VCAP-CID Study Notes: Objective 1.2

This is Objective 1.2 in the VCAP-CID blueprint Guide 2.8. The rest of the sections/objectives can be found here.

Bold items that have higher importance and copied text is in italic.

Knowledge

  • Identify discovery questions for a conceptual design (number of users, number of VMs, capacity, etc.)
    • First we need to know what a conceptual design is.
      • A conceptual design is a high level overview of a design. It includes how the design will eventually look like or a final look of the design. It should show the concepts the design will cover. In a vCloud environment it might include different Tiers of Resource clusters, a different Management cluster, information on the various clusters (replication, storage stacks, networking, security).
      • Conceptual vCloud
    • When we have an idea what a conceptual design should include, we need to ask the right groups within the organization to fill in the blanks, and these groups include various roles:
      • C-level IT people – who are more aligned with the business side of IT
      • Server Administrators – those who manage the hardware resources, CPU and Memory.
      • Storage Administrators – those who manage storage, both hardware and creating logical storage for utilization (the manual way)
      • Backup Administrators
      • Desktop Administrators
      • Network Administrators
      • Security Administrators
      • Virtualization Administrator
      • Application Power users and/or administrators – great in use-case creation
      • Help desk – these know more than most Level 3 Support guys on what is the real issue with some environment.
      • End users – in use-case creation, and to find out the paint points of the current operational model.
    • The questions can both cover the current environment and the future environment and of course regarding the projected usage of the environment:
      • How many users will be accessing each service? (used for scalability and capacity considerations)
      • How many VM’s are you currently using? (used for current capacity considerations)
      • What is the projected growth rate of VM’s? (used for future capacity considerations)
      • Are there any security requirements? (Compliance, isolation (data, network etc), mobility)
      • What are the current layout of performance tiers in the environment? (used for current performance considerations)
      • Are there plans to offer different performance tiers based workloads? (used for future performance considerations and SLA requirements)
      • Are there requirements for DR/BC? If so would they vary between performance tiers?
  • Identify the effect of product architecture, capabilities, and constraints on a conceptual design.
    • This is a very vague point, but I guess they mean how the different products in the vCloud stack, with their abilities and constraints, and how they affect the creation of the conceptual design.
    • I guess you would use your knowledge of vCloud environment architecture to create the conceptual design using the business requirements you have been given.
    • The product, VMware vCloud, will have constraints on how the conceptual design will be. Even if the business requirements are somewhat different they can’t go beyond what the actual product can do.
    • It this process of gathering the requirements from the business to translate them into a working conceptual design that is part of the process.

Skills and Abilities

  • Relate business and technical requirements to a conceptual design.
    • Business requirements are all about value, or how the design should provide value to the business. To name a few that could be used is:
      • Self-service capability
      • 99.9 % availability
      • Scalability
      • Multitenancy
      • Metering Capabilities
    • Technical requirements are just how you will use the technology in question to fulfill those business requirements
    • VCAP CID Obj 1.2 - 2
    • The technical requirements also include stuff that are not easily tracked to a certain business requirement and is more of a logical layout of the design:
      • Storage requirement: Different Tiers of storage must be available to the customer (T1,T2,T3)
      • Storage requirement: NFS datastore for the vCloud cell
      • Security requirement: AD must be used to authenticate users to the vCloud environment
  • Gather customer inventory data.
    • This can be done in multiple ways and that really depends on the project itself.
    • When the plan is to import existing workload into vCloud you will need some capacity information. You can use Capacity Planner, which is a tool VMware Partners get access to.
    • If you need to see the financial benefit of moving to the vCloud Suite you ask VMware Partners to use VMware Infrastructure Planner tool. It can be located here : https://vip.vmware.com/
    • Also if the customer has inventory document ready and capacity and performance information as well that can also be used.
  • Determine customer business goals.
    • Like I stated before a business requirement can be described as what needs to be achieved for the system to provide value. Here are some examples ofvCloud specific business requirements:
      • System must provide self-service capability
      • System must provide 99.9% availability
      • System must provide optimal scalability and elasticity
      • System must provide multitenancy
      • System must provide metering capabilities for cost reporting
      • System must support vApp use cases defined
      • System must leverage shared infrastructure and resources pooling
      • System must support a catalog of templates that end users can create
      • System must provide differentiated offerings based on cost.
      • The last 4 are taken from the Cloud Infrastructure Use Case document. They are somewhatvSphere related, but are they are a great example.
        • Business agility and flexibility should be increased; the cost of doing business should be decreased.
        • Minimal workload deployment time.
        • The environment should be scalable to enable future expansion (minimum one year, 20 percent estimated).
        • Resources should be guaranteed to groups of workloads as part of internal SLAs
      • The business requirements are not something that is handed to the architect as a list of things they solution must fulfill, but a list of requirements that are agreed upon during the design phase interviews. The architect must help the customer define the business requirements based on the capabilities and constraints of the product itself or you could end up with conflicting or even out-of-scope requirements.
  • Identify requirements, constraints, risks, and assumptions.
    • The majority of the next lines are straight from the vCloud Service documents available to VMware Partners.
    • Requirements are documented statements that depicts the requisite attributes, characteristics or qualities of the system
      • See business and technical requirements above for examples.
    • Constraints are requirements that restrict the amount of freedom in developing the design.
      • Existing hardware must be used
      • Distance between Datacenters
      • Cost
      • Network bandwidth is 1Gbps
      • Total storage available is 10TB
      • Etc…
    • Risks are potential issues that may negatively impact the reliability of the design
      • Lack of redundancy of specific hardware component
      • Support staff has not had any training
      • If hardware is not installed and configured by expected date, the project timeline will be affected
    • Assumptions are “educated guesses” that are made during the design process regarding the expected usage and implementation of a system. You should try to mitigate the assumptions by explaining them or even changing them to a requirement by asking the customer about the assumption.
      • Redundant hardware components are used
      • Training is provided for staff
      • Sufficient bandwidth is available for the projected number of VMs
      • All licences are ready before the implementation phase
    • Lets use Training as an example assumption. You as an architect assume the customer will provide training. You could leave it at that or ask the customer and verify that training will performed and change it to a requirement (Management requirement). An unresolved assumption (or at least unexplained one) will always have risks associated with it, like in this case if the customer wouldn’t train their staff there is a risk the project could fail.
  • Given customer requirements and product capabilities, determine the impact to a conceptual design.
    • I think this have already been covered in this post. The requirements of the customers must be related to the capabilities of the product and that will impact the conceptual design.

VCAP-CID Study Notes: Objective 1.1

This is Objective 1.1 in the VCAP-CID blueprint Guide 2.8. The rest of the sections/objectives can be found here.

Bold items that have higher importance and copied text is in italic.

Skills and Abilities

Distinguish between virtualization, automation and cloud computing.

  • Virtualization is basic virtualization of services or applications. Instead of running it on physical machine it is run on a virtual machine on top of hypervisor. At most you have multiple hypervisors (ESXi hosts) in a cluster, managed by a management service (vCenter). Installing new services still require manual work of installing a operating system (OS), either by installing, or by creating from templates, and then installing the application on top of the OS.
  • Automation is a way to automate know workflows, eg. A script that creates a new VM from a template, updates the network config, adds it to a domain, and maybe in some cases installs a application on said VM. There is no real cost analysis, service agreements behind the automation process itself. Just putting some otherwise manual processes together in a script/workflow.
  • Cloud computing is way to change IT to be more service oriented. Instead of focusing on VM’s it has a new focus on services that run on the VM’s. If you compare normal virtualization and simple automation to cloud computing, you can say that cloud computing includes both virtualization and automation but with the goal of further improve cost effciency , quality of service and business agility. What cloud computing services need to offer has been defined by the NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology):
    • Broad network access – Capabilities are available over the network and accessed through standard mechanisms that promote use by heterogeneous thin client or thick client platforms.
    • Rapid elasticity – Capabilities can be provisioned to scale out quickly and to be released rapidly—in some cases, automatically. Rapid elasticity enables resources to both scale out and scale in quickly. To the consumer, the capabilities available for provisioning often appear to be unlimited and can be purchased in any quantity at any time.
    • Measured service – Cloud systems automatically control and optimize resource usage by leveraging a metering capability at some level of abstraction appropriate to the type of service. Resource usage can be monitored, controlled, and reported, providing transparency for both the provider and the consumer of the utilized service.
    • On-demand self-service – A consumer can unilaterally automatically provision computing capabilities as needed without requiring human interaction with each service’s provider.
    • Resource pooling – The provider’s computing resources are pooled to serve multiple consumers, using a multitenant model with different physical and virtual resources dynamically assigned and reassigned according to consumer demand. A sense of location independence results because the subscriber generally has no knowledge of or control over the exact location of the provided resources, but the subscriber might be able to specify location at a higher level of abstraction.
  • Just to include what VMware believes a IaaS require (from the vCAT Introduction document):
    • A cloud must be built on a pooled, virtual infrastructure. Pools include not only CPU and memory resources, but also storage, networking, and associated services.
    • The cloud should provide application mobility between clouds, allowing the consumer to enter and leave the cloud easily with existing workloads. The ability to use existing consumer tools to migrate workloads to or from the cloud is highly desirable. Mobility of workloads between clouds requires cross-cloud resource management.
    • The cloud should be open and interoperable, allowing the consumption of cloud resources over open, Internet-standard protocols. Access to cloud resources does not require any other specific network protocols or clients.
    • Cloud consumers should pay only for resources they consume or commit to consuming.
    • The cloud should be a secure, trusted location for running cloud consumer workloads.
    • Cloud consumers should have the option and capability to protect their cloud-based workloads from data loss.
    • Cloud consumers are not responsible for maintaining any part of the shared infrastructure and do not need to interact with the cloud provider to maintain the infrastructure. They are not responsible for storage and network maintenance, ongoing cloud infrastructure patches, or business continuity activities. The cloud should be available to run high-availability workloads, and any faults occurring in the cloud infrastructure should be transparent to cloud consumers as a result of built-in availability, scalability, security, and performance guarantees.

Distinguish between private, public, hybrid and community cloud computing.

  • The VMware vCloud Architechture Toolkit (vCAT) Service Defenitions document has this covered:
    • Private vCloud – The vCloud infrastructure is operated solely for an organization and can be managed by the organization or a third party. The infrastructure can be located on-premises or off-premises.
    • Public vCloud – The vCloud infrastructure is made available to the general public or to a large industry group and is owned by an organization that sells vCloud services.
    • Hybrid vCloud – The vCloud infrastructure is a composite of two or more vCloud instances (private and public) that remain unique entities but are bound together by standardized technology. This enables data and application portability, such as cloud bursting for load balancing between vCloud instances. With a hybrid vCloud, an organization gets the advantages of both, with the capability to burst into the public vCloud when needed while maintaining critical assets on-premises.
    • Community vCloud – Several organizations share the vCloud infrastructure. The infrastructure supports a specific community that has shared concerns, such as mission, security requirements, policy, and compliance considerations. It can be managed by the organizations or a third party and can be located on-premises or off-premises.
  • But I really like to include the defenition in the vCAT Introduction document as well as it is even more detailed and explanatory:
    • Private cloud:
      • A private vCloud (also known as an internal vCloud.) operates on private networks, where a single company maintains accessible resources behind the firewall. In many cases, all the tenants share one legal entity. For example, a university might offer IaaS to its medical and business schools, or a company might do the same for various groups or business units. The private vCloud can be managed by the enterprise and hosted on-premise or operated on a dedicated infrastructure provided by a vCloud service provider or systems integrator. In any case, a private vCloud must conform to the organizational security constraints.
    • Public cloud:
      • A public vCloud offers IT resources as a service through external service providers and is shared across multiple organizations or the Internet. This can be viewed as a vCloud infrastructure that one organization operates and that multiple, legally separated organizations use.
      • A public vCloud is provisioned for open access and might be owned, managed, and operated by one or more entities.
      • A public vCloud provider might also support a private, community, or hybrid vCloud.
    • Hybrid cloud:
      • A hybrid vCloud combines the benefits of the private and the public vCloud, with flexibility and choice of deployment methods.
      • A hybrid vCloud consists of multiple, linked vCloud infrastructures. These distinct vCloud infrastructures can be private, community, or public; but they must meet a set of requirements that the providers define and the consumers agree to. Connecting these vCloud instances requires data and application mobility, as well as management.
      • When load-balancing between vCloud instances (cloud bursting), use a consistent monitoring and management approach when migrating an application or data workload. For the theory behind cloud bursting, see the Cloud Bursting document.
    • Community cloud:
      • A community vCloud is a specific public vCloud use case in which the cloud is shared, and typically owned, by a group of organizations with a common set of requirements. In many cases, the organizations also include some level of legal separation. Community vCloud resources are shared, with some parts under central control and other parts with defined autonomy. A vCloud built for government, education, or healthcare is an example of a community vCloud.
      • A community vCloud can be offered by a traditional service provider, by a member of the community, or by a third-party vendor and hosted on one or more sites. It can be placed on-premises at one or more of the organizations’ sites, off-premises at a vCloud provider site, or both on- and off-premises.

Analyze a customer use case to determine how cloud computing can satisfy customer requirements.

  • Lets go over some use cases which in turn represents business problems which can be addressed with vCloud services (and a services definition). These use cases are taken from the vCAT Service Defenitions document and further explained here.

VCAP_CID_UseCase_01

    • The Use Case is modernization, a very general use case, but its further explained in the description. The use case is created to address the problem the organization sees with its current IT infrastructure, which is that the business services, processes and legacy applications are not allowing the business to stay competetive. Or in non-IT terms, its taking to to long finish new projects as the focus is wrong and processes are lacking.
    • Risks are the thing that could happen if the use case is not addressed.
    • As you can see a Use Case is really a problem that that can be addressed with  a set of requirements based on cloud computing definitions, and if the problem isn’t address it could have several negative consequences.
      • Make infrastructure more service oriented – defenition of cloud computing.
      • Modernize applications – map what service applications is offering and how it can be packaged into the XaaS model (dependencies etc)
      • Improve speed to market – Automate known/new processes and application deployment into workflows that can be offered as a service to customers.

VCAP_CID_UseCase_02

    • The Use Case is about increasing business capacity and allowing it scale rapidly. So it takes to long to scale compute/storage/network resources to support seasonal or periodic business demand. So when it holiday season everything slows down due to overutilized capacity of resources.
      • Consumers can scale capacity – using the workload mobility defenition. Users can create the workload in other clouds, which have the same security requirements (eg. hosted private cloud – or a hybrid cloud like it’s called)
      • IT can scale up, down, in and out – IT is no longer based on a finite pool of resources but are consumed with 3 distinct models, Pay-as-you-go, Allocated resources with a change of growth, and reserved resources. So business units can scale as they want. And as for the service provider, adding new computer resources are automated as well for quicker capacity growth (Auto deploy, NSX, vSAN, vVOLs etc…)
      • The last two are a similar to the upper two requirements. It’s all about speeding/automating the process of increasing/decreasing resources.

VCAP_CID_UseCase_03

    • The Use Case is about speeding up provisioning of TEST/DEV services. It takes to long for IT to create TEST & DEV environments that are used develop new products and services.
      • Developers and testers can create the environment needed from a predetermined catalog of services to carry out further development of the application or test it in a closed off environment.
      • It’s about automating the provisioning, but IT(or business units) still needs to approve the process to control the usage of capacity. And cost show-back is used to give business units accountability of the usage of resources.

VCAP_CID_UseCase_04

    • The Use Case is based on creating a cloud environment that runs workloads that need to comply to certain security standards. This might include eg. PCI DSS.
      • By using vCenter Configuration Manager whole environments can be tracked for changes and compliancy to many security standards. But please note this use case will require design requirements for both the logical and physical infrastructure.
      • By using vCloud Network and Security, or NSX network isolation can be achieved. If using network isolation with PCI DSS, please refer to the latest PCI DSS documentation on design considerations for virtual environments.

Given a customer use case, determine the appropriate cloud computing model.

  • Please note the following section is bit of simplification on how to determine a correct cloud model for a use case, as this process involves more than just get a couple of requirements and than picking a cloud model. But still a good practice…
  • Cloud computing models include both deployment models (Private, Public, Community, Hybrid clouds) and service models (IaaS, PaaS, SaaS, DaaS, DRaaS and really just XaaS)
    • To define the most used ones the  vCAT Service Definitions document does a good job:
      • Software as a Service (SaaS) – Business-focused services are presented directly to the consumer from a service catalog.
      • Platform as a Service (PaaS) – Technology-focused services are presented for application development and deployment to application developers from a service catalog.
      • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) – Infrastructure containers are presented to consumers to provide agility, automation, and delivery of components.
        • IaaS serves as a foundation of additional service offerings, such as PaaS, SaaS and DaaS.
  • If we use the use cases above:
    • Use Case 1: This use case want to modernize their IT infrastructure from a legacy environment to a cloud environment. A private cloud using IaaS would be a good start (and I’m only basing that on the requirements in this single use case).
    • Use Case 2: This use case is to increase business capacity with faster scaling. A private cloud using IaaS would be a good start. Lots of design decision would be based on this requirement though (use of automation of capacity scaling – adding servers, storage, network, and letting customers control their resource usage)
    • Use Case 3: This use case need TEST/DEV environments to be deployed quicker, self-servicing and automated. More information is needed to determine this one, either a private cloud using IaaS, and on top of that you could go for PaaS solution. Or you can use a public cloud,or even hybrid cloud, it all depends on security requirements, data locality requirements or availability requirements just to name a few.
    • Use Case 4: This use case is about making sure the cloud environment comply to certain security standards. A private cloud is a must, and at least a IaaS. But the design would have a lot thing to consider both in the logical or physical design (layout of infrastructure based requirements of security standards etc.)

vCenter & Distributed vSwitch on two ESXi hosts with a single NIC

I was doing some lab work the other day with two IBM Flex nodes that only had a single 10Gb NIC.

The vCenter for the environment was located on the afformentioned ESXi hosts and my plan was to use the Distributed vSwitch, rather than the Simple vSwitch.

If you ever tried moving a ESXi host to a Distributed vSwitch which hosts the vCenter, it easy when you have more than one NIC. Just move one of the NIC’s to the Distributed vSwitch,  and then change the network configuration for the vCenter.

But when you are trying to move a ESXi host with a single NIC (whitebox, demo equipment, etc) things get a little bit more complicated.

When you attempt to move the vCenter and the ESXi host to a new Distributed Portgroup, the vCenter loses its connection and the process is rolled back. But you are still stuck with the NIC on the Simple vSwitch. Status quo…

The best way to make this work is to:

  1. Move the ESXi host that doesn’t run the vCenter VM hto the Distributed vSwitch. Create VM traffic portgroups.
  2. Clone the vCenter VM and place it on the ESXi host that doesn’t run the vCenter VM.
  3. Connect the newly cloned vCenter VM to a Distributed Portgroup on the ESXi host (that was connected to the DVS previously)
  4. Turn off the original vCenter.
  5. Turn on the cloned vCenter and configure the network settings (accept the error about a previous network using the IP if using Microsoft Server)
  6. Move the existing host to the Distributed switch.

Now you have a working vCenter on hosts with single NICs with  a Distributed vSwitch.

VCP-IaaS vs. VCP-Cloud: Cloud Exam Faceoff

Today (and today is 13th February 2013) VMware released the VCP-Cloud exam, which is in turn gives you the right to call yourself VCP-Cloud certified.

Attention! In February 2014 VMware released yet another VCP-Cloud exam, VCPC550 which is based on vCloud Director 5.5 and vCloud Automation Center 5.2.

THIS BLOG POST COMPARES VCP-CLOUD (VCPC510) to VCP-IaaS (VCPVCD510)

But there are two paths to the certification:

  1. If you have VCP-DV, you can take the VCP-IaaS exam and then be VCP-Cloud certified.
  2. If you complete one of the prerequisete courses you can take the VCP-Cloud exam and then be VCP-Cloud Certified.
    • The prerequisetes courses are vCloud Director: Install, Configure, Manage or VMware vCloud: Deploy and Manage the VMware vCloud (v 1.5).

As you can see we have a VCP-Cloud and a VCP-IaaS exam to acquire VCP-Cloud certification.

Comparison:

If we compare the two exams they are similar on some levels, but the amount of sections on each of them to process is HUGELY different. Lets the comparing begin.

Lets start with amount of questions and time you have to complete them:

  • VCP-IaaS: 85 Question and 90 minutes (plus non-english minutes for those applicable)
  • VCP-Cloud: 240 questions and 225 minutes ( note: the blueprint  (v. 2.21) does not state the non-english minutes, but I’m guessing they forgot to add it to the text)

Comment: There is a good reason for this huge difference in the exams, and that’s that VCP-Cloud has 7 extra sections to learn.

Next I want to compare the sections of each exam:

  • VCP-IaaS: 8 sections -> Install&Configure, Users&Roles, Chargeback, Networking, Organizations, Resources, Catalogs, Monitor.
  • VCP-Cloud: 15 sections -> Install&Configure vCenter/ESXi, vSphere Networking, vSphere Storage, Administer VM’s and vApps, Establish and Maintain Service Levels, Troubleshooting&Alarms, Monitor&Alarms, Install&Configure, Users&Roles, Chargeback, Networking, Organizations, Resources, Catalogs, Monitor.
    • The text in bold is all about Infrastructure, and the rest is the same as the IaaS exam.

Comment: As you can see VMware has put a mini VCP-DV exam into the VCP-Cloud exam, as well as the whole of IaaS exam. So you can safely say that its made for people who don’t have the VCP-DV certification.

What? Isn’t that 2 exams in one?

So if VCP-Cloud has a mini-VCP in it, why shouldn’t you just go for the VCP-DV? Let the comparing continue:

  • VCP-DV: Install&Configure vCenter/ESXi, vSphere Networking, vSphere Storage, Administer VM’s and vApps, Establish and Maintain Service Levels, Troubleshooting&Alarms, Monitor&Alarms
  • VCP-Cloud (Infrastructure sections): Install&Configure vCenter/ESXi, vSphere Networking, vSphere Storage, Administer VM’s and vApps, Establish and Maintain Service Levels, Troubleshooting&Alarms, Monitor&Alarms

They look exactly the same,  but when you look closer there are slight differences. Lets take a closer look (red are the same!!!!!):

VCP-DV (Blueprint v. 2.5) VCP-Cloud (Blueprint v. 2.3)
Section 1 – Plan, Install, Configure and Upgrade vCenter Server and VMware ESXi Section 1 – Plan, Install, Configure and Upgrade vCenter Server and VMware ESXi
Objective 1.1 — Install and Configure vCenter Server Objective 1.1 — Install and Configure vCenter Server
Knowledge Knowledge
• Identify available vCenter Server editions • Identify vCenter Server requirements
• Size the vCenter Server database • Identify vCenter Server database requirements
Install vCenter Server into a virtual machine • Install vCenter Server
Deploy the vCenter Appliance • Deploy the vCenter Appliance
• Install additional vCenter Server components • Identify VMware vSphere® Client requirements
• Install/Remove vSphere Client plug-ins • Install/Remove vSphere Client plug-ins
• Enable/Disable vSphere Client plug-ins • Enable/Disable vSphere Client plug-ins
• Determine use case for vSphere Client and Web Client • Determine use case for vSphere Client and Web Client
• Determine availability requirements for a vCenter Server in a given vSphere implementation  
• License vCenter Server  
Objective 1.2 – Install and Configure VMware ESXi Objective 1.2 – Install and Configure VMware ESXi
Knowledge Knowledge
• Perform an interactive installation of ESXi • Perform an interactive installation of ESXi using media or PXE
• Deploy an ESXi host using Auto Deploy • Identify ESXi host requirements
• Configure NTP on an ESXi Host • Configure NTP on an ESXi Host
• Configure DNS and Routing on an ESXi Host  
• Enable/Configure/Disable hyperthreading  
• Enable/Size/Disable memory compression cache  
• License an ESXi host  
Objective 1.3 – Plan and Perform Upgrades of vCenter Server and VMware ESXi Objective 1.3 – Plan and Perform Upgrades of vCenter Server and VMware ESXi
Knowledge Knowledge
• Identify upgrade requirements for ESXi hosts • Identify available vSphere editions and features
• Identify steps required to upgrade a vSphere implementation • Determine appropriate vSphere edition based on customer requirements
• Upgrade a vNetwork Distributed Switch  
• Upgrade from VMFS3 to VMFS5  
• Upgrade VMware Tools  
• Upgrade Virtual Machine hardware  
• Upgrade an ESXi Host using vCenter Update Manager  
• Determine whether an in-place upgrade is appropriate in a given upgrade scenario  
Objective 1.4 –Secure vCenter Server and ESXi
Knowledge
• Identify common vCenter Server privileges and roles
• Describe how permissions are applied and inherited in vCenter Server
• Configure and administer the ESXi firewall
• Enable/Configure/Disable services in the ESXi firewall
• Enable Lockdown Mode
• Configure network security policies
• View/Sort/Export user and group lists
• Add/Modify/Remove permissions for users and groups on vCenter Server inventory objects
• Create/Clone/Edit vCenter Server Roles
• Add an ESXi Host to a directory service
• Apply permissions to ESXi Hosts using Host Profiles
• Determine the appropriate set of privileges for common tasks in vCenter Server
Objective 1.5 – Identify vSphere Architecture and Solutions
Knowledge
• Identify available vSphere editions and features
• Identify the various datacenter solutions that interact with vSphere (View, SRM, Lab Manager, etc)
• Explain ESXi and vCenter Server architectures
• Explain Private/Public/Hybrid cloud concepts
• Determine appropriate vSphere edition based on customer requirements
Section 2 – Plan and Configure vSphere Networking Section 2 – Plan and Configure vSphere Networking
Objective 2.1 – Configure vNetwork Standard Switches Objective 2.1 – Configure vNetwork Standard Switches
Knowledge Knowledge
• Identify vNetwork Standard Switch (vSS) capabilities • Identify vNetwork Standard Switch capabilities
• Create/Delete a vNetwork Standard Switch • Create/Delete a vNetwork Standard Switch
• Add/Configure/Remove vmnics on a vNetwork Standard Switch • Add/Configure/Remove vmnics on a vNetwork Standard Switch
• Configure vmkernel ports for network services • Configure vmkernel ports for network services
• Add/Edit/Remove port groups on a vNetwork Standard Switch • Add/Edit/Remove port groups on a vNetwork Standard Switch
• Determine use case for a vNetwork Standard Switch • Determine use case for a vNetwork Standard Switch
Objective 2.2 – Configure vNetwork Distributed Switches Objective 2.2 – Configure vNetwork Standard and Distributed Switches
Knowledge Knowledge
• Identify vNetwork Distributed Switch (vDS) capabilities • Identify vNetwork Distributed Switch capabilities
• Create/Delete a vNetwork Distributed Switch • Create/Delete a vNetwork Distributed Switch
• Add/Remove ESXi hosts from a vNetwork Distributed Switch • Add/Remove ESXi hosts from a vNetwork Distributed Switch
• Add/Configure/Remove dvPort groups • Add/Configure/Remove dvPort groups
• Add/Remove uplink adapters to dvUplink groups • Add/Remove uplink adapters to dvUplink groups
• Create/Configure/Remove virtual adapters • Create/Configure/Remove virtual adapters
• Migrate virtual adapters to/from a vNetwork Standard Switch • Migrate virtual adapters to/from a vNetwork Standard Switch
• Migrate virtual machines to/from a vNetwork Distributed Switch • Migrate virtual machines to/from a vNetwork Distributed Switch
• Determine use case for a vNetwork Distributed Switch • Determine use case for a vNetwork Distributed Switch
  • Edit general vNetwork Distributed Switch settings
  • Configure dvPort settings
Objective 2.3 – Configure vSS and vDS Policies Objective 2.3 – Configure vSS and vDS Policies
Knowledge Knowledge
• Identify common vSS and vDS policies • Identify common vSS and vDS policies
• Configure dvPort group blocking policies  
• Configure load balancing and failover policies • Configure load balancing and failover policies
• Configure VLAN settings • Configure VLAN settings
• Configure traffic shaping policies  
• Enable TCP Segmentation Offload support for a virtual machine  
• Enable Jumbo Frames support on appropriate components • Enable Jumbo Frames (1600+ MTU) support on appropriate components
• Determine appropriate VLAN configuration for a vSphere implementation • Determine appropriate VLAN configuration for a vSphere implementation
Section 3 – Plan and Configure vSphere Storage Section 3 – Plan and Configure vSphere Storage
Objective 3.1 – Configure Shared Storage for vSphere Objective 3.1 – Configure Shared Storage for vSphere
Knowledge Knowledge
• Identify storage adapters and devices  
• Identify storage naming conventions  
• Identify hardware/dependent hardware/software iSCSI initiator requirements  
• Compare and contrast array thin provisioning and virtual disk thin provisioning  
• Describe zoning and LUN masking practices  
• Scan/Rescan storage • Scan/Rescan storage
• Identify use cases for FCoE  
• Create an NFS share for use with vSphere  
• Connect to a NAS device • Connect to a NAS and/or SAN device
• Enable/Configure/Disable vCenter Server storage filters  
• Configure/Edit hardware/dependent hardware initiators  
• Enable/Disable software iSCSI initiator  
• Configure/Edit software iSCSI initiator settings  
• Configure iSCSI port binding  
• Enable/Configure/Disable iSCSI CHAP  
• Determine use case for hardware/dependent hardware/software iSCSI initiator  
• Determine use case for and configure array thin provisioning  
Objective 3.2 – Create and Configure VMFS and NFS Datastores Objective 3.2 – Create and Configure VMFS and NFS Datastores
Knowledge Knowledge
• Identify VMFS and NFS Datastore properties • Identify VMFS and NFS Datastore properties
• Identify VMFS5 capabilities • Identify VMFS5 capabilities
• Create/Rename/Delete/Unmount a VMFS Datastore  
• Mount/Unmount an NFS Datastore  
• Extend/Expand VMFS Datastores • Extend/Expand VMFS Datastores
• Upgrade a VMFS3 Datastore to VMFS5  
• Place a VMFS Datastore in Maintenance Mode • Place a VMFS Datastore in Maintenance Mode
• Select the Preferred Path for a VMFS Datastore  
• Disable a path to a VMFS Datastore  
• Determine use case for multiple VMFS/NFS Datastores • Determine use case for multiple VMFS/NFS Datastores
• Determine appropriate Path Selection Policy for a given VMFS Datastore  
Section 4 – Deploy and Administer Virtual Machines and vApps Section 4 – Deploy and Administer Virtual Machines and vApps
Objective 4.1 – Create and Deploy Virtual Machines Objective 4.1 – Create and Deploy Virtual Machines
Knowledge Knowledge
• Identify capabilities of virtual machine hardware versions • Identify capabilities of virtual machine hardware versions
• Identify VMware Tools device drivers  
• Identify methods to access and use a virtual machine console • Identify methods to access and use a virtual machine console
• Identify virtual machine storage resources  
• Place virtual machines in selected ESXi hosts/Clusters/Resource Pools  
• Configure and deploy a Guest OS into a new virtual machine • Configure and deploy a Guest OS into a new virtual machine
• Configure/Modify disk controller for virtual disks • Configure/Modify disk controller for virtual disks
• Configure appropriate virtual disk type for a virtual machine  
• Create/Convert thin/thick provisioned virtual disks • Create/Convert thin/thick provisioned virtual disks
• Configure disk shares  
• Install/Upgrade/Update VMware Tools • Install/Upgrade/Update VMware Tools
• Configure virtual machine time synchronization • Configure virtual machine time synchronization
• Convert a physical machine using VMware Converter  
• Import a supported virtual machine source using VMware Converter  
• Modify virtual hardware settings using VMware Converter  
• Configure/Modify virtual CPU and Memory resources according to OS and application requirements • Configure/Modify virtual CPU and Memory resources according to OS and application requirements
• Configure/Modify virtual NIC adapter and connect virtual machines to appropriate network resources  
• Determine appropriate datastore locations for virtual machines based on application workloads • Determine appropriate datastore locations for virtual machines based on application workloads
Objective 4.2 – Create and Deploy vApps Objective 4.2 – Create and Deploy vSphere vApps
Knowledge Knowledge
• Identify vApp settings • Describe a vSphere vApp
• Create/Clone/Export a vApp  
• Add objects to an existing vApp  
• Edit vApp settings  
• Configure IP pools  
• Suspend/Resume a vApp  
• Determine when a tiered application should be deployed as a vApp  
Objective 4.3 – Manage Virtual Machine Clones and Templates Objective 4.3 – Manage Virtual Machine Clones and Templates
Knowledge Knowledge
• Identify the vCenter Server managed ESXi hosts and Virtual Machine maximums  
• Identify Cloning and Template options  
• Clone an existing virtual machine  
• Create a template from an existing virtual machine  
• Deploy a virtual machine from a template  
• Update existing virtual machine templates  
• Deploy virtual appliances and/or vApps from an OVF template  
• Import and/or Export an OVF template • Import and/or Export an OVF template
• Determine the appropriate deployment methodology for a given virtual machine application  
Objective 4.4 – Administer Virtual Machines and vApps Objective 4.4 – Administer Virtual Machines and vApps
Knowledge Knowledge
• Identify files used by virtual machines  
• Identify locations for virtual machine configuration files and virtual disks • Identify locations for virtual machine configuration files and virtual disks
• Identify common practices for securing virtual machines  
• Hot Extend a virtual disk • Hot Extend a virtual disk
• Configure virtual machine options  
• Configure virtual machine power settings  
• Configure virtual machine boot options  
• Configure virtual machine troubleshooting options  
• Assign a Storage Policy to a virtual machine • Assign a Storage Policy to a virtual machine
• Verify Storage Policy compliance for virtual machines • Verify Storage Policy compliance for virtual machines
• Determine when an advanced virtual machine parameter is required  
• Adjust virtual machine resources (shares, limits and reservations) based on virtual machine workloads  
Section 5 – Establish and Maintain Service Levels Section 5 – Establish and Maintain Service Levels
Objective 5.x – Create and Configure VMware Clusters Objective 5.1 – Create and Configure VMware Clusters
Knowledge Knowledge
• Describe DRS virtual machine entitlement • Describe DRS and Storage DRS
• Create/Delete a DRS/HA Cluster • Create/Delete a DRS/HA Cluster
• Add/Remove ESXi Hosts from a DRS/HA Cluster  
• Add/Remove virtual machines from a DRS/HA Cluster • Add/Remove ESXi Hosts from a DRS/HA Cluster
• Configure Storage DRS • Describe Enhanced vMotion Compatibility
• Configure Enhanced vMotion Compatibility  
• Monitor a DRS/HA Cluster • Monitor a DRS/HA Cluster
• Configure migration thresholds for DRS and virtual machines  
• Configure automation levels for DRS and virtual machines  
• Create VM-Host and VM-VM affinity rules  
• Enable/Disable Host Monitoring • Enable/Disable Host Monitoring
• Enable/Configure/Disable virtual machine and application monitoring • Enable/Configure/Disable virtual machine and application monitoring
• Configure admission control for HA and virtual machines • Configure admission control for HA and virtual machines
• Determine appropriate failover methodology and required resources for an HA implementation • Determine appropriate failover methodology and required resources for an HA implementation
Objective 5.2 – Plan and Implement VMware Fault Tolerance
Knowledge
• Identify VMware Fault Tolerance requirements
• Configure VMware Fault Tolerance networking
• Enable/Disable VMware Fault Tolerance on a virtual machine
• Test an FT configuration
• Determine use case for enabling VMware Fault Tolerance on a virtual machine
Objective 5.3 – Create and Administer Resource Pools
Knowledge
• Describe the Resource Pool hierarchy
• Define the Expandable Reservation parameter
• Create/Remove a Resource Pool
• Configure Resource Pool attributes
• Add/Remove virtual machines from a Resource Pool
• Determine Resource Pool requirements for a given vSphere implementation
• Evaluate appropriate shares, reservations and limits for a Resource Pool based on virtual machine workloads
• Clone a vApp
Objective 5.4 – Migrate Virtual Machines Objective 5.2 – Migrate Virtual Machines
Knowledge Knowledge
• Identify ESXi host and virtual machine requirements for vMotion and Storage vMotion • Identify ESXi host and virtual machine requirements for vMotion and Storage vMotion
• Identify Enhanced vMotion Compatibility CPU requirements • Identify Enhanced vMotion Compatibility CPU requirements
• Identify snapshot requirements for vMotion/Storage vMotion migration
• Migrate virtual machines using vMotion/Storage vMotion • Migrate virtual machines using vMotion/Storage vMotion
• Configure virtual machine swap file location  
• Migrate a powered-off or suspended virtual machine  
• Utilize Storage vMotion techniques (changing virtual disk type, renaming virtual machines, etc.)  
Objective 5.5 – Patch and Update ESXi and Virtual Machines
Knowledge
• Identify patching requirements for ESXi hosts and virtual machine hardware/tools
• Create/Edit/Remove a Host Profile from an ESXi host
• Attach/Apply a Host Profile to an ESXi host or cluster
• Perform compliance scanning and remediation of an ESXi host using Host Profiles
• Install and Configure vCenter Update Manager
• Configure patch download options
• Create/Edit/Delete an Update Manager baseline
• Attach an Update Manager baseline to an ESXi host or cluster
• Scan and remediate ESXi hosts and virtual machine hardware/tools using Update Manager
• Stage ESXi host updates
Section 6 – Perform Basic Troubleshooting Section 6 – Perform Basic Troubleshooting and Alarm Management
Objective 6.1 – Perform Basic Troubleshooting for ESXi Hosts Objective 6.1 – Perform Basic Troubleshooting for ESXi Hosts
Knowledge Knowledge
• Identify general ESXi host troubleshooting guidelines • Identify general ESXi host troubleshooting guidelines
• Troubleshoot common installation issues • Troubleshoot common installation issues
• Monitor ESXi system health • Monitor ESXi system health
• Export diagnostic information • Export diagnostic information
Objective 6.2 – Perform Basic vSphere Network Troubleshooting Objective 6.2 – Perform Basic vSphere Network Troubleshooting
Knowledge Knowledge
• Verify network configuration • Verify network configuration
• Verify a given virtual machine is configured with the correct network resources • Verify a given virtual machine is configured with the correct network resources
• Troubleshoot virtual switch and port group configuration issues • Troubleshoot virtual switch and port group configuration issues
• Troubleshoot physical network adapter configuration issues • Troubleshoot physical network adapter configuration issues
• Identify the root cause of a network issue based on troubleshooting information • Identify the root cause of a network issue based on troubleshooting information
Objective 6.3 – Perform Basic vSphere Storage Troubleshooting
Knowledge
• Verify storage configuration
• Troubleshoot storage contention issues
• Troubleshoot storage over-commitment issues
• Troubleshoot iSCSI software initiator configuration issues
• Troubleshoot Storage Reports and Storage Maps
• Identify the root cause of a storage issue based on troubleshooting information
Objective 6.4 – Perform Basic Troubleshooting for HA/DRS Clusters and vMotion/Storage vMotion
Knowledge
• Identify HA/DRS and vMotion requirements
• Verify vMotion/Storage vMotion configuration
• Verify HA network configuration
• Verify HA/DRS cluster configuration
• Troubleshoot HA capacity issues
• Troubleshoot HA redundancy issues
• Interpret the DRS Resource Distribution Graph and Target/Current Host Load Deviation
• Troubleshoot DRS load imbalance issues
• Troubleshoot vMotion/Storage vMotion migration issues
• Interpret vMotion Resource Maps
• Identify the root cause of a DRS/HA cluster or migration issue based on troubleshooting information
Section 7 – Monitor a vSphere Implementation and Manage vCenter Server Alarms Section 7 – Monitor a vSphere Implementation and Manage vCenter Server Alarms
Objective 7.1 – Monitor ESXi, vCenter Server and Virtual Machines Objective 7.1 – Monitor ESXi, vCenter Server and Virtual Machines
Knowledge Knowledge
• Describe how Tasks and Events are viewed in vCenter Server • Describe how Tasks and Events are viewed in vCenter Server
• Identify critical performance metrics • Identify critical performance metrics
• Explain common memory metrics • Explain common memory metrics
• Explain common CPU metrics • Explain common CPU metrics
• Explain common network metrics • Explain common network metrics
• Explain common storage metrics • Explain common storage metrics
• Compare and contrast Overview and Advanced Charts • Compare and contrast Overview and Advanced Charts
• Configure SNMP for vCenter Server • Configure SNMP for vCenter Server
• Configure Active Directory and SMTP settings for vCenter Server • Configure Active Directory and SMTP settings for vCenter Server
• Configure vCenter Server logging options • Configure vCenter Server logging options
• Create a log bundle • Create a log bundle
• Create/Edit/Delete a Scheduled Task • Create/Edit/Delete a Scheduled Task
• Configure/View/Print/Export resource maps • Configure/View/Print/Export resource maps
• Start/Stop/Verify vCenter Server service status • Start/Stop/Verify vCenter Server service status
• Start/Stop/Verify ESXi host agent status • Start/Stop/Verify ESXi host agent status
• Configure vCenter Server timeout settings • Configure vCenter Server timeout settings
• Monitor/Administer vCenter Server connections • Monitor/Administer vCenter Server connections
• Create an Advanced Chart • Create an Advanced Chart
• Determine host performance using resxtop and guest Perfmon • Determine host performance using resxtop and guest Perfmon
• Given performance data, identify the affected vSphere resource • Given performance data, identify the affected vSphere resource
Objective 7.2 – Create and Administer vCenter Server Alarms Objective 7.2 – Create and Administer vCenter Server Alarms
Knowledge Knowledge
• List vCenter default utilization alarms • List vCenter default utilization alarms
• List vCenter default connectivity alarms • List vCenter default connectivity alarms
• List possible actions for utilization and connectivity alarms • List possible actions for utilization and connectivity alarms
• Create a vCenter utilization alarm • Create a vCenter utilization alarm
• Create a vCenter connectivity alarm • Create a vCenter connectivity alarm
• Configure alarm triggers • Configure alarm triggers
• Configure alarm actions • Configure alarm actions
• For a given alarm, identify the affected resource in a vSphere implementation • For a given alarm, identify the affected resource in a vSphere implementation

If you managed to go through the whole list, you can see there are whole section missing in the VCP-Cloud, compared to VCP-DV. It seems you don’t need to know as much about hardware, upgrading, security, design, storage, VM’s, vSphere templates, FT, Resource pools, patching, troubleshooting storage&HA&DRS&vMotion.

For my part it seems as the VCP-Cloud exam is for a VMware admin that is yet to take the VCP-DV but has worked with vSphere environments and has some hands-on experience.

But if you already have the VCP-DV prerequisetes, I highly recommend going for the VCP-DV but, and there’s always a but, if you have the VCP-Cloud prerequisites and the experience you should go for the VCP-Cloud exam.

It’s the famous “It depends” conundrum, which seems to be the answer for most IT questions regarding designs. And a matter of fact I think it’s a great book title for a vSphere design book: “It depends – VMware Designs for the masses”. :)

To sum it all up:

VCP-IaaS + VCP-DV [VCP exam + course prerequisite] = VCP-Cloud certified.

VCP-Cloud [VCP-IaaS + mini VCP-DV] + course prerequisite = VCP-Cloud certified.

Please feel free to comment!

 

Custom alarms for events in vCenter 5.x

Some customer have been asking if I know why some machines are failing at consolidating the snapshot in the end of the backup job. It seems as the job finishes, but the snapshot deletion fails, some times leaving behind a large snapshot, or even some “ghost” snapshots.  Sometimes the event isn’t noticed until days later, or even worse. when the datastore fills up.

When this happens, an event is logged for the virtual machine, stating that the VM’s disks consolidation fails:

Virtual machine {vm.name} disks consolidation failed on {host.name} in cluster {computeResource.name} in {datacenter.name}.

This is a perfect case for a custom alarm so the administrator can be informed when the consolidation failed.

  1. First you need a way to create custom alarms in vCenter. My main source of information is this handy document from the VMware communities (author hmundt): More fun with vSphere Alarms
  2. Second you need a list of event for the vSphere API. Veeam has been so kind to publish a list of events from the API for vSphere 5.0 which they make available for users for their great product Veeam One (and if anyone from Veeam reads this, an updated list for vSphere 5.1 will be much appreciated).
  3. Next you create a new alarm on the vCenter level, choose Virtual Machine, Event and for the Event trigger you just paste the vSphere API event text. In this case its:

com.vmware.vc.VmDiskFailedToConsolidateEvent

Next time a consolidation job fails an Alarm will light up that VM and bother all the people you added on the email notification list.

Of course this list can be used to watch for EVERY event know in the vSphere API and is very handy when you need to watch for a specific event in one of those troubleshooting sessions.

Upgrading a vCenter SQL Express database

The other day I got my hands on a full vCenter SQL 2005 SP2 Express database. The vCenter database filled up the 4GB allowed for SQL 2005 Express DBs.

So as the shop I was in had no SQL’s to work with, it was decided to upgrade to SQL 2008 R2 SP2 Express, which has a 10GB limit per database.

The environment was running on vSphere 5.0, and I had upgraded it recently from 4.1 to 5.0. There’s a quite an increase of tables between 4.1 and 5.0, so this will happen to most environments sooner or later.

Note this procedure will only work if you will still be using the same vCenter server as in the beginning. Not to be used for whole vCenter relocations.

So the way to do this is quite easy, and you don’t need to be a SQL admin. :)

You will need to break this procedure into 3 parts: 1) Preparation 2) Upgrade 3) Test

1) Preparation

  • ODBC connections: Make sure to check what the ODBC connection is configured to Integrated Windows or SQL.
  • Services: Make sure to check what user is used to run the Virtual Center Server service. Most likely System or a domain/local admin.
  • Name of the Database: I recommend not to change the name of the database. Most likely the name will end  at SQL*\SQLEXP_VIM.
  • Get the installation files for SQL 2008 R2 Express and also for SQL Server Management Studio Express.
  • Open up the SQL instance using SQL Management Studio, and note who the DBOwner is for each database that will be moved. If a SQL user note that down as well.

2) Upgrade

    1. Stop all vCenter related services
      • vSphere Web Client
      • VMware VirtualCenter Server Delayed
      • VMware VirtualCenter Management Webservices Delayed
      • VMware vSphere Update Manager Service.
      • VMware vSphere Profile-Driven Storage
      • vCenter Inventory Service
      • VMwareVCMSDS
    2. Put all stopped services to disabled.
      • This is done as you will need to restart the server after a SQL upgrade and you will not want the services to start when you do.
    3. Open up the old SQL 2005 Express database using the SQL Management Studio.
    4. Backup each database (e.g. if you got vCenter and Update Manager databases).
      • Right click the database, go to Tasks and select Backup. Backup to a known location.
    5. Go the the DATA folder for the SQL instance, for 32 bit  its in c:/Program Files/Microsoft SQL Server//…, and for 64 bits in c:/Program Files (x86)/….
      • There you will find all the database and log files for the vCenter server.
      • Names are most likely VIM_VCDB.ldf for logs, and VIM_VCDB.mdf for the database itself.
    6. Detach the database. Make sure you stopped the vCenter services.
      • Right click the database, go to Tasks and select Detach.
      • Move the database and log file to another location.
    7. Though you can upgrade 2005 Express to 2008 Express, I find it much “cleaner” to just uninstall 2005 and install a new SQL 2008 R2 Express instance
      • Remove the SQL 2005 Express instance. (you will need to turn off the SQL service)
    8. Restart
    9. Install a new SQL 2008 R2 Express instance.
      •  When installing a new database make sure you write down the sa account password and/or give a domain/computer account sysadmin privileges to the instance.
      • Make sure you name the instance as SQLEXP_VIM. Otherwise you will need to change a registry setting for the VirtualCenter service to start (pointing it to the new name).
    10. Just to make sure, restart again.
    11. Move the database and log file to the new folder for the 2008 R Express instance.
    12. Login to the instance using SQL Studio Manager.
    13. Right click databases and select Tasks->Attach. Attach the database. You don’t need to attach another log file when the pop-up appears, theres only 1 log file already associated with the database.
    14. Go to properties of the vCenter database and make sure the DBO (database owner) is the same one as on the 2005 instance.
      • You might need to add the user in the Login section of the instance.
    15. Create a new file using notepad, save it as connections.udl (must end in udl). Go to properties and to Connection. There you can try out the SQL connection. This is a handy tool to use with SQL connections test. This will be used in the next sections.
    16. Go to SQL Server Configuration Manager (should available in the Start menu).
      • Select SQL server network configuration and enable both Named pipes and TCP/IP.
      • Go to Properties on TCP/IP. Select IP Addresses and go to the bottom where you see a section called IPAll. Put in 1433 in TCP port. Push OK.
    17. Go to both ODBC managers (32bit and 64 bit: C:\Windows\SysWOW64 for 32bit and C:\Windows\system32 for 64bit, yes they have conflicting names…).
      • Make sure you have a connection to the database. 32 bit is for Update Manager.
      • The user that connects to the database, needs to be a user that has access to Database through the SQL Studio Manager. Best practice is a domain system account, that is a DBO on the vCenter database, and is the one that starts the vCenter service as well.
    18. Open SQL Studio Manager and open up the vCenter Database
    19. Put all the services to their former startup selection.
    20. Restart the server, or go through restarting the services. I find it easier just to restart it.

3) Test

    1. After restarting make sure the vCenter server service starts and all your performance data is showing.

Notes (stuff you should know about vCenter SQL Express databases):

  • Rollup jobs (the jobs that move performance data between week->month->year) are not running as a separate job, so you should not need to fix those. They are being run by the VirtualCenter service and are a part of the database (located in vCenter DB > Programmability > Stored Procedures). This is only the case for SQL Express instances.
  • I always recommend putting vCenter Databases on real SQL servers. But I’ve seen small environments of at least 100 machines run for years on an Express database (NOT SUPPORTED).
  • Most misconfigurations on SQL Express DB’s are user related. Double check the user that runs the VirtualCenter service, and who is the DBO, and ODBC connections.

KBs used in this blog post:

VCP-IaaS exam experience

On Tuesday I sat the VCP-IaaS exam and passed.

As you may have seen I’ve been going through the sections of the VCP-IaaS blueprint, creating some notes on procedures and hopefully a helpful summary of the blueprint.

I must say that going through the sections and making the notes really helped, but what really helped is my own experience with the product. I recommend creating a vCloud environment, with vCloud cells, vShield Manager, vCenter, Chargeback and Connector. Just having access to an environment to play with will make this test really manageable.

As far the exam goes, without going into much detail (not that I can),  I found myself struggling with any questions regarding Chargeback, mainly because its easy to install and not a system a VMware admin will have anything to do with after creating a vCloud environment. I recommend using the study notes and go through section 3 with Chargeback Manager open and just click away.

Also vCloud networking is a subject you will have to have figured out as this subject is something that is very important in any vCloud environment. Thankfully many bloggers have posted really helpful posts on this subject.  The vCloud Ultimate Resource Guide is a great list of resources that will help you pass the exam.

Other recommended reads are the vCloud Admin and User Guide (Most of the sections use these two guides). I recommend going through them at least once in case my notes missed anything.

I hope the Study Notes will help anyone studying for this exam and I will update the posts (or just create a new one)  when the Blueprint is upgraded to version 5.1 of vCloud which was released at VMworld USA.

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