Adding an ISCSI SAN to your Home test Lab using Starwind ISCSI Target Software & VMWARE ESX server

Hi folks. Yes i know , I have been missing for many years. As i saw the last post was somewhere 2 years back … Humm. Well , i decided to dig up this old blog of mine and start documenting all that I am now learning in my quest to build my personal IT Home LAB. Today i will show you how i have set up ISCSI SAN in my personal home lab.

I spin up a VM [ windows 7] and installed Starwind ISCSI target sofware. I have the ISO for Openfiler but i decided to play with Starwind first.After i installed the software and created a target making it quite open . Yes , you guessed it right , I did not use any authentication or rules , it was all bare open. Now first i checked the connectivity from within the host OS using the Microsoft ISCSI initiator software. It worked clean and i was happy. Then i spin up an ESXI VM and set it up the way it should be. I connected to the ESXI box using vsphere client software and added s Software ISCSI adapter to the box. Still no issues , all cool. But then the problem happened which frankly kept me guessing and trying almost everything i possibly could. My ISCSI initiator/adapter was not discovering the target disk. Surprisingly it did not give me any viable error while trying to discover the target using the HOST IP address of the Starwind Server. Check out the screenshot below.


Also when i was checking the adapter properties > static discovery , it was a whitewash!! Come On … why is it like that


I tried to scan and scan and scan the adapter for million times but still nothing changed. Feeling quite frustrated i decided to remove Starwind but then suddenly something struck my mind. Wait a second , if i can connect to the target locally but not from a remote server then it could be possible that the firewalls must be playing up. Now since both my starwind and my ESXI are on the same network , the virtual router firewall can not be accused of this crime …. Then … Well ofcourse the grand daddy Windows Firewall !!!
And so it was , i saw that Windows Firewall was service was not running on my Windows 7 VM. I had disabled the service thinking it might disrupt the connection but i was so wrong.  I enabled the Windows firewall service on the starwind server. Then attempted to connect again. And hey it still did not work ….

After 1 whole day was gone , I decided to watch my every step closely while configuring the adapter. So let’s explore it step by step. One you open the properties for the adapter you click on Dynamic Discovery tab :

a) Put the iSCSI server IP address (Starwind server)
b) Leave the port number to 3260 [ the standard port number for iSCSI communication ]

Now wait !!!, before you decide to hit that OK button , for heaven’s sake take a look at CHAP!@@#@#@#@#@

Yes my friend , it’s the CHAP button that can keep you guessing and feeling frustrated. CHAP is basically a type of encryption algorithm to secure the communication between the iSCSI initiator and the target. Remember i did not configure CHAP on the target so obviously I never cared to configure it at inititator [esxi] end. Now let’s click on the CHAP button :


See , that’s the default view of Mr. CHAP which will not allow me to see the target.
After i made the below changes (see screenshot below) i scanned the adapter again.


Now i could see the target disc.

Hope you enjoyed the post. Until we meet again take care and keep on exploring….



Poodle Bites !!! SSL 3.0 vulnerability

Hello Friends , there is a bug identified by the name of Poodle. Simpy speaking this Bug or vulnerability can be used by a hacker to steal data that gets security encrypted between a browser (Internet explorer) and a web server that are communicating with each other over a protocol called SSL 3.0. SSL 3.0 is very old nearly 15 years old technology and most web servers and web browsers these days do not use SSL 3.0 which is a good news. However , to ensure that you do not fall a victim of this bug here are 2 security tips that you can use.

1) To check if your browser is secure and not affected: Simply goto a website called www.poodletest.comwhich will check and let you know whether your browser is vulnerable or not. Modern browsers like Chrome, Firefox are not affected by this but you can always check. If you are using Internet explorer make sure it is the latest version.

2) To check if your favorite website is vulnerable : Simply goto a website called , type the name of the website and hit the scan button (screenshot attached). I tried and it tells me that it is not vulnerable (which is a good news).













You can share this post with your friends and co workers and let me know if you require any further clarification or information on this. Cheers and have a good night

Free Movie Remote Control with VLC and Blackberry







Whatz up everyone !!!

Today  i am gonna talk a little bit about how to make a free remote control to watch movies on your laptop / PC using VLC media player and a Blackberry smartphone.

Before we cook it up here is a checklist of the stuff we need:

1) VLC media player (download it from

2) Blackberry Smartphone ( I have tested this on my new Curve 9300 running OS7)

Step 1: Download the VLC program on your laptop / PC if you do not have that already. Try to find the latest version if you can.

Step 2: Open VLC and Goto Tools>Preferences.

Step 3: On the Preferences window select “ALL” under Show Settings. You will find this option left bottom of the window.

Step 4: On the left browse Interface > Main Interface. On your right check the option that says  “Web”.  I have heard on some VLC versions it might say HTTP. It’s all the same by the way :). Save the changes and close VLC.

Step 5: Now check if this has worked. Open Internet Explorer or Google Chrome and goto the following site:
localhost:8080. You will be routed to the VLC web interface. Now this means we are all set to kill the tiger !!!. If you can not see the page please leave your comments to this post and I will get back to you.

Step 6: Now, open VLC . You will get a prompt from Windows Firewall to allow VLC access the private network. Now this is a little tricky part so let me quickly make you understand what are we talking about. Advanced users can skip this bit and move on.

Mini Tutorial on Private and Public Network

For you your Home network is your private network and the outside big badass internet is the public network. Your Home network is controlled by a master controller called a “Router”. This device sits quietly in one corner of your house and manages all that you connect to it in order to access the internet. You may have connected a desktop or a wireless laptop or a wireless smartphone it  simply does not matter. This smart device will manage everything and also protect you at the same time from the badass internet ( public network) so that no one can intrude into your private network. I hope i was able to make you understand in the simplest form 🙂 … sometimes this makes me feel i should have pursued a career in teaching …..

Step 7: Now, on your computer goto Start button and hit run (Windows 7 users can use the search box) and type cmd and press Enter. In the command prompt type ipconfig

Note down your ip address in a piece of paper and keep it with you. This is what we will need later.

We also need to find the IP address of our Blackberry smartphone. How to do that ? Well , i will tell you how.

From the Main Menu of Blackberry > Click on Options > Device > Device and Status Information > Under Wifi Information you shall find the IP address. Note that down as well.

Step 8: So far as you understand you can control the VLC player via your web browser ( IE or Chrome) but where is the fun ???? We are still not able to control it remotely. Well , we will be in a minute. Navigate to:

C:\Program Files\VideoLAN\VLC\lua\http

(Windows 7 64 but version users can goto the following location)

C:\Program Files(x86)\VideoLAN\VLC\lua\http

Now open the file hosts using Notepad. It will look like a simple text file to you. Go down to where it says “# private addresses”. Now, type the IP address of your Blackberry device in this location. It will look something like below :

# private addresses

The happens to be the ip address for my blackberry device. Once again , if you are lost mention in the comments and i will get back to you.

Now, make sure you have VLC opened on your system. Move away from your laptop/PC , relax in a couch and take out the blackberry from your pocket. OH yea … we are now ready for the kill. Open the internet browser on your blackberry and type the following address in the address bar.

(your laptop/ PC ip address):8080

Example in my case i will type :

Thats it… you will see the VLC page opening up will all the controls. Have fun !!!

Downloads – It’s all about Speed – Part 2

We will pick up from where we had left … Bitlord. Bitlord , put it simple is a software that helps you to download your favorite movies , music , ebooks and many more. Before I tell you how to use Bitlord in a step wise manner let me just fire that word of caution. I am not encouraging / promoting you to download copyrighted contents , share and store the same. Remember , nothing on the internet is safe. You might end up infecting your system downloading contents from such sources. Always be a little careful and abort as soon as you find something is not going the way it should go. Ok, sermon over. Let us check out what is it and how to use it.

Step 1: Visit and download Bitlord 2.1.1 (latest copy till date).

Step 2: Install the software , please be careful not to check or install any sidekicks (search engine , free goodies etc). They have to do this since they give you the software for free. You have to be careful and filter out the trash.

Step 3: When you first run Bitlord , your firewall may prompt you to allow traffic for Bitlord on the respective security ports. Allow that to happen. If you do not , Bitlord will not be able to do what it is meant to do.

Step 4: The next thing is to find the torrents. If you have skipped Part 1 of this edition , please go back and read it before you continue. The safest place to download good quality torrents is This site helps you filter verified torrents , torrents with good number of seeds etc. If you are wondering what are seeds , do not. Let me explain real quick. Seed as the name suggests are people who have the file and who are ready to share with you. More seeds means less time it will take to download the content on your system and vice versa. Leech on the other hand are mean people (like me!) who simply grab the copy and do not like to share in return. I declare myself to be a leech and I have my reasons.

Step 5: Once you select the torrent it will ask you to download the torrent from any of the websites. My advice is to
download from (see picture below). It is quick and to the point stuff. Once you the there just hit the Torrent link and save the file on your system. Open the file with Bitlord. Done !!


That’s it for now. Next week I shall tell you about the reason I have opted out from downloading torrents. Will share my new find on downloads and a secret….. Stay Tuned !! (to be continued….)




Downloads – It’s all about Speed – Part 1

Dear Readers,

It has been a long time since my last post. As always I was busy switching jobs , switching houses and more. Anyways, let’s get back to the point. Today I am gonna unleash the greedy pirate inside you. The mean pirate who likes to acquire every damned music , video , pdf on this planet and put in safe inside his golden casket (read USB Hard Drive). I had been downloading stuff for over many years now. Back in the good old days (i am talking about 5-6 years back) I was happy with torrents and my torrent manager software. I used to get all the good stuff right onto my system and it was simply amazing. On a co worker’s recommendation I installed Bitlord (still using it) and downloading my favorite content was like taking a candy from a baby.









Then surprisingly 2 years back , I identified that seeders were disappearing. Let me explain what i mean by seeders and Torrents. Imagine I have a book (Old Man and The Sea ~ Hemingway … only book i remember reading as a kid). Now i start tearing pages from the book and then distribute each page to every single soul on this planet. Now Imagine yourself , looking for the book and I tell you to collect the pages from each person and combine to get your own copy. Torrents work in similar way. You need to download a single file (torrent file) that contains a list of addresses for the all the people who have the content in bits and pieces or in full. The size of the file is in KBs.. very tiny since it is a simple text file containing instruction as from where you can get your stuff. Reading the file and fetching the chunks of media is done by your torrent software. There are many free software on the internet. But I recommend using Bitlord…. (to be continued)..