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Author: Paweł

VCP Datacenter 6.5 Beta

VCP Datacenter 6.5 Beta

VMware announced the VCP Datacenter beta exam updated according to new features in vSphere 6.5.

It is expecially valuable for those who need to recertify or who do not have a valid VCP certification. People who already have active VCP6-DCV exam, passing this beta exam will not give any big reward, while even the title is the same. So there won’t be VCP6.5-DCV or so, it’s still VCP6-DCV Certification.

Anyway, as others VMware beta exam it costs only 50$, so it’s worth to consider it if your certification is going to expire soon.

Just keep in mind that beta exams contains far more questions than normal exams 🙂 In this case that’s 150 questions and 180 minutes.

Good luck!

Log insight – central syslog with added value

Log insight – central syslog with added value

VMware Log Insight is still one of the VMware’s products which are not widely known and used (especially in Poland). In the past Log Insight was included in vRealize Operations, nowadays it is a separate product which is available in two licensing models.

The first one is per operating system image (OSI) with one flat rate for collecting logs from any server, virtual machine or hypervisor. The second model is per CPU, for one flat rate fee for collecting all logs generated from the hypervisor and any guests on a single CPU socket.

For more information about specific features and licensing please visit VMware Log Insight Site.

For those who are not familiar with this product – Log Insight is a software for log collection and corelation. But do not think about it as about simple syslog – it’s not! Let’s see how it looks like.

The installation proces is really simple – it’s an appliance, just a few click and it’s ready to use. The first step after installation is to integrate with vCenter server. Doing this you gain also integration with all of your ESXi hosts which are automatically set to send logs information to Log Insight.

After integration you will see all of you objects (ESXi hosts for this moment) at dashboards with charts which summarizes different types of events for different opbjects. These dashboards can be customized to fulfill requirements of an organization.

loginsight5

After clicking on specific events you are automatically moved to interactive analitics module. Then you could create specific filters to found more specific logs and correlate them with specific events. The phrases which you are looking for are marked by a specific color to make it easier to found necessary information.

loginsight6

I started to test Log Insight in out lab since I’ve found the new management pack for VSAN. It’s worth to notice that even without it there are some information about VSAN through integration with vCenter. However, using management packs you can receive more precise automated analytics about the events and problems in your environment.

All the available content packs can be viewed from Admin->Marketplace tab.

loginsight1

The process for installation of content pack for VSAN is almost automatic. You just need to select it and click install. And if you have vCenter already integrated (6.0 U2) it will be be up and ready at once.loginsight2 loginsight3

I also realized that there is available content pack for Synology DSM. I’m using Synology VSA as a storage for my nested labs, so I didn’t neglect to check it.

Again the installation is as simple as 2 clicks. The only difference here is that you have to log in into DSM and configure the logs sending to your Log insight. After that the new section for Synology DSM will be available in your Log Insight.loginsight4

Unfortunatelly, I do not have so many events yet to show you better view 🙂

VirtualVillage’s Lab environment

VirtualVillage’s Lab environment

We have received a few questions about our lab which is rather extraordinary 🙂 Some of you wanted us to publish a picture of it. Unfortunatelly, I’ve got only the old one (nowadays cables are better organised so it looks far more better). I’m sorry for the quality of the picture as well.

vvs-lab

Anyway, at this moment we are in implementation phase – the management cluster is going to be expanded to four host cluster. We are planning to implement NSX in physical environment to expand our basic knowledge about the pruduct. Unfortunatelly, these kinds of toys for big boys aren’t cheap and we are looking for some cut-prices or good offers for refubrished components. However CPU is already waiting so it shouldn’t take much time.

When the upgrade of the environment will be finished, I’ll post the new picture of the whole lab 🙂

Taking the advantage of the occassion coming with the last day of 2016, I wish you a Happy New your and remarkable party! It’s high time to begin preparations 😉

 

VMware VCP7-CMA exam

VMware VCP7-CMA exam

A few months ago in this post I wrote about a new VMware exam which wasn’t listed in the official exam list in these days. Nevertheless, that was time when I almost finished my lab deployment of vRA and taking into account that the exams in beta phase costs only 50 $, I decided to try myself.

I scheduled the exam at 5 september during at the beginning of my holiday. The exam consisted 180 questions! There was 240 minutes for that – thats whole 4 hours, it’s even longer than VCAPs.. After 2 hours and almost 100 questions I was already exhausted. However I tried to stay focused and finished it. Since that time I didn’t have any update about my results on PearsonVue site I was able to see only the information that the exam was taken, whilst the official non-beta exam was released at 1st December. So technically you were able to take it and get the results immediately, while the Beta-takers still didn’t know if they passed or not 🙂

Yesterday in my mailbox I found the envelope from PearsonVue – it was quite strange for me because I’ve never received any envelope directly from PearsonVue. It was a nice suprise for me when I realized that there is my “summary page” with my results inside. Happily I passed – next goal achived by the end of the 2016 🙂

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

We wish you all who read our modest blog Merry Christmas!

The year coming to the end so and it is the best time to spend some time with family, take a rest and have a sensational New Year party. We wish you a healthy life and remarkable achivements in the 2017.

Pawel & Daniel

VCAP6-DCV Design exam experience(s)

VCAP6-DCV Design exam experience(s)

Finally, I’m pround to announce that VCIX6-DCV goal is achived!

Previously I passed the Deploy Exam (you can read about it in this post) which for me personally was far more intuitive and effortless. If you are a practitioner person than visioner and designer it would be quite tought to get used to these kind of questions and reasoning. In my opinion there are a few points which I can not agree with and I would be glad to discuss with the authors of these questions about their points of view 🙂

However, as I read on one of the blogs this is a VMware exam and they could have their own point of view and opinion about best practicies in designing virtual environments.

As you realized I used plural in word experience – it’s not so hard to guess why. Yes, I had to take the exam twice. Nevertheless, I finished the first try quite satisfied and full of hope the reality was brutal. 243 points appeared not to be enought to pass it…That was a food for thoughts.

That made me aware that I need to prepare better and figure out about the key used in design quiestions. It’s not exacly the key but the way of designs constructions. As usually Internet was priceless. First of all I found tips that the exam is similar to VCAP5 version and fallowing this idea I read the VCAP5-DCD Official Cert Guide. This was quite useful. Then I tried to think about the design questions I met and gind out what could be wrong there.

After a few more white papers, blog articles and other readings I took the second try and happily this the reult was much more better and of course I finally managed to pass and gain complete VCIX title.

The few tips from me:

  1. Be fresh and rested at the exam day ( there are 205 minutes, it’s quite a long to sit in front of the screen).
  2. Stay focused and read carefully all the questions and instructions at least twice.
  3. Start from the design questions which would take you a little bit more time.
  4. Be prepared.

Materials I found usefull during preparation time:

  1. VCAP6-Design Blueprint and all associated documents especially those from objective 1.2 and 1.3 should be read more than once
  2. VCAP5-DCD Official Cert Guide
  3. Study Guides of other people
  4. Google+ VCAP-DCD Study Group

I also recommend to get yourself familiar with scoring methodology described at The Cloud JAR’s Blog

 

 

 

HTML5 Client – the new way of managing vSphere environment?

HTML5 Client – the new way of managing vSphere environment?

Since vSphere 6.5, VMware killed standard Windows vSphere Client. However, it was promised so we should not be suprised (anyway I am still shocked ;)).

Fortunatelly, every cloud has a silver lining. I reckon that VMware is aware that the current Web Client is not a perfect solution. That’s why they released completely new HTML5 vSphere Client which seems to be quite useful, intuitive and what’s the most important – it works as it should in therms of response times. Some of Administrators claims it reminds the old GSX console.

The darker side of the new Client is that it’s constrained in terms of functionality and it will not let you perform all of the administrative tasks. But do not worry it’s the first release and I hope VMware will expand the functionality quickly.

The HTML5 Client could be accessed by energing the FQDN or IP address of our vCenter in the Web browser, then you will see two possible options – classic Web Client and the new one. You will also notice that there is a caution saying that it has only partial functionality.

html5_1

The list of non supported functionalities you will find here.

After you sign in to the new administration interface you will see quite grey and simple but in my opinion still good looking interface.

html5_2

The whole structure of it is designed to be intuitive expecially for those Admins which are still using mostly just the standard vSphere client. In my option the design combines the best things from Web and Windows Client in one interface. The problem is just the lask of functionality. I decided to try it and start with configuring iSCSI in my new nested LAB. However, I was quickly brought to the heel – there was not an option to add software SCSI adapter. This suddenly ended my adventure with new HTML5 Client 🙂

To sum up, it would be a handy tool in the future, it just need to be completed in terms of functionality.  Unfortunatelly, for those who want to migrate to vSphere 6.5 there will be still a need to use Web Client.

VirtualVillage’s home LAB

VirtualVillage’s home LAB

It is possible to learn especially about VMware products using just books, official trainings, blogs, etc. However, we believe that the real knowledge is available only by practice and not all could be tested or verified using production environments 🙂

And again, you can test a lot just using Workstation on your notebook (providing it is powerful enough) but these days there are more and more virtual infrastructure component which requires a lot of resources. Furthermore, having real servers and storage array is also a little bit different than deploying a few small virtual machines running on a notebook.

That is why a few years ago we decided to join forces and build the real laboratory where we are able to test even the most sophisticated  deployments not only with VMware products without being constraint by the resources.

The main hardware components of our lab infrastructure are included in the table below.

Hardware Component Quantity Details Purpose
ServerFujitsu TX200 S7 2 2x CPU E5-4220, 128 GB RAM Payload Cluster
Server Fujitsu TX100 S1 2 Router/Firewall and Backup
Server Fujitsu TX100 S3 3 1x CPU E3-1240, 32 GB RAM Management Cluster
NAS Synology DS2413+ 1 12 x 1 TB SATA 7,2K Gold Storage
NAS Synology RS3617+ 1 12 x 600 GB SAS 15K Silver Storage
NAS QNAP T410 1 4 x 1TB SATA 5,4K Bronze Storage (ISO)
Switch HPE 1910 1 48x 1 Gbps Connectivity

 

Of course we didn’t buy it at once. The environment evaluates with increasing needs. ( In the near future we are going to expand management cluster with 4 host and deploy NSX).

The logical topology looks like this:

lab

 

Despite the fact that most of our servers use tower cases, we installed them in a self made 42U Rack. Unfortunatelly, especially during the summer it could not go without air conditoning (this is one of the most power consuming part of the lab..)

 

Later, either me or Daniel will describe the software layer of our Lab. I hope, it will give an inspiration to anyone who is thinking about own lab.

 

VMware PowerCLI – Introduction

VMware PowerCLI – Introduction

To begin the jurney with PowerCLI we need to start from the installation of PowerCLI itself.

The installation can be done on a Windows based system, that could be some kind of an administration server. The installation files can be found on this VMware site.

There are a few versions available, they are released asynchronously with vSphere and the version numbers do not exactly correspond to vSphere versions. The most recent version is 6.5 whilst there are other like 6.3, 6.0 or 5.8 available.

Before you install the PowerCLI I recommend to change the Execution Policy of Powershell. It is required to run scripts. To do it, run Windows PowerShell as administrator and execute fallowing command:

Set-ExecutionPolicy RemoteSigned

The installation process is really straightforward, that’s why I will not spam the screanshoots of installations here.

After you finish the installation you can run it and see the first Welcome screen like this:

powercli1

 

The first command I suggest to use is:

Get-VICommand

it lists all the available commands. However to display any information about virtual infrastructure you need to connect to a vCenter server or ESXi host. We will do it in the next part after introduction of useful tools which can be used in conjunction with PowerCLI.

VCAP6-DCV Exam Experience

VCAP6-DCV Exam Experience

There are a few such articles on the Internet. I think, read them all some weeks ago while preparing to my own exam.

However, I’d like to share with you my own observations.

 

Let’s start from the begining -how did I prepare for the exam?

Well, behind the real experience and VCP5/6 done already I went through the VMware blueprint for the exam. Almost every objective was tested in the lab, even it was quite obvious I wanted to review it, especially using Web Client. (yes, unfortunatelly I still prefer the C# client).

There are two helpful study guides written on these blogs:

Thank you guys!

I’ve also went through the Hands on Labs which Kyle recommends:

  • HOL-SDC-1602 – vDS, Content Libraries, Auto Deploy, Host Profiles
  • HOL-SDC-1627 – VSAN, vVOLS, Storage Policies
  • HOL-SDC-1604 – Performance
  • HOL-SDC-1607 – PowerCLI

There are newer verions of these however they are still awailable in the archive.

 

The next step – day of the exam.

I wasn’t able to take a day off so the exam was started afternoon. If you have a possibility to take day off and allocate it just for the exam I’d recommend doing so. The exam takes 190 minutes + 15 minutes for reading instruction, etc. It’s worth to read it carefully expecially about navigation and possibilities how to copy data inside the VMs. That could safe you some time during doing exercises.

Unfortunatelly I can’t write about the kind of questions you will need to deal with but If you are well prepeared and spent several hours in front of vSphere client it should be so terrible 😉 The biggest enemy on the exam is time. That’s why I recommend to do not loose much time on a question for which you don’t know the answer. It’s better to move on and if there is enought time back to it at the end.

I wish you all who are going to take the exam in near future, good luck.