TheSaffaGeek

My ramblings about all things technical


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VMworld Day 2

VMworld EMEA day 2 kicked off with the keynote from Carl Echenbach, Ben Fathi and Raghu Raghuram. Unfortunately the keynote was again largely a repeat of the VMworld US day 2 one with all of the same jokes and mock up pictures also. Due to this I’m not going to break down the keynote but rather recommend you watch the keynote recording here.

After watching the keynote and writing up my VMworld Day 1 blog posting I helped the vBrownbag crew with preparations for the TechTalks for which the recordings are now available on the vBrownbag YouTube channel. I would highly recommend watching these as there were some really great presentations from some very big vendors and names within the industry. I then went to the hands on labs and did  HOL-SDC-1420 – OpenStack with VMware vSphere and NSX. The lab was really good and I plan to do the second part of it today.

Talking about containers VMware released a blog posting yesterday around Docker containers performance in VMware vSphere. some of the highlights from the article are that:

  • VMware find that for most of these micro-benchmarks and Redis tests, vSphere delivered near-native performance with generally less than 5% overhead.
  • Running an application in a Docker container in a vSphere VM has very similar overhead of running containers on a native OS (directly on a physical server).

To view the full blog post, you can visit :  http://blogs.vmware.com/performance/2014/10/docker-containers-performance-vmware-vsphere.html

After the HOL I attended the Solutions exchange and spoke to some of the vendors whose solutions interest me such as Nutanix, Hitachi Data Systems, PernixData, Simplivity , SolidFire and Colt stalls. Some amazing solution from these guys as well as many others, it’s scary how much the virtualisation ecosystem is changing.

From the solutions exchange I attended session STO2997-SPO The vExpert Storage Game Show EMEA which was really good fun and filled by really smart guys on the stage. I watched the recording of the one from the US a few weeks ago and it too was very informative and is a session I would recommend watching from both VMworld’s.

I then made my way back to the solutions exchange for the hall crawl where Hitachi were serving up sake and sushi at their stand which is two of my favourite things so I had to make sure I got myself some and they even gave us nice sake cups which I will personally use for a double espresso cup. A big thanks to Paul Meehan too for chatting us through their solution.

hitachi

I stuck around in the solutions exchange until the VMworld party as the party is in the convention centre. The party seemed smaller this year although there was a big roller rink in the middle last year so possibly this was the reason. It was good to chat to very vNerds and even some ex-colleagues whilst waiting for Simple Minds to come on. I’m only 31 so I only knew two or three of their songs but they were hands down better than Taio Cruz last year and most of the crowd seemed to really enjoy it and they even did an encore. From the party I met up with some of my Xtravirt colleagues for a night cap.


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VMworld Day 0 – Partner Day

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VMworld officially only starts tomorrow for most attendees but for those that are partners there is partner day where VMware done a number of sessions for their partners to allow them to understand the roadmap and the solutions on the roadmap.

I flew in yesterday so that I was ready for partner day and also to attend the vRockstar party which has become an annual event on the Sunday night at the hard rock cafe before VMworld and is the only party that really happens on Sunday. I have attended for the last two years and this year they got the upper section booked out which was certainly cooler on the much more humid and hot Barcelona nights (compared to the UK in my case). The vRockstar party was sponsored by Cisco , EMC , VMUG and Nutanix which enabled us to have some champagne on arrival and then beers for the remainder of the night, so a big thanks to all the sponsors and thanks to the organisers Patrick Redknap, Marco Broeken, Robert Payne and Hans De Leenheer.

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The remainder of my day was spent chatting to fellow vExperts and bloggers at the bloggers table and providing moral support to the vBrownbag crew (Alastair had it all done before I arrived). The vBrownbag TechTalks kick off tomorrow and just like it was in San Francisco we will be streaming it live as well as recording them so please tune in and we promise to try get the audio clearer this time. If you are at the conference then come watch them as they are happening in hall 7 near the bloggers table and across from the general session hall.

My night will be spent at an exclusive VMworld drinks reception hosted by TD Azlan and then I will be attending the PernixData party held at an amazing venue on the Barcelona shorefront who are one of Xtravirt’s partners. I’m looking forward to all the announcements tomorrow and the reason i spent so much time at the bloggers table was scheduling a number of blogs around these announcements so keep an eye on my blog tomorrow.

Also don’t forget to sign up for the Xtravirt SONAR beta bit.ly/1sjutrX .


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#VMworld Announcement #1 VMware EVO:RAIL – What is it?

 

imageAt VMworld US this morning VMware will announce numerous new solutions and one of these will be VMware EVO: RAIL I mean MARVIN I mean VMware EVO: RAIL, but what is it and what does it do. Below is a high level overview of the solution. Make sure you also  watch the live keynote to learn more.

Introducing VMware EVO: RAIL

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VMware EVO: RAIL™ combines compute, networking, and storage resources into a hyper-converged infrastructure appliance to create a simple, easy to deploy, all-in-one solution offered by VMware qualified partners.

Simplicity Transformed

EVO: RAIL enables power-on to VM creation in minutes, radically easy VM deployment, one-click non-disruptive patch and upgrades, simplified management…you get the idea.

Software-Defined Building Block

EVO: RAIL is a scalable Software-Defined Data Center (SDDC) building block that delivers compute, networking, storage, and management to empower private/hybrid-cloud, end-user computing, test/dev, and branch office environments.

Trusted Foundation

Building on the proven technology of VMware vSphere®, vCenter Server™, and VMware Virtual SAN™, EVO: RAIL delivers the first hyper-converged infrastructure appliance 100% powered by VMware software.

Highly Resilient by Design

Resilient appliance design starting with four independent hosts and a distributed Virtual SAN datastore ensures zero application downtime during planned maintenance or during disk, network, or host failures.

Infrastructure at the Speed of Innovation

Meet accelerating business demands by simplifying infrastructure design with predictable sizing and scaling,by streamlining purchase and deployment with a single appliance SKU, and by reducing CapEx and OpEx.

Freedom of Choice

EVO: RAIL is delivered as a complete appliance solution with hardware, software, and support through leading
systems vendors; customers choose their preferred brand.

Hardware

VMware is not entering the hardware market. The EVO: RAIL software bundle is available to qualifying EVO:RAIL partners. The partner, in turn, sells the hardware with integrated EVO: RAIL software, and provides all hardware and software support to customers.

Appliance

Each EVO: RAIL appliance has four independent nodes with dedicated computer, network, and storage resources and dual, redundant power supplies.
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Nodes

Each of the four EVO: RAIL nodes have:

  • Two Intel E5-2620v2 six-core CPUs
  • 192GB of memory
  • One SLC SATADOM or SAS HDD for the ESXi™ boot device
  • Three SAS 10K RPM 1.2TB HDD for the VMware Virtual SAN™ datastore
  • One 400GB MLC enterprise-grade SSD for read/write cache
  • One Virtual SAN-certified pass-through disk controller
  • Two 10GbE NIC ports (configured for either 10GBase-T or SFP+ connections)
  • One 1GbE IPMI port for remote (out-of-band) management

Fault Tolerance and Reliability

Each EVO: RAIL appliance has the following hardware components and reliability features:

  • Four ESXi hosts in a single appliance enables resiliency for hardware failures or maintenance
  • Two fully redundant power supplies
  • Redundant 2 x 10GbE NIC ports per node for all communication
  • ESXi boot device, HDDs, and SSD are all enterprise-grade

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Automatic Scale-Out

EVO: RAIL Version 1.0 can scale out to four appliances – for a total of 16 ESXi hosts, 1 Virtual SAN datastore backed by a single vCenter Server and EVO: RAIL instance. EVO: RAIL handles deployment, configuration, and management, allowing the compute capacity and the Virtual SAN datastore to grow automatically. New appliances are automatically discovered and easily added to an EVO: RAIL cluster with a few mouse clicks.

Software

EVO: RAIL delivers the first hyper-converged infrastructure appliance 100% powered by VMware’s proven suite of core products. The EVO: RAIL software bundle is fully loaded onto the EVO: RAIL qualified partner’s hardware.
This software bundle is comprised of:

  • EVO: RAIL Deployment, Configuration, and Management
  • VMware vSphere® Enterprise Plus, including ESXi for compute
  • Virtual SAN for storage
  • vCenter Server™
  • vCenter Log Insight™

EVO: RAIL is optimized for the new VMware user as well as for experienced administrators. Minimal IT experience is required to deploy, configure, and manage EVO: RAIL, allowing it to be used where there is limited or no IT staff on-site. As EVO: RAIL utilizes VMware’s core products, administrators can apply existing VMware knowledge,
best practices, and processes.

EVO: RAIL leverages the same database as vCenter Server, so any changes in EVO: RAIL configuration and management are also reflected in vCenter Server and vice-versa.

Compute, Networking, Storage, and Management

EVO: RAIL Compute

Virtual Machine Density

  • EVO: RAIL is sized to run approximately 100 average-sized, general-purpose, data center VMs. Actual capacity varies by VM size and workload. There are no restrictions on application type. EVO: RAIL supports any application that a customer would run on vSphere.
    General-purpose VM profile: 2 vCPU, 4GB vMEM, 60GB of vDisk, with redundancy
  • EVO: RAIL is optimized for VMware Horizon® View with configuration options that allow up to 250 View VMs on a single EVO: RAIL appliance. Actual capacity varies by desktop size and workload.
    Horizon View virtual desktop profile: 2vCPU, 2GB vMEM, 32GB vDisk linked clones

EVO: RAIL Network

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Connections

  • Each node in EVO: RAIL has two 10GbE network ports. Each port must be connected to a 10GbE top-of-rack switch that has IPv4 and IPv6 multicast enabled.
  • Remote/lights out management is available on each node through a 1GbE IPMI port that can connect to a management network. NOTE: In some configurations, there may be additional 1GbE ports that are covered and disabled.

Traffic

  • EVO: RAIL supports four types of traffic: Management, vSphere vMotion®, Virtual SAN, and Virtual Machine.Traffic isolation on separate VLANs is recommended for vSphere vMotion, Virtual SAN, and VMs. EVO: RAIL
    Version 1.0 does not put management traffic on a VLAN.
  • IPv4 and IPv6 multicast must be enabled on the top-of-rack switch(es). EVO: RAIL’s automated scale-out feature uses IPv6. (It is not required for your complete network to support IPv6.)
  • VLANs are not required when customizing a EVO: RAIL configuration; however, they are highly recommended.When using the Just Go! option, it is assumed VLANs are configured.

EVO: RAIL Storage

EVO: RAIL creates a single Virtual SAN datastore from all local HDDs on each ESXi host in a EVO: RAIL cluster. Virtual SAN read caching and write buffering uses SSD capacity. Total storage capacity is 16TB per EVO: RAIL appliance:

  • 14.4TB HDD capacity (approximately 13TB usable) per appliance, allocated to the Virtual SAN datastore for virtual machines
  • 1.6TB SSD capacity per appliance for read/write cache
  • Size of pre-provisioned management VM: 30GB

EVO: RAIL Management

EVO: RAIL enables deployment, configuration, and management through a new, intuitive HTML5-based user interface showcased in the next section. EVO: RAIL provides new non-disruptive updates for VMware software with zero downtime and automatic scale-out of EVO: RAIL appliances.

User Interface

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Configuration Screenshots

Below are a few configuration screenshots showing how intuitive and easy it is to configure EVO:RAIL.

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Use Cases

Below are some of the use cases for EVO:RAIL.

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Make sure you  watch the live VMworld keynote to learn more.


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VMworld US 2014 – The Calm Before the vStorm

For several years I have been very fortunate to attend VMworld Europe either via my company paying for the trip or in the case of last year, being able to attend as part of the vBrownbag crew and I’m very pleased to say that I will be attending this years VMworld US via the welcomed sponsorships of the vBrownbag sponsors (VMTurbo , Cisco , Brocade ,Infinio and Coho Data) for the TechTalks. Due to going as part of the vBrownbag crew VMware were gracious enough to give me a bloggers pass to cover my conference entrance fee and when I am not helping with the TechTalks or the VMunderground Open Acts i plan to blogging and tweeting away. But I am not only looking forward to going just for these reasons (certainly they are amazing enough reasons) but for several others and so I thought I would put out the reasons I’m looking forward to VMworld US and why if you haven’t booked to attend yet then why I would HIGHLY encourage you to register.

Social

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I know what you are thinking and yes there certainly are some amazing parties and there are people who sadly take it as a jolly rather than experiencing the conference but the social I am referring to is social media as well as actual human interaction with like minded people. I am sure a number of people are like me where we sit behind a computer for countless hours,then sit on our phone or tablet tweeting away to people about the latest virtualisation or related technology but have never actually met these people. In fact most of the people you tweet with are actually on the opposite side of the world but their blog posting/communities response/book/podcast/webinar or twitter response to a question you posted saved you countless hours of work or helped you get that new role or certification. Well VMworld is the perfect place to meet these people and thank them for their help, get your book signed by the author or throw the book at them if they were wrong (physical violence no matter how funny it may be from afar isn’t the answer…most of the time). This also allows you to talk about how cool the new features in vSphere 6.0 are and not get that placating nod your wife/girlfriend (husband/boyfriend for those super vWoman in the community) gives you when you get excited about it. For me the interaction and friendships I have had and made from VMworld conferences have sometimes been the best part as being able to chat to the person who wrote the book on VSAN/PowerCLI/VMware Networking for example is worth the conference fee in itself.

Sessions/Labs

The sessions,labs and announcements are brilliant and the only reason I chose social first is due to it being something not that many people think about. The sessions and labs are amazing and even though you can watch almost all the sessions (breakouts aren’t recorded) and do all the labs now via  labs.hol.vmware.com ,being able to attend the sessions for the week and hear about all the great new features and how people have taken the solutions provided by VMware and met their companies or customers requirements with them without being bothered by home life or work is an amazing learning experience. The same applies to the Hands on Labs where you can take the labs and skill up on the most recent technologies or even older ones that you might not have had the time to learn up until now. There are sessions for everyone as there are sessions where they are entry level for those people just getting into VMware technologies to advanced sessions where it is VMware engineers or product teams talking about the knitty gritty of the solutions. There are also loads of panel sessions ranging from meet the vExpert bloggers panel sessions to VCDX panel sessions where you can ask questions and learn from top vBloggers and or ask all those questions about the VCDX or the pre-requisites exams from those who have done it. If you are working for a VMware partner there is a partner day where as you guessed it, it is exclusively for partners and VMware will do sessions covering all the technologies and how they are working to make it better for partners or those selling their solutions.

TechTalks

Ok I’m probably very biased but the vBrownbag crew along with the help of our sponsors run the TechTalks from the community area where people who may not have had their sessions accepted to present at VMworld (this is not a reflection on the quality I can assure you) present about numerous different topics (no sales pitches) for ten minutes and they are streamed as well as recorded. The TechTalks have been a major success with loads of people watching the live stream, a very large number of views of the recordings and we also have a very good amount of live audience watching them. The schedule for the TechTalks is due out imminently and from having seen some of the amazing names on the list it will not disappoint.

Solutions Exchange

The solutions exchange is where all the vendors including sponsors have their stalls/booths where you can talk to them about their latest release, speak to some of their top people around possibly solutions you are looking to implement or need help fixing and even go to the VMware Expert bar. The Expert bar allows you to talk to the best people for each VMware technology and hear and see what all the new solutions from VMware can do for your business. As you would expect there are loads of freebies and competitions from all the vendors and this is the place where you can hear about that new technology and then be able to drop it in a conversation with your boss to show how on the ball you really are.

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General

There are also numerous activities that fall under the general banner like the VMworld party which last year had Train and Imagine dragons performing at the AT&T Park and three years ago were the Killers. There are also a number of vendor parties, parties exclusively for VCDX/vExperts and vendor excursions (brewery tours etc.) . The parties and meet ups in the evenings are amazing and if you have some self restraint and make sure you answer your phone when the wife calls, you can have an amazing time and still get the most out of the conference during the day. These are also a really great place to make new friends and even speak to some of the top names in the industry and realise they are 9 out of ten times really humble and friendly people.

If your significant other wishes to join you then there is spousetivities run by Crystal Lowe where vWidows/ partners of conference attendees can do day excursions.

Register Now!

If you haven’t registered for VMworld then I would highly recommend doing so here as it is well worth attending and if you need to justify it to your boss then why not use the VMworld letter for that. If you are attending then I would love to meet you and have a beverage with you or just chat tech. I will most likely be wearing one of my vExpert shirts or hanging around with the vBrownbag crew.

I am also planning to blog about a number of the announcements from VMworld so keep an eye out on my blog for those Smile

Gregg


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VCAP-CID Objective 1.5 – Determine Security and Compliance Requirements for a Conceptual Design

Knowledge

Identify relevant industry security standards.

  • For security standards there are a few and for these they are normally for government,finance,military and telecommunications. There are a few standards each of these keep to and they largely overlap into the next point of compliancy. For example here in the United Kingdom there are a few cloud vendors who run community clouds where they assure they meet business impact levels and each of these levels determines the requirements for protection. A really good article straight from the UK government is here where information security is defined based on a number of criteria. A lot of government and military companies keep data in IL2 or IL3 and vSphere 4.0 and 4.1 were actually verified to meet IL3 compliancy. Recently they are still EAL4+ and FISMA certified.
  • For your conceptual design you will need to know what abstraction is required based on whatever the relevant security standard is and most likely have to sit down with the compliancy officer and determine what they feel is required for them to approve your solution meets their security standards.

Identify relevant industry compliance standards.

  • There are a number of compliance standards that are used  from various companies who process credit cards, hospitals who keep peoples personal data to companies who have to keep to specific regulations. There are a number of these and some are only applicable in specific countries but the ones I think are the most likely to be seen in a vCloud environment are:
    • Sarbanes-Oxley
    • Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
    • Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC)
    • Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS)
    • International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 17799
    • National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
    • International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 27001
  • A really great example of this is the Architecture Design Guide for Payment Card Industry (PCI) document by VMware. This is PERFECT in showing the kinds of things you need to keep in mind and the varying mechanisms to achieve this. The document goes much deeper than conceptual but seeing as you will have to go from conceptual to logical and then to physical it makes sense to learn it now.
  • Another great document by VMware that is mentioned on the blueprint is the Infrastructure Security: Getting to the Bottom of Compliance in the Cloud document.

Explain vCloud security capabilities.

  • This along with the two points above are covered  perfectly in appendix B of the vCAT Architecting a VMware vCloud pdf. For the conceptual design this is more around isolation and multi-tenancy but the whole of appendix B gives a great break down of the kinds of security that is possible within vCloud and the mechanisms and products that can be used to achieve this.

Identify the auditing capabilities of vCloud technologies.

  • This is the vast mechanisms such as logging,log retention, syslog shipping and firewall logging via vCNS to name but a few that are possible via vCloud. Appendix B of the vCAT covers these off really well and the retention policies mentioned in the Architecture Design Guide for Payment Card Industry (PCI) document cover off the kinds of auditing you may be requested to do. For conceptual this isn’t very applicable and I’m amazed it is actually mentioned here.

Skills and Abilities

Based on customer requirements, determine auditing requirements for a vCloud conceptual design.

  • These would be determined in design workshops and discussions with different subject matter experts within the customer around what they are looking to audit/log and if there are any compliancy standards they needs to meet. If they are a service provider who provides public cloud to the general public then there is a very good chance they have to meet PCI compliancy for example and so retain logs and do auditing to ensure security and allow retrospective inspection. For a conceptual design auditing isn’t something you would put in your “napkin” design but knowing if you need additional auditing does mean you have to design to be prepared for this in the logical and physical designs.

Based on customer requirements, determine security requirements for a vCloud conceptual design.

  • A large portion of this is the same as above as with security requirements around compliancy includes auditing also.  For example if it is a private cloud that is being designed but it is for a hospital, then HIPAA standards need to be met and so certain security measures need to be applied. For conceptual this is mainly around separation, defence in depth and usage of two factor authentication to name a few off my head. How different zones within the cloud offering are separated and secured also need to be planned for and conceptually designed.

Based on customer requirements and vShield Edge security capabilities, determine the impact to a vCloud conceptual design.

  • For this you need to know what vShield Edge is capable of doing and in what use cases each of these would be used. A perfect document that describes this is the vShield Edge Design Guide Whitepaper. The actual impact to a conceptual design is mainly that vShield Edge allows isolated virtual datacentre’s hosted on a common physical infrastructure instead of needing siloed physical infrastructures. The separation via the vShield Edge firewall is in most cases more than sufficient but knowing where physical separation is required (PCI for example) is also very important.
  • vShield Edge also provides IPSec VPN capabilities which are very important for the security of your cloud infrastructure. Knowing that the vShield edge can provide this along with NAT,Load balancing and most importantly for this section firewall capabilities via one device means you don’t need multiple devices like in a traditional multitenant design.

Explain the logging capabilities of the various VMware products.

If you feel I have covered something incorrectly please let me know as I’m learning like everyone else and I certainly don’t claim to be perfect (near it but not perfect Winking smile ). Also the vBrownbag covered the whole of objective 1 here.

Gregg


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VCDX Preparation Special

On Thursday the 22nd May the EMEA #vBrownbag which I co-host weekly, ran a VCDX Special with Rene Van Den Bedem (VCDX 133) , Craig KilbornBobby Stampfle and I. The special was an expansion of the London VMUG lightning talk that both Craig and I did on the 15th of May. The #vBrownbag session was recorded (after some early audio problems which meant we had to restart it) and the recording of the session is embedded below.

The session proved a major success and we may run another one as the amount of questions we received during and have been receiving post the session is really positive.

Gregg


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VCDX Prep Round 2

As some people may or may not know I attempted to defend my VCDX design two and a half weeks ago at the Frimley UK defences. Unfortunately I was lacking in certain areas as well as I let stress cloud my mind temporarily in my design scenario but I really enjoyed the experience and blogged about this in my Extra VCDX Experience achievement unlocked posting which received an unexpected amount of attention and even caused current VCDX Michael Webster to put out a blog posting around VCDX Candidate Tips.

As a child of the 80’s and 90’s I spent untold amounts of my time playing street fighter two, honing my skills and continually getting killed in the second round by M Bison. Now this posting isn’t about my misspent youth but very much like then, after loads of practice and hours spent in front of a screen I became quite the fighter on SF2 so I see how my VCDX prep has been battle hardening me for my second round against my equal (in this analogy Ken) and all those hours spent practicing will hopefully make me have the knowledge and skills to “defeat” the VCDX this time.

So I have started listing all the books,podcasts,videos and labs I feel I need to do to obtain it this time. I received a really good amount of feedback last week from my defence , although the “We urge all reapplying candidates either to submit a new design or to substantially enhance the previously submitted design” portion certainly needs a rewrite or review as it does make you question if you ever had a chance. Anyhow here is my list so far and my plan is to change my VCDX-DCV page to include these and it will allow me to continually update it very much like I did for my VCP and VCAP resources pages. *Warning* I am going all in this time so this is going to be a serious amount of stuff but it will be everything I think is necessary and hence why I’m also going to be doing this over time as I am taking this as a steep but very necessary learning curve and I don’t want to reach near burn out like I did a few times during my last attempt.

Reading:

Podcasts

  • vBrownbag. I’m probably biased but the vBrownbag’s are amazing and we have covered all the VCAP-DCA and DCD objectives which I will be watching again to freshen my mind as well as having covered the VCDX with John Arrasjid. All of these have video so you can watch them on your tablet of choice or just listen to the audio on your way to work and back.
  • VMware Communities Roundtable. The roundtable runs every week and always has amazing information in it. I listened to loads around SIOC,SDRS,HA+DRS, vSphere networking and clustering to name but a few before my VCDX and i’m going to be listening to a lot more of them and also going to try stay up to date with them.
  • Packet Pushers. I have to be honest I have never listened to this podcast before but I recognise I need to strengthen my networking knowledge a fair amount and this podcast was recommended to me for this exact reason.

Videos

For videos I’m actually astounded how many there are and actually even more so how many have been added since I did my DCA and DCD. It looks like i’m going to get my full value out my vExpert access to the Pluralsight videos!

Well that’s my list so far and when i find the time i’ll update my VCDX page to have this listed. If you feel i’m missing things then do let me know please.

Gregg

 

Pluralsight


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VCDX Spotlight: Hersey Cartwright

Name: Hersey Cartwright

Twitter Handle: @herseyc

Blog URL: http://www.vhersey.com/

Current Employer: ABS Technology Architects

VCDX #: 128

How did you get into using VMware?

I started using VMware back in late 2006/early 2007 when I was working for a community Credit Union. I was really impressed with HA. Prior to VMware getting the same level of availability was costly and complex, HA greatly simplified this. By the time I left the Credit Union about 85% of the environment was virtualized on VMware.

What made you decide to do the VCDX?

I saw it as a learning experience. I learned a tremendous amount about myself and my abilities through the process of designing the solution, preparing the documentation, and participating in the defense.

How long did it take you to complete the whole VCDX journey?

I completed the VCAP-DCD in December 2012. I made the commitment to pursuing my VCDX in February 2013 and set a goal for defending at PEX 2014. So a little less than a year of actually preparing.

I started the design I submitted in October 2013 and it was implemented in November. I had somewhere between 120 and 180 hours of preparation for the VCDX defense outside of the work that was done directly for the customer. This included preparing the design documentation, studying, and participating in mocks.

What advice would you give to people thinking of pursuing the VCDX accreditation?

Set a goal and work towards it. I think that setting the goal on defending at PEX 2014 helped me keep focus. Attend the VCDX boot camp if you can, or at least watch the ProfessionalVMware.com vBrownBags on it. This will give you a lot of insight into the defense. Sign up for one of the study groups and participate in as many mocks as possible.

During mocks don’t forget about the Design and Troubleshooting scenarios. Be sure to practice these also!

Another piece of advice I would give is to choose a design you find interesting. The design I submitted and defended was for a 911 call center. It was a small environment but I found the availability requirements for the solution interesting. I also really enjoyed working with the customer to meet their requirements. I was very involved through the entire project, from design to implementation, and that definitely helped me defend the design.

If you could do the whole VCDX journey again what would you do differently?

More mocks!

I did a bunch of them but they were all with the people I worked with. The “unfriendly” mock defense I participated in the day before my actual defense, with people that I did not know (other than the occasional tweet), was extremely beneficial. During the “unfriendly” mocks the participants dug much deeper into my design decisions than the folks that I worked with on a regular basis did.

There was a lot of benefit in both the “friendly” and “unfriendly” mocks, but the “unfriendly” mock really helped to prepare me for the defense panel.

Life after the VCDX?  How did your company respond?  Was it worth it?

Preparing for and successfully defending the VCDX was definitely worth it, especially for the learning experience. In a short period of time it has benefited both me and my company.

If I had to do it all over again, I definitely would!

A little more on my VCDX experience can be found here: http://www.vhersey.com/2014/02/vcdx-cxxviii-128/


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VCDX Defences Dates For 2014 Announced

 

Spongebob-Happy-spongebob-squarepants-154897_338_432As some people who know me may be aware I pushed for a UK VCDX defence this year as I along with numerous other people were looking to submit for the VCDX but couldn’t motivate and/or afford the costs to fly to the other defences released. Mark Brunstad was very helpful and put out a feedback form for people to submit their interest in a UK defence and sadly we fell a few people short of making it worth the expense and time for VMware. In all honesty it wasn’t a bad thing for me as with a very busy (but super exciting) work schedule and getting used to trying to study with a child under one in my house I wouldn’t have made a defence anyways.

But at VMworld Europe this year I rekindled the idea and Mark and John Arrasjid really liked it and again voting was opened. I knew for a fact there were at least 5-6 people who were interested to submit for it from the UK and numerous more in western Europe. Now I’m certainly not saying I had anything to do with it but it seems there were so many people interested that there are not one but TWO defences going to happen in Frimley UK next year. I’m hoping I wont need a second defence date but it is really great to have the option. The other dates are below which were released by Mark on the VMware Communities here.

February 10-14 2014: VMware Partner Exchange (PEX) – San Francisco CA US

VCDX Candidates wishing to defend at PEX 2014 may register by following this link:

http://mylearn.vmware.com/mgrSurvey/feedback.cfm?survey=49517

Applications for the PEX San Francisco 2014 VCDX Design Defense will be due on or before Midnight PST (UTC -8:00)  Friday December 20,  2013

April 2014:

April 7-9 2014 Frimley UK

April 7-9 2014 Sydney AU

Applications for April 2014 Frimley and Sydney VCDX Design Defense will be due on or before Midnight PDT (UTC -8:00) Friday 02 February 2014

July 2014:

July 7-9 2014 Cambridge MA US

July 7-9 2014 Frankfurt DE

July 7-9 2014 Singapore SG

Applications for July 2014 Cambridge, Frankfurt, and Singapore VCDX Design Defense will be due on or before Midnight PDT (UTC -8:00) Friday 09 May 2014

October 2014:

October 6-8 2014 Palo Alto CA USA                                   

October 6-8 2014 Frimley UK

October 6-8 2014 Kuala Lumpur MY

Applications for October 2014 Palo Alto, Frimley, and Kuala Lumpur VCDX Design Defense will be due on or before Midnight PDT (UTC -8:00) Friday 08 August 2014.

Good luck to all of those looking to submit next year and hopefully I’ll be posting this post next year this time as a VCDX Open-mouthed smile

Gregg


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VCP5-IaaS Exam Experience

This morning I sat the VCP5-IaaS exam and am very pleased to say I passed it and with a pretty good score too! I decided to do the exam as I have been busy with a number of vCloud engagements and had a spare few days to prepare and get it done whilst the ability to gain the VCP5-Cloud if you have the VCP5-DCV was still available.

 

Resources

My preparations for the exam were fairly short as I only had two weeks of solid study before sitting the exam, that’s not to say I didn’t have a solid understanding of vCloud prior and I have been working with vCloud since the 1.0 days and have done a number of vCloud design and deployment engagements. The resources I used for the exam are as follows:

– The Trainsignal VMware vCloud Director Essentials videos by David Davis. I used these videos quite a while ago when they first came out which helped me gain a very good base knowledge and used a few of the videos again as the VCP5-IaaS exam is based on vCloud 1.5 and I have been using vCloud 5.1 most recently so needed to try remember/block out a few things.

– I also used the Trainsignal VMware vCloud Director Organizations set of training videos done by Jake Robinson. These are also based on vCloud 1.5 but give a great view of how an organisation administrator would do tasks.

– I used a third set of Trainsignal videos for my preparations were the VMware vCloud Director 5.1 Essentials set of videos by VCDX #104 Chris Wahl. These are for vCloud 5.1 whereas the test is vCloud 1.5 but the videos were brilliant and Chris explains vCloud networking amazingly which is the hardest part to get your head around in vCloud.

– For the above three sets of videos I followed along whilst doing it all in my lab and would HIGHLY recommend doing it this way as I don’t think you can understand vCloud without actually doing it yourself.

– Paul McSharry created three practice test for the VCP5-Iaas which can be done here VCP5-IAAS Practice Test 1, Test 2 and Test 3. These were great as a last minute practice test late yesterday to make sure I wasn’t missing anything.

– VMware vCenter Chargeback Manager is a big portion of the exam and I used the VMware vCenter Chargeback Fundamentals course to get my knowledge up to speed on the product. This course is really good and massively important as if you haven’t used Chargeback before you will be lacking in the exam.

– We did a few of the VCP5-IaaS objectives on the EMEA vBrownbag and I watched these as the way the guys cover the components are extremely helpful. They can be downloaded from iTunes here

– Lastly I used the vCloud Architecture Toolkit (vCAT) pdf’s which I read through and made sure I understood it all. This was probably a bit of overkill as the VCP5-IaaS exam is the entry level exam whereas the vCAT is geared more towards the CIA and CID but it gave me a great holistic view of how everything worked so if you have the time I would recommend reading them or at some of them.

 

The Exam

Due to my last two exams being the VCAP5-DCA and VCAP5-DCD I was used to having to burn through the exam/questions so having to go through the 85 questions was quite refreshing and the exhibits and questions were also fairly straight forward. I finished quicker than I thought I would which I put down to being used to the VCAP exams pace and felt the questions were easier than the ones for example were in the VCP5 (DCV).

 

Conclusion

Good luck to anyone looking to do the exam. I felt it was really fair although I may still be in a VCAP mind-set and is much shorter than the VCP5-Cloud so if you have your VCP5 already then I would say go for this whilst the “upgrade” path is still available. For me I think I am done for quite a while now and will be focusing on slowly building my VCDX design for a future submission.

 

Gregg