Tailscale golink: Private Shortlinks for your TailnetI've shared in the past about how I use custom search engines in Chrome as quick web shortcuts. And I may have mentioned my love for Tailscale a time or two as well. Well I recently learned of a way to combine these two passions: Tailscale golink. The golink announcement post on the Tailscale blog offers a great overview of the service:
Using golink, you can create and share simple go/name links for commonly accessed websites, so that anyone in your network can access them no matter the device they’re on — without requiring browser extensions or fiddling with DNS settings.
You might remember that I'm a pretty big fan of Tailscale, which makes it easy to connect your various devices together in a secure tailnet, or private network. Tailscale is super simple to set up on most platforms, but you'll need to install it manually if there isn't a prebuilt package for your system.
Here's a condensed list of the steps that I took to manually install Tailscale on VMware's Photon OS, though the same (or similar) steps should also work on just about any other systemd-based system.
I've been leveraging the open-source Tanzu Community Edition Kubernetes distribution for a little while now, both in my home lab and at work, so I was disappointed to learn that VMware was abandoning the project. TCE had been a pretty good fit for my needs, and now I needed to search for a replacement. VMware is offering a free version of Tanzu Kubernetes Grid as a replacement, but it comes with a license solely for non-commercial use so I wouldn't be able to use it at work.
You may have heard that there's a new vSphere release out in the wild - vSphere 8, which just reached Initial Availability this week. Upgrading the vCenter in my single-host homelab is a very straightforward task, and using the included Lifecycle Manager would make quick work of patching a cluster of hosts... but things get a little trickier with a single host. I could write the installer ISO to a USB drive, boot the host off of that, and go through the install interactively, but what if physical access to the host is kind of inconvenient?
VMware vCenter does wonders for abstracting away the layers of complexity involved in managing a large virtual infrastructure, but when something goes wrong it can be challenging to find exactly where the problem lies. And it can be even harder to proactively address potential issues before they occur.
Fortunately there's a super-handy utility which can making diagnosing vCenter significantly easier, and it comes in the form of the vSphere Diagnostic Tool Fling.
Way back in 2020, VMware released vSphere 7 Update 1 and introduced the new vSphere Clustering Services (vCLS) to improve how cluster services like the Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS) operate. vCLS deploys lightweight agent VMs directly on the cluster being managed, and those VMs provide a decoupled and distributed control plane to offload some of the management responsibilities from the vCenter server.
That's very cool, particularly in large continent-spanning environments or those which reach into multiple clouds, but it may not make sense to add those additional workloads in resource-constrained homelabs1.
I recently started using Obsidian for keeping notes, tracking projects, and just generally organizing all the information that would otherwise pass into my brain and then fall out the other side. Unlike other similar solutions which operate entirely in The Cloud, Obsidian works with Markdown files stored in a local folder1, which I find to be very attractive. Not only will this allow me to easily transfer my notes between apps if I find something I like better than Obsidian, but it also opens the door to using git to easily back up all this important information.
I've been doing a bit of work lately to make my vRealize Automation setup more flexible and dynamic and less dependent upon hardcoded values. To that end, I thought it was probably about time to learn how to interact with the vRA REST API. I wrote this post to share what I've learned and give a quick crash course on how to start doing things with the API.
Exploration Toolkit Swagger It can be difficult to figure out where to start when learning a new API.
ESXi-ARM Fling v1.10 Update
On July 20, 2022, VMware released a major update for the ESXi-ARM Fling. Among other fixes and improvements, this version enables in-place ESXi upgrades and adds support for the Quartz64's on-board NIC. To update, I:
Wrote the new ISO installer to another USB drive. Attached the installer drive to the USB hub, next to the existing ESXi drive. Booted the installer and selected to upgrade ESXi on the existing device.
We've been working lately to use HashiCorp Packer to standardize and automate our VM template builds, and we found a need to pull in all of the contents of a specific directory on an internal web server. This would be pretty simple for Linux systems using wget -r, but we needed to find another solution for our Windows builds.
A coworker and I cobbled together a quick PowerShell solution which will download the files within a specified web URL to a designated directory (without recreating the nested folder structure):