My ramblings about all things technical

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VCAP5-DCA : Objective 3

For Objective 3 I’ve been re-watching the Trainsignal vSphere Performance Monitoring Training videos. I’ve been watching these in the evening via my iPad as with the online training capability of watching it, it means I can watch them this way which i feel is much easier. I’ve also gone through all the links in Sean Cookston’s,Ed Grigson’s and Kendrick Coleman’s Blueprint Breaksdowns for the VCAP4 for Objective 3.

The differences between the blueprints for Objective 3 for the VCAP4-DCA and VCAP5-DCA aren’t much but the parts that are different are:

  • Configure advanced cluster attributes
  • Tune Virtual Machine memory configurations
  • Tune Virtual Machine networking configurations
  • Tune Virtual Machine CPU configurations
  • Tune Virtual Machine storage configurations
  • Understand the DRS / storage DRS migration algorithms, the Load Imbalance Metrics, and their impact on migration recommendations
  • Create and administer ESXi host and Datastore Clusters
  • Administer DRS / Storage DRS

For me, I’m going to cover these via the Trainsignal VMware vSphere 5 Training course, the Trainsignal vSphere Performance Monitoring Training videos I mentioned at the beginning and the vSphere 5 Clustering Tech Deepdive book by Frank Denneman and Duncan Epping.

There is also a fair portion of lab time that needs to be done on all the parts mentioned in Objective 3, which I’ll be doing closer to the exam so it’s all fresh in my mind Smile

I hope everyone got the dates they wanted for the Beta, I thankfully did and now know what i’m aiming for.


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VCAP5-DCA: Objective 2.4

This objective was quite straight forward. I spent a bit of time on it due to watching videos that also cover other networking aspects in troubleshooting and performance.


  • Describe the relationship between vDS and the vSS

This is VCP5 stuff so if you don’t know this you probably shouldn’t be doing the exam. For a refresher I used this VMworld Networking Deep Dive video

Also used the networking lessons from the VMware vSphere 5 Training course from Trainsignal.

David also did a great overview in the Using the vSphere Distributed Virtual Switch lesson from the course from Trainsignal

Skills and Abilities

  • Understand the use of command line tools to configure appropriate vDS settings on an ESXi host

As I covered in the previous objectives these are covered here

This is 100% about lab practice of using the commands and how to do things and fix things when you make a mistake.

  • Determine use cases for and apply Port Binding settings Perfect overview of each setting and what they do.

Also covered in the VMware vSphere 5 Training course’s networking sections.

Also there is a great posting that has just been posted about deciding on if you should use static or ephemeral.

  • Configure Live Port Moving

Very simply an advanced setting for a port group on a distributed switch. “Live Port Moving: Transfer stand-alone port groups to distributed port groups, assigning settings associated with distributed port group to the stand-alone group” – as detailed in

  • Given a set of network requirements, identify the appropriate distributed switch technology to use

This is all about knowing what each feature does and how it will meet certain requirements. I think knowing all about the distributed switch and its settings will suffice. Also loads of lab practice with it

Used the vSphere Distributed Virtual Switch (dvswitch) lesson from the VMware vSphere 5 Training course from Trainsignal

  • Configure and administer vSphere Network I/O Control

I’ve used the Network IO Control Lesson from the VMware vSphere 5 Training course from Trainsignal for this as it covers it perfectly

  • Use command line tools to troubleshoot and identify configuration items from an existing vDS

Covered in the first bullet point and the troubleshooting steps are covered perfectly in section 6.

Now onto objective 3, Performance


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VCAP5-DCA: Objective 2.3

This is another objective which is exactly the same as the VCAP4-DCA one .


  • Identify VMware NIC Teaming policies
  • Identify common network protocols

Skills and Abilities

  • Understand the NIC Teaming failover types and related physical network settings A perfect overview video detailing NIC teaming creations in a vSwitch page 8 details the varying options for NIC teaming page 48 covers teaming and the next section on Failover settings

NIC Teaming is covered in the vSphere Virtual Networking lesson from the VMware vSphere 5 Training course from Trainsignal

  • Determine and apply Failover settings

Covered above on pg 48 of the Networking guide mentioned above.

Failover settings are covered in the vSphere Virtual Networking lesson from the VMware vSphere 5 Training course from Trainsignal

  • Configure explicit failover to conform with VMware best practices pg 77

  • Configure port groups to properly isolate network traffic

Nothing new here and the correct way to isolate them is detailed in the best practices above

Another straight forward objective if you have already done the VCAP4-DCA. Just a refresher on all the practices and terms and options is required in my opinion


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VCAP5-DCA: Objective 2.2


This one is exactly the same as the VCAP4-DCA objective so it is all about reviewing it all and making sure you understand what each part does and how to do it. Personally i think this is another one you just need to practice doing in your lab and watch the videos to refresh your understanding.

Configure and Maintain VLANs, PVLANs and VLAN Settings


  • Identify types of VLANs and PVLANs

Using the vSphere Distributed Virtual Switch (dvswitch) lesson from the VMware vSphere 5 Training course from Trainsignal

Skills and Abilities

  • Determine use cases for and configure VLAN Trunking VLAN trunking example and reasons of why you would do/use it

  • Determine use cases for and configure PVLANs gives a great overview of PVLANS and what each setting would be used for.

  • Use command line tools to troubleshoot and identify VLAN configurations

Covered in Objective 2.1 and will be covered better in Objective 6


Chris Wahl has done a brilliant overview of Private VLANS in his blog posting Understanding vSphere Private VLANs For Fun and Profit and also did a brilliant breakdown of the whole objective in the vBrownbag he did which i would highly recommend


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VCAP5-DCA: Objective 2.1

This objective has barely changed from the VCAP4-DCA objective. LLDP is new to vSphere 5 as is NetFlow configurations. For this one I’ve spent time practicing in my lab and will be one I’ll also be covering when i rebuild my lab and do the troubleshooting objective (Objective 6)


· Identify common virtual switch configurations

Skills and Abilities

  • Configure SNMP vicfg-snmp method via ESXCli A video by Eric Sloof of how to do it via the vMA which I feel is a much easier method. Just remember to to the –E to enable it which Eric doesn’t show in his video

  • Determine use cases for and applying VMware DirectPath I/O

Covered in objective 1.1

  • Migrate a vSS network to a Hybrid or Full vDS solution

This is all about lab practice firstly

Used the vSphere Distributed Virtual Switch (dvswitch) lesson from the VMware vSphere 5 Training course from Trainsignal

  • Configure vSS and vDS settings using command line tools

This is another that can only be learnt in your lab – all the commands you should know for both standard and distributed virtual switching

  • Analyze command line output to identify vSS and vDS configuration details

This is another where lab practice is the best way of learning it.

The above link in the previous bullet point covers all the things you should know how to do. Personally I’m using it to build, change and troubleshoot my networking in the lab as I have experience in the GUI methods already

  • Configure NetFlow

  • Determine appropriate discovery protocol


LLDP this covers both and what each provides

CDP overview in the vSphere Network Troubleshooting How-To lesson in trainsignals

Jason Boche has done two posting covering each of the discovery protocols

As I’ve said for Objectives 1.1 and 1.2, the above 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. This is more about covering the new things i need to learn after having done the VCAP4-DCA exam (twice to be exact)




As a VMware vExpert working for Xtravirt Limited and a keen contributor to the VCAP communities on the VMware communities ,I received an email from Randy Becraft from VMware confirming my inclusion on the VCAP5-DCA beta exam along with the Blueprint for the exam which should be starting in the coming weeks. Obviously I am under NDA so I can’t divulge too much but Randy has kindly given me permission to blog about the blueprint and what will be required once the exam becomes available to the public.

The Differences

The exam is 60-70% the same as the VCAP4 but the main differences are:

  • The exam consists of approximately 26 live lab activities and consists of multiple tasks, where each task is scored. This is down from the 36 there was in the VCAP4-DCA which I think is much better as I blazed through the VCAP4-DCA to try finish enough of the questions in time and made a few mistakes along the way due to this.
  • There are a number of sections and products which are thankfully not part of the exam any more. This is great as these were very uncommon products that were very hard to practice seeing as 98% of people have never used them (although they are gaining prominence recently).The ones that aren’t a part of the exam anymore are:
    • vCenter Server Linked Mode
    • Orchestrator
    • vShield Zones
    • vCenter Heartbeat
  • The exam is obviously based on vSphere 5 and so as you would imagine there are a number of the new features that have been introduced in vSphere 5 that are part of the blueprint like Storage DRS and the new Auto Deploy features to name but two.
  • The recommended courses are also different as with VCAP4-DCA there were four recommended courses aka:

But with the VCAP5-DCA there are only two recommended courses:

I do think it’s a shame there aren’t the kinds of courses there were for the VCAP4 as I learnt an unbelievable amount from the courses and will be using Trainsignal videos and the official course notes I received from doing two of the recommended courses to help me prepare for the VCAP5-DCA beta

The Similarities

The following things are the same as the VCAP4-DCA:

  • The passing score is still 300 and is scaled. Scaled scores are calculated using a mathematical formula that considers a variety of factors, including the number and type of exam questions included in a specific version of the exam
  • The exam time is still 210 minutes for English speaking countries. Extra time is given for non-English speaking countries the same as they do for the VCP exams.
  • Having your VCP (in this case the VCP5) is a pre-requisite for the exam and you will still need to put in an authorisation request like you did for the VCAP4 before being able to book the exam. If you are a VCAP4-DCA but do not have your VCP5 and pass the VCAP5-DCA exam within the first three months from release of the live exam you will also be awarded your VCP5 credential.
  • You can book the exam via Pearson VUE’s website at The exam will be in the usual Pearson VUE testing centres that offer VCAP-level exams and there may not be a centre near you offering the exam.
  • The security for the exam is still the enhanced method where they won’t let you take in anything to the exam room even your watch and you will be required to have a photo taken and do a digital signature over and above the normal exam sign in procedures.
  • So as to not repeat what has been done so well, Ed Grigson also got permission from Randy to blog about his inclusion in the beta and has done a brilliant breakdown of the similarities and differences between the blueprints of the VCAP4-DCA and the VCAP5-DCA in his blog posting here

There has been information about the infrastructure you will be expected to use during the VCAP5 exam, which will be two ESXi hosts and a vCenter server. This is very much like the VCAP4 exam environment but a subtle difference which VCAP4-DCA takers will fully recognise.

I will be linking to all the resources I’m using for both the VCAP exams on my VCAP5-DCA and DCD resources page and plan to give an NDA limited review of my thoughts of the beta exam and if it was harder/easier or the same as the VCAP4-DCA.

Good luck to all those people selected to do the beta exam and keep an eye out for my home lab postings in my preparation for the exam.



VCP5 Study Resources Page

Just a very quick posting that I have finally created my VCP5 Study Resources Page with all the resources I’m planning to use in preparation for my VCP5 exam. As mentioned on the page I decided to create the page as it seems the VCAP5 exams aren’t going to be out before the grace period for people with the VCP4 accreditation not needing to take the What’s New course expires. So like with my VCAP4 and VCAP5 pages I’m planning on listing all the resources I plan to use and the great study resources I come across that may help other people of varying degrees of expertise prepare for the exam

Good luck to anyone preparing for any of the VMware exams soon, good luck! Also tell me how you’ve done or if you think I have missed an amazing resource by either leaving a comment or sending me a tweet on @greggrobertson5 on twitter


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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

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