Monthly Archives: February 2012

My VCP 5 Exam Experience

Well, with one day to spare before the "return of the class requirement" I have wrote and passed my VCP 5 exam. I thought,  just as many others have,  I would share my experience and thoughts around the exam.

First off I have read countless blog posts about how the VCP 5 was much harder and more difficult than the VCP 4. Personally I did not find this to be the case. Now maybe its the fact that I have another year of experience with vSphere under my belt or maybe I was simply better prepped this time around but I didn't see too much of a difference between the exams.  No, I don't know when VMware released different revisions of the VCP 4 exam, but I thought the style of questions that i seen on my VCP 4 last summer to be similar to the style that i seen yesterday on my VCP 5. And by style i mean more of a type of questioning revolving around experience with the product than just spitting out configuration maximums, In fact I cant remember one config max question at all!

So that being said my advice for those pursuing the VCP 5 would be to get as much experience with the product as you can, whether that be real world experience or lab experience. Also, use the resources that the community has created. Their is some absolutely awesome material available for free along with some that can be purchased.  Aside from all of the official vSphere 5 documentation the resources that I mainly used are listed below…

  • My own OMG Study Guide – This was probably the most useful to me, as it kind of forced me to study every aspect of the blueprint.  If you are studying, I would recommend using all these resources and creating your own blueprint notes
  • Jason Langer's and Josh Coen's Study Guide – Again, this is an awesome resource!  I've praised it many times!  Go through this before you write.
  • Forbes Guthrie's notes – This guy is a note/reference machine!  Check out his VCP notes along with all of this reference cards.
  • Andrea Mauro's VCP Study Guide – Similar to al of the other study guides but each one has a different take.
  • Simon Long's Practice test – you can't think of a practice test without thinking of this guys blog.  Great to see where you are at in terms of knowledge.
  • Damian Karlson and Cody Bunch's Brownbags – get these and watch them.  They did a great VCP 5 series with each webinar focused on a section of the blueprint.
  • Trainsignal's VMware vSphere 5 Training – David Davis and Elias Khnaser do an awesome job at breaking down every single thing vSphere 5 has to offer.  I would recommend picking this up.
  • Scott Lowe's Mastering VMware vSphere 5 – This is a great book not only for your VCP 5 studies but for your day to day management of vSphere.  Get it!

Again, these are just a few resources of thousands that are out there.  Get connected with the community and get certified!  Good Luck!

Skewed Usage Reports in VCops 5 – No problem!

A couple of years ago I downloaded and installed a trial of CapacityIQ.  It wasn't necessarily the capacity planning for the future capabilities that I was looking for, but more for the under/over sized VM reporting that it included.  Honestly, I didn't get a lot of time to evaluate it and all I really did was run a few reports and determine that we were heavily oversizing our VMs.  Although I found it useful, I couldn't justify a recommendation to gain budget for just the functionality that CapacityIQ provided.

Fast forward to last year.  I now find myself participating in a beta for VCops 1.0. I was extremely excited about this product the first time I seen it at our local Toronto VMUG.  Ever since then I've been using VCops on almost a daily basis to monitor and keep track of events and changes within our environment.  

And now here we are today with the recent release of VCops 5.  This release, now including CapacityIQ reporting and metrics has taken me back in time to those days I was evaluating CapacityIQ by itself.  And so I find myself once again looking at those under/over sized VM reports (with a little more time and focus this time around) and kind of scratching my head a bit.  A lot of the recommendations it was making around over provisioning vCPU's were correct, however I do have some VMs containing 2 vCPU's that it was recommending to drop to 1.  Now I know these VMs need 2 vCPU's as we have ran them with a single vCPU before and the performance just wasn't there.  So why is it recommending 2?  Well, by default VCops collects usage data of the VMs 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, so when you think about, in this case, these VMs basically do nothing at all during the night and on weekends, but still, there usage data for those off times was being used in the overall calculations, thus, bringing the total average down.  Thankfully there is an option to change this, follow the steps below to do so…

Log into VCops and click the 'Configuration' link in the top right hand side of the screen.  From there you will be presented with all the configurable options for VCops.  Under Planning & Reports click the 'Usage Calculation' link.  By default 'All hours on all days' will be selected, meaning VMs usage data is being used 24/7.  To change this, simply select 'Specific Hours and Days' (as shown below) and select  your desired days and hours…easy!.



There you have it!  Your VMs usage outside of the hours and days that you define here will now be excluded in your report calculations.  Keep in mind that this is a global setting and will apply to all VMs.  There isn't a way to do this on a per-VM basis that I can find, but would probably be beneficial in some cases.  These settings are not only useful when trying to exclude idle time, but you can also use them to exclude times when they might be busier than normal (A backup or maintenance window)  As always, any comments, questions, concerns, suggestions are more than welcome in the comment box below.

VCops 5 – IP Changes and IP Pools – Huh?

So I finally decided to to decommission my old VCops 1.0 install and run fully on VCops 5.  I've had VCops 5 monitoring our environment for a couple of months now and during my initial install had set it up to use DHCP just due to the fact that I didn't (and still really don't) know that much about IP Pools and how they interact with the VMs.  So I went about the task of switching both VMs that come with VCops to a static IP.   Honestly, I didn't think this was going to take much, and really it isn't…so long as you read the required documentation 🙂  (which of course, I didn't!)  So, the following is basically derived from a couple of great blog posts;  Duncan Epping's post about IP Pools and William Lam's post regarding 'vcops-admin'.

So as I said, my first problem was skipping  the documentation and thought I would be 'smart' and just go and change the IP's from within both of the consoles.  Not knowing much about IP pools and how they function this was probably a bad decision.  I changed the IPs of both the UI and and the Analytics VM, restarted the networking services and quickly realized that I had lost connectivity between the two.  A first I thought it was simply an advanced setting somewhere within the UI VM that specified the IP of the Analytics VM…well, wrong there.  I couldn't find anything like that anywhere within the UI VM.  So, I decided that a reboot was in order to have both VMs come up clean however on the power on operations I experienced the following error dealing with IP Pools.
I followed Duncan's post on getting my IP Pools setup properly making just a few adjustments.  I wanted to only use the two static addresses (200 and 201) that I assigned to the VMs so I imputed my range as seen below.  Also, be sure to move the Associations tab and actually associate this IP pool with your desired Virtual Machine Network or you will end up getting the same exact error as above.
So after making all of these changes and configurations I was able to get my VAPP to power on once again, however after coming up I seen the following in the UI VMs console. "SSH: connect to host secondvm-external port 22: No route to host".  It was still trying to connect to my Analytics VM on its' old IP address.  Knowing that I could not find a setting anywhere within the GUI (which I couldn't connect to anyways) I turned once again to Google and found a great article on William Lams blog about changing the IP's which outlined a command line tool called 'vcops-admin' which controls just that setting I was looking for.  Only problem being is that I couldn't seem to get into the console (either through direct, failsafe or SSH) of my UI VM as it continued to display the no route to host.
So, the quick fix for me was to set the Analytics VM back to its original DHCP address, which in turn allowed the UI VM to once again connect to the Analytics engine.  Then it was a simple as following the steps outline on William's blog post
Once the UI VM had booted I went back to the Analytics VM and changed the IP back to the static address that I wanted using the 'Configure Networking' option on the console.  Then, it was back to the UI VM to run the command to make it aware of the new Analytics IP. As per Williams post, if you experience any error such as 'This program must be executed as an admin user' then make sure you sudo to the admin account using 'su admin'.
First off, stop VCops if it is running with the following command
vcops-admin stop
Secondly, make the UI VM aware of the new Analytics IP using
vcops-admin repair –ipaddress []
This will in turn do the updates from within the UI VM that need to be done and start the VCops services again.  After this you will need to log in to your VCops administration page and click 'Update' on the registration page in order to update the registration with vCenter.
So, whether you are changing the IP of the analytics VM, the UI VM, or both of them, you will need to ssh into the UI VM and run that vcops-admin repair command in order to let the two VMs establish their trust.  Basically, VCops established a secure tunnel or trust between its VMs inside the vApp and by simply changing these IPs breaks that trust.  

At last it’s done – My VCP 5 Study Notes (and a sexy PDF)


After 6 months of spending most of my spare time flipping through pages of VMware documentation, sorting through different community blog posts and pages, and deep diving into whitepapers I have finally completed my dissection of each individual learning point in each indiviidual objective of each individual section of the VCP 5 blueprint.  Wow that's a mouthful!

Honestly, I didn't ever think I was going to get through it all and I probably wouldn't have if it wasn't for the greatness of the community surrounding VMware and virtualization.  Without your feedback and comments I probably would have quit long ago and went back to my chicken scratch notebook style of studying.  So hats off to the community and the bloggers that put out and share all of their information.  I'm beginning to realize just how much dedication and effort it takes to keep a consistent blog with relevant information to readers.

Anyways, it's done, so you can check out the online version or if you fancy yourself a 130 pages of awesome sauce you can also download the pdf version below.

Thanks to everyone for their help and here's hoping for a pass for come Feb 28th.  And good luck too all of you as well….!