VCDX Defence Practice Event – London

Announced at the London VMUG meeting on 26th January, and Virtual Clarity present the first VCDX Defence Practice Event. VCDX is VMware's premier / flagship certification "for design architects highly-skilled in VMware enterprise deployments", and is aimed at "professionals who want to validate and demonstrate their expertise in VMware virtual infrastructure". (Extracts from VMware VCDX Certification page here). However, this is no ordinary certification, and in line with other technology companies obtaining VCDX is not a case of sitting an exam but preparing a design and presenting / defending it to a panel of industry experts. … [Read more...]

vSpecialist Labs: Overview

So, after several months of procrastination and searching for build information, my 'home lab' build begins which will grow over time into the new 'vSpecialist Labs' sandbox infrastructure. With this, I plan to do test and research work for configurations for production deployments, as well as have an environment which we at can use for study (VCP, VCAP and VCDX) too. This page is the basis for the documentation of the configuration of our lab, the reference information used to create the configurations and and hints and tips learned along the way. If you are building a home lab or are looking for information on how to go about this, then we hope you find it useful. A note about licensing. The majority of the … [Read more...]

VMware VCP 5 Exam Revision

I have the VCP5 exam in a couple of weeks, and am in the midst of revision. A couple of excellent resources for those going through the same process: - TrainSignal VCP revision videos. - The Simon Long blog ( - Mastering VMware vSphere 5 book by Scott Lowe. Update: I have been reading more of Scott's book and am now deep into Chapter 7: High Availability. Can't recommend it enough - even if you aren't taking the exam! - vSphere Clustering 5 Technical Deepdive book by Duncan Epping and Frank Denneman. - VMware VCP homepage, including the VCP5 exam blueprint, FAQ, VCP Forum and mock exam. All these are fantastic resources - use them if you are studying for this exam! Any more useful links? Please … [Read more...]

VMware Certifications

Whilst doing the rounds in the VMworld Solutions Exchange, I got into a conversation about VMware certifications on VMware's stand. I was there for quite a while and learned a lot about how VMware choose questions and tasks for their exams. It's quite an involved process and one designed to ensure that a certain percentage of people sitting the exams are capable of answering each question. Each question must be carefully considered and researched by a small panel of people before it is submitted in to a pool from which the exams are built. In the case of the VCAP-DCA exam, extra effort is required to automate the creation of a suitable testing environment / conditions for the task and, where possible, a mechanism for automatically marking … [Read more...]

vExpert 2011… Surely not?

"Don't call me Shirley!" I love that joke but "surely not" was my response when John Troyer's email popped into my inbox this morning. Since that time I've had a veritable deluge of congratulations from all quarters. Along with the award itself that means a lot to me so this is a big public thank you to everyone really, especially John Troyer and vExpert panel. Obviously the bar has been set now. Time to get my bottom in gear. … [Read more...]

VCAP-DCA… done!

Where do I begin? I am so glad it's over. It's been a long time since I took an exam where I had to wait for the results. Maybe even 14 years! Even then though, I knew the exact date when the results were due. With the VCAP-DCA, VMware say that you'll get your score within 10 business days. That's not too precise (although thankfully not too long either) and in the end it was more like 13 business days since I actually took the exam. So, what's it like? There's a limit to what I can and will say about the exam. Three and a half hours didn't seem like nearly enough to get through it all - I ran out of time. A contributory factor in that though was the equipment / environment used to deliver the exam. I am used to working with a … [Read more...]

Objective 1.1 – Tools and Summary

Well, that one objective dealt with. Just another 30 odd to go. Don’t forget that reading is not everything, you need to have done as much of this stuff as possible. There are links to VMware’s product documentation throughout, be sure to be familiar with it as the language and methods that they use there should be the same as you’ll find in the VCAP exam – I hope. … [Read more...]

Objective 1.1 – Analyse I/O Workloads

To put an application into a virtual environment you must first understand its I/O requirements to make sure that it will perform adequately on the storage that you have configured. This is very much like the process of determining how much CPU and Memory resource an application will need – it’s a necessary step. Of course you can miss it out and in the majority of cases that won’t be an issue but to keep your finger on capacity management  and to avoid possible problems it is best to follow a defined a repeatable set of steps. It’s also useful to be able to profile the I/O workload of applications already on a virtual platform. So, what do we need to know? Well although I have a fairly well-rounded set of skills, I am more of a … [Read more...]

Objective 1.1 – LUN Masking and PSA-related Commands

What is LUN masking? explains what LUN masking is in layman’s terms (in case you have a NAS only background). See Storage Masking? for the Yellow Bricks advice on LUN masking. For an overview of PSA and commands, see VMware vSphere 4.1 PSA. Also see the vSphere CLI guide, vSphere Command-Line Interface Installation and Reference Guide. … [Read more...]