TheSaffaGeek

My ramblings about all things technical


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The names of the new VMware exams have been released

Just a quick posting about the recent news detailing the now released names of the new VMware exams to bridge the gap between the VCP and the VCDX as well as the VCDX4 official announcement.

Scott Vessey’s (@vmtraining) blog details the names of the exams and the criteria for them and what he feels are good courses to prepare you for the exams. I won’t take anything away from his blog posting about it so read it here.

I’m keeping a very keen eye on these as the gap between the VCP and the VCDX is a very large one and for someone like me who hasn’t gained the experience and expertise required to be able to defend my designs just yet it will enable me to grow my knowledge and also hopefully set me apart from the other 53,000 VCPs, of which over 15,000 are VCP4s and this was a figure from early February.

Gregg Robertson


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All things virtual VI

It’s definitely been a very hectic past few weeks for me and due to this it’s taken me quite a while  to get this posting to a post able standard. There has been some brilliant articles and news in the virtualisation arena and some resources that are currently and will in the future help me to make my daily job a lot easier.

First is one that i think is a common mistake among many people when they plan/build their VMware virtual environments.Craig Risinger has posted a guest posting on Duncan Epping’s yellow bricks website all about resource pools and how people need to keep an eye on the amount of resources allocated to a resource pool compared to the amount of machines that are in the resource pool. It does seem a very obvious thing to monitor but I even had to run an eye over the ones in my environment as with the amount of migrations and builds that happen it’s something you forget to check or amend.

Next is a great article I found when trying to explain blocks sizes to a fellow IT friend and about alignments and what both are and what you need to think about in your decision of aligning your data or not. Steve Chambers (@stevie_chambers) wrote the article and is one that I learnt some more from as well as helped me to refresh some of the knowledge i knew but due to not having used it for ages had forgotten some of.

Another posting is stumbled across these past few weeks that caught my interest was a posting by Ian Koenig all about IO DRS. This is a fairly new idea to me as I’ve obviously always done cpu and memory DRS as it’s standard to monitor and make changes dependent on vSphere’s DRS clusters settings but Ian has done a very intriguing and exciting posting all about IO DRS and how it could come very soon to allow you to monitor and make changes dependent on IOPS and details how it would all work. I then did a bit more research on the topic and it seems I’m not alone in my interest and excitement about this feature. Rich Brambley (@rbrambley) wrote a blog posting all about it and detailed some of the things that were mentioned about it at this years VMware Partner Exchange.

Fellow Saffa , Rynardt Spies’(@rynardtspies) has written up a very detailed and thought provoking posting all about VMware vCentre 4 Design Considerations and has given all the pro’s and cons he took when deciding  32bit or 64 bit, physical or Virtual and placement of the vCentre database as well as the Update Manager Server and database.

Simon Seagrave (@kiwi_si) has done a very clever and interesting 5 minute video reviewing vkernel capacity view and how it works and looks.  An application I haven’t tried myself but a it’s nice to be able to get a quick run through of what it is and does.

The infamous Eric Sloof (@esloof) posted up his vmClient last week. the tool looks amazing is something everyone needs to have a try out of as it has helped me tremendously by allowing me to quickly jump between virtual machines while trying to do loads of things at once. He’s also done a great video run through of how it looks and works

While listening to the VMware Communities podcast about ESXi last week I was reminded of the latest release by trainsignal the VMware Pro Series Training Vol1. As i mentioned in my posting about the resources i used for my vcp4 exam, the trainsignal videos are priceless in your studying and preparing for the exam as well as a very helpful tool if you need to refresh your knowledge on things you may have become rusty on. I’m planning on getting my hands on this latest instalment but if Kendrick Coleman’s(@kendrickcoleman) twitter and blog posting about it are anything to go by it should be brilliant.

Vladan Seget has posted a great little posting on how to add a second service console via cli. This caught my attention firstly because I’m personally trying to do more and more via vma and cli to prepare myself for ESXi as well as very good troubleshooting step by step.

David Convery has done a very interesting posting all about the problems he encountered with his vshield zones and the ways he got around them. I’ve been planning to implement vshield zones into my home lab for a while but haven’t got around to doing it yet, so David’s posting is now one of the pointers and steps I’ve added in my implementation of it.

Over the past week there has been a major buzz all about the release of simdk. Andrew Kutz(@sakutz) is the man behind this creation and what a little creation it is. Andrew has managed to create a VMware vSphere4 simulator which provides vSphere4 API-compatibility. I’m seriously excited to get it implemented and deployed in my lab environment as it should allow me to get so much more of my testing done and hopefully will save me some money in my VCDX lab deployment. I’m also keeping my eye on the official site of the product for any news and update.

Lastly one from my daily troubleshooting. While migrating machines to new hosts we noticed that certain machines network cards were unticking the connected radio box in the vm’s settings

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Even if we ticked connected and applied the changes it kept on reverting back to being unticked. My colleague Simon Phillips noticed the solution, that we had created the vSwitches with the standard 24 ports and therefore once we had reached that number of ports used there were obviously no more spare ports and so the machines couldn’t be connected. There were no errors telling us this was the problem but it’s a very good example that early simple planning and configuration would have fixed.

Gregg Robertson

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VMware Certified Professional vSphere passed

Below is my posting about my passing of the VMware Certified Professional vSphere exam that i passed almost a month ago now on  my company blog site http://consultingblogs.emc.com/greggrobertson/.

For anyone that has read my previous blog postings or is a follower of my random ramblings on twitter you would know i have been preparing for my VCP4 exam for the past couple of weeks/months. I wrote it last Friday being filled with an unbelievable amount of nerves due to a lot of people saying this exam was much harder than the vcp3 exam which i found very challenging.

Obviously by the title of this post i passed the exam and with an unexpectedly high score of 444 with the required pass mark being 300 (I’m more shocked by this score than anyone else as for a couple of the really hard three answer questions i had to make educated guesses ,which obviously i seem to have got right ) . I didn’t feel the exam was harder than the vcp3 exam but i did study a large amount more for this exam, had a much stronger base of knowledge this time due to my working with the technology for quite a while now, having built almost a dozen vSphere esx servers, several large environments ,having studied for and done my vcp3 recently as well as having attended the “what’s new” course for vSphere .  So the exam may be much harder for people.

As I’ve detailed in my past two blogs on the VCP subject I used and tried to cover a very large amount of resources in my studying which definitely kept me very busy in trying to get it all done/covered and understood before the exam.The reasons I took on such a large amount is firstly I obviously wanted to pass the exam but also I wanted to make sure of my knowledge so that I can do my job effectively, really make sure I understand everything I was learning and got experience in the certain things I haven’t had to use before which therefore I didn’t fully understand how they worked.

Many people have spoken and detailed the layout etc of the exam so i don’t see any point in repeating what they have said already in that respect.

I do agree though with the people saying this exam definitely tests you more on things you only really know about/how to do if you have worked with/played around with all the technologies in the vSphere suite of products which i think is a much better thing as i think it proves you haven’t just regurgitated information and also keep the accreditations status quite high.

A massive thank you has to go out to all the people i follow and chat with on twitter. They were more than happy to answer any questions i might have on things i couldn’t get my head around and also were a great help in giving examples from their real world experience of using the products. I would definitely recommend following the list created by @ericsiebert of the top 100 virtualisation people to follow on twitter. Sadly I’m not on it , but my aim is to keep working and learning so as to prove my inclusion on the list soon.

Good luck to anyone writing the exam, hopefully if you have to make educated guesses for some questions ,they will work out as well for you as they did for me.

Gregg Robertson

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VCP4 Learning resources Part 2

As i stated in my last posting I am busy preparing for my sitting of the VCP4 exam and now that my studying is pretty much into full speed I thought I should add the additional resources I have found that I am busy getting through. For this one though I thought I would point also put up links to some of the blogs and webpage’s I have been using that are proving highly helpful and will hopefully prepare me for the exam.

  • First is a brilliant list of Top 10 things you must read about VMware vSphere compiled by Eric Siebert(@ericsiebert). I am busy getting through the resources he details as from all the blog postings and community chats on the vcp4 exam there seems to be a fair amount of version comparison and feature understanding needed for the exam. His VMware “Cheat Sheet” is helping me greatly with my retaining of what version has what features.
  • A brilliant blog for VMware training that I read and a person I follow on twitter is Scott Vessey (@vmtraining) who has written a great blog posting about what he feels you need to know and understand to pass the exam.
  • Another great webpage i have come across is the Professional VMware blog VCP page where they are currently making their way through the vcp4 objectives which is something you definitely need to do to pass the exam I am told.
  • Simon Long has also compiled a brilliant list of all the resources he has found for the vcp4 exam which has proven great help to me in finding resources and is part of reason I wanted to write this as hopefully I can help someone like his has helped me.
  • Lastly(as i don’t want to repeat the links in the lists i have pointed to above) is one that not many people might try but I would recommend not just for the vcp4 exam but virtualisation in general is following the top people in the industry on twitter. The ability to have some of the top and the top people in the industry at your finger tips who are more than happy to discuss any problems or queries you might have and also is a brilliant way of staying on the cusp of new developments in the industry. Eric Siebert has complied a list of the top 100 people to follow for virtualisation and should get you right in there. Unfortunately I didn’t make the cut but it’s definitely my goal to be there.
  • *UPDATE* Scott Vessey has posted all about the Changes to VCP exam due to the vSphere 4.1 release.A number of people have been talking about if there are any changes to the vcp4 exams since the release of vSphere4.1 and Scott has answered it perfectly.

Good luck if you’re writing and if you wish to follow me on twitter, my name is @greggrobertson5.

Gregg Robertson

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VCP4 Learning resources

For the past few weeks I have been ramping up my studying for my VCP4 exam and therefore have been collecting (what i believe is) all the best resources and links that hopefully will help me pass my exam in the coming weeks. I will definitely write a detailed blog of what really helped me etc and how the exam went but I thought I would write up a quick list of all the resources i have found/will be using as to maybe help someone who is also planning on writing soon.

  • Simon Longs practice tests are becoming a globally recommended resource by VMware instructors to their students for being a great resource to test your VMware knowledge. I used his questions for my VI3 exam and have started testing myself with his next vcp4 questions now due to them being so good last timehttp://www.simonlong.co.uk/blog/vcp-vsphere-4-practice-exam/
  • The exam blueprint is a definite must read when preparing as it was for the VI3 exam alsohttp://mylearn.vmware.com/lcms/mL_faq/2726/VMware%20Certified%20Professional%20on%20vSphere%204%20Blueprint%208.13.09.pdf *UPDATE*The new version of the blueprint is now available here
  • A new resource I found via twitter was Forbes Guthrie’s v reference cards which are a great resource of all the information you will need to be certain of/be confident in your understanding of before the exam http://www.vreference.com/public/vReference-vSphere4card1.0.pdf
  • One of the resources I plan to spend a large amount of time using is the mock exam off the VMware website which is brilliant in making sure of your knowledge and also getting used to the exam timings and layout http://mylearn.vmware.com/quiz.cfm?item=15211
  • A set of new study materials I am currently learning from is train signals vsphere videos.http://www.trainsignal.com/VMware-vSphere-Training-P76.aspx These are great if your a beginner and need to learn from a very low level up or even a pro and just need to clarify some concepts you may be rusty on. I went through the videos this past weekend and they have been a great help in clarifying a lot of things I wasn’t sure of and showing me how to do things that i haven’t had the experience in doing in my environment.
  • Last but not least is Scott Lowes mastering VMware vSphere book. I am busy making my way through it and would firmly recommend it to anyone studying for the exam as the explanations,examples and amount of detail and resources laid out in the book means this book is one of the best books on the market if the the best for not even just studying for the exam but a great resource guide for administrators.

Hope these help someone.

Feel free to follow or even message me on twitter  on @greggrobertson5 and good luck for your exam if your writing soon hope both you and I do well in it =0)

Gregg Robertson

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Disclaimer: Train signal didn’t pay me or give me the study material for free for me to recommend them , my opinion on their study notes is from my own personal experience.