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vRA8 Custom Provisioning: Part One

I recently shared some details about my little self-contained VMware homelab as well as how I integrated {php}IPAM into vRealize Automation 8 for assigning IPs to deployed VMs. For my next trick, I'll be crafting a flexible Cloud Template and accompanying vRealize Orchestrator workflow that will help to deploy and configure virtual machines based on a vRA user's input. Buckle up, this is going to be A Ride. Objectives Before getting into the how it would be good to start with the what - what exactly are we hoping to accomplish here?

Integrating {php}IPAM with vRealize Automation 8

In a previous post, I described some of the steps I took to stand up a homelab including vRealize Automation (vRA) on an Intel NUC 9. One of my initial goals for that lab was to use it for developing and testing a way for vRA to leverage phpIPAM for static IP assignments. The homelab worked brilliantly for that purpose, and those extra internal networks were a big help when it came to testing.

Using VS Code to explore giant log bundles

I recently ran into a peculiar issue after upgrading my vRealize Automation homelab to the new 8.3 release, and the error message displayed in the UI didn't give me a whole lot of information to work with: I connected to the vRA appliance to try to find the relevant log excerpt, but doing so isn't all that straightforward given the containerized nature of the services. So instead I used the vracli log-bundle command to generate a bundle of all relevant logs, and I then transferred the resulting (2.

VMware Home Lab on Intel NUC 9

I picked up an Intel NUC 9 Extreme kit a few months back (thanks, VMware!) and have been slowly tinkering with turning it into an extremely capable self-contained home lab environment. I'm pretty happy with where things sit right now so figured it was about time to start documenting and sharing what I've done. Hardware (Caution: here be affiliate links) Intel NUC 9 Extreme (NUC9i9QNX) Crucial 64GB DDR4 SO-DIMM kit (CT2K32G4SFD8266) Intel 665p 1TB NVMe SSD (SSDPEKNW010T9X1) Random 8GB USB thumbdrive I found in a drawer somewhere The NUC runs ESXi 7.

PSA: halt replication before snapshotting linked vCenters

It's a good idea to take a snapshot of your virtual appliances before applying any updates, just in case. When you have multiple vCenter appliances operating in Enhanced Link Mode, though, it's important to make sure that the snapshots are in a consistent state. The vCenter vmdird service is responsible for continuously syncing data between the vCenters within a vSphere Single Sign-On (SSO) domain. Reverting to a snapshot where vmdird's knowledge of the environment dramatically differed from that of the other vCenters could cause significant problems down the road or even result in having to rebuild a vCenter from scratch.

Burn an ISO to USB with the Chromebook Recovery Utility

There are a number of fantastic Windows applications for creating bootable USB drives from ISO images - but those don't work on a Chromebook. Fortunately there's an easily-available tool which will do the trick: Google's own Chromebook Recovery Utility app. Normally that tool is used to creating bootable media to reinstall Chrome OS on a broken Chromebook (hence the name) but it also has the capability to write other arbitrary images as well.

Auto-connect to ProtonVPN on untrusted WiFi with Tasker [Update!]

[Update 2021-03-12] This solution recently stopped working for me. While looking for a fix, I found that OpenVPN had published some notes on controlling the official OpenVPN Connect app from Tasker. Jump to the Update below to learn how I adapted my setup with this new knowledge. I recently shared how I use Tasker and Home Assistant to keep my phone from charging past 80%. Today, I'm going to share the setup I use to automatically connect my phone to a VPN on networks I don't control.

Safeguard your Android's battery with Tasker + Home Assistant

A few months ago, I started using the AccuBattery app to keep a closer eye on how I'd been charging my phones. The app has a handy feature that notifies you once the battery level reaches a certain threshold so you can pull the phone off the charger and extend the lithium battery's service life, and it even offers an estimate for what that impact might be. For instance, right now the app indicates that charging my Pixel 5 from 51% to 100% would cause 0.

Showdown: Lenovo Chromebook Duet vs. Google Pixel Slate

Okay, okay, this isn't actually going to be a comparison review between the two wildly-mismatched-but-also-kind-of-similar Chromeblets, but rather a (hopefully) brief summary of my experience moving from an $800 Pixel Slate + $200 Google keyboard to a Lenovo Chromebook Duet I picked up on sale for just $200. Background Up until last week, I'd been using the Slate as my primary personal computing device for the previous 20 months or so, mainly in laptop mode (as opposed to tablet mode).

Setting up Linux on a new Lenovo Chromebook Duet (bonus arm64 complications!)

I've written in the past about the Linux setup I've been using on my Pixel Slate. My Slate's keyboard stopped working over the weekend, though, and there don't seem to be any replacements (either Google or Brydge) to be found. And then I saw that Walmart had the 64GB Lenovo Chromebook Duet temporarily marked down to a mere $200 - just slightly more than the Slate's keyboard originally cost. So I jumped on that deal, and the little Chromeblet showed up today.