Wednesday Tidbit: PowerShell’s Import-PFXCertificate Removes the Private Key

I’ve been working on a complex automation solution recently in lab, and one task was to import a certificate to be used by VMware Horizon.

Those familiar with Horizon will know that any certificate used will need to have its corresponding private key which will also need to be exportable. The certificate also needs to have a friendly name of “vdm”.

My face when I figured out what was happening

All of the above is perfectly achievable in PowerShell, which is my chosen scripting language of choice for this task.

It appears that when my script was run as LocalSystem, the certificate and key were successfully imported – but the private key was immediately deleted. Anyone viewing the certificate in the Certificates MMC snapin would be blissfully unaware of this “feature”:

Yup… all good here!

However, post-script I began to notice problems. Some Horizon services would start but not all of them. The HTML and Flex admin pages became unavailable, complaining about protocol errors.

The Solution

To get around this I modified my script so that PowerShell used the certutil command instead of Import-PFXCertificate.

To successfully import the certificate and key, and set the friendly name, I use the following:

Wednesday Tidbit: Adding the SQL Server Agent to a Windows Failover Cluster

20150916 - 1Yesterday I decided it was time to patch my VMware vCenter 5.5 hosts to the recently released Update 3. As I make use of properly configured SSL certificates, each component (SSO, Web Client, Inventory and vCenter Server) has to be installed separately. However when I came to install the last one, I ran into an issue. Continue reading

Wednesday Tidbit: Using Cluster-Aware Updating to patch a Windows Server 2012 R2 Failover Cluster

20150820 - 1Recently I built a Windows Server 2012 R2 Failover Cluster to run my SQL, file services and Certificate Authority workloads. For a number of reasons (mentioned in the article) I decided to build it on the Server Core edition of Windows.

Whilst this offers numerous advantages, simplicity isn’t always one of them. One example of this is patching. Continue reading

Building an advanced lab using VMware vRealize Automation – Part 7: Configure vCenter Server Appliance SSL certificates

20150630 - vRAIn part 6 we installed and configured a vCenter Server Appliance in the lab.  This will manage the various components, plus serve as an endpoint for vRealize Automation.

In this post we replace the default SSL certificates from the vCSA with trusted certificates from our in-house certificate authority. Continue reading

Building an advanced lab using VMware vRealize Automation – Part 5: Authentication services

20150630 - vRAIn part 4 of this series we configured two ESXi hosts to host our lab.  In this part we will setup a Windows Server 2012 R2 Core virtual machine and configure it as a domain controller in a separate root domain.  We will then configure a forest trust to our production domain so that our users can authenticate. Continue reading