vmware-tools-for-nested-esxi

If you´re owning a lab or development environment at home or at work, running the VMware ESXi hosts within a virtual machine itself (Nested ESXi), makes a lot of sense.

Not only it gives you a lot of flexibility, you also save a fair amount of money compared to a physical box.

We use Nested ESXi systems heavily at opvizor to do testing and product development.

But there was a negative impact to it, as no VMware tools were available within the ESXi installation itself to run optimized and using best practices. Our Health Analyzer is detecting old and missing VMware Tools and informs you directly about its disadvantages. 

Nested ESXi

Photo courtesy of caro.bello(CC No Derivatives)

Luckily there is a solution as a Jim Mattson (VMware Engineer) released a Fling just for the VMware Tools in a  nested ESXi environment. At least for ESXi 5.x for now. You can find his Fling here and please give kudos to him for the great job: 

VMware Tools for Nested ESXi – VMware Labs

Based on the description, the following capabilities are exposed through VMware Tools:

  • Provides guest OS information of the nested ESXi Hypervisor (eg. IP address, configured hostname, etc.).
  • Allows the nested ESXi VM to be cleanly shut down or restarted when performing power operations with the vSphere Web/C# Client or vSphere APIs.
  • Executes scripts that help automate ESXi guest OS operations when the guest’s power state changes.
  • Supports the Guest Operations API (formally known as the VIX API).

To install the bundle, it comes as a VIB file and you can use 2 ways to install it:

Option 1 – Download VIB and upload to an ESXi datastore:

Download the VIB file and upload to an ESXi datastore

esxcli software vib install -v /vmfs/volumes/[DATASTORE]/esx-tools-for-esxi-9.7.2-0.0.5911061.i386.vib

Option 2 – Install directly from VMware.com (requires internet access from ESXi host):

_esxcli software vib install -v http://download3.vmware.com/software/vmw-tools/esxi_tools_for_guests/esx-tools-for-esxi-9.7.2-0.0.5911061.i386.vib_

To uninstall the VIB:

esxcli software vib remove -n esx-tools-for-esxi

We have more blog posts for further reading covering the Nested Installation of vSphere vCenter as well as ESXi.

/blog/installing-vsphere-6-0-esxi-hosts-nested-preconfiguration/

/blog/installing-vsphere-6-0-esxi-hosts-nested-install-2/

/blog/configuration-of-a-nested-vsphere-6-0-esxi-host/

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Use Case - Tamper-resistant Clinical Trials

Goal:

Blockchain PoCs were unsuccessful due to complexity and lack of developers.

Still the goal of data immutability as well as client verification is a crucial. Furthermore, the system needs to be easy to use and operate (allowing backup, maintenance windows aso.).

Implementation:

immudb is running in different datacenters across the globe. All clinical trial information is stored in immudb either as transactions or the pdf documents as a whole.

Having that single source of truth with versioned, timestamped, and cryptographically verifiable records, enables a whole new way of transparency and trust.

Use Case - Finance

Goal:

Store the source data, the decision and the rule base for financial support from governments timestamped, verifiable.

A very important functionality is the ability to compare the historic decision (based on the past rulebase) with the rulebase at a different date. Fully cryptographic verifiable Time Travel queries are required to be able to achieve that comparison.

Implementation:

While the source data, rulebase and the documented decision are stored in verifiable Blobs in immudb, the transaction is stored using the relational layer of immudb.

That allows the use of immudb’s time travel capabilities to retrieve verified historic data and recalculate with the most recent rulebase.

Use Case - eCommerce and NFT marketplace

Goal:

No matter if it’s an eCommerce platform or NFT marketplace, the goals are similar:

  • High amount of transactions (potentially millions a second)
  • Ability to read and write multiple records within one transaction
  • prevent overwrite or updates on transactions
  • comply with regulations (PCI, GDPR, …)


Implementation:

immudb is typically scaled out using Hyperscaler (i. e. AWS, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure) distributed across the Globe. Auditors are also distributed to track the verification proof over time. Additionally, the shop or marketplace applications store immudb cryptographic state information. That high level of integrity and tamper-evidence while maintaining a very high transaction speed is key for companies to chose immudb.

Use Case - IoT Sensor Data

Goal:

IoT sensor data received by devices collecting environment data needs to be stored locally in a cryptographically verifiable manner until the data is transferred to a central datacenter. The data integrity needs to be verifiable at any given point in time and while in transit.

Implementation:

immudb runs embedded on the IoT device itself and is consistently audited by external probes. The data transfer to audit is minimal and works even with minimum bandwidth and unreliable connections.

Whenever the IoT devices are connected to a high bandwidth, the data transfer happens to a data center (large immudb deployment) and the source and destination date integrity is fully verified.

Use Case - DevOps Evidence

Goal:

CI/CD and application build logs need to be stored auditable and tamper-evident.
A very high Performance is required as the system should not slow down any build process.
Scalability is key as billions of artifacts are expected within the next years.
Next to a possibility of integrity validation, data needs to be retrievable by pipeline job id or digital asset checksum.

Implementation:

As part of the CI/CD audit functionality, data is stored within immudb using the Key/Value functionality. Key is either the CI/CD job id (i. e. Jenkins or GitLab) or the checksum of the resulting build or container image.

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