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.


  • 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 :
    • 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.

About larushjartar
VMware Specialist and IBM Technician.

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