TrainSignal Moves to Online Subscription Model

The first ever TrainSignal course that I “took” was David Davis’ VMware vSphere 4 training. I had heard lots about it from a few people on Twitter and several others in person and I wanted to use it to fill in a few gaps in readiness for my VCP4 exam. I’ve since been through a few other courses and they’ve all been great.

What’s changed between then and now is TrainSignal’s transition from supplying only DVDs, through adding online access to purchased course, to finally switching to a subscription only model.

It’s a move that makes a great deal of sense and it’d be worth a subscription to get access to course related to technologies that I don’t use as often. There is even an offline player but it’s currently limited to desktop computers (Windows / OSX).

One thing that I would like to see though is a way to view courses offline on mobile devices. I recently used Handbrake to transfer my copy of Scott Lowe’s Designing VMware Infrastructure to my iPad so I could work through it anywhere. At about 800Mb though, I would only want to download that ahead of time and not via 3G when on a train.

Still, good move TrainSignal. I like it.

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VMware Press Sweepstakes

VMware Press, VMware’s official publishing arm, are in the middle of running a 60 day competition sweepstake (that ends June 30th 2012). On offer are a $100 Amazon gift card and three VMware Press books for the winner and nine second prize winners will win an eBook of their choice.

Enter here.

The publisher has already produced two excellent books in Administering VMware Site Recovery Manager 5.0 and Automating vSphere with VMware vCenter Orchestrator. This summer promises a glut of new titles that I’d be interested to read too:

  • Storage Implementation in VMware vSphere 5.0 (July 2012)
  • Managing and Optimizing vSphere Deployments (July 2012)
  • The Official VCP5 Certification Guide (July 2012)
  • VMware View 5: Building a Successful Virtual Desktop (August 2012)
  • VMware vSphere 5 Integration into the Datacenter (August 2012)

As and when they come out you can probably expect me to post a review here.

VCP5: Passed

It took me a while to get around to booking it but I passed my VCP5 exam on the first attempt yesterday.

Back in 2009 when vSphere 4 was launched, I took the VCP4 exam much earlier. I was thinking last night why this was and I think it’s down to a change in circumstances. In 2009 I was freelancing and I felt it was advantageous to get my VCP4 as soon as possible. Working as I now do for a consultancy as a permanent employee, it’s not been as important for me to update to VCP5. That said, I did want to do it before the end of February to avoid having to take the “What’s New in vSphere 5″ course.

Now I know that everybody else who has posted about their VCP pass has done this but I just wanted to note the various resources that I used in my preparations. Many of them can be found mentioned on Gregg Robertson’s blog (The Saffa Geek) where he has a page dedicated to VCP5 studying resources. Besides that though I just wanted to call out a couple of things in particular:

  • Scott Lowe’s book “Mastering VMware vSphere 5” is a brilliant introduction and detailed reference to vSphere 5.
  • VMware’s own product documentation and KB articles.
  • Trainsignal’s VMware vSphere 5 Training – very useful for learning anywhere (I had the videos on my phone).
  • My own lab

That last resource is not to be underrated.  Nowhere else can you try lots of different configurations and break things with impunity. ANd that is almost certainly the best way to learn.

A final word on the VCP5… good luck.

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VCDX Defence Practice Event – London

Announced at the London VMUG meeting on 26th January, vSpecialist.co.uk 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 www.vspecialist.co.uk 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 licenses used in the lab for research are the 60-day evaluation licenses available from VMware. Currently, there is a movement to get the popular VMTN subscription (comparable to a MS TechNet account) reinstated by VMware. If you would like information on this, there is discussion here, being driven on Twitter my Mike Laverick (@Mike_Laverick) using #VMTNSubscriptionMovement (Twitter external link).

vSpecialist Labs Documentation
Part One – Hardware: http://www.vspecialist.co.uk/vspecialist-labs-hardware/
Part Two – Roadmap: http://www.vspecialist.co.uk/vspecialist-labs-roadmap/