Posts Tagged ‘Training’

VMware vSphere Design Workshop – Day 1

October 27th, 2010

Today was day 1 of 3 for my VMware vSphere Design Workshop training.  I’ve been looking forward to this training since spring of this year when I scheduled it.  The timing couldn’t be better since I’m scheduled to sit the VMware VCAP-DCD BETA exam in November.  I’m told by the instructor, an EMC employee of eight years as well as a CLARiiON and SRM specialist, that this is the VMware recommended classroom training for the VCAP-DCD exam.  To be perfectly honest, I haven’t looked at the exam blueprint yet but I intend to tomorrow.  My hope and expectation at this point is that the class is going to cover the blueprint objectives.  Beyond the introductions, I don’t think we were 30 minutes into the class and conversation had already turned to Duncan Epping and Chad Sakac, along with their respective blogs.  By then, I knew I was in for a great three days.

The scope of the course covers vSphere 4.0 Update 1.  I was slightly disappointed by this in that it’s covering a release that is nearly one year old, however, if the exam objectives and the exam itself is based on 4.0 Update 1, then the training is appropriate.  That said, the instructor is willing to notify the class of any changes through the current version – 4.1.  Looking more closely at the scope, the following areas will be covered:

  • ESX
  • ESXi
  • Storage
  • Networks
  • Virtual Machines
  • vCenter Server and related databases
  • DRS
  • HA
  • FT
  • Resource Pools
  • Design Process
  • Design Decisions
  • Best Practices
  • Two comprehensive design case studies to apply knowledge in the lab:
    • SMB
    • Enterprise

Design is a different discipline than Administration.  Administration focuses on tactical things like installation, configuration, tools, CLI, Service Console, clients, etc.  Having said that, there is ample opportunity for working in a vSphere lab to master the various administrative tasks covered by the VCAP-DCA blueprint.  In fact, as most may know by now, the DCA exam is lab based.  Design is different.  It’s a step higher than the tools and the CLI which are generally abstracted from the logical design discussion.  The focus is shifted to the big virtual datacenter picture and the components involved to architect a solution which meets customer requirements and other variables used as design criteria input for the engagement.  As mentioned above, there are a series of paper-based labs which follow 2 design case studies: SMB and Enterprise.

It is just a three day class and we covered quite a bit of ground today.  Much of the time was spent on Design Methodology, Criteria, Approach, and VMware’s Five-Step Design Process:

  1. Initial Design Meeting
  2. Current-State Analysis
  3. Stakeholder and SME training
  4. Design Sessions
  5. Design Deliverables

Having years of consulting experience under his belt, the instructor volunteered helpful insight toward what he often referred to as the consultative based approach/discovery.  We talked about phases of the engagement, design meetings to hold, who to invite, who not to invite, and the value and persuasion power of food.  We got into some conversations about hypervisor choices (ESX vs. ESXi), with a sprinkling of hardware tangents (NUMA, PCIe, processors, storage, etc.) We closed the day with discussions on resource planning, peaks, and averages, as well as our first lab exercise which was to decide on a hardware standard (blade versus rack mount) and plan for capacity in terms of number of hosts and cluster sizes given data from customer interviews.

I’ll close here with an infrastructure design growth formula and practical application:

The scenario:  Contoso, Inc. has a consolidation ratio of 30:1 on an existing cluster.  Contoso expects 25 percent annual growth of a 200 VM cluster over the next four years.

The growth formula:  % Growth Rate x # VMs Growing x Term ÷ Consolidation Ratio = Growth Hosts Needed

The growth formula applied:  25% x 200 x 4 ÷ 30/1 = Growth Hosts Needed

The growth formula applied:  50 x 4 ÷ 30 = Growth Hosts Needed

The growth formula applied:  200 ÷ 30 = Growth Hosts Needed

The growth formula applied:  7 Growth Hosts Needed (round up)

I’m looking forward to Thursday!

VCDX Talk with Jason Boche and David Davis

October 22nd, 2010

Train Signal was nice enough to invite me to an on camera chat at VMworld 2010 regarding VMware’s VCDX certification.  The video, along with a flattering introduction, is located here.  David Davis asked some good questions and I had a great time talking with him.  Train Signal provided me with the right to reproduce the video and you’ll find it embedded below:

Update 10/23/10: Just one day later, a video was released where David Davis interviews VCDX001 John Arrasjid at VMworld Europe.  This is an outstanding resource for those going down the path of the VCDX.  Follow the link below:

VIDEO: VMware’s John Arrasjid, VCDX001, Interviewed by David Davis at VMworld

Update 10/26/10: Here’s a link to another great video which has emerged from VMworld Europe where John Troyer interviews John Arrasjid, VCDX001:

VCDX Program – John Arrasjid, Principal Architect, VMware, Inc.


October 14th, 2010

I couldn’t have asked for a better night:  I attended the Minnesota Wild home opener with VMware, EMC, Tom Becchetti, Scot Joynt, met Paul Hokanson (TC with EMC), great customers, and the Wild defeated the Edmonton Oilers 4-2 in convincing fashion.  However, this was not the end of the evening coolness.  I checked my email when I got home and received the following notification from VMware:

Congratulations on passing the VMware Certified Advanced Professional vSphere4 Datacenter Administration exam!

I’m now a VCAP4-DCA.

On short notice, I was offered a chance  to sit the VCAP4-DCA BETA exam before it closed.  I drove 220 miles back in June to sit the exam.  I found the test to be extremely difficult and wasn’t expecting a passing score based on my experience.  I won’t go into the details now about the exam since I’ve already written about that previously.  Oddly, I sat the exam on 6/21/10, yet the date on the transcript shows 21-Jul-10.

I am pleased to have this exam in the books after previously thinking I would have to retake it.  It will allow me to focus on the VCAP4-DCD exam which will uplift my VCDX3 certification to VCDX4 certification.  Yes John Troyer, I am collecting them all.

Update 12/15/10: VMware has notified me that my transcript has been updated in the portal.  When I took a look, I saw I was awarded VCAPDCA-14.  I’m guessing this means #14.  If you don’t know what I’m referring to, VMware assigns sequential numbers to candidates who successfully meet the certification requirements, much like Microsoft did or still does (My MCP # from 1997 is 423097).  My VCP # is 2712 and my VCDX # is 34 (still not reflected in the portal).  On a podcast a few weeks ago, Jon Hall stated a new number would also be assigned for the VCAP4-DCD track.  I haven’t gotten the results of that BETA exam yet.

VMworld recap and “The Social Network” premier screening 10-1-10

September 30th, 2010

Quick (and awesome) invite for Minneapolis VMware User Group (VMUG) and virtualization community members from St. Croix Solutions – this event is being put on TOMORROW Friday October 1st:

I’d like to invite any and all members of the VMware User Group to join us on Friday for a breakfast presentation and a movie at the new Showplace Icon movie theater in St Louis Park. St Croix engineer, Bill Oyler, will recap his top 5 take-aways from VMworld and take some follow-up Q&A along with Jim Yanik from VMware. We’ll follow up the presentation with a complimentary premier screening of “The Social Network” movie. Concessions will be provided.

Schedule for Friday, October 1st:
8:00-8:30 Registration & Breakfast
8:30-10:00 “Best of VMworld” presentation, Q&A
10:00-12:00 “The Social Network” Premier Screening

More details online here:!/event.php?eid=102243959840607

VMUG members can RSVP here:

Corey Donovan
Marketing Director
St Croix Solutions

Open in New Window

September 22nd, 2010

The VMware vSphere Client has a right-click menu option for most objects called Open in New Window

For instance, when right-clicking on a cluster object, the Open in New Window menu item appears:

SnagIt Capture

SnagIt Capture

SnagIt Capture

After choosing Open in New Window, a new vSphere Client window indeed appears.  Like many common tasks in the vSphere Client, this procedure has a shortcut key combination (CTRL + ALT + N).  Does this imply this is a commonly used feature? 

It’s not a commonly used feature by me.  To be honest, I didn’t know this feature existed until this week.  I was intrigued and played around with it for about 15 minutes.  First I tried to understand where this feature was presented.  I found it on most objects.  When I saw this, I looked for a way to exploit it.  The result was a rather anticlimactic failure.

This still left me wondering what the use case was for this feature.  There is one which comes to mind but I’m going to keep that to myself for now.  I’d like to hear from you.  Do you use this feature?  What are the use cases?  If you don’t use the feature, can you imagine a use case?  Open the vSphere Client and give it a try.  Be sure to try different infrastructure views.  There’s really no defined set of correct answers here, I’m looking for practical or creative ideas around the feature.

Respond in the comment section below.  The first responder with a relevant or interesting use case will be the winner of a VMware vSphere video training package from Train Signal.

vCalendar 2.0 Released; 1.0 Free Electronic Download

September 2nd, 2010

Welcome back! I can’t believe a year has elapsed since vCalendar was first launched.  vCalendar 1.0 was a lot of fun to say the least. It certainly fulfilled the purpose I had originally intended for myself – to provide a virtualization tip a day on my desktop both at the office and at home.

Truth be told, I began working on the next version of vCalendar right after the first version was released back in August 2009. Like vSphere 4.0 and 4.1, vCalendar 2.0 boasts 150 new features. That’s right – 150 brand new virtualization facts, tips, best practices, configuration maximums, and historical events.  What’s in the new version?  It’s safe to say you’ll probably find some vSphere 4.1 tips, additional advanced concepts, some more key dates in virtualization history, among other new, improved, and valuable items.  I highly suggest you order the new vCalendar 2.0 to find out!

But wait… if there’s 150 new entries, what happened to last year’s entries?  I have to say, it was extremely difficult, but with just 365 days in the year, I had to find 150 of last year’s entries to remove in order to make way for the 150 new entries.  What’s unfortunate is that most of the archived entries are still relevant and therefore valuable. I struggled with the thought of letting the archived entries disappear forever. So here’s what I’ve done about that.  I’m releasing vCalendar 1.0 as a free download in a searchable Adobe PDF formatYou can download vCalendar 1.0 by clicking on this link. I thank you for your support and I hope you get some additional mileage out of it.  The remaining entries from last year which were carried forward were combined into the pool of new entries and all were randomized to provide a fresh new vCalendar.

Continue reading at the official vCalendar web page to learn more including the information on how to obtain vCalendar 2.0.

“Get Away to VMworld” Contest

August 11th, 2010

VMworld 2010 San Francisco is just a few weeks away now.  For those still looking for a way to get there, Head on over to Gestalt IT’s Get Away to VMworld Contest.

Zetta, Veeam, Xsigo, and Symantec have contributed resources to the contest allowing two lucky winners to attend the planet’s largest virtualization showcase.  Winners will be awarded Friday August 13th.

I hope to see you there!