TheSaffaGeek

My ramblings about all things technical


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VCAP5-DCA Objective 1.2

Objective 1.2 is almost exactly the same as the VCAP4 blueprint’s and a large portion of the things in here are covered better in the troubleshooting sections in my opinion but for the few things that are different that I made sure I covered, I have listed below. As with Objective 1.1,the below links are ones I’ve been using in my preparations for the beta exam, for some of the sections I’ve not put any links in as Sean Cookston’s,Ed Grigson’s and Kendrick Coleman’s Blueprint Breaksdowns for the VCAP4 covered them perfectly.

Knowledge

  • Identify storage provisioning methods
  • Identify available storage monitoring tools, metrics and alarms

Skills and Abilities

  • Apply space utilization data to manage storage resources
  • Provision and manage storage resources according to Virtual Machine requirements
  • Understand interactions between virtual storage provisioning and physical storage provisioning

http://www.vmware.com/pdf/Perf_Best_Practices_vSphere5.0.pdf pg 11,30

  • Apply VMware storage best practices

http://www.vmware.com/pdf/Perf_Best_Practices_vSphere5.0.pdf pg 30

  • Configure Datastore Alarms

http://communities.vmware.com/docs/DOC-12145

http://www.gabesvirtualworld.com/how-to-make-vcenter-datastore-alarms-useful/

  • Analyze Datastore Alarms and errors to determine space availability
  • Configure Datastore Clusters

Storage DRS lesson from VMware vSphere 5 Training course from Trainsignal

A nice and quick section thankfully, some of the links I used are still related to vSphere 4 but are nice refresher reads Smile

Gregg


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All Things Virtual 27

 

Yep I’ve decided to start trying to build up my All Things Virtual postings so as to try help myself keep up to date on the latest news happening in the virtualisation arena and also help people like myself who don’t have the time during the day/work week to keep up to date on the latest blog postings,news and articles. I’ve only listed the past few week’s worth of blog postings that have caught my interest and for future All Things Virtual I’m planning on doing it fortnightly/monthly.

First on my list is a reminder to all that the “applications” for the VMware vExpert title are still open. there are now three paths for the title which I blogged about in my VMware vExpert 2012 nominations and applications are open blog posting. You can find the application form and all the information also on the vExpert communities page here

Next was the results of Eric Sieberts yearly Top Virtualisation Blog poll. I was very honoured to be included in the voting this year for the first time and came in at 103rd which I’m really pleased about Smile. A massively congratulations to all the top 10 and top 25 blogs and it’s amazing to see that 1 in 10 of the blogs in the votes were from the London VMware User Group #LonVMUG crew.

The mad rush for the VCP5 upgrade before the end of February cut off date is in full swing. Almost all my colleagues at Xtravirt have done theirs in the past week and almost every day loads and loads of the people I follow on twitter are posting about their passing of the exam. For those that have decided to bypass the cut off date due to possibly already having done the what’s new course or are happy to do the what’s new course there is a massive amount of top resources out there for you to use. I’ve tried to list them all on my VCP5 page. Cody Bunch’s VCP5 Brownbag series is now in full swing with videos of all the objectives listed by Cody in his VCP5 Brownbag Playlist posting.

Talking of certifications there were four new VCDX’s announced, so a massive and envious congratulations to Tom Arentsen @tomarentsen,Mike Brown @vmikebrown, Matthew Meyer @mattdmeyer and Hugo Phan @hugophan. Hugo did a very helpful blog posting all about his 5 simple steps to the VCDX certification . His steps do seem very manageable and are great for those people out there feeling up for the challenge. One of the people who has already thrown his hat in the ring is fellow vExpert and top blogger Christian Mohn who announced his intent in his blog posting here . Good luck Christian, maybe now that my new role with Xtravirt is gaining me some serious design exposure and experience I may join you in attempting the VCDX if i can find the time to do what I couldn’t do for VCAP4 and gain both my VCAP5-DCA and DCD. I’ll keep you all posted on my decision Smile

Next is a posting by Gabrie van Zanten all about the Auto Deploy GUI VMware fling. Gabrie does a great walkthrough of how to use the tool and how it makes your life much easier. I’m currently planning to use the tool in my testing of Auto Deploy in my home lab and hopefully it’s as good as he describes

As I’ve mentioned loads of times in my VCAP4,VCP5 and VCAP5 study resources pages, the trainsignal videos are an amazing learning resource in my opinion and are as good if not better than attending the respective courses. TrainSignal have recently released the VMware View 5 Essentials Training videos. The videos are described by Trainsignal as  “Virtualisation experts Brian Knudtson and Lane Leverett guide you from VDI basics, through app virtualization and more. Learn how to get your View environment up and running and reduce costs for your end-user desktops”. I’m currently started to use these videos in my attempt to strengthen my VDI skills and hopefully if all goes to plan try obtain my VCP5-DT.

Talking about VMware View and the VCP5-DT, the VMware View 5 Install Configure and Manage course was released in early January and Eric Sloof posted all about it in his posting here. The course looks really good and maybe if I am given the opportunity i may be able to attend it and give a good overview for anyone thinking about attending the course.

Lastly, a massive thanks to John Troyer and Alex Maier for the vExpert gift and Certificate. I’ve already started using my bag as my main bag and geekingly added my vExpert and blogger badges from the past two VMworld’s also (yep I’m sad)

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Gregg


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VCAP4-DCA Exam Experience

 

I decided to wait until I got my results before I wrote up this blog posting as I felt writing it up straight afterwards would mean I might miss something out and to see if VMware would give me credit for doing things in another way even though I made a mistake. Firstly, unfortunately I failed the exam by 23 points. This was mainly down to my making a major mistake very early in the exam and VMware not giving me the ability to fix it even though I knew how and the ability to know how to fix it is one of the exam objectives. I agree that if I make a mistake it’s only right that now I should use up my exam time fixing my mistake but not giving me the ability to fix it when in a real world situation you would have this ability isn’t very fair in my opinion.

Study Resources:

But enough of that as it’s done and seeing as I made that mistake so early on and still got so close is pretty pleasing in my opinion. For my studying of the exam, I decided I wanted to cover everything and so set myself a month and a half to study for the exam. I covered everything in my VCAP-DCA study notes list and went through both Sean Crookston and Ed Grigson’s study guides. I did all four of the VCAP courses trainsignal videos (these were honestly the best for it and taught me things so in depth that even questions in the exam that was very unusual I knew them because of these videos). I also researched anything I didn’t understand and as linked to in both Sean and Ed’s study guides I read up on loads of blogs, watched loads of YouTube videos from people like Eric Sloof (you can find these by just searching for Eric on YouTube as he has loads of them up) and watched a whole load of VMworld videos. Using all of these resources prepared me amazingly; the only thing I didn’t do enough of which was mainly to blame for me making my major mistake was not enough lab hours. I’ve got so used to question and answer exams that even though I obviously knew the exam would be 100% lab based I never realised the real importance of my practicing all the tasks twenty times until I knew it without even thinking as trust me the pdf’s give you nothing apart from the real basics and if you don’t know those you won’t pass the exam anyhow.

The Exam:

The exam was hard and is probably the hardest IT exam I have ever done (previously this title was held by my MCSE 2003 upgrade exams) but I think it is only right it is as tough as it is as it really does separate the men from the boys and really shows if you know your stuff or not. As mentioned by every one, time is extremely tight and you won’t finish all the questions unless you skip certain ones. One bit of advice I was given which was really helpful was, if you don’t know how to do the question mark it down on your notes and carry on as rather do the ones you can do rather than waste time on ones you are unsure of as I knew how to do some of the last questions just before time ran out whereas if I had sat and tried to work my through ones I didn’t know I probably wouldn’t have even had the time to see and do the ones I could.

Summary:

If you do all the study resources I’ve listed in my study resources page and put in loads of hours deploying and playing around with every single thing on the blueprint in your lab then you’ll pass it. I’ve already started rebuilding my lab to get in a serious number more hours of practice for my re-sitting of the exam and making sure that the stuff I was unsure of in the exam I now know 150%. Good luck for anyone writing

Gregg


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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