vmkping via PowerCLI/ESXCLi

When troubleshooting an ESXi host one of the most common problems is testing connectivity.  A tool that used on the console or ssh session of the ESXi host is vmkping. Use cases are testing connectivity from vmkernel to other servers in cluster like vMotion or vSAN connectivity.

This article from VMware KB article 1003728 shows use case on how to use vmkping.

There are situations where you may not have access to the root account to ssh into the box.  There is way to still troubleshooting vmkernel network connectivity by using PowerCLi and ESXCli.

$esxcli = Get-EsxCli -VMHost (Get-VMHost "testesxihost") -V2
$params = $esxcli.network.diag.ping.CreateArgs()
$params.host = ''
$params.interface  = 'vmk0'
$params.size = '1472' #use 1472 for 1500 MTU or 8972 for 9000 MTU (VMware uses these values on MTU pings on ESXi)
$res = $esxcli.network.diag.ping.Invoke($params)

You will then get output like this:


Duplicated : 0
HostAddr :
PacketLost : 0
Recieved : 3
RoundtripAvg : 49
RoundtripAvgMS : 0
RoundtripMax : 61
RoundtripMaxMS : 0
RoundtripMin : 42
RoundtripMinMS : 0
Transmitted : 3

You can get further script options for ESXCLI for networking.diag.ping by:

PS C:\> $params

Name                           Value                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
----                           -----                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
host                           Unset, ([string], optional)                                                                                                                                                                                                       
wait                           Unset, ([string], optional)                                                                                                                                                                                                       
df                             Unset, ([boolean], optional)                                                                                                                                                                                                      
interval                       Unset, ([string], optional)                                                                                                                                                                                                       
ttl                            Unset, ([long], optional)                                                                                                                                                                                                         
debug                          Unset, ([boolean], optional)                                                                                                                                                                                                      
nexthop                        Unset, ([string], optional)                                                                                                                                                                                                       
count                          Unset, ([long], optional)                                                                                                                                                                                                         
netstack                       Unset, ([string], optional)                                                                                                                                                                                                       
size                           Unset, ([long], optional)                                                                                                                                                                                                         
ipv4                           Unset, ([boolean], optional)                                                                                                                                                                                                      
ipv6                           Unset, ([boolean], optional)                                                                                                                                                                                                      
interface                      Unset, ([string], optional) 

For help:

PS C:\> $esxcli.network.diag.ping.Help()

Send ICMP echo requests to network hosts.
- count           | Specify the number of packets to send.                                                          
- debug           | VMKPing debug mode.                                                                             
- df              | Set DF bit on IPv4 packets.                                                                     
- host            | Specify the host to send packets to. This parameter is required when not executing ping in debug mode (-D)                                                                                      
- interface       | Specify the outgoing interface.                                                                 
- interval        | Set the interval for sending packets in seconds.                                                
- ipv4            | Ping with ICMPv4 echo requests.                                                                 
- ipv6            | Ping with ICMPv6 echo requests.                                                                 
- netstack        | Specify the TCP/IP netstack which the interface resides on                                      
- nexthop         | Override the system's default route selection, in dotted quad notation. (IPv4 only. Requires int
                  | erface option)                                                                                  
- size            | Set the payload size of the packets to send.                                                    
- ttl             | Set IPv4 Time To Live or IPv6 Hop Limit                                                         
- wait            | Set the timeout to wait if no responses are received in seconds.

Using PowerCLi to Export and Import OS Customization Specs

I was asked to find a solution to automate importing OS customization Specs to our Vcenters. Its a task that not difficult but better if was scripted. I found this code located at ForwardorReverse blog. Export function allows you to export the OS customization Spec to $secname.xml and the import allows you to import them. These two functions are few years old according to the Blog but still work on Vsphere 6.5 without issue.

Function Export-OSCustomizationSpec {
    param (
        [string]$exportFile = "$specname.xml"
    $csmgr = Get-View CustomizationSpecManager
    if ($csmgr.DoesCustomizationSpecExist($specName)) {
        $spec = $csmgr.GetCustomizationSpec($specName)
        $csmgr.CustomizationSpecItemToXml($spec) | Out-File $exportFile
    else {
        throw "Spec $specName not found"
Function Import-OSCustomizationSpec {
    param (
        [string]$specName #Use to change the spec name from that defined in the file
    $specXml = Get-Content $importFile
    $csmgr = Get-View CustomizationSpecManager
    $spec = $csmgr.XmlToCustomizationSpecItem($specXml)
     # Change the name if a new one was given.
    if ($specName) {
        $spec.Info.Name = $specName
     if ($csmgr.DoesCustomizationSpecExist($spec.Info.Name)) {
        throw "Spec $specName already exists."
    else {

Creating vSAN cluster with over 32 hosts

So I was building out a 44 node vSAN cluster last week and I ran into an issue where 12 of the ESXi hosts had their own network Partition group different than the other 32.  I had no issues with the vSAN network, I was able to use vmkping every server so there was no communication issue with any of the hosts in the cluster  via the vSAN kernel.  In most cases vSAN Network partitioning occurs when there was issue with vSAN kernel communicating with other hosts.

After several attempts of removing the diskgroups, removing vSAN kernel, moving out of cluster and away from DVS then back I had no luck.  I knew based on VMware supported Maximum that I could create a 64 node vSAN cluster.  I was at a loss so after several hours troubleshooting and Google searching I ended up opening a SR with VMware after about hour or so troubleshooting the VMware engineer was at loss until he found an article that indicates that you must create some advanced settings on the ESXi hosts in order to see above 32 nodes and once we made those settings rebooted the hosts we had a single network partition our issue was resolved.

The KB article (2110081) shows how to perform task via esxcli via SSH logged into root but does not show how to do it via PowerCli.

$vcenter = Read-Host "Enter Vcenter connecting to"

Connect-VIserver $vcenter

$cluster = Read-host "Cluster Name"

foreach ($host in (Get-Vmhost -Location $cluster)){
Get-VMhost $host | Get-AdvancedSetting -Name "VSAN.goto11" | Set-AdvancedSetting -value 1 -confirm:$false
Get-VMhost $host | Get-AdvancedSetting -Name "Net.TcpipHeapMax" | Set-AdvancedSetting -value 1536 -confirm:$false

Then reboot your hosts.

That’s it!

You would think that supported maximums would occur out of box but according to VMware they did not want smaller vSAN cluster to sacrifice memory overhead that would be required for larger vSAN clusters to run efficiently.

Migrate VMs to another ESXi host in another Vcenter

Can across situation where I needed to move VM from one Vcenter to another.

The following script will do the following:
Will prompt for a Source and Target Vcenter and then ask for user credentials.
Connect to the Source and Target Vcenter. When then cycle through VMs listed from csv file (VMList.csv). (Place the csv file in same directory as the script.)

The list of VMs in the One by one and Migrate the VM to new VC. If the VMs powered on will attempt to shutdown the Server (if VMtools installed) and t

The format of the VMList.csv file needs to be in format as below.

#ensure that not connected to any vCenters
Disconnect-VIServer -Server * -Force -Confirm:$false

#enter Vcenter
Set-PowerCLIConfiguration -DefaultVIServerMode Multiple -Scope User -Confirm:$false
$vc1 = Read-Host "Enter Source Vcenter"
$vc2 = Read-Host "Enter Target Vcenter"

Write-Host "VC1 = " $vc1
Write-Host "VC2 = " $vc2

$vmlist = Import-CSV “$pwd\VMList.csv”

# Connect To Vcenter Server
$User = Read-Host -Prompt "Please enter your VC admin username"
$PW = Read-Host -Prompt "Please enter your VC admin password" -asSecureString
$PW = [Runtime.InteropServices.Marshal]::PtrToStringAuto([Runtime.InteropServices.Marshal]::SecureStringToBSTR($PW))

Connect-VIServer $vc1 -User $User -Password $PW -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue
Connect-VIServer $vc2 -User $User -Password $PW -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue

foreach ($item in $vmlist) {
# Map variables
$vm = $item.vmName
$destESXi = $item.targetesxihost
$destDatastore = $item.targetdatastore
$destVDSwitch = $item.targetDVSwtich
$destPortgroup= $item.targetPortGroup
$typeDisk = $item.Disktype

$vm = get-vm $vm
#Check to see if VM powered off if powered on will shutdown and check ever 5 sec til shutdown
if ($vm.powerstate -eq "PowerdOn"){
write-host "Shutting down" $vm
$vm | Shutdown-VMguest -Confirm:$false
do {
#wait 5 secs
start-Sleep -s 5
$vm = get-vm $vm
$status = $vm.powerstate
}until($status -eq "PoweredOff")

Write-Host "===== Connected vCenters ====="
$global:DefaultVIServers | ft -AutoSize

#Command to migrate the VM to new Host in new Vcenter
Write-Host "Moving VM" $vm
Move-VM -VM (Get-VM -Server $vc1 -Name $vm) -VMotionPriority High `
-Destination (Get-VMHost -Server $vc2 -Name $destESXi) `
-Datastore (Get-Datastore -Server $vc2 -Name $destDatastore) -DiskStorageFormat $typeDisk `
-PortGroup (Get-VDPortgroup -Server $vc2 -VDSwitch $destVDSwitch -Name $destPortgroup)

} #end of ForLoop

Disconnect-VIServer -Server * -Force -Confirm:$false

Amazon Fire TV Cube after one week

After little over a week of using the Amazon Fire TV Cube. I’ve been very happy with it my purchase so far. By far from control perspective I really love how the voice command to turn on and off my TV/Sound bar works very well without use of a remote. It does a good job launching applications via voice but I’ve seen voice commands within the app is not as great. For pausing and restarting video works good. But asking it to play a specific TV series in Hulu for example (when there are multiple user profiles requires interaction with remove to select profile and sometimes locate the TV show. It does a great job controlling my netgear arlos cameras, and all the other smart devices in the home.

Some of features that I feel that this device is lacking is the ability to control off the air TV antenna (don’t have cable to use voice command to control cable box). I also wish that it had full features of a typical echo, such as drop (to use as home intercom system). In addition to improvements anytime you issue your voice command it will pause the Video that you are playing (lets say that you want volume up or down) it will pause the video and adjust the volume and then continue. This may be something I just need to get use to not issue just a little annoying.

Overall I would recommend this to anyone especially those who have an older Fire TV (I had the original Fire TV), and those who don’t want a dongle and device with more horse power than a fire TV Stick. For controlling a main TV/Sound bar in living its great feature to be able to control with voice. As the most importing approval the wife seems also to embrace the device for her approval too.