TheSaffaGeek

My ramblings about all things technical


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Trainsignal VMware vSphere Troubleshooting Training videos review

 

As I’ve mentioned in my VCAP4-DCA&DCD Resources Page one of the main resources I’m using is David M Davis’ VMware vSphere 4 VCAP Training Package set of videos. The first of the videos of this set I’ve gone through in my study preparations for the VCAP-DCA exam is his VMware vSphere Troubleshooting Training set of videos.

I was very fortunate to gain access to these videos and I’ve honestly learnt so so much from them as David’s videos not only cover objective 6 of the VCAP-DCA blueprint but due to the nature of troubleshooting your VMware infrastructure meaning you will need to all parts of it David has given great lessons and tips covering everything from storage basics, to VLANs to utilising third party tools to try troubleshoot problems. A perfect example of this overlap is David’s Lesson 20 where he goes into great detail all about VMware storage terms,concepts and logs where he gives a brilliant refresher/lesson all about the PSA architecture to name but one part of it which perfectly links in the VCAP-DCA Objective 1.3 – Configure and Manage Complex Multipathing and PSA Plug-ins.

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The lessons have been really great and for most of them David gives some in-depth demo’s of the steps necessary to troubleshoot the problems and what each feature of that troubleshooting entails. This is especially helpful if maybe you don’t have access to your own lab environment where you can try some of the things you need to do to fully understand how it works.

David also gives some great links and resources at the end of each lesson for you to do further reading and links to where he found all the resources he mentions and covers. These have proved extremely helpful as if I’m unsure of something or as is my nature that I want to read it all just to make sure I don’t miss something then i can use his links to quickly gain this knowledge without having to scour the web.

So if you’re studying for the VCAP4-DCA you have to get this course and if possible try get yourself the whole set but as mentioned by numerous VMware trainers, the troubleshooting course is supposedly the most beneficial to the VCAP-DCA exam and David covers it all amazingly. Also even if you aren’t looking to write the VCAP exam the tips and tricks David mentions are unbelievably beneficial to you when you will need to troubleshooting possible problems in your VMware environment.

If you don’t know who David is here a bit of a background:

David Davis -  (VCP4, VCAP-DCA, vExpert, CCIE #9369)

David has been in the IT industry for over 18+ years. He has served as a server/network admin, IT manager, and independent contractor. Today, David is a full-time instructor for TrainSignal.com where he has created over 10 different IT training courses.

Gregg

*Disclaimer: Trainsignal never paid me to write up this review nor did David. I wanted to write up this review due to the high quality of David’s training video’s  and how much it has helped me in my studies and in my daily work administering multiple VMware environments”


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All Things Virtual 26

 

As you would expect there has been loads of news about the release of vSphere 5 and all the new features. A large amount of it early on and all over the VMware communities and the vExpert community has been about the vRAM licencing model.

  • Last week Wednesday the rumours that VMware were going to make changes to the licencing model came true. A massive amount of people blogged about it and VMware also posted a blog posting about it. So seeing as they did such a great job of it and to save me repeating what has already been covered, here is the official VMware blog posting about the changes as well as a brilliant posting from fellow vExpert Eric Siebert all about how VMware has a change of heart on licensing. From these two postings I think I’ve finally got my head around the new licencing model and how it will impact my environments.
  • William Lam the master of vMA and ESXCLI posted about the new features and enhancements in vSphere 5 for ESXCLI and some awesome tips and tricks for vMA 5. For my VCAP-DCA study preparations I’ve been forcing myself to try do as much of my daily job via the vMA and it really is an amazing tool and with the tricks William has listed you can do pretty much anything you want in your VMware environment with ease and on mass.
  • Scott Drummonds has written up a really great posting all about what he feels are the Top 10 Reasons to Upgrade to vSphere 5. This is a great list for anyone who needs to explain to their boss on management why they need to upgrade to vSphere 5 apart from the obvious eventual expiration of vSphere 4. There really are some amazing new features and enhancements that are going to make daily tasks so much easier and faster.
  • When you’ve convinced your boss and management that the upgrade to vSphere 5 is well worth their while and you’re planning on using auto deploy to create your ESXi hosts then Paul Richards’ (@eprich) posting all about 3 Design Considerations for Your vSphere 5 Auto Deploy Environment. These are really great tips and things that may seem obvious but are also easily forgotten or missed in your design planning.
  • Eric Sloof has done a brilliant list of all  the videos he has done for vSphere 5 from migrating to vSphere 5 to Storage DRS. Eric’s videos are always really great especially for someone like me who likes to see the actual steps and features before trying them out for myself. Duncan Epping has also done a list of all the vSphere 5 Coverage he has done since the announcement. These two are some of the best in the industry and their blogs are rightfully in the top ten VMware blogs in the world so the articles and videos they have created are some of the best you’ll find out there.
  • For those who are fortunate enough to have been approved to go to VMworld 2011 in Vegas this year or if you’re like me and will be tweeting and blogging about it all from the comfort of your desk then add your twitter handle to the VMworld 2011 Vegas twitter list and the bloggers list . I’ve already added my information and it makes sure your tweets and blog postings about VMworld are shown on the VMworld page and streams to make sure people can find and read your postings easily.
  • If you are going to VMworld for the first time this year then these tips for first time attendees and possibly anyone who hasn’t been for a while will be very helpful. The tips came about from a discussion on the vExpert community from a fellow vExpert asking for tips seeing as he was attending for the first time. Christopher Kusek listed all the responses that were given to Bilal Hashmi into his posting VMworld Tips, Tricks and Prize winning. Bilal also listed them and more in his  VMworld Tips by vExperts (title edited due to my not wanting four billion spam messages)
  • Just a very quick plug that I’ve now created a VCAP5-DCA & DCD Resources page to start listing all the resources that I’ll be using in my preparations once the exams are released. If you know of any materials I haven’t listed on it please leave a comment on the page and I’ll make sure it’s added.
  • Lastly is a posting by Tom Howarth on How to Report an Issue to a VMTN Moderator. This is sometimes a necessary step on the VMware communities due to people either publishing NDA information about new releases or exams. Or the occasional spam message that is unfortunately posted.

Well that’s all the things that have caught my interest in the past few weeks and the things I need to finish reading to try keep up to date. If you want to follow me on twitter my handle is @greggrobertson5.

Gregg


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VCAP5-DCA & DCD Resources Page

A very quick posting to alert people that I have now started building up a VCAP5-DCA and DCD Resources page for the impending release of the VCAP5 certifications. At the moment it is fairly short due to the exams not even having reached beta but I’ve got to start somewhere and for those of us out there who will be hoping to be invited to the beta exams these resources will probably be our best preparation Smile 

As said on the page ,if you know of any other resources out there please do leave a comment or drop me a tweet on twitter on @greggrobertson5 as this is really all about helping everyone find the best resources for the exams.

Gregg


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All Things Virtual 25

 

After a much needed two week holiday I’ve come back to an overwhelming amount of news from the virtualisation arena and in particular the announcement of VMware vSphere 5. Having been on the beta for vSphere 5 and vCloud 1.5 I had a feeling the announcement was due to happen while I was away but due to only having got onto the vSphere 5 beta late and only having played with it indirectly via the vCloud 1.5 beta I felt it was better to let some of the more informed bloggers out there do a better job than I could.

  • First on my list is one that even after over two weeks of letting it set in I’m still excited about like a child on Christmas day. On the 1st if this month the VMware vExpert recipient emails went out and I was selected as one. I did a blog posting all about my honour at being selected here if you’re interested and as mentioned on that posting if you want to see all the other recipients and their blogs so as to follow them (which i would HIGHLY recommend as they are pretty much the best ones) and their twitter handles to also follow them then Arnim van Lieshout’s vExpert page is where you can find all these. If plans go ahead I’m hoping I’ll have a very exciting new feature to mention very soon off of this so keep your eyes out for it as it’s something I truly believe in and is something close to my heart.
  • Next is the release of vSphere 5. As you can imagine there is a STAGGERING amount of information about it and I was planning on doing a list of all the best resources but as is the case someone has beaten me to it and seeing as it’s the list I’m currently using to get myself up to speed on it all it only makes sense to link to it. So if you’re like me and are currently trying to catch up on it all then Eric Siebert’s vSphere 5 Links is the best place to go.
  • One of the parts off of this release is also the release of the VCP5 exam and I notice a fair amount of the vExpert’s have either already started sitting the Beat exam or are due to sit it very soon. Obviously I’m not going to mention anything about the exam but if your like me and now have loads of question about what this means for people who have their VCP4 and what the upgrade paths are and if you’re even more like me and are due to write your VCAP-DCA very soon and are now wondering if it is worth your while doing it still or if you should wait then these links will answer all your question like they have for me
    • Fist is all about the upgrading of your VCP4 to VCP5 by Scott Vessey (@vmtraining) . Thankfully VMware are following the same policy as they for the VCP3 to VCP4 path and allowing people with the previous VCP accreditation to write the test without having to attend any compulsory training until February 29th 2012
    • Next also from Scott is the upgrading of your VCAP4 to VCP5 and VCAP5-DCA. Personally this is most likely the path I’m going to follow seeing as I hope to have my VCAP4 and seeing as it will allow me to get the VCP5 at the same time as my VCAP5-DCA makes the most sense for me.
    • Then the big question “Is it worth doing vSphere 4 certifications?” . Scott gives some great things to think about and it does come down to the answer of “it depends” as obviously people are at different points of their knowledge and studies.
  • Kendrick Coleman has done a great posting all about how to set up your SQL server DB for use with vCloud Director 1.5 now that support for SQL DB instances is available. Having had to fiddle with this myself during the beta to get my test environment working I can assure you his steps are really helpful in making sure you do it correctly in the first place as i had to rebuild me whole one due to a simple mistake with the DB and making sure you select the right collation is REALLY important.
  • Next is a competition run by Greg W Stuart for the chance to win a Free Conference Pass to VMworld 2011 in Las Vegas, Air Fare and 5 Nights Hotel Accommodation. Greg won his way to VMworld last year via Jason Boche’s contest and from this he’s embraced blogging and the community so much he was awarded by becoming a VMware vExpert for 2011. So get your comment submitted as it finished THIS SUNDAY JULY 24th and good luck.
  • I did say I wouldn’t mention vSphere 5 again but seeing as it’s such great resources I have to point out the vSphere 5.0 Storage Features series of blog postings and due them being updated on the coming weeks and months it is something to keep an eye on. The first five have already been posted and are brilliant for getting yourself up to speed on the new features (of which there is a substantial amount)
  • Next is a friendly reminder for those of us going to VMworld to register for the sessions you want to attend as unlike in previous years VMware are enforcing session registration and if you don’t register and the session is full then you wont get in. Simon Gallagher has blogged all about this here.
  • Last but certainly not least is the announcement that The Brownbags WebEx’s made popular by Cody Bunch are coming to Europe and are being hosted by the illustrious Tom Howarth. So get yourself registered  http://tinyurl.com/62qmotk

Well that’s my summary. .Good luck catching up with all the vSphere 5 features and news and good luck to those writing the VCP5 beta and those of you writing your VCAP exams. Remember I’ve done a VCAP-DCA and DCD resources page if you’re interested in the resources I’m using for my studies.If you would like to follow me on twitter my handle is @greggrobertson5

Gregg


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All Things Virtual 24

 

Just a very quick All Things Virtual as I haven’t been able to read as many blogs as I had wanted due to work commitments and the studying for my VCAP-DCA taking up a large portion of my time.

 

First is the delay to the vExpert results. The results were said to be released on the 6th of May yet were delayed by two weeks and then last week the guys from the vSoup podcasts spoke to John Troyer at the Boston Gestalt IT Tech Field Day and he explained that due to a number of the VMware employees who were selected to give their opinions on the candidates still not having replied it has been delayed for another two weeks (John said two weeks last week Friday but I have a feeling it will need another week above that). It is a shame this has been delayed so much and is a let down for the people who give so much of their spare time to the VMware community, for VMware to then take an extra month and a half to give the results of the vExpert nominations. John did however promise they would be out before VMworld Smile

Talking of VMworld the Session catalogues for VMworld US and VMworld Europe have been posted. There’s a number of very exciting sessions happening and it’s great to personally see so many people I know form the London VMUG and via twitter whose sessions have made it after the public voting. If you’ve never heard of VMworld or have never been before I blogged about each of the days happenings when i went to my first one last year if you’re interested in getting any idea of what an average day at the conference is like All Things VMworld Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3.

The next London VMware User Group has been announced for the 14th of July. Unfortunately I will be away on holiday over this time but as I’ve stated many times in a number of blog postings on this blog the VMUG’s are an awesome day out and the amount you learn from the sessions and from fellow attendees is well worth your time. I was able to attend the last one on the 12th of May and wrote up a blog posting about the day if you want to get an idea of what happens during the day. If you are likely to be around the London area on the 14th of July I would highly recommend registering on the VMUG site and attending.

I’ve been trying to fill my slightly ADHD mind with all things VMware in preparation for my sitting of the VCAP-DCA exam and as mentioned in my VCAP-DCA and DCD Resources Page I’m a massive admirer of David Davis’s Trainsignal videos as they allow me to spend as long or short on each topic as I want and allow me to watch them via my iPad or laptop whenever i have a chance. David has recently released his VMware vSphere Performance Monitoring Training. I’ve only briskly looked at the video’s in the set as I’m trying to complete his VMware vSphere Troubleshooting Training set of videos first before starting the new ones but the videos look as amazing as ever and as sad as it is I’m actually excited to watch them. If you haven’t used David’s videos before I would HIGHLY recommend them especially if you are looking to do your VCP4 or your VCAP-DCA

Gregg


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VCAP-DCA&DCD Resources Page Updated

 

Just a quick posting to alert people that I have just updated my VCAP-DCA & DCD Study Resources page with new resources and great tips.The page is a list of resources that I have been constantly updating as I  have come across new resources and I have made my way through the  required amount of studying to be prepared (which is now in full swing).So either click the “VCAP-DCA & DCD” link at the top of the page or click here if you can’t be bothered going to the top of the page and if you know of any other great resources please do comment so that I can add them and it can benefit the whole community.

Gregg


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VCAP-DCA & DCD Resources Page Updated

Just a very quick posting to alert people that I have now updated my VCAP-DCA and DCD resources page. The page is a list of resources that I have been constantly updating as I  have come across new resources and I have made my way through the  required amount of studying to be prepared (which is still on-going).So either click the “VCAP-DCA & DCD” link at the top of the page or click here if you can’t be bothered going to the top of the page and if you know of any other great resources please do comment so that I can add them and it can benefit the whole community.

Also a reminder that Kendrick Coleman is doing a VCAP-DCA Live Lab on Cody Bunch’s Brownbag tonight so go to his site and register as it’s sure to be a brilliant one

Gregg


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All Things Virtual 21

 

I have been slacking on my All Things Virtual postings for the past few months due partly to me just being a bit lazy if I’m honest and due to my focusing a lot of my spare time after work on my EMC and VMware studies(blogs forthcoming). Due to the rate of new blogs coming out and things changing so fast, a large portion of the blogs I had on my list of things to read and thereby be in line to be included in this posting have now become obsolete/old news so my list was culled and is now a current as is possible.

First thing is a little bit of a plug of my VCAP-DCA & DCD resources page and a big thanks to a few people who have helped it gain so much traffic/views. The page has been receiving an overwhelming amount of views(at least in my eyes) and this is mainly down to many of the top people in the virtualisation industry very kindly pointing to it in their blog postings about the exams. So a big thank you to

Speaking of the VCAP exams and preparations for it, I was fortunate enough to attend the  VMware vSphere: Manage for Performance Course and wrote up my experiences of the course for anyone thinking of attending the course. One of the topics of conversation was how the impact of virus scans in your virtual environment can impact the performance of your environment drastically especially if all your virus scans kick off at the same time. Richard Garsthagen has posted a brilliant little blog posting this week all about Security designed for virtualization and how Trend Micro’s new product DeepSecurity 7.5 is using the newly available EPSEC API to save you having these performance hits and has added the performance benchmarks to prove. it

Next is the announcement of the soon to be released and much anticipated PowerCLIBook by industry experts Luc Dekens,Alan Renouf,Arnim van Lieshout, Glenn Sizemore and Jonathan Medd. For anyone remotely using PowerCLI they will know these guys are some of the best if not the best in the industry when it comes to PowerCLI and so this book is being tipped as the perfect book to use to teach yourself everything you need to know about using PowerCLI in the VCAP-DCA exam and to obviously help you build up your knowledge before the release of vSphere 5(or whatever it may be named). I’ve already pre-ordered my copy and will be using this book cover to cover before my VCAP-DCA exam and to teach myself PowerCLI.

Eric Horschman has done a brilliant posting on the VMware Blog pages all about Hypervisor Memory Management Done Right which is  brilliantly written and a perfect reference article for memory management and how it all works and what the kinds of impacts mismanagement can cause in your virtual environment. I’m still slowly reading through it myself and trying to apply some of the best practices into my own environments.This posting is a MUST read for anyone looking after a VMware environment or looking to build one.

The VMworld Europe dates and venue have now been announced and you can sign up to be notified when registrations open for it and the US event. I was very fortunate to attend last year and hopefully I’ll be approved to attend again. My aim this year (a rod for my own back comes to mind at this point) is to try have a session approved for VMworld Europe this year and to present it at VMworld Europe. I’ve decided to do this as I feel it’s a good thing to aim for seeing as the people I look up to in the industry and who I would like to be one day are obviously people who are doing these kinds of sessions and it will hopefully push me to try be a better presenter and hopefully advance my knowledge and skills. Now to just think of something to do for my session…

As I said at the start of this posting I’m busy doing some EMC studies and to not get into specifics seeing as I’m a bit superstitious and I’d like to save it for my planned blog posting one of the reasons for doing it is to hopefully prepare myself for the recently released EMC Cloud Architect certification. Chuck Hollis from EMC posted this past week an update for the certification detailing that the courses are now in full production and has linked to a few testimonials of people who have already attended some of the courses. The courses look really good and even if you feel cloud is just a buzz word at the moment I’d still encourage you to have a look at the certifications and Chucks blog postings about them before writing them off.

Scott Drummonds posted a twitter message this week asking for help finding whitepapers on the subject of VMware environments networking best practices. True to form the community responded and Scott has blogged about all the resources he was pointed to. It’s a great resource for all the VMware networking “best practices” and will prove to be a time saver for anyone needing to source this information for VMware builds. I’ve added it to my “VMware Design Best Practices” bookmarks already.

Last but not least is a blog posting by the infamous Duncan Epping of Yellow-Bricks.com fame all about managing the availability of your environment through vCentre alarms. I blogged a while back all about a document created by Horst Mundt a Technical Account Manager at VMware Germany on the VIOPS.VMware.com site detailing all the alarms and what they do in vCentre 4 and vCentre 4.1. Both are a definite must read especially if you aren’t currently using custom alarms in your environment. My favourite one at the moment is an alarm to alert you when snapshots get over a certain size which has saved me loads of headaches. There’s a great VMware KB article all about how to set this alarm up and even includes a very helpful video if you’ve never done custom alarms before. 

Well that’s my list of things that have interested me in the last week, for those people writing the VCAP exams soon good luck

 

Gregg


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VMware vSphere: Manage for Performance Course Experience

Last week I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the VMware vSphere: Manage For Performance course. I did the lab related to this course at VMworld Europe last year and in my now increasing preparations for the VCAP-DCA exam I knew I needed to strengthen my troubleshooting skills and more importantly fine tuning my ESXTOP/RESXTOP skills. Quite a few people commented that they really liked my VMware vSphere: Manage and Design for Security Course Experience posting so I thought i would try do the same for this one for anyone interested or thinking about booking the course.

  1. Day one covered the first three and a half modules Course Introduction, Performance in a Virtualized Environment, Virtual Machine Monitor and part of CPU Performance. It introduced you to all the monitoring tools you can use with an introduction to the performance graphs in Virtual Centre and ESXTOP,how to utilise these tools to work out possible problems and what to look for that may be good indicators of problems. Probably the thing I enjoyed the most about this course was that there was loads of labs for you to learn how to do it all yourself rather than learning it off a PowerPoint sheet or your course guide. If you are a regular reader of this blog then you’ll know I’ve been trying to perfect my knowledge of ESXTOP/RESXTOP and wrote a blog about it too “Understanding and using ESXTOP/RESXTOP”. This learning of it was a great stepping stone for the skills they covered in the course and for a few parts the links and resources in my blog gave me an even deeper knowledge of ESXTOP. For the virtual machine monitor module it covered Software and hardware virtualisation techniques which i knew fairly well from my studying for my VCP exams and the labs for it were really great in covering how the usage of these varying techniques can really help with the performance of your virtual machines/environment. Next we got into a bit of the CPU Performance module which introduced the CPU scheduler, CPU Cache contention and the NUMA. As with the hardware/software virtualisation techniques i had a good bit of knowledge about the CPU scheduler and NUMA from my VCP studies but it was a great refresher on the NUMA particularly and allowed me to better understand how it works and how the misallocation of resources can impact your virtual machines due to NUMA. Frank Denneman has done two brilliant postings all about the sizing of VM’s and NUMA Nodes and ESX 4.1 NUMA Scheduling which covers pretty much everything you need to know about this feature and how to use it correctly in your environment.
  2. Day 2 we finished off CPU Performance by learning how to use ESXTOP and the performance metrics in vCentre to find and recognise possible cpu problems and how to fix them. Next we covered Memory Performance which was fairly straight forward in my opinion but did give great recommendations on how to utilise your memory effectively and how ballooning and memory swapping works and what the increase of these values means to the performance of your environment. Yet again Frank Denneman has covered these topics brilliantly in two blog postings Memory reclamation, when and how? and Disable ballooning? which I’ll personally be rereading through myself so as to better my understanding of how it can help/impact my virtual machines. Next we did the Network Performance module which covered all the varying network card options you can select,what each allows you to do,what additional features each one gives and how these features work. This was also a refresher for me due to my VCP studies but it did seem to alert a lot of the people on the course with me to the benefits of upgrading all your virtual machines to hardware version 7 and changing their network cards to VMXNET3. VMware have a great KB article on this Choosing a network adapter for your virtual machine. For the rest of the module it was yet again teaching you how to find and troubleshoot possible network problems using the performance charts and ESXTOP.
  3. Day 3 finished off the last three modules Storage Performance,Virtual Machine Performance and Application Performance. Storage performance was good and was very interesting to hear how many people don’t use thin provisioning due to their belief that it impacts performance in certain ways. I’m not going to get into it on here and I agree it does in certain instances but like I said to the people on the course with me I would recommend reading  the VMware white paper on it first and make your own decisions from there. There are also loads of top blog postings on the subject so I would also recommend reading a few of those (Duncan Epping’s and Eric Gray’s in particular). For the last two modules of Virtual Machine Performance and Application performance these were essentially just applying what you learn for cpu,memory and network to your virtual machines and what to consider for the virtualising of differing applications.

Funnily enough whilst on the course the latest release of the vSphere performance troubleshooting guide for 4.1 came out which is perfect post course reading material for me. Duncan Epping’s posting alerted me to the release so only right to point to his posting here.

Well that’s a high level review of what I learnt/was covered in the course. As with any course though what you get out of the course is very dependant on your knowledge of the product/s and even though I have a fairly good amount of knowledge on the product and features I did still learn a fair amount and it was a really great refresher on certain features in preparation for my VCAP: DCA exam sitting.

Gregg


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All Things Virtual 20

 

There have been some brilliant blog postings since my last All Things Virtual,the release of some great news for android phones and a book written by two of the top VMware professionals in the world. If this is the first time you are reading one of my All Things Virtual then the idea of the posting is a quick post up of all the things virtual and linked to virtual that I have been doing/working with/learning/reading up on in the past few weeks.

  • Frank Denneman of frankdenneman.nl fame and Duncan Epping of Yellow-Bricks.com fame have written and released the vSphere 4.1 HA and DRS technical deepdive book. These two guys are probably the two best people in the fields of DRS and HA with Duncan having the very successful and extremely in-depth HA Deepdive and DRS Deepdive postings on his blog as well Frank having some of the best postings on DRS on his blog. I have ordered the book already and am awaiting its arrival. Both Duncan and Frank have already covered what is in the book in such detail that I feel it’s pointless to rehash what they have already said so here is Duncan and Franks postings about the book. I look forward to reading through the whole book when it arrives and strengthening my knowledge on the two technologies.
  • As I’ve said a few times before I enjoy testing myself by trying to obtain certain certifications, not to be a certification collector but to set goals to try to continually push myself and strengthen my knowledge and not sit still. So the release of the new certifications by EMC really caught my attention as I’m currently trying to strengthen my knowledge on storage technologies and practices by doing the ISM(Information Storage and Management) course. One of the perks of working for EMC is I’m able to do the course as a e-learning course for free and with the release of the new EMC Cloud Architect certifications the first step is obtaining your Information Storage and Management Associate (EMCISA) certification which fits in perfectly to my study goals for 2011. To make sure I don’t explain it incorrectly I would recommend reading Chuck Hollis’ blog where he has detailed the new certifications.
  • Speaking of certifications I’m really pleased by the amount of traffic my VCAP-DCA&DCD Study Resources Page and my VCP Study Resources Part 1 and Part 2 pages are receiving. Thanks to everyone who has linked to it/tweeted about itclip_image001. One of the main resources listed in my VCAP-DCA study resources is Sean Crookston’s VCAP-DCA Index. Sean has now written the exam and has posted a brilliant write up on his impressions of the exam here. Rynardt Spies has also recently written the exam and posted his impressions here. I’ve decided to try sit the exam by March/April next year as I’m not likely to be ready before I go on holiday next year and have learnt from experience that writing an exam just before I go on holiday isn’t a good idea.
  • Next is one of my blog postings of the year due to its depth of information and brilliant supporting links and documents to cover his claim. It’s a blog by Julian Wood (@Julian_wood) all about how he feels vCenter is letting VMware’s side down. I would highly recommend everyone read it as it is both amusingly true to anyone looking after a virtual environment and covers many of the obstacles you may hit in the future with your own virtual centre server so you can be as prepared as possible if you are implementing any of the technologies. I agree with what Julian is saying and do think VMware need to make a plan with virtual centre as there are far too many bugs and problems still with virtual centre and for something that is so integral to the smooth working of your virtual environment it really needs to be as solid and reliable as possible.
  • With the release of PowerCLi 4.1 it is now possible to manage permissions with PowerCLI. The VMware blogs have covered all the new capabilities and how to do them here. I’m busy trying to teach myself PowerCLI by trying to do as much of my daily work with PowerCLI and VMA due to a large part of the VCAP-DCA exam being based on you knowing how to do things via these tools. Seeing as I’m a point and click person these are skills I need to learn very quickly and be able to do it as second nature.
  • One of the new features of vSphere 4.1 is VAAI (vStorage API’s for Array Integration). Recently both Duncan Epping and Eric Sloof have posted brilliant information on this feature and in Eric’s case have attached a video detailing how it all works. These are great for anyone who is working with VMware technologies and is likely to be either using vSphere 4.1 or will be upgrading to vSphere 4.1.
  • One of the biggest technologies to come out in virtualisation this year is VMware’s vCloud Director. It was the lab that was taken the most at VMworld Europe and everyone is trying to learn about it seeing as it is VMware’s product to help you move your resources into the cloud. I too did all the vCloud Director labs at VMworld Europe and have been collecting as many top postings about vCloud Director as possible so I can fully understand it so when I’m asked to implement it I’ll know how. Two blog postings have been added to this list from the past few weeks; one is from David Davis of Trainsignal fame interviewing the infamous Scott Lowe and was posted on the VMware blogs page interviewing Scott on Cloud Computing and vCloud Director. This posting really got my attention as it was really interesting to me to learn more about how the technologies from EMC and the VCE are perfect to help you move as smoothly as possible to the cloud, especially seeing as I work at EMC so I really should know about all of thisclip_image001[1]. Next is an amazing demo by Duncan Epping that he created for the Dutch VMUG all about vCloud Director, creation of an Organization and its resources this demo is exactly what I love to watch and learn from as I’ve only recently been able to install vCloud Director in my home lab so it’s great to see how it’s all done and seeing as vCloud Director is such an in-depth and complex product any resources to shed some light on different things about how things are done within it are greatly appreciated by myself. I know I said two but if you missed me mentioning this in one of my previous postings and want to learn more about vCloud Director then look at the resources Scott mentioned in his interview and have a look at Hany Michael of Hypervizor.com fame’s vCloud Director page. Hany also has great video on vCloud director and his posting on VMware vCloud Director in a Box is what I used to setup my lab environment.
  • Next is the announcement of the Partnership between VMware and LG to virtualise android smartphones for usage by business users. Mobile virtualisation has been spoken about for quite a while but this next step is very exciting and as one of my colleagues Jaspal Dhalliwal posted that Virtualization is Coming of Age now and means VMware is going from servicing a few hundred thousand people to tens of millions of people via their smartphone devices. Simon Long also posted about this announcement on his page and has posted a very cool video of it. I’m not a massive phone person to be honest, I don’t have a smartphone or an iPhone but watching tat video is really making me think of getting myself one very soon.
  • Last but not least is the announcement by Veeam that they are giving away free NFR keys to VCPs, VCIs and vExperts. This is a brilliant idea and it shows that Veeam know who their dedicated followers are and who is likely to give them great press about the products and help them gain even more popularity. I’ve already downloaded mine and am due to install it into my lab environment very soon. If you’re a VCP/VCI or vExpert then get yourself a copy before they stop the deal.

Well that’s everything that has been on my to read list and all the news that has caught my interest.

Gregg