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VMware Workstation Server not starting “vmware failed to configure the workstation server”

September 13, 2013 Leave a comment

I have been doing some upgrades on my servers at home recently and decided it was time to ditch vmware server 2.0 and upgrade to workstation 8 (due to hardware limitations I’m not going esxi just yet)

I installed workstation and was going to start the shared VMs section of preferences.  This would allow me to start VMs on the Server start (instead of having to start them manually)

I configured a free port (7443) for the sharing server to run but it would not start.  I kept getting this error “vmware failed to configure the workstation server”.  I did some googling and found a few solutions referencing changing a xml file, or removing it all together.  All of the (very few) solutions I came across just wouldn’t fix the problem!  I even found a few walkthroughs on enabling logging to see if something jumped out in the log, nothing.

I had to fall back on my IT skills and look at the problem with fresh eyes.  I checked windows services and sure enough there is a service called “VMware Workstation Server” that wasn’t started.  I tried to manually start it, but it returned an error saying that one of the dependencies has failed on start up.

I opened up event viewer and sure enough there was an error with a dependency not starting.  The culprit was the VMware USB Arbitrator service!  I did some searching on a fix from vmware and found this page http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=2043656 .  The solution was to

  1. Launch a command prompt on the host machine using an Administrator account.
  2. Run this command:
    • In a 32-bit host operating system:

      "C:\Program Files\VMware\VMware Workstation\vnetlib.exe" -- install hcmon

      In a 64-bit host operating system:

      "C:\Program Files (x86)\VMware\VMware Workstation\vnetlib64.exe" -- install hcmon

  3. Open the Windows service console and start the service manually. The service should now start successfully.

 

Now off to enjoy some linked clone goodness

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VMware Fault Tolerance Setup Error

August 3, 2012 Leave a comment

I was recently tasked with configuring VMware Fault Tolerance on a pair of hosts in our network.  I checked out the VMware documentation and followed the steps/best practices but still had a bit of trouble getting FT to work.

Both hosts showed configured for FT and I could enable FT on the VM, but every time I tried to start the VM it would come back with an error “Could not start the secondary VM“. Checking the details in the “Recent Tasks” window I found the error description, “Virtual machines in the same Fault Tolerance pair cannot be on the same host“.  This error description a little boggling as both VM and duplicate were on different servers.  At least I had an error that I could research, so off to Google I went!

Sadly, the few articles I did find that referenced this error were very little help. I tried the troubleshooting steps from forum posts (resetting FT, live migrating a VM (and it working successfully), etc) but still got the same error when trying to start the VM.  I finally found the solution while testing the FT interfaces on both hosts.

What I decided to do was create a test VM and vSwitch.  The vSwitch would be set to my FT vlan (1000) and the test VM (WinXP) would have its nework interface set to the test vSwitch.  With a PC on my FT network I tried pinging both of my VM hosts.  Sure enough I didn’t receive a reply from either host.  So I checked the configuration on the swtiches each host was connected to and found there was no way the two hosts would communicate on vlan 1000.  I reconfigured the switches and did my ping test from the test VM, this time successfully.  I then started a FT enabled VM and voila, FT worked!
Hopefully this post will save someone a few days of troubleshooting!

Hylafax as a manual fax to E-mail gateway

March 26, 2008 1 comment

Hylafax LogoOne of the tasks that was mentioned to me when I first started this job was to find a way to convert our received faxes to e-mail. This of course has many advantages, from saving trees to people getting their faxes quicker. Keeping with my open source theme, I decided to use a little application I found called Hylafax. Hylafax itself has the ability to receive faxes and e-mail them directly to a user. I decided to tweak this to a samba share that everyone would have access too (this way if the person that received faxes was off sick we could still check our incoming faxes). This article is a guide on How-To install a Hylafax server in VMware. This has its advantages as it doesn’t really require the full resources of a server to run, and by using a VM, you can use any modem windows can support compared to hunting down drivers for Linux. Here we go!

Hylafax… Trees rejoice!

Create a VM from the RedHat 4 Template

  1. To add a modem to the VM
    1. Click on “Edit Virtual Machine Settings” and then “Add…
    2. Choose “Serial Port” and Next
    3. Choose “Use physical serial port on the host
    4. Choose the port on the host that the modem is using (in my case COM2)
  2. Download the latest Hylafax build for RedHat from hylafax.org and save it on a network share
  3. Install CentOS4 with the following packages
    1. Editors
    2. Windows file server
    3. Printing Support
  4. log in as Root
  5. type yum install sharutils
  6. type yum install ghostscript
  7. Now copy the Hylafax install that was previously downloaded from the website by typing smbclient \\fileserver\share -U username
  8. Once connected to the correct share, copy the file by typing get hylafax-4.4.4-1rhel4.i386.rpm then disconnect by typing exit
  9. Now to install Hylafax by typing rpm -Uvh hylafax*.rpm
  10. Once Hylafax is finished installing run /usr/sbin/faxsetup to configure Hylafax and your modem
  11. Use most of the defaults and input the pertinent data (area code, etc.). When you get top the point where it asks what serial port your modem is on, use ttyS0 . The rest is pretty self explanatory. after a while it will get into probing the modem for a host speed. this will take up to 5 minutes, so just be patient.
  12. Hylafax should now be set up to receive faxes. Next we want to edit the samba config file to create a share for our faxes. Do this by typing vi /etc/samba/smb.conf . Once in vi, you will want to edit the following lines (by first pressing i)
    1. server string = name of server
    2. guest account = nobody
    3. security = share
  13. Under the “Share Definitions” create a share similar to the following
    [Faxes]
    path = /var/spool/hylafax/recvq
    force group = uucp
    force user = uucp
    browseable = yes
    read only = now
    guset ok = yes
  14. Save the smb.conf file by pressing ESC and then typing : x and pressing enter
  15. Again using vi edit the /etc/inittab file, adding the line: mo:2345:respawn:/usr/sbin/faxgetty ttyS0
  16. Restart the server and you can browse to the IP address of the server and to the faxes share (//ip_address/faxes)
  17. To be alerted when a fax is received, we need to first mount the fax share in windows (I used t:\) and download/install File Alert Monitor. FAM will display a popup whenever a file is created (AKA a fax being received). To configure FAM:
    1. Click on Folder -> Add and select your mapped drive letter
    2. Click on View -> Options and check the following
      1. Monitoring – creation of new files
      2. Run on system startup
      3. Minimimize when the program Starts
    3. Click on the “File Types” tab and click on the “Customize…” button. remove .WAV and add .TIF then click OK
  18. Click on OK and minimize the program to finish configuration

Using this method, as a fax is received it can be e-mailed right away without the user constantly having to check the share.

Have fun!

VMware Server, a good FREE solution to Virtualization

March 24, 2008 Leave a comment

After using VMware for 3 years, it’s hard to imagine life about it. It has helped me get much more out of my hardware and given me the ability set up test environments in a matter of minutes. I first started using VMware sever at home, more fiddling around with new software than using it. It really became a viable tool in college when we first started setting up mini work environments to work with our various software packages. Since then I have consolidated 3 of my home servers onto 1 Virtual Server and started consolidating at work as well, cutting back on electrical costs and gaining usage from my servers.

Needless to say when I came across some old server hardware not being in use, I started installing VMware. using a host OS of Windows XP I managed to create a file server, automated network backup server and a SpiceWorks server (leaving room for more as needed). in doing this I was able to reuse old hardware and use a variety of Operating systems with open source software creating minimum cost for my dealership while adding a huge amount of functionality.

Over the next few days I will be posting on some How-to type documents that will outline how to configure some of these open source servers. So keep checking for updates!