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Andy’s bought a greenhouse!

April 7th, 2015

I’ve spent the last two days, taking down a second hand greenhouse…this is a photograph I took, to remind me of how it looked…

Greenhouse with all glass removed

Greenhouse with all glass removed

so I can re-assemble the hundreds of bits I have…later in my garden!

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Adam’s Homebrew 3D Printed Quadcopter Flight No.2 and Crash - oh dear!

March 24th, 2015

This quadcopter chassis was printed, on a 3D printer, an Ultimaker II, in our office, and electronics and motors were added, and this is Adam flying it, on it’s second flight! I’m running around, trying not to get hit, whilst I film it, for checking later.

This is the fun stuff, we get up to!

oh yes, it crashed, but no problems, we will just print new parts to fix it, and it will be back up and running!

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Partial Eclipse of the Sun on the top of Arras Hill (Weighton Wold)

March 20th, 2015

On the way to work, this morning, I took some pictures on the top of Arras Hill (Weighton Wold), 146 metres above sea level, at the triangulation point at Grid SE 91077 41626.

It got very cold, as the sun disappeared behind the moon.






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Beautiful Scenery, Lovely People, Beautiful Bhutan!

March 19th, 2015

Dzong in Punakha, Bhutan

Dzong in Punakha, Bhutan

We spent all day here, at the festival, and had a picnic, with fellow Bhutanese people, inside the temple, on the grass at the entrance, and we shared our food with the local people, and young children, and the food that we didn’t eat we gave to the temple dogs! (at the next incarnation, dogs become incarnated as people in the human realm!).

Good Karma!

Bhutan is a very special place, I’ll remember the people and place for ever, it also has Beautiful Scenery!

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Back from India and the Kingdom of Bhutan

March 12th, 2015

Just returned from a month in India and Bhutan, so here is a taster of photographs to come…




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Experts Exchange sponsor me to go to VMworld Europe 2015 in October

February 6th, 2015

For being awarded Top Contributor 2014 at Experts Exchange, my prize, not only the usual T-shirts, and trophies, but also an all expensive paid trip to VMworld Europe 2015!

So it’s not all about T-Shirts!


This is the email from Melanie Spatola, Community Manager at Experts Exchange.


There’s an article here written by  Brian Clausen, CEO, Experts ExchangeHow to Get the Most Career Value From Social Networking, and here The Benefit of a Global, Online Peer Network, which are interesting reading!

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3 Awards in 2015 - VMware vExpert 2015, Microsoft IT Pro New Year’s Honours List 2015 and Experts Exchange Top Contribution Award 2014

February 6th, 2015

So in 2015, I’ve been Awarded

VMware vExpert 2015 (again, fifth year this year, 2011-2015)


Experts Exchange Top Contribution Award 2014 (this is a new award, but it’s like a supercharged Expert of the Year 2014, or MEGA Expert of the Year 2014, so again four years in a row, 2014-2011)


Microsoft IT Pro New Year’s Honours List 2015

Now you are all probably thinking, oh no not more T-Shirts, my prize and award for being the Top Contributor 2014 at Experts Exchange, is an all expensive paid, sponsored trip to VMworld Europe 2015 in Barcelona.


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Bee Hives in the Snow Feb 2015

February 3rd, 2015

Snow in the "Shire"!

Snow in the "Shire"!

Second time this year, that it’s snowed. so went down to the apiary, to check on the bees, and took some photos in the glorious sunshine.


Andy's Apiary

The colonies were treated by vaporising with oxalic acid crystals, one week ago, to reduce the levels of phoretic varroa destructor mites, which at this time of year are actually living on the honey bees (Apis mellifera), because my colonies are broodless at present.

The varroa destructor mite was introduced into the UK, in 1992, honey bees (Apis mellifera) have no natural defence to it, and we need to check regularly, as part of our integrated pest management, to ensure the levels are kept low, it cannot be completely eradicated (yet!), over populations of varroa destructor, can lead to colony collapse, it’s also a vector for disease and viruses in  honey bees (Apis mellifera). Varroa destructor reproduce by female mite enters the brood cell, with bee larva, just before the cell is capped, and lays her eggs on the bee larva, when the cell is uncapped, out come the young mites. So, no brood, no larva, all the mites on on the bees, so an easy target to treat, hence why we treat in broodless periods, between November - February.

How do we know, they have mites, we use a sticky inspection board, inserted into the bottom of the hive, the mites drop off the bees, and stick on the board, and then we count them! (yes they can easily be seen with the naked eye!).

sticky inspection board to count varroa destructor mites

sticky inspection board to count varroa destructor mites, brownish spot = mite !

a close up of some varroa destructor mites

a close up of some varroa destructor mites

close up varroa destructor mites, you can see their legs or mouth parts

close up varroa destructor mites, you can see their legs or mouth parts

and I added 2.5kg of ambrosia fondant to each hive. (An insurance policy, to prevent them starving - to help feed them during the winter period), and they are securely lashed down, using hive straps.


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HOW TO: Deploy and Install the VMWARE vCenter Server Appliance 6.0 (VCSA 6.0)

February 2nd, 2015

In my previous Experts Exchange Articles, most have featured Basic and Intermediate VMware and Virtualisation Topics.

If you would like to read my Basic VMware articles, they are listed at the end of this article for your convenience.

This article will show you HOW TO: Deploy and Install the VMWARE vCenter Server Appliance 6.0, also known as the vCenter Linux Appliance, or VCSA 6.0.

You cannot trial the VMWARE vCenter Server Appliance 6.0, you must have a license for VMware vSphere vCenter Server 6.0 to download the appliance from VMware. Previous versions of the  VMWARE vCenter Server Appliance were supplied as a ready made OVF for download, this procedure has now changed in version 6.0, and a ISO (DVD image) now has to be downloaded.

Download the VMware-VCSA-all-x.y.z-abcdefg.iso (DVD image) from VMware. The filename used in this tutorial is called VMware-VCSA-all-6.0.0-2175370.iso, the build number and filename are likely to change when generally available.

Burn or Mount the VMware-VCSA-all-6.0.0-2175370.iso (DVD image) on your Administration workstation.

In the VCSA folder on the DVD, install the VMware-ClientIntegrationPlugin-6.0.0.exe before you begin. (You will need to close your browser).

1. Install the VMware-ClientIntegrationPlugin-6.0.0.exe application

Double click the VMware-ClientIntegrationPlugin-6.0.0.exe application.

vcsa1.jpgClick Next to start the installation.
vcsa2.jpgAccept the End User License Agreement, and Click Next to continue.

vcsa3.jpgYou can change the program location if required, click Next to continue.

vcsa4.jpgClick Install to start the installation

Click Finish to complete the installation.


2. Installing the VMWARE vCenter Server Appliance 6.0.

Double Click the index.html file in the root of the DVD.

vcsa7.jpgEnsure pop up blockers to no block the Client Integration Plugin.

vcsa8.jpgSelect Allow, so the VMware Client Integration Plug-In can access the operating system.

vcsa9.jpgSelect and Click Install

Accept the End User License Agreement, and Click Next to continue.

2015-01-03-17-12-52-vCenter-Server-AppliEnter the FQDN or IP Address of an VMware vSphere ESXi Host Server.

2015-01-03-17-15-30-vCenter-Server-AppliClick OK, if a certificate warning is displayed. (this is likely if your certificate does not match your FQDN).

2015-01-03-17-17-11-vCenter-Server-AppliEnter the name for the VMWARE vCenter Server Appliance 6.0 or accept the defaults. Enter and remember the password for the appliance.

2015-01-03-17-19-02-vCenter-Server-AppliSelect and use an Embedded Platform Services Controller. Click Next to continue.

2015-01-03-17-21-06-vCenter-Server-AppliSetup and Configure Single-Sign-On. (Remember the password!). Enter a password, for Single Sign-On, Domain Name, and Site Name, I would recommend, using vsphere.local for the domain name, and remembering the password! Click Next to continue.

2015-01-03-17-23-24-vCenter-Server-AppliSelect the appliance size.

  • Embedded-Tiny (up to 20 hosts, 400 VMs) - 2 vCPU and 8GB of memory
  • Embedded-Small (up to 150 hosts, 3,000 VMs) - 4 vCPU and 16GB of memory
  • Embedded-Medium (up to 300 hosts, 6,000 VMs) - 8 vCPU and 24GB of memory
  • Embedded-Large (up to 1000 hosts, 10,000 VMs) - 16 vCPU and 32GB of memory

In this tutorial, we are going to deploy a tiny appliance, but make sure you have 2 vCPU and 8GB of memory in the ESXi host server.

Select a datastore to install the appliance, and select Next to continue.

2015-01-03-17-29-55-vCenter-Server-AppliIt will check the datastore for storage space

2015-01-03-17-30-37-vCenter-Server-AppliSelect and use an Embedded vPostgres database

2015-01-03-17-31-46-vCenter-Server-AppliEnter network settings for the appliance, we have specified a static IP Address, and a FQDN of  We also selected an external NTP server for time synchronisation, and enabled SSH.

Review the settings, and click Finish to start the installation and deployment of VMWARE vCenter Server Appliance 6.0.

2015-01-03-18-40-40-vCenter-Server-AppliThe appliance is deployed

2015-01-03-18-40-58-vCenter-Server-Appli2015-01-03-18-41-10-vCenter-Server-Appli2015-01-03-18-42-39-vCenter-Server-AppliPackages are deployed

2015-01-03-18-43-24-vCenter-Server-Appli2015-01-03-18-43-29-vCenter-Server-Appli2015-01-03-18-43-33-vCenter-Server-Applithe appliance is configured

2015-01-03-18-44-20-vCenter-Server-AppliStarting Services

2015-01-03-18-51-29-vCenter-Server-Appli2015-01-03-18-55-39-vCenter-Server-Appli2015-01-03-19-00-51-vCenter-Server-AppliInstallation Completed. Click the link provided to connect to vCenter Server Appliance via your browser.

2015-01-03-19-01-26-vCenter-Server-AppliEnter your Administrator@vsphere.local username and password.

vcsa11.jpgYou are connected to vCenter Server

vcsa12.jpgCongratulations you have successfully deployed and installed the VMWARE vCenter Server Appliance 6.0.

Basic VMware Articles Series:

During this series of articles VMware released VMware vSphere 5.5 and VMware vSphere Hypervisor ESXi 5.5. These articles are also applicable to VMware vSphere Hypervisor ESXi 5.0 and 5.5. For consistency, I have used VMware vSphere Hypervisor ESXi 5.1 throughout this series.

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HOW TO: Install and Configure VMware vSphere Hypervisor 6.0 (ESXi 6.0)

February 2nd, 2015

In my previous Experts Exchange Articles, most have featured Basic and Intermediate VMware and Virtualisation Topics.

If you would like to read my Basic VMware articles, they are listed at the end of this article for your convenience.

This article will show you how to install and configure the VMware vSphere Hypervisor 6.0 on a computer.VMware vSphere Hypervisor 6.0 is also known as ESXi 6.0.

The FREE version of ESXi 6.0 is limited to 32GB per server.

  • ESXi 6.0 will install and run only on servers with 64-bit x86 CPUs.
  • ESXi 6.0 requires a host machine with at least two cores.
  • ESXi 6.0 supports only LAHF and SAHF CPU instructions.
  • ESXi 6.0 requires the NX/XD bit to be enabled for the CPU in the BIOS.

A full list of the ESXi 6.0 Hardware Requirements can be found in the VMware ESXi 6.0 Install Guide.

Check the VMware Hardware Compatability Lists (HCL), to discover if your computer is certified for use with ESXi 6.0.

If your computer is not listed on the VMware HCL, it may still be possible to install and run VMware ESXi 6.0 on your laptop, desktop, or server. The HCL exists because the server vendor and VMware have certified and tested ESXi 6.0 will function correctly, on the servers listed on the HCL.

1. Register with and Download VMware vSphere Hypervisor 6.0

Open the following link in your web browser

Click the License and Download Tab

VMware-DownloadCenter1.jpgClick Create an Account, to Create an Account and Login to the VMware Download Center. VMware will email you an Activation link which needs to be opened to create the account.

The following page will be displayed when you have successfully logged into the VMware Download Center.

VMware-DownloadCenter2.jpgPay special attention to the FREE License information which is displayed, and record this License Number, this will be required in a later article.

Click the download link for VMware ESXi 6.0 (CD ISO) Installable to download the software required to install ESXi 6.0 and also download the VMware vSphere Client 6.0. The VMware vSphere Client 6.0 software is the client software that allows us to connect and manage the ESXi 6.0 server, this will be required in a later article.

Either use the Download Manager or Manually Download button (which uses your web browser). The CD ISO is only 301MB so should not take too long to download. We have a very slow internet connection, at approx 350 kB/sec, and it takes us approximately 10 minutes to download.

Once the downloads have been completed using your favourite MD5 and SHA1 checksum utility, confirm the downloads have been downloaded correctly, using the published MD5 and SHA1 checksums from the VMware website.  We use the MD5 & SHA-1 Checksum Utiliy 1.1 from

Many VMware vSphere Hypervisor 6.0 installations fail due to corrupt downloads.


2. Installing VMware vSphere Hypervisor 6.0 (ESXi 6.0)

Write (Burn) the VMware-VMvisor-Installer-6.0.0-2159203.x86_64.iso downloaded in Step 1, to a blank CDROM, using your favourite CD writing software. We use ISO Recorder ( If you are using remote server utilities, e.g. HP iLo or Dell iDRAC,. you can attach the virtual CDROM drive in the server to the VMware-VMvisor-Installer-6.0.0-2159203.x86_64.iso ISO, so there is no requirement to write a CDROM.

This is a step which is often missed, ensure the BIOS BOOT order is set to BOOT from the CDROM Device or ATAPI device in the server, otherwise the computer will not BOOT from the CDROM.

Power on the Computer, the computer will BOOT from the CDROM, and the following BOOT screen will be displayed

ESXi6.0-CDROM-BOOT.jpgThe default option is to BOOT ESXi-6.0.0-2159203-standard Installer after 10 seconds, hit any key will pause the BOOT process.

ESXi6.0-CDROM-BOOT1.jpgAt the Welcome to the VMware ESXi 6.0.0 Installation screen Hit Enter to Continue the installation.

2015-01-03-13-36-32-VMware-vSphere-2015-Press F11 (Function Key 11) to Accept the VMware End User License Agreement (EULA)

2015-01-03-13-39-16-Greenshot.pngThe ESXi installer will scan the computer storage controller for available devices to install ESXi.

2015-01-03-13-39-51-Greenshot.pngESXi can be installed on a USB flash drive, SD card attached to the computer, local SATA, local RAID Array, or Fibre Channel or iSCSI LUN. All these are supported options. As the footprint for ESXi is very small only 1GB is required for the ESXi OS installation.

We have written an EE Article here on How to Backup an ESXi installation on an USB Flash Drive or SD card, for security or redundancy. After you have completed the ESXi 5.1 installation, shutdown the server, remove the USB flash drive or SD card, and duplicate it using our EE Article.

When prompted select a disk to install ESXi on, in the following example, we have two disks connected to this computer, a single 1GB disk, and a 120GB disk. We are going to use the small disk for the OS. (this simulates the USB flash drive!). The larger 120GB disk will be used later for the storage of virtual machines.

2015-01-03-13-47-10-Greenshot.pngWhen prompted, select the keyboard layout and hit Enter to continue. The default keyboard layout is US Default.

When prompted enter a root password, confirm the password and hit Enter to continue

2015-01-03-14-08-47-Greenshot.pngThe following will be displayed

2015-01-03-14-09-26-Greenshot.pngWhen prompted Confirm the Installation on the selected disk and press F11 (Install)
- Function Key 11
All data will be erase, as the disk will be repartitioned.

2015-01-03-14-10-56-Greenshot.pngThe Progress Bar will confirm installation progress.

2015-01-03-14-11-42-Greenshot.png2015-01-03-14-11-49-Greenshot.png2015-01-03-14-11-56-Greenshot.png2015-01-03-14-12-09-Greenshot.png2015-01-03-14-12-31-Greenshot.png2015-01-03-14-12-38-Greenshot.png2015-01-03-14-12-42-Greenshot.pngThe installation only takes approximately 5-10 minutes, depending upon speed of storage. When the installation has completed the following screen will be displayed.

2015-01-03-14-12-48-Greenshot.pngRemove the CDROM installation disk before rebooting. Hit Enter to Reboot. After hitting Enter the follow screen will be displayed and the computer will reboot.

2015-01-03-14-15-04-Greenshot.pngESXi 6.0 will operate in evaluation mode for 60 days. This is the same mode as a FULLY LICENSED ESXi 6.0 server. If you wish to evaluate all the bells and whistles that ESXi 6.0 has to offer, do not register your FREE license. for 60 days, this will allow you to evaluate ESXi 6.0 server fully. On day 59/60, Apply your FREE license to continue using the product, or you will not be able to power on any virtual machines.

3. Configuring VMware vSphere Hypervisor 6.0 (ESXi 6.0)

The following screen is displayed when VMware ESXi 6.0 first boots

2015-01-03-14-21-54-Untitled---Notepad.p2015-01-03-14-22-10-Untitled---Notepad.p2015-01-03-14-22-13-Untitled---Notepad.pThe server is fully booted when it displays the following screen

2015-01-03-14-23-45-Greenshot.pngThe default server configuration is to use DHCP, if you do not have a DHCP server issuing IP Addresses on your network you will need to assign an IP Address. We recommend you use a static IP Address for your ESXi Host Server.

Press F2 to Customize System, you will be prompted to enter the root username and password.

2015-01-03-14-25-24-Greenshot.pngSelect Configure Management Network to change Network Parameters.
Select IPv4 Configuration

2015-01-03-14-27-43-Greenshot.pngSet the Static IPv4 address and network configuration, Subnet Mask and Default Gateway, it’s important to set the correct Default Gateway, as this will be used later. Hit Enter to confirm and save the configuration.

2015-01-03-14-28-34-Greenshot.pngSelect DNS Configuration, enter the correct DNS information for your network, and enter a hostname for your server. Hit Enter to save the configuration.

2015-01-03-14-29-59-Greenshot.pngSelect Custom DNS Suffixes
Enter your DNS suffix (the domain name for your network). Make sure you have created a DNS A Record in your DNS, so that this server can be resolved correctly through forward and reverse lookups.

2015-01-03-14-30-42-Greenshot.pngHit Enter to save your configuration.

Press Escape, the following screen will appear, select Y(es) to apply changes.

2015-01-03-14-31-32-Greenshot.pngPress Escape to Logout and return to the console screen.

You will notice on the console screen, the server now has a hostname configured, and correct static IP Address.

Congratulations you have successfully installed and configured VMware vSphere Hypervisor 6.0.

In the next article in the series, we will connect and continue to configure the VMware vSphere Hypervisor 6.0.

Basic VMware Articles Series:
During this series of articles VMware released VMware vSphere 5.5 and VMware vSphere Hypervisor ESXi 5.5. These articles are also applicable to VMware vSphere Hypervisor ESXi 5.0 and 5.5. For consistency, I have used VMware vSphere Hypervisor ESXi 5.1 throughout this series.

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