Welcome to our third lesson in data centre virtualization with VMware, in the previous lessons we performed the installation of Androidx86 on a Type-2 hypervisor and VMware ESXi installation as a Type-1 hypervisor system.

We shall now explore the features available in the ESXi management console and try our hands on installing multiple virtual machines on the hypervisor host.  

The idea for this lab is to understand how operating systems of different architecture such as Windows servers, Exchange severs, Linux systems and even android operating systems can all be nested in VMware ESXi and interconnected to communicate and share data.

               Taking a Closer Look at the ESXi Management Console Interface 
It’s a good idea to have a detailed browse around the features available after logging onto your ESXi hypervisor server, from getting to know where to find system information, storage, networking and tools to deploy virtual machines on the server.

We shall explore some of the important features in this lesson to help us with our installation of multiple virtual machines. You can explore further in your own time to get familiar with other helpful tools. 

                                  VMware ESXi Web Interface Management Console

At a glance, the dashboard shows you system resource information at the top right corner with CPU, memory and storage information. Customize these features on the left panel of your screen. 

                                         VMware ESXi Web Interface Add User Interface

Clicking Manage at the top left panel will reveal further features for managing your ESXi host. Navigate to Users and you’ll see the original root administrator account you created when setting up the server.

This is an important section of your server as you can create other users to log into your host, issuing them with varying permission levels for what they can do while logged in. Creating another admin account is good practice in case your root account gets compromised for any reason.  

                                                  VMware ESXi Web Interface Licensing 

On the same Manage tab, click on Licensing to see the information about your ESXi web interface. As default, VMware lets you use the application free for 60 days. You can click Assign license once you purchase one from the vendor.

                                        VMware ESXi Web Interface Network Management

Clicking on the Network tab on the left panel will take you to all the networking features available on your ESXi host. Notice in the Port groups the active ports and vSwitch which we shall explore a bit more in later lessons.

Spend some time exploring other features such as Virtual networks, Physical NICs, VMkernel NICs, TCP/IP stacks and Firewall rules.

                                         VMware ESXi Web Interface Performance Matrix

Scroll down the VMware web interface to see the performance matrix of your system, displaying the host CPU and memory consumption over time. 

              Installing Virtual Machines inside VMware ESXi Host Hypervisor 

Now that we are familiar with the interface and features of VMware ESXi, let’s dive right in to install a virtual machine. Remember the idea of having a hypervisor as a host is the ability to install operating systems from multiple architectures such as Linux, Windows, Android and many more.

 The process begins with creating data stores for your .iso files to reside in. Note that compared to the Type-2 hypervisor VMware Workstation, the .iso files are retrieved directly from your host machine which may be running Windows or Linux. Go ahead and Click Datastore browser.  

This action presents a pop-up window with some options to create a directory, where you can store your .iso files for later installation. It is good practice to choose logical names for your directories to enable easy identification of multiple files should the data store.  

You can click Upload on the top left corner of the window to locate and copy over your .iso file ready to create your first virtual machine, running inside an ESXi host.

You will see an upload process bar to keep track of your file transfer. The duration can vary depending on the size of the OS you prefer to install. It will be a great idea to have a few uploaded to your Datastore. You can download Tiny Linux OS with a size of only 11MB.

1. Once the upload of the .iso file into the Datastore is complete, head over to the main ESXi management interface and Click Virtual Machines. You can now create your virtual machine.

Notice you have a few options, select create new VM and click Next to continue.

2. The second step involves naming your virtual machine, ensure to choose logical names for easy identification in the event your machines grow in size. 

Specifying your Guest OS family and Guest OS version helps VMware allocate recommended resources for your virtual machine. Click Next. 

3. You get to select your storage for the new virtual machine. Notice your Datastore pops up with the maximum capacity, free space and thin provisioning enabled; this is to ensure the system only uses the absolute minimum hard disk space to run the operating system, freeing the excess for use elsewhere.   

4. Customize your VM with RAM and HDD allocation. Leave the rest as default settings.      

5. Scroll down and expand the CD/DVD 1 tab. Browse and select the .iso file you want to install from the Datastore you previously created. Tick Connect at power on > Save > Continue.

6. Review all your settings and click Finish. Go back to Virtual Machines tab, select the new VM and click Power On to fire up your installation process.

7. For this set up I am using a Windows 7 Professional .iso file to build this virtual machine. You can use operating systems from any platform including Linux and Android OS for further practice.

Click on console image to pop up a screen displaying installation action from your virtual machine.  

8. Some users have reported issues while Windows is installing, usually with an error message: ‘Operating System not found’. The common cause of this issue could be the .iso file being corrupted, quickly running an MD5 checksum would help confirm this.

The boot order set on the VM could also be preventing booting from CD/DVD, edit your settings like in stage 5 and reboot the machine. Ensure you tick ‘Connect at Power On’ before saving your settings.

9. You should see the progress of your Win 7 Pro installation after a few restarts. Notice how the operating system behaves as though it were running on a traditional hardware environment. 

10. The first virtual machine installed in a VM ESXi hypervisor is now complete.

Spend some time to check the system information, network settings and ping a few IP addresses in your subnet to ensure your machine can communicate.

Run a quick ipconfig in command line to confirm IP address.

VMware Education Packages & More Information 

As we discussed in previous lessons, registering for an account with VMware comes with many advantages. Sign up here:  https://my.VMware.com/group/VMware/evalcenter?p=free-esxi6

Similarly, if you decide to pursue any certification in VCP (VMware Certified Professional) and DCV (Data Center Virtualization), you are required to take an online or physical class from an authorised agent. Please visit the website for more information.

Typically, a training course in VMware vSphere: Install, Configure and Management will cost about £3,192.00 with the vSphere Foundations Exam Number: 2V0-620 costing about £276.00

Hope you enjoyed installing multiple virtual machines, you are welcome to join us in the next lesson as we drill down into more advanced configurations of VMware ESXi virtual machines to help sharpen your skills and prepare you for your exams or career as VMware engineer.

                                       Thank you for investing your time with us. 

                                       Written By: www.codexploitcybersecurity.com

                                                     Twitter: @ixploitsecurity

                                   Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/icybersecure

                                    Credits to all organisations and development teams at VMware Incorporated.  

                                                    Download click to begin 2.7MB .pdf

Welcome to our second lesson in data centre virtualization with VMware, this time around we’ll be focusing on the Bare- metal Type-1 hypervisor; VMvisor ESXi installation and configuration.

Paying homage to its powerful predecessors like Win Server 2000 and 2003, Windows Server 2012 R2 is Microsoft’s penultimate edition to the family with familiar technologies such as Active Directory, DNS, DHCP and Group Policy that administrators have grown to love and organisations frankly can’t do without.

For individuals interested in knowledge for certification in VCP (VMware Certified Professional) and DCV (Data Center Virtualization), this tutorial will give you a clear, hands-on approach to achieving your goals.

Please be aware to pursue a certification as a VCP, VMware requires you to take an online or physical class with an official authorised agent, a list of which can be found on the VMware website.  

Virtual Machines
Imagine being beamed into the world of virtual reality, where you can experience multiple content and signals on a large scale from your living room as if you were present at the scene, just by wearing some advanced goggles fitted with sensors. Impossible once upon a time, right?

Now think about your old computer with the usual components such as ROM, BIOS, CMOS, drivers and peripherals such as mouse, keyboard, USB and monitor that need to be present for a successful boot into an operating system.
What if a hardware can be tricked by software to believe all these parameters are present to create the perfect illusion of a traditional environment? That’s what Hypervisors are.

Hypervisors are a type of system normally in software capable of emulating resources to enable successful booting of operating systems such as Windows or Linux. As far as the operating system is concerned, the components required for it to function are present such as processors, RAM, keyboards etc.

Types of Hypervisors
There are generally two types namely Bare-Metal Hypervisors, where a hardware computer has the hypervisor installed and is hosting two or more operating systems running as guest virtual machines. An example of a Type 1 hypervisor is VMware ESXi installed on a host machine.


Type 2 hypervisors are where the computer is already running an operating system such as Windows, Linux or MAC OS. You can run virtualized operating system environments using software such as VMware workstation, Fusion, Oracle’s Virtual Box and GNS3 for emulating network environments.  

                                        Illustration of Type - 1 and Type - 2 Hypervisors

   1.   Installation of VMware Workstation with OS (Hypervisor Type-2)

If you’re serious about studying VMware all the way, it is advisable to register for a free account, which can be done using this link; https://my.VMware.com/group/VMware/evalcenter?p=free-esxi6

Carrying out this important task comes with some advantages, such as downloading Workstation and ESXi software, getting access to software licenses, joining a community of experts and also accessing information on training and exams for certification as VCP and DCV.

The current version of Workstation is 12 but installing earlier versions, like 10, will be adequate for this task. Remember this is a demonstration of a Type-2 Hypervisor so an operating system would have already been running on a host before the hypervisor is installed. Think of it like an onion inside another onion when we install additional operating systems in the hypervisor VMware Workstation.

To save space, I would recommend downloading an .iso file of Android x86 for this task, a link to the file on Sourceforge can be found here; https://sourceforge.net/projects/android-x86/

Once downloaded, place the file in a location on your computer and fire up VMware Workstation. 

At the top left corner, click File and select New Virtual Machine to display the set-up wizard above.

Select Typical Installation and click Next to continue the set up with the screen displayed below. 

Here, you’ll be presented with a few installation options such as Installing from a Disc, installing from an .iso file or you can even choose to install the operating system later. Since we already have an .iso file we downloaded earlier, select (.iso) and browse to the location of your file. Click Next to proceed.

At this stage, you get to name your virtual machine and you may change the location where the installation files are stored on your host machine. 

Choose an appropriate name, so it is easy to identify if you intend to install many virtual machines in the future. Click next to proceed with the installation. 

By default, 20GB of HDD space from your host machine is allocated to create your new virtual machine.
You are presented with the option to store your virtual disk as a single file or split it into multiple files.

The idea for choosing the split disk option is that some operating systems have maximum file size limits such as 2GB limit for Fat32 file types, having a split disk will ensure the machine can write excess files onto the multiple disks instead of being limited to one single virtual disk.

Using a configuration process known as Thin Provisioning ensures not all of the 20GB is used up at once. For example, if only 4GB is required, it releases the space to be used by other OS that require it.

You can now check the settings of your virtual machine and customize the hardware by changing the amount of HDD, RAM and networking options if required. Click finish to power on your virtual machine. 

The virtual machine is now ready to boot and you will be presented with a few options to run your operating system. For the purposes of this task, select Install Android – x86 to hard disk and hit Enter.

Remember to switch control from host machine to virtual machine, hold down Ctrl + Alt and click in the virtual machine workspace to use your keyboard and mouse to send inputs. 

1 On the first step, you get to create/modify partitions

2 Create a primary partition using all of the 20GB allocated space.

3 Select New to create new partition from free space.

4 Select Write to partition table. Prompt data will be destroyed, which is fine.

5 Once the Write operation is complete, you can select the partition to install Android OS.

6 Choose the ext3 filesystem to format the partition.

7 Validate partition and select Yes to format sda1.

 8 Choose Yes to install /system directory as read-write.

9 Select Yes to install boot loader GRUB to enable successful boot of the operating system.

10 Wait for a moment while the Android operating system files install.

11 If the set-up configuration goes to plan, you should see this screen signifying your install has been successful.

This concludes the installation of Android OS in VMware workstation as a Type-2 hypervisor. You should now be able to see the Android virtual machine on the left pane of your application, where you have the option to tweak any settings you want for your new machine. Booted interface should look like the image below. 

Test the functionality by launching the browser and accessing your favourite websites. 

           VMware Education Packages & More Information 

As we discussed earlier in this lesson, you stand to gain a lot by registering for an account with VMware https://my.VMware.com/group/VMware/evalcenter?p=free-esxi6

Similarly, if you decide to pursue any certification in the direction of VCP (VMware Certified Professional) and DCV (Data Center Virtualization), you are required to take an online or physical class from an authorised agent. Please visit the website for more information.

Typically, a training course in VMware vSphere: Install, Configure and Management will cost about £3,192.00 with the vSphere Foundations Exam Number: 2V0-620 costing about £276.00

You are welcome to join us as we delve even deeper into more advanced configurations of VMware to help sharpen your skills as you prepare for your exams or career as an engineer. 

As always, don’t forget to teach your fingers by practice, practice and more practice!

Thank you for investing your time with us. 

                                      Written By: www.codexploitcybersecurity.com

                                               Twitter: @ixploitsecurity
                                     Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/icybersecure

                                         Credits to all organisations and development teams at VMware Incorporated

                                                    Download click to begin 0.95MB .pdf
Widely believed to first appear on the internet on September 5 2013, Crypto Locker is a ransomware Trojan virus targeted at computers running Microsoft Windows® operating systems. Primarily propagated through infected email attachments, the virus uses existing botnets when activated to encrypt some types of files stored on the local disk drive and other mounted network drives, using RSA public-key cryptography. 

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