I updated my Home Lab with the gift of Cohesity and the vEXPERT community

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Until a few weeks, my Home Lab was composed of two physical ESXi nodes (respectively an INTEL NUC NUC8i3BEH and an HP Desktop HP ProDesk 600 G2 DM), with 32 GB of RAM each and 5 TB of total disk.

For my testing activities, especially in VDI (Horizon) and some vSAN (implemented a 2-node cluster to test the operation of Shared Disks for Microsoft clusters) could be enough.

But the desire to test vSphere 8 (vSAN etc …) and the possibility of trying the Kubernetes world was pushing me to evaluate an expansion of my Home LAB ……….

………. And thanks to COHESITY and the vEXPERT community at VMware EXPLORER in Barcelona I was able to have my expansion…. a beautiful Maxtang NX6412 NX6412-Maxtang-A premier manufacturer (maxtangpc.com)

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here’s how I activated the new HW:

  • Equipment
    • Being barebones I had to buy RAM and DISK, taking advantage of Black Friday I bought:
      • Timetec 1TB SSD 3D NAND TLC SATA III 6Gb/s M.2 2280 NGFF 512TBW
      • Transcend JM3200HSE-32G 32GB DDR4 3200MHz SO-DIMM 2Rx8 1.2V

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For the RAM I will proceed to evaluate an expansion with an additional 32GB bank

  • Installation
    • Updated vCenter to version 8
    • Installed ESXi version 8 on a USB stick (Using VMware Workstation and installing ESXi from an ISO on my USB stick) and used it to boot from Maxtang.

At this point I encountered the first problem, the two network cards are not compatible… I had to use a USB dongle -> Ethernet and I managed to start everything (Thanks also to the community drivers USB Network Native Driver for ESXi | VMware Flings

    • I finally added ESXi to my vCenter
  • First use
    • The first thing I did was use William Lam’s script to deploy a vSAN 8

Automated vSphere & vSAN 8 Lab Deployment Script (williamlam.com)

    • I configured the HA of my vCenter
    • Now I’m trying to improve my know-how on Tanzu and WorkSpace One


I updated my Home Lab with the gift of Cohesity and the vEXPERT community

VMware ThinAPP

ThinApp is an application virtualization (Agent-Less) solution.

Application virtualization, therefore, the use of ThinApp, allows us to:

  • Coexist different versions of the same application on the same Operating System
  • Use Windows 7 and Windows XP applications on Windows 10 and Windows 11 systems and thus simplify the migration from outdated operating systems to a modern OS
  • Reduce IT support and related Help Desk costs
  • Increase user mobility
  • Stream applications

In detail, ThinApp captures the installation of one or more applications (including files and registry keys that are modified) in an ecosystem that looks like a single executable file.

The executable file is portable on other systems (of the same version or different) and we can control the level of interaction with the operating system on which we are going to run the application and with other applications in our system.

ThinApp allows various ways of isolation using a sandbox:

  • FULL

During the creation of the virtualized package, we can choose only two of the previous options (MERGE and WRITECOPY) the third (FULL) we can activate by modifying an INI file post-capture of the installation

In the following diagrams, we find the three modes

The Sandbox is our box where changes to the ThinApp package that the end user performs during use can (depending on the isolation mode chosen) be saved.

The sandbox is:

  • Customizable the path where it resides
    • Editable in .ini file that generates application capture
    • Can reside in the same directory as the ThinApp EXE
    • Can be on a network share
    • By default is %appdata%\thinstall\application
  • Each user has his own sandbox
  • Resetting application configurations is executable by deleting the sandbox

The distribution of a ThinApp is feasible in several ways:

  • Using a network share and running application streaming
  • Using it from a USB device
  • Copying it to your computer

The use of the network share for the distribution of ThinApp packages allows an easy updating of the packages themselves.

VMware ThinAPP

Using Secondary Image on Instant Clone Desktop Pool (VMware Horizon)

In the management of a pool of Instant Clone (IC) VMs in a VMware Horizon infrastructure, one of the most useful aspects for a system administrator is the ability to make updates by modifying the GoldImage, subsequently generating a new Snapshot of it and applying it to all the VM ICs of the Pool.

Since version 2111, we have the possibility to use a “second image” in the same Pool to allow the deployment of this second image in a “selective” way on only some VMs.

This allows us to test the changes made only on a limited number of users.

Let’s see how it works, in my Home Lab where I have a Pool of type IC with Guest OS Windows 11.

The VMs (in this case there are 2) point to the following snapshot of the GoldImage:

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Let’s proceed to update the VMware Tools on the Gold image, where the version is currently present

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Post update we have the following version

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We proceed with turning off the GoldImage and create the snapshot to use.

Once the snapshot is created, we go to the Desktop Pool and proceed to assign the snapshot created as a secondary image.

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We select the option to publish it as a second image

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If we want to select now the VM IC on which to push we put the flag to:

In my case we will select after the VMs ICs

We wait for the secondary image to be ready for deployment

When it is ready we will be able to see the following in the details of the pool


At this point in the “Machines (Instant Clone Details)” menu, you will enable the following option:

We select the VM on which we want to apply the image and proceed:

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And we wait for this to be applied

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Let’s try to connect with two different users to the same pool to see the differences between the two VMs and we will notice that one IC has the updated VMware tools and the other does not

Once all the tests of the changes have been carried out, we have three possibilities:

  • Apply the default image to the VM on which we tested the subimage
  • Authorize the second image as Default
  • Delete the second image because it doesn’t meet your needs

Apply the default image to the VM on which we tested the subimage

Authorize the second image as Default

Delete the second image because it doesn’t meet your needs

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Using Secondary Image on Instant Clone Desktop Pool (VMware Horizon)

Script for removing and installing Horizon agent


  • Share containing the installation file of the Horizon agent version and a . bat containing the command to silently install the Horizon agent
  • List of VMs on which to perform the operation
  • A user to access vCenter with administrative rights
  • One user to install horizon agent on VMs

The script includes:

  • Credential request
    • First request the user to access the vCenter (line 6)
    • Second request the user to remove and install the Horizon Agent on the VMs (line 8)
  • Import the VM list (line 12)
  • Connecting to the vCenter (line 13)
  • Part a for each machine contained in the file with the list of VMs (line 14)
  • Check if the Horizon Agent is present (line 25)
  • If present, remove it and reboot (line 29), if not present, switch to the installation fa
  • Installing the Horizon agent (line 54)
    • Share mount
    • Running the .bat contained in the share
  • Waiting for the installation to finish and reboot

There are 3 “procedures” in the script

For  verification if the Horizon Agent is installed (line 18 to 20):

$script = @”

Get-WmiObject Win32_Product -filter “Name=’VMware Horizon Agent'” | Select Caption

” @

For the removal the Horizon  agent (line 22 to 24):

$removeapp= @”

wmic Product Where “Name=’VMware Horizon Agent'” Call Uninstall /NoInteractive

” @

For agent installation (Line 50 to 54):

$installapp = @”

New-PSDrive -Name “S” -Root “\\vimng03\share” -Persist -PSProvider “FileSystem”


” @

In this last agent installation procedure, you must modify:

  • S 🡪 letter with which the share will be temporarily mounted on the VM (which we can change but must also be modified in the installation file .Bat
  • \\vimng03\share –> put the share where you want the Horizon agent installation file and the installation file .bat
  • S:\agentinstallv8.bat is the file that will install the agent in silently mode

Where inside it is start:

s:\VMware-Horizon-Agent-x86_64-8.0.0-16530789.exe /s /v”/qn ADDLOCAL=BlastUDP,Core,HelpDesk,RDP,RTAV,TSMMR,USB,VmVideo,VmwVaudio,VmwVdisplay,VmwVidd”

to be parameterized according  VMware’s guide.

in my case the file will look like this

#The script need:
#List the VMs name where remove e reinstall the agent (file c:\vdi.txt or where you want)
#Share where is the horizon agent installation file and the file agentinstallv8.bat that contain the silent command for installation
#When the script start ask the vCenter Credential and the Admin User Credential for install the Horizon Agent on the VM
#Credential for access to vCenter
$credential = Get-Credential
#Credential with administrator role for install horizon agent 
$VMCredential = Get-Credential
$vcenter = "<FQDNvCenter>"
#List of VMs where remove e install new agent version
$VDIs = Get-Content "c:\vdi.txt"
connect-viserver $vcenter -Credential $credential
foreach ($VDI in $VDIs){
$VM = Get-VM -Name $VDI
Write-Host "Start remove agent from $VM"
#Script for verify if the agent is installed
$script = @"
Get-WmiObject Win32_Product -filter "Name='VMware Horizon Agent'" | Select Caption 
#Script for remove
$removeapp= @"
wmic Product Where "Name='VMware Horizon Agent'" Call Uninstall /NoInteractive
$value = Invoke-VMScript -VM $VM -ScriptType Powershell -ScriptText $script -GuestCredential $VMCredential 
#Check if horizon agent are install if present the script remove it and reboot the VM
if ($value.ScriptOutput -like "*Horizon*") {
     Write-Host "Horizon agent is installed"
     Invoke-VMScript -VM $VM -ScriptType Powershell -ScriptText $removeapp -GuestCredential $VMCredential -RunAsync
     While(Test-Connection $VM -Quiet -Count 1){
        Write-Progress -Activity "Rebooting $VM" -Status "Waiting for $VM to shut down."
        Start-Sleep -sec 1
     While(!(Test-Connection $VM -Quiet -Count 1)){
        Write-Progress -Activity "Rebooting $VM" -Status "Waiting for $VM to come back up."
        Start-Sleep -sec 1
     if ($value.ScriptOutput -cnotlike "*Horizon*") {
     Write-Host "Agent removed from $VM and $VM rebooted"
   else { 
   Write-Host "Horizon agent is not installed on $VM" 

#####Agent Installation
Write-Host "Start the Horizon Agent installation in $VM"
Sleep 15 
#Installation with share change the fileserver,the share name, the labl and the file 
$installapp = @"
New-PSDrive -Name "S" -Root "\\vimng03\share" -Persist -PSProvider "FileSystem"
Invoke-VMScript -VM $VM -ScriptType powershell -ScriptText $installapp -GuestCredential $VMCredential -RunAsync
While(Test-Connection $VM -Quiet -Count 1){
        Write-Progress -Activity "Rebooting $VM" -Status "Waiting for $VM to shut down."
        Start-Sleep -sec 1
While(!(Test-Connection $VM -Quiet -Count 1)){
        Write-Progress -Activity "Rebooting $VM" -Status "Waiting for $VM to come back up."
        Start-Sleep -sec 1
Write-Host "$VM after installation is UP" 
$value = Invoke-VMScript -VM $VM -ScriptType Powershell -ScriptText $script -GuestCredential $VMCredential
if ($value.ScriptOutput -like "*Horizon*") {
    Write-Host "New Horizon agent is installed in $VM"
    Write-Host "New Horizon agent is not installed in $VM" 
Disconnect-VIServer $vcenter -Force
Script for removing and installing Horizon agent

Upgrade Unified Access Gateway

VMware Horizon infrastructures often have the Unified Access Gateway (UAG) component to enable a secure connection from outside your corporate network to VDI.

This positioning makes the UAG subject to frequent updates, today we will see how to update it.

Download the ISO file of the version we want to update from the VMware Customer Site:

Unified Access Gateway 2203 for vSphere, Amazon AWS and Google Cloud (Non-FIPS) 
File size: 2.63 
File type: Ova 
Read More 
Unified Access Gateway (UAG) 2203 for vSphere (FIPS) 
File size: 2.14 Ga 
File type: ova 
Read More 
Unified Access Gateway WAG) 2203 for Microsoft Azure 
File size: 2.54 GB 
File type: zip 
Read More 
Unified Access Gateway WAG) 2203 PowerShell Scripts 
File size: 79.4 KB 
File type: zip 
Read More 
MDS checksums. SHAI checksums and SdA256 checksums

Check compatibility with your Horizon infrastructure:

Product Interoperability Matrix (vmware.com)

Add to My Favorite List 
Hide Interoperability 
Compatible IV Incompatible 
Com*tible Put End of 
Put End of 
Not S upgnrted 
VMwere Horizon 
T 132 - VMwere Horizon 7 
713 1 - VMwere Horizon 7 
T 13 0 - VMwere Horizon 7 
Hide Legacy Releases O 
Past End ot General Support Past End at Technical Guidance 
VMware Unified Access Gateway 

Download the INI file containing the current UAG configuration

  • Access the Unified Access Gateway interface
    • HTTPS://<fqdnUAG>:9443

Using the credentials of the admin user

Unified Access Gateway 
dmin Username 
Admin Password 

Once logged in, download the .ini file

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OCSP Settings 
Support Settings 
Support Settings 
Edge Service Session Statistics 
Log Archive 
Log Level Settings 
Export Unified Access Gateway Settings

Retrieving the information needed to complete the configuration file:

  • Certificate for public access and password
  • Certificate for the admin center and its password
  • SAML component XML if integration with AZURE MFA
  • Information on where to deploy (vCenter, Cluster, virtual network, datastore ) the Virtual Appliance of the new UAG

The data indicated will serve me to fill in the fields of the downloaded ini file

File Edit Format 
netmaskØ=255.255.255. or 
netManagement etwor 
• pØA110cationMode=STATICV4 
forceNetmaskØ=255.255.255. or 
forceNetmask1=255.255.255. or

I summarize the info required in this table

Sector Field Description
General netInternet PortGroup on which to certify the network card that communicates to the internet world *
General diskmode Thin or Thick
General Source Absolute path where the ISO resides
General Target Path of the vSphere infrastructure where we will deploy the virtual appliance
General Ds Datastore where the VM will be created
General netManagementNetwork Portgroup on which to certify the network adapter for UAG management *
General netBackendNetwork Portgroup on which to certify the network adapter for UAG management *
General Name Virtual Machine Name
General uagName Hostname of the UAG (normally to be left that of the UAG to be replaced)
SSLCert pfxCerts Property Path where the SSL Certificate generated by a public CA in password protected PFX format used to access VDI by Horizon Clients resides
SSLCertAdmin pfxCerts Property Path where the SSL Certificate generated by a CA (normally Microsoft and Private) used to secure and validate access to the UAG Management Interface resides
IDPExternalMetadata1 metadataXmlFile Property XML file of the Identity Provider (In this case Azure AD) to enable Azure MFA for access

*VMware recommends at least two network adapters in two different segments for production environments

  • One for internet traffic (I call it the EXT-DMZ)
  • One for traffic to the internal LAN (I call it the INT-DMZ)

It is possible to create environments with 1 or 3 network adapters, in the first case VMware recommends only one card only for test environments, and in the second to also differentiate the management traffic that otherwise, in the two-card configuration would pass through the card that communicates with the internal LAN.

File Edit Format View Help 
net Internet—DPG - EXT•4Zjjj) 
source—E : - unified - access - gateway- 22.03. 1955Ø 91_OVFI Ø. Ova 
target—vi : / /vcaØ7 
netmaskØ=255.255.255. and 
net8ackendNetwork=DPG - INT - C*IZ 
forceNetmaskØ=255.255.255. and 
forceNetmask1-255.255.255. and 
net-maski=255,255,255. and 
authenticationT imeout—3ØØØØe 
sys L ogType=UDP 

At this point we can proceed with the deployment of the virtual appliance:

  • The first step is Shutdown the old UAG Virtual Appliance (I suppose do you have at least two UAGs with a Load Balancer in front and at least a DNS round-robin for balancing the traffic to the Connection server)

.\uagdeploy.ps1 -iniFile UAG_Settings_VIUAG04.ini

Administrator: Windows PowerShell 
uag ep oy2203> 
uag ep oy. PSI

Allow CEIP

Insert password for PFX Certificate File

Insert a new (or reuse the old) password for the Root account (for access to UAG OS) and Admin account (for access to UAG WEB admin console)

Waiting to complete the UAG Deploy (You can check the process from the vCenter task)

Now the new UAG virtual appliance is up and running!! Test it and apply the same step for all UAG virtual appliances of your VMware Horizon Infrastructure.

Upgrade Unified Access Gateway

vSAN Skyline Health History

VMware with vSAN 7.0u2 introduced an interesting functionality on Skyline for reviewing the state of vSAN in the past time

The functionality is disabled by default, if I want to see the Health History I need to only check the correct option.

After enable it I can see all history

and I can select the red icon for to see what happened

On Jan 8, 12:08 we encountered a problem on a vSAN cluster HOST

It is possible to select the day to check the vSAN status, just select the correct date and time

vSAN Skyline Health History

Log4j, Horizon Connection Server Workaround

We continue to look at how to mitigate the log4j vulnerability, in this post we look at horizon connection servers in detail.
As indicated by the VMware KB

only the connection servers where the HTML Access Portal is active are vulnerable. But all versions are subject to vulnerability.
I recommend applying the workaround even if the HTML Access Portal is not active.
Again as indicated in the previously cited KB we have two possibilities:

  • Change the following registry key

1. Edit this registry value:
HKLM\Software\VMware, Inc.\VMware VDM\plugins\wsnm\TomcatService\Params\JVMOptions
2. Append a single space character followed by this text: -Dlog4j2.formatMsgNoLookups=true
3. Exit the registry editor and restart the Connection Server service or reboot the machine

  • Run the following script as administrator.
@echo off
goto start

CVE-2021-44228 - Prevent log4j parameter expansion
Horizon Connection Server 7.x, 8.x
VMware, Inc. 2021

set sigpath=HKLM\Software\VMware, Inc.\VMware VDM\plugins\wsnm\TomcatService
for /f "delims=" %%g in ('reg.exe query "%sigpath%" /v Filename') do set sigval=%%g
if "%sigval%"=="" goto notneeded
set killflag=-Dlog4j2.formatMsgNoLookups=true
set svcpath=HKLM\Software\VMware, Inc.\VMware VDM\plugins\wsnm\TomcatService\Params
for /f "tokens=2*" %%v in ('reg.exe query "%svcpath%" /v JVMOptions') do set svcval=%%w
echo %svcval%|find " %killflag%" >nul
if not errorlevel 1 goto notneeded
reg add "%svcpath%" /v JVMOptions /d "%svcval% %killflag%" /f
net stop wsbroker /y && net start wsbroker
echo Completed.
goto :EOF

echo Not required.
goto :EOF

I will proceed with the script.
I create a fix-log4j.bat file in the c: \ temp folder of my connection server and copy the script text to it.

I launch the command from a PowerShell with administrator rights:

I reboot the server

I verify that the workaround is applied by relaunching the bat file.

Obviously, I have to do this on all the Horizon Connection Servers present
in the Horizon infrastructure

Log4j, Horizon Connection Server Workaround

VMware Workstation Player and Port Forwarding

To configure a PortForwarding on Windows 10 to a VM hosted on VMware Player it is necessary to proceed as follows:

  • Configure a static IP address (not essential but recommended) use the DHCP reservation function present in the virtualization application
  • Configure port forwarding.

Configure DHCP Reservation

  • Retrieve the MAC Address assigned to the virtual machine to which you want a static IP
  • Modify (with Notepad running in Administrator mode) the vmnetdhcp.conf file present in C:\ProgramData\VMware by inserting the following lines:

Host <Name of virtual network> {

hardware ethernet <Mac Address in this format xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx;

fixed-address <ip address>*;



#Static IP WIN11 –> Comment to identify the VM

VMnet8 host {
Hardware Ethernet 00: 0C: 29: 41: E8: 0C;
fixed address;

Where in our case the VMnet8 is the one assigned by default to the “NAT” configuration of the VM network card

  • Restart the VMNETDHCP service
    net stop vmnetdhcp
    net start vmnetdhcp

Port Forwarding Configuration

  • Modify (with Notepad running in Administrator mode) the vmnetnat.conf file present in C:\ProgramData\VMware by inserting the following lines:
    <tcpPortSource> = <IPaddress VM>:<tcpPortDestination>

8889 =

In this case, we follow an RDP session to the OS system hosting my VM using: 8889 I will access through RDS to my VM with IP

*To check the IP range to always use the vmnetdhcp.conf file and identify the correct network segment; In the case of my example the segment is 8 (VMnet8)

# Virtual ethernet segment 8

# Added at 11/10/21 23:49:40

subnet netmask {

range;            # default allows up to 125 VM’s

option broadcast-address;

option domain-name-servers;

option domain-name “localdomain”;

option netbios-name-servers;

option routers;

default-lease-time 1800;

max-lease-time 7200;


VMware Workstation Player and Port Forwarding

LDAP Identity source and vCenter

Whenever we installed a new vCenter the activity always included integration with Active Directory and normally IWA (Integrated Windows Authentication) was used.
Since vSphere 7.0 version this possibility has been deprecated
so it is good to start with the integration of the vCenter with Active Directory via LDAP.
In our case, we will use LDAPS which uses a certificate

For first the step we need to create the certificate:

  • Use SSH to vCenter connection

On shell use this command

openssl s_client -connect <DC FQDN>:636 -showcerts

Copy the certificate output with  —–BEGIN CERTIFICATE—– and —–END CERTIFICATE—–

Past on Notepad and save with .crt extension

Now we will go to configure the Identity Sources on vCenter:

  • Login as Single Sign-On Administrator to vCenter
  • Navigate to Menu > Administration > Single Sign-On Configuration
  • In the Identity Provider tab, open Identity Sources
  • Click ADD
  • Select Active Directory over LDAP or OpenLDAP, depending on your directory type.

Fill out the remaining fields as follows:
Identity Source Name: Label
Base DN for users: The Distinguished Name (DN) of the starting point for directory server searches. Example: “DC=pollaio,DC=lan”.
Base DN for groups: The Distinguished Name (DN) of the starting point for directory server searches.
Domain name: Your domain name. Example: “pollaio.lan”
Domain alias: Your NetBIOS name. Example: “pollaio.lan”
Username: Domain user with at least browse privileges. Example: “pollaio\administrator”.
Connect to:  “ldaps://<DC FQDN>”.

  • Click Browse next to SSL Certificate
  • Select the .cer file created in before step
Now we are ready to login to the vCenter with domain user (remember to assign the correct permission to domain group or user group)

If you want check the correct use of SSL certificate on the authentication to Active Directory with LDAP connection check the websso.log:

LDAP Identity source and vCenter