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VMware vSphere: Design and Deploy Fast Track [V6] – a review

In line with the new VCIX6-DCV certification a new course has been launched, a 5-day fast track training delving into designing and deploying vSphere 6. A couple of weeks ago I took the course in Nieuwegein at Global Knowledge. Design courses rank among my favorite ones, I just love to share experiences, thoughts and ideas about designing vSphere infrastructures, looking at functional and non-functional requirements, trying not to add an interpretation, talking about constraints, limitations, business demands and risks.

design-deploy1

This extended-hours training course equips you with the knowledge, skills, and abilities to design and deploy a VMware vSphere 6.0 virtual infrastructure. You follow a proven approach to design and deploy a virtualization solution that is highly available, agile and scalable, manageable, and secure. This course discusses the benefits and risks of available design alternatives and provides information to support making sound design decisions. In this course, you practice your design skills by working with peers on a design project. You also deploy components of a completed vSphere design. This course is based on VMware ESXi 6.0 and VMware vCenter Server 6.0.design blueprint

Over the five days of the course the following topics are addressed:

  • infrastructure assessment,
  • core management infrastructure,
  • virtual data center infrastructure,
  • compute infrastructure,
  • storage infrastructure,
  • network infrastructure,
  • virtual machine design,
  • infrastructure security,
  • infrastructure manageability and
  • infrastructure recoverability.

Our instructor reminded us that we should avoid the term “best practice”, but we ought to use “common practice” in stead. And that makes sense, as the business requirements of the customer dictate the what and why of design decisions. There fore a “best” practice doesn’t exist. Remember this when you want to attempt the VCDX-certification.

It is a great course I think, we had the added benefit of a very experienced trainer, and five days is barely enough to cover all the topics and the labs. Mainly because we tend to get distracted form the course by our own experiences. Unfortunately there is no lab covering Autodeploy. It is a pity that the deploy exam is not yet available and won’t be available for another two to four months…

Minimum prerequisites for this course imho are a VCP-status (or equivalent experience and knowledge) and preferably a couple of years of experience with (the VMware approach to) designing, deploying and managing vSphere, finally some scripting knowledge will come in handy.

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4 Exam Retirements in June

4 VMware Exam Retirements in June by Paul Sorensen

4 Exam Retirements in June

Now that we have released most of the version 6 certifications on our roadmap, it is time to retire some of the older version 5 certifications. These exams are based upon older content and by retiring them it allows us – and you – to focus on the newest VMware technology. After the retirement date (shown […] The post 4 Exam Retirements in June appeared first on VMware Education and Certification Blog .


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How to choose the right VMware certification…

How to choose the right VMware certification track (via TechTarget)

How to choose the right VMware certification…

Choosing the proper VMware certification track is a vital first step. How far you want to go down the certification path after that is up to you.


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VCAP6-DCD of VCIX6-DCV?

vcix2VMware heeft meer informatie vrijgegeven over de aanstaande VCIX certificeringen. VCIX-NV bestond al, maar iedereen keek uit naar de DCV en CMA versies van deze certificering. In drie blogs heeft VMware Education alles duidelijk gemaakt over de certificeringen, upgrade paden en examen blauwdrukken, een echte schatkamer wanneer je je VCAP certificering wilt behalen, hernieuwen, VCIX wilt worden of VCDX (VCIX is randvoorwaardelijk daar voor). De blogs kunnen hier gevonden worden en openen in een nieuw scherm: 1, 2 end 3.

Op dit moment bereid ik mij samen met een aantal collega’s voor op het VCP6-DCV Delta examen, zal waarschijnlijk het VCP6-CMA examen ook gaan doen ergens in de eerste helft van volgend jaar en sta dan voor de keuze of ik mijn VCAP5-DCD zal vernieuwen of voor de VCIX certificering zal gaan. Op dit moment neig ik naar het tweede. Ik zou misschien zelfs voor VCIX6-CMA kunnen gaan, als ik ergens de tijd kan vinden om me daar goed op voor te bereiden. Ik weet uit ervaring dat het geen goed idee is om een examen als VCAP5-DCA te doen wanneer je geen tijd had om je daar op voor te bereiden, helemaal als je, zoals ik , geen dagelijks vSphere beheer doet.

 

MyVMX heeft ook een duidelijke blog over de VCIX-certificering, met een heel duidelijk diagram over alle mogelijkheden om je te (her-)certificeren.

VCAP6-DCD or VCIX6-DCV?

vcix2VMware has disclosed more information on the upcoming VCIX certifications. VCIX-NV already existed, but we were all waiting for the DCV and CMA versions of the certification. In three blogs VMware Education explains all about the certifications, upgrade paths and exam blueprints, a real treasure trove if you aspire to renew your VCAP certification or when you aspire to become VCDX (VCIX is mandatory to become VCDX6). The blogs can be found here: 1, 2 and 3 (links will open in a separate window).

Currently I am working with a couple of colleagues on preparing for the VCP6 delta exam to renew my VCP-DCV, will probably do VCP-CMA as well early next year and are then faced with the choice to renew my VCAP5-DCD or to go for the VCIX6-DCV. At the moment I am leaning towards the second choice. I might even go for VCIX6-CMA as well if and when I find the time to prepare myself. I know from experience that taking an exam like VCAP5-DCA is not a good idea when you did not had time to prepare, especially when you don’t administer vSphere on a day to day base.

MyVMX also has a nice blog with a very clear diagram showing all (re-)certification options, have a look at it.

VMware NSX: Install, Configure, Manage [V6.0] – a review

This past week I took the VMware NSX: ICM 6.0 training in our own Conclusion Headquarters in Utrecht, the Netherlands. This training is new, and as we are planning to start using NSX in our cloud proposition we deemed it necessary to take this course.

The course is set up as a 5 day course, we had a custom training in 4 days, but, to be honest, the standard course could be given in 4 days. The training is about NSX for vSphere, NSX for Multi Hypervisor is mentioned, but there are no slides about it, not about differences, interface nor requirements. There are no physical books, which still takes getting used to. The benefit of the didgital books is that any changes in the book will become available, like new slides or changed content. The description below details our training, the topics might be distributed slightly different when you take the course yourself, due to the level of the group, new content and questions asked.

NSX blog 1

Day 1 start with a brief introduction of training and certification for NSX (VCP-NV, VCIX-NV and VCDX-NV) in Module 1 and then continues with an introduction to vSphere Virtualization. As this course is the only course (so far) on NSX, this chapter is imho aimed at networking professionals with little or no knowledge about vSphere. The vSphere intro is followed by a chapter on SDDC before starting with the introduction of NSX and NSX manager and the installation and configuration of NSX Manager. After that it focusses on which service runs on which plane and the first lab. The rest of the day is about the NSX Controllers. Always use odd numbers of controllers with a minimum of 3.

NSX blog 2 NSX blog 3

On day 2 the fun really starts! It starts with laying a foundation targeting vSphere administrators (and could be a tad boring for network admins) on Ethernet, Broadcasts, ARP. To even things out, it continues with an explanation of the distributed switch, LACP and enhanced LACP and VLANs before starting the most important topic of the day: VXLAN (the NSX compendium on networkinferno.net does a great job explaining some parts, at times better than the course ware). As NSX for vSphere currently builds on VXLAN and is amongst others an extension of vCNS (and with NSX 6.1 there is an upgrade bundle from vCNS to NSX), understanding VXLAN and the differences from VLAN helps to learn NSX.

NSX blog 4 NSX blog 5

Day 3 continues with NSX Routing and NSX Edge features (NAT, Load Balancing, HA, VPN and layer 2 Bridging) and more labs. Labs are fun!  You’ll delve into OSPF, Area 51, IS-IS and BGP before you’ll learn about the NSX distributed Logical Router, which provides an optimized and scalable way of handling East-West traffic in a data center. Next topic layer 2 bridging, like bridging between a VXLAN and a VLAN. The chapter finishes with and introduction of the NSX Edge Services Gateway. And two labs. After the labs the course goes on with the Edge Services Gateway.

NSX blog 6 NSX blog 7

NSX blog 8

On Day 4 we worked on the NSX Firewall and monitoring and did the last 4 labs.

All in all there are 18 labs, ranging from the very easy to the somewhat more tricky. It is easy to overscroll the pages with digital courseware, making you skip a task, so things do not give the expected results. But the labs give a nice representation of the knowledge you need for common day tasks. When preparing for the VCP-NV exams, do as much of the VMware Hands On Labs as well, and if you’ve got a lab at home or at work, try to get your hands on a trial (should be possible after you have taken this course). The course covers about 50% of the topics in the exam. Use the blueprint to prepare yourself, and study the NSX documentation next to the course ware.

It is a good course I think, and four days is more than enough to cover all the topics and the labs. It is a pity that the possibility of integration with vCAC is mentioned but not further explored… Wouldn’t you want to increase availability of your cloud portal by automating tenants networks roll out with the aid of VCO and NSX?

After the instructors have gained some more experience with this course, I guess the course could be done in four days. Minimum prerequisites for this course imho are a VCP-status (or equivalent experience and knowledge) and preferably a couple of years of experience with managing vSphere and have a decent understanding of networking (routing, switching and firewalling). The instructor who did an excellent job with us, Jens Söldner, gave us some great tips for sites like vSential.com and networkinferno.net where additional information can be found on NSX. The last one is kept up to date, during the course we saw a new paragraph on a new NSX 6.1 feature, ECMP (Equal Cost Multi Path), being added. Another tip he gave us is the Brocade IP Primer, a free e-book on networking. Duco Jaspars, one of my fellow attendees, tipped us about the book “Networking for VMware Administrators” from VMware Press.

NSX blog 9

Short preview of upcoming posts

As I have been extremely busy the last weeks with our vCloud Automation Center 6 based cloud proposition, expanding our possibilities and preparing for on-boarding new tenants, I haven’t had time to write. I still don’t, however I just wanted to let you know what I’ll be writing about in the coming weeks.

As I will be attending the NSX 6.0 Install, Configure and Manage course next week, expect a review like I wrote about the vCAC 6 ICM course.

vCAC 6.1 is available as of today (september 9th), so I’ll be writing about our upcoming upgrade from 6.0.1.x to 6.1 and I’ll write about building a distributed setup of vCAC 6.1. Furthermore, I’ll write about migrating or integrating a single tier vCAC setup in a distributed vCAC architecture.

In our test/dev environment we’ll hook up our demo tenant to AWS, I’ll post about that too, and we’ll be looking at vCAC 6.1 Application Services. formerly known as vCloud Application Director (and before that vFabric Application Director).

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