Skip to main content

identifying the ESX version in a VM: peeking through the blinds

An interesting issue popped up: how can a program or script in a VM determine the type and version of the hypervisor it is running on ? This is important if you want to install version-specific software, like the VMware Tools ("enlightened hardware drivers", as MS would say).
Knowing that you're running in a virtual machine is pretty easy: you can look at the hardware, on VMware you'll see "00:0f.0 VGA compatible controller: VMware Inc Abstract SVGA II Adapter" which makes it pretty clear, and lspci -v says "Subsystem: VMware Inc" for every PCI device. Easy as 1 2 3.

But which version of VMware ESX is it ? Not that easy, it seems. But we (hi Dag !) found a unique signature for each ESX version: looking at dmidecode, the output in the "BIOS Information" section lists a Release Date and an Address field. These seem to be unique for each ESX version. The mapping we could build was:
ESX 2.5 - BIOS Release Date: 04/21/2004 - Address 0xE8480 - Size 97152 bytes
ESX 3.0 - BIOS Release Date: 04/17/2006 - Address 0xE7C70 - Size 99216 bytes
ESX 3.5 - BIOS Release Date: 01/30/2008 - Address 0xE7910 - Size 100080 bytes
ESX 4(?) - BIOS Release Date: 08/15/2008 - Address 0xEA6C0 - Size 88384 bytes

Tested versions: ESX 2.5.2, 3.0.2, and 3.5u2. We received an anonymous tip about ESX 4 beta results. Thanks !
VMware Workstation 4.5 reports the same as ESX 2.5. VMware Server 1.0 reports the same as ESX 3.0. Workstation 6.5 reports the same as ESX 4(?). Workstation 6.0 and Server 2.0.0 report
WS 6.0 - BIOS Release Date: 12/06/2006 - Address 0xE78A0 - Size 100192 bytes
SRV 2.0.0 - BIOS Release Date: 7/29/2008 - Address 0xEA6C0
but we didn't find an ESX version that reported the same values. Refer to the VMware "mobility guide" document for other possible relationships between different VMware products.

P.S. 26/11 thanks to Michael for sending us information on VMware Server 2.0.0 ! Same address as WS 6.5 and ESX4(?), but different release date.


Carlo said…
I have got an Openfiler VM running on an ESX 3.5 and it reports:

BIOS Information
Vendor: Phoenix Technologies LTD
Version: 6.00
Release Date: 03/19/2009
Address: 0xE66C0

This is not on your list. so I thought it might interests you.


Popular posts from this blog

How to solve "user locked out due to failed logins" in vSphere vMA

In vSphere 6, if the vi-admin account get locked because of too many failed logins, and you don't have the root password of the appliance, you can reset the account(s) using these steps:

reboot the vMAfrom GRUB, "e"dit the entry"a"ppend init=/bin/bash"b"oot# pam_tally2 --user=vi-admin --reset# passwd vi-admin # Optional. Only if you want to change the password for vi-admin.# exitreset the vMAlog in with vi-admin These steps can be repeated for root or any other account that gets locked out.

If you do have root or vi-admin access, "sudo pam_tally2 --user=mylockeduser --reset" would do it, no reboot required.

Volkswagen UHV bluetooth touch adapter & its problems

My Volkswagen car has the "universal cellphone preparation" UHV built-in. This is the main part of a car kit, but requires an additional adapter for connecting to a cellphone. At first, I was using an adapter for my good old Nokia 6310, even after I changed to the Nokia E71. Connecting was easy: pair the phone with the "VW UHV" bluetooth entity, and done. This has the phone connected to the car kit at all times, so even non-call-related functions use the car audio system (e.g. voice recognition).
But progress will have its way, no matter what happens. So in comes the "bluetooth touch adapter". Instead of a phone-specific adapter, this is a small touchscreen device that slots into the UHV dashboard mount. Connecting a phone is very different now:
the Bluetooth Touch Adapter connects to the "VW UHV" device via bluetooth
the phone connects to "Touch Adapter" device, also via bluetoothThe device doesn't allow step 2 if step 1 didn't s…

Multiple VLANs on a Synology NAS

Synology, like other SOHO/SMB NAS vendors, touts VLAN functionality with their current DSM 4.1 software. However, the web interface just lets you specify one VLAN tag to use over each eth interface (or bond interface).
Manual approachIn the busybox environment that you can ssh into as root (after enabling ssh through the webinterface), there's all the tools you need to use multiple VLANs over one link (eth or bond), however:
First you insert the 802.1q module into the Linux kernel:
 /sbin/lsmod | /bin/grep -q 8021q || /sbin/insmod /lib/modules/8021q.koThen you add each VLAN you need to every interface (bond0 in this example)
 /sbin/vconfig add bond0 4And finally you can configure IP addresses on every interface.vlan combination (bond0.4 in this example)
 /sbin/ifconfig bond0.4 broadcast netmask same type of script would work on a QNAP NAS too, by the way. They offer 8021q.ko and vconfig in their commandline environment as well.
Packets from…