Getting Started with Docker & VMware Photon OS

There is a ton of good information out there about Docker, but I wanted to provide you with a more consolidated walk through that gets you started from ground zero. In the spirit of virtualization, isolation, and containerization, this guide is going to leverage the open source Photon OS from VMware. Let’s get started!

  1. Go to vmware.github.io/photon/ and download the appropriate ISO or OVA for your environment.
    1. For the purposes of this guide, I deployed the Minimal hw v11 OVA into my vSphere cluster, but I have successfully done the same thing within Workstation.
    2. You can also build a VM from scratch (1 vCPU, 384MB RAM, 8GB Disk minimum) and use the ISO (which will also allow you to deploy the “Full Version.”) Note that the OVA will deploy a VM with 1 vCPU, 2GB RAM, and 16GB Disk.
  2. Once deployed and powered on, either use the hypervisor’s console or SSH into the VM, then login with “root” and “changeme”
    1. The first time you log in, you will be required to change the password.
  3. Surprisingly,  Docker isn’t running, so start Docker, then verify it is working, by running:
    1. systemctl start docker
      docker ps

      The “docker ps” command lists running containers, which we don’t have yet, but will error out  if Docker isn’t running properly. You will see an output like “CONTAINER ID IMAGE COMMAND CREATED STATUS PORTS NAMES” if Docker is working.

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Nexenta VMware Hardware Acceleration Unknown – Solved

If you are using Nexenta or Nexenta CE (Community Edition) v4.04 you may have noticed that within VMware, the Hardware Acceleration (VAAI) status is listed as Unknown.

nexenta-hardware-acceleration-unknown-medium

Nexenta v4.04 and possibly some other versions ship with VAAI in a default / disabled state. Follow these steps to Enable Hardware Acceleration:
  1. Download and extract the Nexenta vaaictl python script from the following link: http://downloads.nexenta.com/cdn/NexentaStor/utilities/vaaictl.zip
    • If the link doesn’t work, I have pasted the output of the file below.)
  2. Copy the vaaictl file to your Nexenta box to /tmp
    • Using WinSCP with windows via SFTP works well for this.
  3. SSH into your Nexenta box using PuTTY or another tool. Enter Expert mode by running:
    option expert_mode =1
    !bash

    Output:nexenta-enable-expert-mode

  4. Run the following commands to check the status of VAAI:
    cd /tmp
    chmod 555 ./vaaictl
    ./vaaictl --status
    • Output: “Current status is defaulted.”
  5. To enable VAAI, run the following:
    sudo ./vaaictl --enable
    • Output: “Changing from defaulted to enable”
  6. You can now re-check the status of VAAI:
    ./vaaictl --status
    • Output: “Current status is enabled.”

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Mapped Drives Not Showing in Windows

Do you have a script that maps drive letters to different network attached storage (NAS) locations on Windows machines? Are those mapped drives not showing up under This PC or My Computer in the Windows GUI? If you run:

net use

The drives show up. You can even test connectivity by running:

cd t:
echo "test text" > testfile.txt
ls

Unfortunately the drives still don’t show up within the GUI.

The solution in my case was to first remove all mappings by running:

net use /delete *
net use

The second command is used to confirm there are no mappings. It is best to now reboot your computer and prevent the mapping script from running.

After rebooting, using the Windows GUI, This PC, My Computer, File Explorer, etc. browse to your network location by typing \\storagelocation in the address bar (this can even be the IP of the device.) Map the first drive manually by right clicking on the folder you want and clicking on Map Network Drive. Follow through the prompts and make sure the drive shows up. This may vary a little depending on whether you are on Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10, Windows Server 2012, etc. If the drive still doesn’t show up, you may want to check some of the other solutions below. You can now continue running the rest of your network mapping script.

Another interesting oddity I found on a freshly installed Windows 10 box… If you run the net use commands from PowerShell using the Windows PowerShell (Admin) link or by right clicking and running PowerShell as Administrator, those connected drives are not available to Windows via the GUI!

Other suggested solutions found around the web:

  • Uncheck “Hide empty drives”
    • Click Start and type Folder Options and pressEnter
    • Click the View tab
    • Uncheck Hide empty drives in the Computer folder
  • Check Group Policies
  • Check the Registry
    • Browse to: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer
      • If the NoDrives key is listed, back up and then delete the key
      • Note that this is the same as modifying the Group Policy
  • Check your security software