”

vToolbelt – November 2022

Welcome to November!  For those of us in the midwest this means a

nearly endless need to rake and bag leaves.    The first round isn’t so bad.  When you get to the 5th round or later – not as fun ?  Wherever you are – I hope you are well!  Please send me a kind thought as I prepare for my 6th round of leaf duty.  On to more interesting topics – this month’s newsletter contains a number of links that will help you start to prepare for vSphere 8

If you haven’t upgraded to vSphere 7 yet – there is still time. While vSphere 6.5 and 6.7 have left End of General Support and are now in Technical Guidance, VMware will still do their best to help you if you upgrade.    Take a look at these upgrade planning tips and get started!

Hot Topics

Continue reading “vToolbelt – November 2022”

vToolbelt – October 2022

Hot Topics

  • vSphere 6.5 and 6.7 will exit General Support on 10/15/22 and transition into TechnicalGuidance –  This phase of the support lifecycle is focused on providing workarounds for lower severity issues.  The full description of this phase including what support options are still available is described on the VMware Lifecycle Policy page.

Upcoming Events

Toledo VMUG –  What’s new with vSphere 8 and vSAN
Date: November 16th, 2022
Time: 11:30am Eastern

Join the Toledo VMUG on this virtual Lunch-n-Learn to review what is new in vSphere and vSAN for version 8!


Continue reading “vToolbelt – October 2022”

vCenter Server Certificate Status Alarm

Earlier this week I began receiving alarms from my vCenter regarding a Certificate Status Alarm.  I had not run into this particular error before and it took me a bit of investigation to get it solved.

An unusual certificate description

The alert kept repeating on an hourly interval and I didn’t have a clue what this certificate was for:

This email is to notify you that an alarm has been triggered in your vCenter:
[Critical] Alarm alarm.CertificateStatusAlarm on Folder Datacenters because Certificate 'CN=Synology,OU=Synology,O=Synology,L=Unknown,ST=Unknown,C=Unknown' from 'SMS' expires on 2022-08-01 08:35:11.000.

Alarm name alarm.CertificateStatusAlarm
Description alarm.CertificateStatusAlarm
Target Folder Datacenters
Status Critical (previous status: Unset)
Triggered time 09/15/2022 08:45:42 PM

Continue reading “vCenter Server Certificate Status Alarm”

vToolbelt – September 2022

Sending this newsletter a little early.  Included below are links to an important Security Advisory and the live stream to the VMware Explore keynote on August 30th.

Hot Topics

Upcoming Events


VMware Explore
August 29 – September 1, 2022
In-Person at the Moscone Center
San Francisco, California

VMware Explore starts this week!

The keynote from the General Session on Tuesday will be streamed live on Tuesday 8/30 at 12pm EST.

Learn more and Register

Continue reading “vToolbelt – September 2022”

Adding VMware Tools Updates to vSphere Lifecycle Manager

Updated – 12/28/22 – based on user feedback I have updated this article.

There are times where VMware Tools updates are published outside of a vSphere release/update.  This can be due to a bug fix or a security advisory (ie: VMSA-2022-0024)

This new VMware Tools package can be easily added to your ESXi hosts so your virtual machines can be updated.  If you are still running vSphere 6.x, the VMware Tools package will be  updated using Update Manager.

vSphere 7 introduced Lifecycle Manager which can now be used for this update.  Here are the steps:

Login to vCenter, and navigate to Lifecycle Manager (click on the hamburger menu -> Lifecycle Manager)

Create the Baseline

Click on the Baselines menu and click New -> Baseline

Create New Baseline - Menu






Continue reading “Adding VMware Tools Updates to vSphere Lifecycle Manager”