Use Mailx to send emails using office 365

just something that came up while setting up a monitoring script using mailx, figured ill note it down here so i can get it to easily later when I need it 😀

Important prerequisites

  • You need to enable smtp basic Auth on Office 365 for the account used for authentication
  • Create an App password for the user account
  • nssdb folder must be available and readable by the user running the mailx command

Assuming all of the above prerequisite are $true we can proceed with the setup

Install mailx

RHEL/Alma linux

sudo dnf install mailx

NSSDB Folder

make sure the nssdb folder must be available and readable by the user running the mailx command

certutil -L -d /etc/pki/nssdb

The Output might be empty, but that’s ok; this is there if you need to add a locally signed cert or another CA cert manually, Microsoft Certs are trusted by default if you are on an up to date operating system with the local System-wide Trust Store

Reference – RHEL-sec-shared-system-certificates

Configure Mailx config file

sudo nano /etc/mail.rc

Append/prepend the following lines and Comment out or remove the same lines already defined on the existing config files

set smtp=smtp.office365.com
set smtp-auth-user=###[email protected]###
set smtp-auth-password=##Office365-App-password#
set nss-config-dir=/etc/pki/nssdb/
set ssl-verify=ignore
set smtp-use-starttls
set from="###[email protected]###"

This is the bare minimum needed other switches are located here – link

Testing

echo "Your message is sent!" | mailx -v -s "test" [email protected]

-v switch will print the verbos debug log to console

Connecting to 52.96.40.242:smtp . . . connected.
220 xxde10CA0031.outlook.office365.com Microsoft ESMTP MAIL Service ready at Sun, 6 Aug 2023 22:14:56 +0000
>>> EHLO vls-xxx.multicastbits.local
250-MN2PR10CA0031.outlook.office365.com Hello [167.206.57.122]
250-SIZE 157286400
250-PIPELINING
250-DSN
250-ENHANCEDSTATUSCODES
250-STARTTLS
250-8BITMIME
250-BINARYMIME
250-CHUNKING
250 SMTPUTF8
>>> STARTTLS
220 2.0.0 SMTP server ready
>>> EHLO vls-xxx.multicastbits.local
250-xxde10CA0031.outlook.office365.com Hello [167.206.57.122]
250-SIZE 157286400
250-PIPELINING
250-DSN
250-ENHANCEDSTATUSCODES
250-AUTH LOGIN XOAUTH2
250-8BITMIME
250-BINARYMIME
250-CHUNKING
250 SMTPUTF8
>>> AUTH LOGIN
334 VXNlcm5hbWU6
>>> Zxxxxxxxxxxxc0BmdC1zeXMuY29t
334 UGsxxxxxmQ6
>>> c2Rxxxxxxxxxxducw==
235 2.7.0 Authentication successful
>>> MAIL FROM:<###[email protected]###>
250 2.1.0 Sender OK
>>> RCPT TO:<[email protected]>
250 2.1.5 Recipient OK
>>> DATA
354 Start mail input; end with <CRLF>.<CRLF>
>>> .
250 2.0.0 OK <[email protected]> [Hostname=Bsxsss744.namprd11.prod.outlook.com]
>>> QUIT
221 2.0.0 Service closing transmission channel 

Now you can use this in your automation scripts or timers using the mailx command

#!/bin/bash

log_file="/etc/app/runtime.log"
recipient="[email protected]"
subject="Log file from /etc/app/runtime.log"

# Check if the log file exists
if [ ! -f "$log_file" ]; then
  echo "Error: Log file not found: $log_file"
  exit 1
fi

# Use mailx to send the log file as an attachment
echo "Sending log file..."
mailx -s "$subject" -a "$log_file" -r "[email protected]" "$recipient" < /dev/null
echo "Log file sent successfully."

Secure it

sudo chown root:root /etc/mail.rc
sudo chmod 600 /etc/mail.rc

The above commands change the file’s owner and group to root, then set the file permissions to 600, which means only the owner (root) has read and write permissions and other users have no access to the file.

Use Environment Variables: Avoid storing sensitive information like passwords directly in the mail.rc file, consider using environment variables for sensitive data and reference those variables in the configuration.

For example, in the mail.rc file, you can set:

set smtp-auth-password=$MY_EMAIL_PASSWORD

You can set the variable using another config file or store it in the Ansible vault during runtime or use something like Hashicorp.

Sure, I would just use Python or PowerShell core, but you will run into more locked-down environments like OCI-managed DB servers with only Mailx is preinstalled and the only tool you can use 🙁

the Fact that you are here means you are already in the same boat. Hope this helped… until next time

Solution – RKE Cluster MetalLB provides Services with IP Addresses but doesn’t ARP for the address

I ran in to the the same issue detailed here working with a RKE cluster

https://github.com/metallb/metallb/issues/1154

After looking around for a few hours digging in to the logs i figured out the issue, hopefully this helps some one else our there in the situation save some time.

Make sure the IPVS mode is enabled on the cluster configuration

If you are using :

RKE2 – edit the cluster.yaml file

RKE1 – Edit the cluster configuration from the rancher UI > Cluster management > Select the cluster > edit configuration > edit as YAML

Locate the services field under rancher_kubernetes_engine_config and add the following options to enable IPVS

    kubeproxy:
      extra_args:
        ipvs-scheduler: lc
        proxy-mode: ipvs

https://www.suse.com/support/kb/doc/?id=000020035

Default

After changes

Make sure the Kernel modules are enabled on the nodes running control planes

Background

Example Rancher – RKE1 cluster

sudo docker ps | grep proxy # find the container ID for kubproxy

sudo docker logs ####containerID###

0313 21:44:08.315888  108645 feature_gate.go:245] feature gates: &{map[]}
I0313 21:44:08.346872  108645 proxier.go:652] "Failed to load kernel module with modprobe, you can ignore this message when kube-proxy is running inside container without mounting /lib/modules" moduleName="nf_conntrack_ipv4"
E0313 21:44:08.347024  108645 server_others.go:107] "Can't use the IPVS proxier" err="IPVS proxier will not be used because the following required kernel modules are not loaded: [ip_vs_lc]"

Kubproxy is trying to load the needed kernel modules and failing to enable IPVS

Lets enable the kernel modules

sudo nano /etc/modules-load.d/ipvs.conf

ip_vs_lc
ip_vs
ip_vs_rr
ip_vs_wrr
ip_vs_sh
nf_conntrack_ipv4

Install ipvsadm to confirm the changes

sudo dnf install ipvsadm -y

Reboot the VM or the Baremetal server

use the sudo ipvsadm to confirm ipvs is enabled

sudo ipvsadm

Testing

kubectl get svc -n #namespace | grep load
arping -I ens192 192.168.94.140
ARPING 192.168.94.140 from 192.168.94.65 ens192
Unicast reply from 192.168.94.140 [00:50:56:96:E3:1D] 1.117ms
Unicast reply from 192.168.94.140 [00:50:56:96:E3:1D] 0.737ms
Unicast reply from 192.168.94.140 [00:50:56:96:E3:1D] 0.845ms
Unicast reply from 192.168.94.140 [00:50:56:96:E3:1D] 0.668ms
Sent 4 probes (1 broadcast(s))
Received 4 response(s)

If you have the service type load balancer on a deployment now you should be able to reach it if the container is responding on the service

helpful Links

https://metallb.universe.tf/configuration/troubleshooting/

https://github.com/metallb/metallb/issues/1154

https://github.com/rancher/rke2/issues/3710

Setup guide for VSFTPD FTP Server – SELinux enforced with fail2ban (RHEL, CentOS, Almalinux)

Few things to note

  • if you want to prevent directory traversal we need to setup chroot with vsftpd (not covered on this KB)
  • For the demo I just used Unencrypted FTP on port 21 to keep things simple, Please utilize SFTP with the letsencrypt certificate for better security. i will cover this on another article and link it here

Update and Install packages we need

sudo dnf update
sudo dnf install net-tools lsof unzip zip tree policycoreutils-python-utils-2.9-20.el8.noarch vsftpd nano setroubleshoot-server -y

Setup Groups and Users and security hardening

if you want to prevent directory traversal we need to setup chroot with vsftpd (not covered on this KB)

Create the Service admin account

sudo useradd ftpadmin
sudo passwd ftpadmin

Create the group

sudo groupadd FTP_Root_RW

Create FTP only user shell for the FTP users

echo -e '#!/bin/sh\necho "This account is limited to FTP access only."' | sudo tee -a /bin/ftponly
sudo chmod a+x /bin/ftponly

echo "/bin/ftponly" | sudo tee -a /etc/shells

Create FTP users

sudo useradd ftpuser01 -m -s /bin/ftponly
sudo useradd ftpuser02 -m -s /bin/ftponly
user passwd ftpuser01 
user passwd ftpuser02

Add the users to the group

sudo usermod -a -G FTP_Root_RW ftpuser01
sudo usermod -a -G FTP_Root_RW ftpuser02

sudo usermod -a -G FTP_Root_RW ftpadmin

Disable SSH Access for the FTP users.

Edit sshd_config

sudo nano /etc/ssh/sshd_config

Add the following line to the end of the file

DenyUsers ftpuser01 ftpuser02

Open ports on the VM Firewall

sudo firewall-cmd --permanent --add-port=20-21/tcp

#Allow the passive Port-Range we will define it later on the vsftpd.conf
sudo firewall-cmd --permanent --add-port=60000-65535/tcp

#Reload the ruleset
sudo firewall-cmd --reload

Setup the Second Disk for FTP DATA

Attach another disk to the VM and reboot if you haven’t done this already

lsblk to check the current disks and partitions detected by the system

lsblk 

Create the XFS partition

sudo mkfs.xfs /dev/sdb
# use mkfs.ext4 for ext4

Why XFS? https://access.redhat.com/articles/3129891

Create the folder for the mount point

sudo mkdir /FTP_DATA_DISK

Update the etc/fstab file and add the following line

sudo nano etc/fstab
/dev/sdb /FTP_DATA_DISK xfs defaults 1 2

Mount the disk

sudo mount -a

Testing

mount | grep sdb

Setup the VSFTPD Data and Log Folders

Setup the FTP Data folder

sudo mkdir /FTP_DATA_DISK/FTP_Root -p

Create the log directory

sudo mkdir /FTP_DATA_DISK/_logs/ -p

Set permissions

sudo chgrp -R FTP_Root_RW /FTP_DATA_DISK/FTP_Root/
sudo chmod 775 -R /FTP_DATA_DISK/FTP_Root/

Setup the VSFTPD Config File

Backup the default vsftpd.conf and create a newone

sudo mv /etc/vsftpd/vsftpd.conf /etc/vsftpd/vsftpdconfback
sudo nano /etc/vsftpd/vsftpd.conf
#KB Link - ####

anonymous_enable=NO
local_enable=YES
write_enable=YES
local_umask=002
dirmessage_enable=YES
ftpd_banner=Welcome to multicastbits Secure FTP service.
chroot_local_user=NO
chroot_list_enable=NO
chroot_list_file=/etc/vsftpd/chroot_list
listen=YES
listen_ipv6=NO

userlist_file=/etc/vsftpd/user_list
pam_service_name=vsftpd
userlist_enable=YES
userlist_deny=NO
listen_port=21
connect_from_port_20=YES
local_root=/FTP_DATA_DISK/FTP_Root/

xferlog_enable=YES
vsftpd_log_file=/FTP_DATA_DISK/_logs/vsftpd.log
log_ftp_protocol=YES
dirlist_enable=YES
download_enable=NO

pasv_enable=Yes
pasv_max_port=65535
pasv_min_port=60000

Add the FTP users to the userlist file

Backup the Original file

sudo mv /etc/vsftpd/user_list /etc/vsftpd/user_listBackup
echo "ftpuser01" | sudo tee -a /etc/vsftpd/user_list
echo "ftpuser02" | sudo tee -a /etc/vsftpd/user_list
sudo systemctl start vsftpd

sudo systemctl enable vsftpd

sudo systemctl status vsftpd

Setup SELinux

instead of putting our hands up and disabling SElinux, we are going to setup the policies correctly

Find the available policies using getsebool -a | grep ftp

getsebool -a | grep ftp

ftpd_anon_write --> off
ftpd_connect_all_unreserved --> off
ftpd_connect_db --> off
ftpd_full_access --> off
ftpd_use_cifs --> off
ftpd_use_fusefs --> off
ftpd_use_nfs --> off
ftpd_use_passive_mode --> off
httpd_can_connect_ftp --> off
httpd_enable_ftp_server --> off
tftp_anon_write --> off
tftp_home_dir --> off
[lxadmin@vls-BackendSFTP02 _logs]$ 
[lxadmin@vls-BackendSFTP02 _logs]$ 
[lxadmin@vls-BackendSFTP02 _logs]$ getsebool -a | grep ftp
ftpd_anon_write --> off
ftpd_connect_all_unreserved --> off
ftpd_connect_db --> off
ftpd_full_access --> off
ftpd_use_cifs --> off
ftpd_use_fusefs --> off
ftpd_use_nfs --> off
ftpd_use_passive_mode --> off
httpd_can_connect_ftp --> off
httpd_enable_ftp_server --> off
tftp_anon_write --> off
tftp_home_dir --> off

Set SELinux boolean values

sudo setsebool -P ftpd_use_passive_mode on

sudo setsebool -P ftpd_use_cifs on

sudo setsebool -P ftpd_full_access 1

    "setsebool" is a tool for setting SELinux boolean values, which control various aspects of the SELinux policy.

    "-P" specifies that the boolean value should be set permanently, so that it persists across system reboots.

    "ftpd_use_passive_mode" is the name of the boolean value that should be set. This boolean value controls whether the vsftpd FTP server should use passive mode for data connections.

    "on" specifies that the boolean value should be set to "on", which means that vsftpd should use passive mode for data connections.

    Enable ftp_home_dir --> on if you are using chroot

Add a new file context rule to the system.

sudo semanage fcontext -a -t public_content_rw_t "/FTP_DATA_DISK/FTP_Root/(/.*)?"
    "fcontext" is short for "file context", which refers to the security context that is associated with a file or directory.

    "-a" specifies that a new file context rule should be added to the system.

    "-t" specifies the new file context type that should be assigned to files or directories that match the rule.

    "public_content_rw_t" is the name of the new file context type that should be assigned to files or directories that match the rule. In this case, "public_content_rw_t" is a predefined SELinux type that allows read and write access to files and directories in public directories, such as /var/www/html.

    "/FTP_DATA_DISK/FTP_Root/(/.)?" specifies the file path pattern that the rule should match. The pattern includes the "/FTP_DATA_DISK/FTP_Root/" directory and any subdirectories or files beneath it. The regular expression "/(.)?" matches any file or directory name that may follow the "/FTP_DATA_DISK/FTP_Root/" directory path.

In summary, this command sets the file context type for all files and directories under the "/FTP_DATA_DISK/FTP_Root/" directory and its subdirectories to "public_content_rw_t", which allows read and write access to these files and directories.

Reset the SELinux security context for all files and directories under the “/FTP_DATA_DISK/FTP_Root/”

sudo restorecon -Rvv /FTP_DATA_DISK/FTP_Root/
    "restorecon" is a tool that resets the SELinux security context for files and directories to their default values.

    "-R" specifies that the operation should be recursive, meaning that the security context should be reset for all files and directories under the specified directory.

    "-vv" specifies that the command should run in verbose mode, which provides more detailed output about the operation.

"/FTP_DATA_DISK/FTP_Root/" is the path of the directory whose security context should be reset.

Setup Fail2ban

Install fail2ban

sudo dnf install fail2ban

Create the jail.local file

This file is used to overwrite the config blocks in /etc/fail2ban/fail2ban.conf
sudo nano /etc/fail2ban/jail.local
vsftpd]
enabled = true
port = ftp,ftp-data,ftps,ftps-data
logpath = /FTP_DATA_DISK/_logs/vsftpd.log
maxretry = 5
bantime = 7200

Make sure to update the logpath directive to match the vsftpd log file we defined on the vsftpd.conf file

sudo systemctl start fail2ban

sudo systemctl enable fail2ban

sudo systemctl status fail2ban
journalctl -u fail2ban  will help you narrow down any issues with the service

Testing

sudo tail -f /var/log/fail2ban.log

Fail2ban injects and manages the following rich rules

Client will fail to connect using FTP until the ban is lifted

Remove the ban IP list

#get the list of banned IPs 
sudo fail2ban-client get vsftpd banned

#Remove a specific IP from the list 
sudo fail2ban-client set vsftpd unbanip <IP>

#Remove/Reset all the the banned IP lists
sudo fail2ban-client unban --all

This should get you up and running, For the demo I just used Unencrypted FTP on port 21 to keep things simple, Please utilize SFTP with the letsencrypt certificate for better security. i will cover this on another article and link it here

Change the location of the Docker overlay2 storage directory

If you found this page you already know why you are looking for this, your server /dev/mapper/cs-root is filled due to /var/lib/docker taking up most of the space

Yes, you can change the location of the Docker overlay2 storage directory by modifying the daemon.json file. Here’s how to do it:

Open or create the daemon.json file using a text editor:

sudo nano /etc/docker/daemon.json

{
    "data-root": "/path/to/new/location/docker"
}

Replace “/path/to/new/location/docker” with the path to the new location of the overlay2 directory.

If the file already contains other configuration settings, add the "data-root" setting to the file under the "storage-driver" setting:

{
    "storage-driver": "overlay2",
    "data-root": "/path/to/new/location/docker"
}

Save the file and Restart docker

sudo systemctl restart docker

Don’t forget to remove the old data

rm -rf /var/lib/docker/overlay2

PowerShell remoting (WinRM) over HTTPS using a AD CS PKI (CA) signed client Certificate

This is a guide to show you how to enroll your servers/desktops to allow powershell remoting (WINRM) over HTTPS

Assumptions

  • You have a working Root CA on the ADDS environment – Guide
  • CRL and AIA is configured properly – Guide
  • Root CA cert is pushed out to all Servers/Desktops – This happens by default

Contents

  1. Setup CA Certificate template
  2. Deploy Auto-enrolled Certificates via Group Policy
  3. Powershell logon script to set the WinRM listener
  4. Deploy the script as a logon script via Group Policy
  5. Testing
1 – Setup CA Certificate template to allow Client Servers/Desktops to checkout the certificate from the CA

Connect to the The Certification Authority Microsoft Management Console (MMC)

Navigate to Certificate Templates > Manage

On the “Certificate templates Console” window > Select Web Server > Duplicate Template

Under the new Template window Set the following attributes

General – Pick a Name and Validity Period – This is up to you

Compatibility – Set the compatibility attributes (You can leave this on the default values, It up to you)

Subject Name – Set ‘Subject Name’ attributes (Important)

Security – Add “Domain Computers” Security Group and Set the following permissions

  • Read – Allow
  • Enroll – Allow
  • Autoenroll – Allow

Click “OK” to save and close out of “Certificate template console”

Issue to the new template

Go back to the “The Certification Authority Microsoft Management Console” (MMC)

Under templates (Right click the empty space) > Select New > Certificate template to Issue

Under the Enable Certificate template window > Select the Template you just created

Allow few minutes for ADDS to replicate and pick up the changes with in the forest

2 – Deploy Auto-enrolled Certificates via Group Policy

Create a new GPO

Windows Settings > Security Settings > Public Key Policies/Certificate Services Client – Auto-Enrollment Settings

Link the GPO to the relevant OU with in your ADDS environment

Note – You can push out the root CA cert as a trusted root certificate with this same policy if you want to force computers to pick up the CA cert,

Testing

If you need to test it gpupdate/force or reboot your test machine, The Server VM/PC will pickup a certificate from ADCS PKI

3 – Powershell logon script to set the WINRM listener

Dry run

  • Setup the log file
  • Check for the Certificate matching the machines FQDN Auto-enrolled from AD CS
  • If exist
    • Set up the HTTPS WInRM listener and bind the certificate
    • Write log
  • else
    • Write log
#Malinda Rathnayake- 2020
#
#variable
$Date = Get-Date -Format "dd_MM_yy"
$port=5986
$SessionRunTime = Get-Date -Format "dd_yyyy_HH-mm"
#
#Setup Logs folder and log File
$ScriptVersion = '1.0'
$locallogPath = "C:\_Scripts\_Logs\WINRM_HTTPS_ListenerBinding"
#
$logging_Folder = (New-Item -Path $locallogPath -ItemType Directory -Name $Date -Force)
$ScriptSessionlogFile = New-Item $logging_Folder\ScriptSessionLog_$SessionRunTime.txt -Force
$ScriptSessionlogFilePath = $ScriptSessionlogFile.VersionInfo.FileName
#
#Check for the the auto-enrolled SSL Cert
$RootCA = "Company-Root-CA" #change This
$hostname = ([System.Net.Dns]::GetHostByName(($env:computerName))).Hostname
$certinfo = (Get-ChildItem -Path Cert:\LocalMachine\My\ |? {($_.Subject -Like "CN=$hostname") -and ($_.Issuer -Like "CN=$RootCA*")})
$certThumbprint = $certinfo.Thumbprint
#
#Script-------------------------------------------------------
#
#Remove the existing WInRM Listener if there is any
Get-ChildItem WSMan:\Localhost\Listener | Where -Property Keys -eq "Transport=HTTPS" | Remove-Item -Recurse -Force
#
#If the client certificate exists Setup the WinRM HTTPS listener with the cert else Write log
if ($certThumbprint){
#
New-Item -Path WSMan:\Localhost\Listener -Transport HTTPS -Address * -CertificateThumbprint $certThumbprint -HostName $hostname -Force
#
netsh advfirewall firewall add rule name="Windows Remote Management (HTTPS-In)" dir=in action=allow protocol=TCP localport=$port
#
Add-Content -Path $ScriptSessionlogFilePath -Value "Certbinding with the HTTPS WinRM HTTPS Listener Completed"
Add-Content -Path $ScriptSessionlogFilePath -Value "$certinfo.Subject"}
else{
Add-Content -Path $ScriptSessionlogFilePath -Value "No Cert matching the Server FQDN found, Please run gpupdate/force or reboot the system"
}

Script is commented with Explaining each section (should have done functions but i was pressed for time, never got around to do it, if you do fix it up and improve this please let me know in the comments :D)

5 – Deploy the script as a logon script via Group Policy

Setup a GPO and set this script as a logon Powershell script

Im using a user policy with GPO Loop-back processing set to Merge applied to the server OU

Testing

To confirm WinRM is listening on HTTPS, type the following commands:

winrm enumerate winrm/config/listener
Winrm get http://schemas.microsoft.com/wbem/wsman/1/config

Sources that helped me

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/troubleshoot/windows-client/system-management-components/configure-winrm-for-https

https://gmusumeci.medium.com/get-rid-of-those-annoying-self-signed-certificates-with-microsoft-certificate-services-part-3-9d4b8e819f45

http://vcloud-lab.com/entries/powershell/powershell-remoting-over-https-using-self-signed-ssl-certificate

Azure AD Sync Connect No-Start-Connection status

Issue

Received the following error from the Azure AD stating that Password Synchronization was not working on the tenant.

When i manually initiate a delta sync, i see the following logs

"The Specified Domain either does not exist or could not be contacted"

(click to enlarge)

Checked the following

  • Restarted ADsync Services
  • Resolve the ADDS Domain FQDN and DNS – Working
  • Test required ports for AD-sync using portqry – issues with the Primary ADDS server defined on the DNS values

Root Cause

Turns out the Domain controller Defined as the primary DNS value was pointing was going thorough updates, its responding on the DNS but doesn’t return any data (Brown-out state)

Assumption

when checking DNS since the DNS server is connecting, Windows doesn’t check the secondary and tertiary servers defined under DNS servers.

This might happen if you are using a ADDS server via a S2S tunnel/MPLS when the latency goes high

Resolution

Check make sure your ADDS-DNS servers defined on AD-SYNC server are alive and responding

in my case i just updated the “Primary” DNS value with the umbrella Appliance IP (this act as a proxy and handle the fail-over)

Upgrading VMware EXSI Hosts using Vcenter Update Manager Baseline (6.5 to 6.7 Update 2)

Update Manager is bundled in the vCenter Server Appliance since version 6.5, it’s a plug-in that runs on the vSphere Web Client.  we can use the component to

  • patch/upgrade hosts
  • deploy .vib files within the V-Center
  • Scan your VC environment and report on any out of compliance hosts

Hardcore/Experienced VMware operators will scoff at this article, but I have seen many organizations still using ILO/IDRAC to mount an ISO to update hosts and they have no idea this function even exists.

Now that’s out of the way Let’s get to the how-to part of this

In Vcenter click the “Menu” and drill down to the “Update Manager”

This Blade will show you all the nerd knobs and overview of your current Updates and compliance levels

Click on the “Baselines” Tab

You will have two predefined baselines for security patches created by the Vcenter, let keep that aside for now

Navigate to the “ESXi Images” Tab, and Click “Import”

Once the Upload is complete, Click on “New Baseline”

Fill in the Name and Description that makes sense to anyone that logs in and click Next

Select the image you just Uploaded before on the next Screen and continue through the wizard and complete it

Note – If you have other 3rd party software for ESXI you can create seprate baselines for those and use baseline Groups to push out upgrades and vib files at the same time 

Now click the “Menu” and Navigate Backup to “Hosts and Clusters”

Now you can apply the Baseline this at various levels within the Vcenter Hierarchy

Vcenter | DataCenter | Cluster | Host

Depending on your use case pick the right level

Excerpt from the KB 

For ESXi hosts in a cluster, the remediation process is sequential by default. With Update Manager, you can select to run host remediation in parallel.

When you remediate a cluster of hosts sequentially and one of the hosts fails to enter maintenance mode, Update Manager reports an error, and the process stops and fails. The hosts in the cluster that are remediated stay at the updated level. The ones that are not remediated after the failed host remediation are not updated. If a host in a DRS enabled cluster runs a virtual machine on which Update Manager or vCenter Server are installed, DRS first attempts to migrate the virtual machine running vCenter Server or Update Manager to another host so that the remediation succeeds. In case the virtual machine cannot be migrated to another host, the remediation fails for the host, but the process does not stop. Update Manager proceeds to remediate the next host in the cluster.

The host upgrade remediation of ESXi hosts in a cluster proceeds only if all hosts in the cluster can be upgraded.

Remediation of hosts in a cluster requires that you temporarily disable cluster features such as VMware DPM and HA admission control. Also, turn off FT if it is enabled on any of the virtual machines on a host, and disconnect the removable devices connected to the virtual machines on a host, so that they can be migrated with vMotion. Before you start a remediation process, you can generate a report that shows which cluster, host, or virtual machine has the cluster features enabled.

Link to KB on Remediation


Moving on; for this example, since I have only 2 hosts. we are going apply the baseline at the cluster level but apply the remediation at host level

Host 1 > Enter Maintenance > Remediation > Update complete and online

Host 2 > Enter Maintenance > Remediation > Update complete and online

Select the cluster, Click the “Updates” Tab and click on “Attach” on the Attached baselines section

Select and attach the baseline we created before

Click “Check Compliance” to scan and get a report

Select the host in the cluster, enter maintenance mode

Click “REMEDIATE” to start the upgrade. (if you do this at a cluster level if you have DRS, Update Manager will update each node)

This will reboot the host and go through the update process

Foot Notes –

You might run into the following issue

“vCenter cannot deploy Host upgrade agent to host”

Cause 1

Scratch partition is full use Vcenter and change the scratch folder location

VMWARE KB

Creating a persistent scratch location for ESXi  – https://kb.vmware.com/s/article/1033696

Cause 2

Hardware is not compatible,

I had this issue due to 6.7 dropping support for an LSI Raid card on an older firmware, you need to do some foot work and check the log files to figure out why its failing

Vmware HCL – Link

ESXI and Vcenter log file locations – link

MS Exchange 2016 [ERROR] Cannot find path ‘..\Exchange_Server_V15\UnifiedMessaging\grammars’ because it does not exist.


So recently I ran into this annoying error message with Exchange 2016 CU11 Update.

Environment info-

  • Exchange 2016 upgrade from CU8 to CU11
  • Exchange binaries are installed under D:\Microsoft\Exchange_Server_V15\..
Microsoft.PowerShell.Commands.GetItemCommand.ProcessRecord()". [12/04/2018 16:41:43.0233] [1] [ERROR] Cannot find path 'D:\Microsoft\Exchange_Server_V15\UnifiedMessaging\grammars' because it does not exist. 
[12/04/2018 16:41:43.0233] [1] [ERROR-REFERENCE] Id=UnifiedMessagingComponent___99d8be02cb8d413eafc6ff15e437e13d Component=EXCHANGE14:\Current\Release\Shared\Datacenter\Setup
[12/04/2018 16:41:43.0234] [1] Setup is stopping now because of one or more critical errors. [12/04/2018 16:41:43.0234] [1] Finished executing component tasks.
[12/04/2018 16:41:43.0318] [1] Ending processing Install-UnifiedMessagingRole
[12/04/2018 16:44:51.0116] [0] CurrentResult setupbase.maincore:396: 0 [12/04/2018 16:44:51.0118] [0] End of Setup
[12/04/2018 16:44:51.0118] [0] **********************************************

Root Cause

Ran the Setup again and it failed with the same error
while going though the log files i notice that the setup looks for this file path while configuring the "Mailbox role: Unified Messaging service" (Stage 6 on the GUI installer)

$grammarPath = join-path $RoleInstallPath "UnifiedMessaging\grammars\*";

There was no folder present with the name grammars under the Path specified on the error

just to confirm, i checked another server on CU8 and the grammars folder is there.

Not sure why the folder got removed, it may have happened during the first run of the CU11 setup that failed,

Resolution

My first thought was to copy the folder from an existing CU8 server. but just to avoid any issues (since exchange is sensitive to file versions)
I created an empty folder with the name "grammars" under D:\Microsoft\Exchange_Server_V15\UnifiedMessaging\




Ran the setup again and it continued the upgrade process and completed without any issues...¯\_(ツ)_/¯











[12/04/2018 18:07:50.0416] [2] Ending processing Set-ServerComponentState
[12/04/2018 18:07:50.0417] [2] Beginning processing Write-ExchangeSetupLog
[12/04/2018 18:07:50.0420] [2] Install is complete. Server state has been set to Active.
[12/04/2018 18:07:50.0421] [2] Ending processing Write-ExchangeSetupLog
[12/04/2018 18:07:50.0422] [1] Finished executing component tasks.
[12/04/2018 18:07:50.0429] [1] Ending processing Start-PostSetup
[12/04/2018 18:07:50.0524] [0] CurrentResult setupbase.maincore:396: 0
[12/04/2018 18:07:50.0525] [0] End of Setup
[12/04/2018 18:07:50.0525] [0] **********************************************

Considering cost of this software M$ really have to be better about error handling IMO, i have run in to silly issues like this way too many times since Exchange 2010.


IP version 6 with Dual-stack using a Tunnel broker 6in4 – PFSense/ASA -Part 01

If your ISP doesn’t have Native IP version 6 Support with Dual Stack  here is a workaround to get it setup for your home lab enviroment

What you need

> Router/Firewall/UTM that supports IPv6 Tunneling

  • PFsense/OpenSense/VyOS
  • DD-WRT 
  • Cisco ISR
  • Juniper SRX

> Active Account with an Ipv6 Tunnel Broker

      For this example we are going to be using Hurricane Electric Free IPv6 Tunnel Broker

Overview of the setup

For part 1 of this series  we are going to cover the following

  • Dual Stack Setup
  • DHCPV6 configuration and explanation

– Guide –

I used my a Netgate router running PfSense to terminate the 6in4 tunnel.it adds the firewall and monitoring capabilities on your Ipv6 network

Before we begin, we need to make a few adjustments on the firewall

Allow IPv6 Traffic

On new installations of pfSense after 2.1, IPv6 traffic is allowed by default. If the configuration on the firewall has been upgraded from older versions, then IPv6 would still be blocked. To enable IPv6 traffic on PFsense, perform the following:

  • Navigate to System > Advanced on the Networking tab
  • Check Allow IPv6 if not already checked
  • Click Save

Allow ICMP

ICMP echo requests must be allowed on the WAN address that is terminating the tunnel to ensure that it is online and reachable.

Firewall> Rules > WAN
Create a regular tunnel.

Enter your IPv4 address as the tunnel’s endpoint address.

Note – After entering your IPv4 address, the website will check to make sure that it can ping your machine. If it cannot ping your machine, you will get an error like the one below:

You can access the tunnel information from the accounts page

While you are here go to “Advance Tab” and setup an “Update key”. (We need it later)

Create and Assign the GIF Interface

Next, create the interface for the GIF tunnel in pfSense. Complete the fields with the corresponding information from the tunnel broker configuration summary.

  • Navigate to Interfaces > (assign) on the GIF tab.
  • Click fa-plus Add to add a new entry.
  • Set the Parent Interface to the WAN where the tunnel terminates. This would be the WAN which has the Client IPv4 Address on the tunnel broker.
  • Set the GIF Remote Address in pfSense to the Server IPv4 Address on the summary.
  • Set the GIF Tunnel Local Address in pfSense to the Client IPv6 Address on the summary.
  • Set the GIF Tunnel Remote Address in pfSense to the Server IPv6 Address on the summary, along the with prefix length (typically / 64).
  • Leave remaining options blank or unchecked.
  • Enter a Description.
  • Click Save.

Example GIF Tunnel.

Assign GIF Interface

Click fa-plus on Interfaces > (Assignments)

choose the GIF interface to be used for an OPT interface. In this example, the OPT interface has been renamed WAN_HP_NET_IPv6. Click Save and Apply Changes if they appear.

 

Configure OPT Interface

With the OPT interface assigned, Click on the OPT interface from the Interfaces menu to enable it  Keep IPv6 Configuration Type set to None.

Setup the IPv6 Gateway

When the interface is configured as listed above, a dynamic IPv6 gateway is added automatically, but it is not yet marked as default.

  • Navigate to System > Routing
  • Edit the dynamic IPv6 gateway with the same name as the IPv6 WAN created above.
  • Check Default Gateway.
  • Click Save.
  • Click Apply Changes.
 
Status > Gateways to view the gateway status. The gateway will show as “Online” if the configuration is successful

Set Up the LAN Interface for IPv6

The LAN interface may be configured for static IPv6 network. The network used for IPv6 addressing on the LAN Interface is an address in the Routed /64 or /48 subnet assigned by the tunnel broker.

  • The Routed /64 or /48 is the basis for the IPv6 Address field

For this exercise we are going to use ::1 for the LAN interface IP from the Prefixes provided above

Routed /64 : 2001:470:1f07:79a::/64

Interface IP – 2001:470:1f07:79a::1

Set Up DHCPv6 and RA (Router Advertisements)

Now that we have the tunnel up and running we need to make sure devices behind the lan interface can get a IPv6 address

There are couple of ways to handle the addressing

Sateless Auto Address Configuration (SLAAC)

SLAAC just means Stateless Auto Address Configuration, but it shouldn’t be confused with Stateless DHCPv6. In fact, we are talking about two different approaches.

SLAAC is the simplest way to give an IPv6 address to a client, because it exclusively rely on Neighbor Discovery Protocol. This protocol, that we simply call NDP, allows devices on a network to discover their Layer 3 neighbors. We use it to retrieve the layer 2 reachability information, like ARP, and to find out routers on the network.

When a device comes online, it sends a Router Solicitation message. It’s basically asking “Are there some routers out there?”. If we have a router on the same network, that router will reply with a Router Advertisement (RA) message. Using this message, the router will tell the client some information about the network:

  • Who is the default gateway (the link-local address of the router itself)
  • What is the global unicast prefix (for example, 2001:DB8:ACAD:10::/64)

With these information, the client is going to create a new global unicast address using the EUI-64 technique. Now the client has an IP address from the global unicast prefix range of the router, and that address is valid over the Internet.

This method is extremely simple, and requires virtually no configuration. However, we can’t centralize it and we cannot specify further information, such as DNS settings. To do that, we need to use a DHCPv6 technique

Just like IP v4 we need to setup DHCP for the IPv6 range for the devices behind the firewall to use SLAAT

Stateless DHCPv6

Stateless DHCPv6 brings to the picture the DHCPv6 protocol. With this approach, we still use SLAAC to obtain reachability information, and we use DHCPv6 for extra items.

The client always starts with a Router Solicitation, and the router on the segment responds with a Router Advertisement. This time, the Router Advertisement has a flag called other-config set to 1. Once the client receives the message, it will still use SLAAC to craft its own IPv6 address. However, the flag tells the client to do something more.

After the SLAAC process succeed, the client will craft a DHCPv6 request and send it through the network. A DHCPv6 server will eventually reply with all the extra information we needed, such as DNS server or domain name.

This approach is called stateless since the DHCPv6 server does not manage any lease for the clients. Instead, it just gives extra information as needed.

Configuring IPv6 Router Advertisements

Router Advertisements (RA) tell an IPv6 network not only which routers are available to reach other networks, but also tell clients how to obtain an IPv6 address. These options are configured per-interface and work similar to and/or in conjunction with DHCPv6.

DHCPv6 is not able to send clients a router for use as a gateway as is traditionally done with IPv4 DHCP. The task of announcing gateways falls to RA.

Operating Mode: Controls how clients behave. All modes advertise this firewall as a router for IPv6. The following modes are available:

  • Router Only: Clients will need to set addresses statically
  • Unmanaged: Client addresses obtained only via Stateless Address Autoconfiguration (SLAAC).
  • Managed: Client addresses assigned only via DHCPv6.
  • Assisted: Client addresses assigned by either DHCPv6 or SLAAC (or both).

Enable DHCPv6 Server on the interface

Setup IPv6 DNS Addresses

we are going to use cloud-flare DNS (At the time of writing CF is rated as the fastest resolver by Thousandeyes.com)

https://developers.cloudflare.com/1.1.1.1/setting-up-1.1.1.1/

1.1.1.1

  • 2606:4700:4700::1111
  • 2606:4700:4700::1001

Keeping your Tunnel endpoint Address Updated with your Dynamic IP

This only applies if you have a dynamic IPv4 from your ISP

As you may remember from our first step when registering the 6in4 tunnel on the website we had to enter our Public IP and enable ICMP

We need to make sure we keep this updated when our IP changes ovetime

There are few ways to accomplish this

  • Use PFsense DynDNS feature 

dnsomatic.com  is wonderful free service to update your dynamic IP on multiple locations, i used this because if needed i have the freedom to change routers/firewalls with out messing up my config (Im using a one of my RasPi’s to update DNS-O-Matic)

im working on another article for this, will link it to this section ASAP

 

Few Notes –

Android OS, Chrome OS still doesn’t support DHCPv6

Mac OSX and windows 10, Server 2016 uses and prefers Ipv6

Check the windows firewall rules if you have issues with NAT rules and manually update rules

Your MTU will drop-down since you are sending the IPv6 headers encapsulated in the Ipv4 packets.Personally i have no issues with my Ipv6 network Behind a spectrum DOCSIS modem. but this may cause issues depending on your ISP ie : CGNat

Here is a good write up https://jamesdobson.name/post/mtu/

 

Part 2

With Part two of this series we will use an ASA for IPv6 using the PFsense router as an tunnel-endpoint

Example Network

Link spotlight

– Understanding IPv6 EUI-64 Bit Address

– IPv6 Stateless Auto Configuration

– Configure the ASA to Pass IPv6 Traffic

– Setup IPv6 TunnelBroker – NetGate

– ipv6-at-home Part 1 | Part II | Part III

Until next time….