Tag Archives: vSphere 5

VMware launches new delta version of VCP5-DCV exam

VMware LogoToday I received a message from VMware Education Services introducing a new way for current VCP holders to refresh or re-certify before their VCP expires.  Currently as it stands, anyone holding a VCP certification prior to March 10, 2013 has only until March 10, 2015 to re-certify using one of the following methods.

  • Take the most current VCP exam in any of the available tracks (Datacenter Virtualization, Cloud and Desktop – not sure if Network Virtualization qualifies for this or not).  No matter which track you held your VCP in, all will be refreshed with another two years.
  • Take an advanced level exam, meaning the VCAP DCA or VCAP DCD.  Not only will you advance to the next level, you will refresh your VCP expiration as well.

Prior to today, these were your options.  Now however all you VCP holders have a third option, so long as you are currently hold the VCP5-DCV status.

What is a delta exam?

This is something new to VMware certifications.  Basically, this exam is based only on the differences between vSphere 5.0/5.1 and the vSphere 5.5 exams.  Also, instead of your normal 135 questions the delta exam will only have 65.  The biggest difference is how the exam is delivered – you won’t need to drive to a testing center for this one, it is being offered online through Pearson Vue – and I’m assuming this will be a similar fashion to that of the VCA delivery.  Another noticeable difference is price – this one, coming in at $120 USD instead of the normal $220 USD.

Is it worth it?

ScreamingMan-300x225This is something I can’t answer for you – you will have to go through the scenarios in your head.  Currently I have an expiry date of January 2016 for my VCP5 and honestly I’d rather sit a new version of the VCAP then do the VCP again.  That said, can I expect a VCAP6-DCA to be available by Jan 2016?  I have no idea!  Do I want to risk the chance of losing my VCP due to no new VCAP exam coming out or possibly failing the VCAP when it does come out?  It’s all a giant kerfuffle in my head right now!  One note, the email I received said it was only available to those who need to renew their VCP before March 10, 2015.  As noted above, mine was extended to Jan 2016 due the completion of my VCAP in January of this year.  That said, I went through the process of being authorized for this delta exam and had no issues getting into the portion of the Pearson Vue site which allows me to schedule it.  So, try for yourself I guess!

Time’s a wastin!

Oh yah, better hurry and make your mind up.  This delta exam will only be available until November 30th, 2014!  So you have just less than a couple of months to figure out what you are going to do!  Honestly, this whole re-certification process just confuses and puts me in a bad mood Smile  Nonetheless, though I’d share the news!  Oh, I tried to use the VMUG Advantage VCP discount code – didn’t work!

ESXi 5.5, Dell VRTX and Storage – or the lack there of!

8306.VRTX.jpg-1024x0Over the past couple of months I’ve been working on some vCO workflows to setup and configure a Dell VRTX as we are on the verge of deploying a handful of them.  Now this isn’t going to be a big post about what VRTX can do nor is it how to use vCO to set it up – I’ll save them for later – this is simply one small quirk that I’ve found when installing ESXi 5.5 onto the blades inside of the VRTX.

 

Small is the new big.

I shouldn’t have said small quirk – it’s somewhat of a show stopper.  If you simply throw on the vanilla ESXi 5.5 image, or even the Dell released image of ESXi 5.5 you will quickly notice that you have absolutely no storage available to you from the shared PERC controller that sits inside the VRTX.  Kind of hard to use the box with no storage 🙂

Before I go into my Dell rant if you are just looking for the solution, just scroll down to the “Driver thang” section of this post.  For the rest of us…

Since writing this Dell has released a supported version of ESXi 5.5 for the Dell VRTX blades.  Head over to Dell.com and punch in your service tags to get the image.  I’ve used and tested this and it work flawlessly 🙂  Thanks Dell!

Start-Rant -Type ‘Mini’

ESXi 5.5 is not certified on a Dell VRTX, so ultimately, you could say, it isn’t supported – not by Dell or not by VMware.  What I don’t understand here is that how Dell can release a “converged” solution, promote the crap out of it stating how great it is to run VMware on, and not support the latest release of ESXi!?!?!  I mean, this thing was released in the summer of 2014.  ESXi 5.5 was announced at VMworld in August 2013!  You would think that Dell would have the drive to hit the market with this thing supporting the latest and greatest software – but no – either way, I’m sure it will all be updated soon, and I’m sure they have their reasons – but for the meantime, here’s how to get it going…

Stop-Rant

Ain’t nuttin but a driver thang.

The fact that you don’t see storage isn’t the result of any major issue or complex problem.  It’s simply a driver.  The driver that the shared PERC uses included with the ESXi 5.5 image is just too new (?!?!?!).   However the version you need, or the version that I’ve found to work is labelled megaraid_sas version 06.801.52.00.  What the difference is between these two versions I have no idea, i just know you need 6.801.52 to make it work.  You can grab that here.

Once you have the file you are just a vib install away from VRTXing all night long.  Pick your poison when it comes to vib installs; update manager, vMA or esxcli – for the sake of not having to put too much effort into anything I’ll go over the esxcli way of installing the vib.  First things, upload that VIB to one of your datastores or an accessible area on the host.  From there, ssh in and install the vib using the following command.

esxcli software vib install -d /tmp/megaraid/megaraid_sas-06.801.52.00-offline_bundle.zip

The only thing that stands in between you and your VRTX storage now is a reboot, so go ahead and do that.

There you have it – storage!

This is only the way I’ve found to make storage work with the VRTX and 5.5 and hey, I could be crazy by doing all of this – so if you have any other suggestions, concerns, or comments I encourage them below or send me a message on Twitter – Like I said, I have a handful of these to configure so I’d rather not roll them out in some kind of crazy state 🙂

Friday Shorts – Updates, Veeam, Fevers, and Apple CIDR

Please get out of my Van Halen t-shirt before you jinx the band and they break up – Robbie (Adam Sandler) from The Wedding Singer

Horizon DaaS now available directly from VMware

VMware LogoThe "Year of VDI" has yet to hit me and my day job.  There's always been lots of talk, but no walk – I have no excuse for this – just seems like it always takes the back burner in my list of priorities.  VMware seems to continue to aquire companies, hire resources and push their VDI initiatives so I have to believe that they know something I don't (maybe I'll be less busy this year).  Anyways, a recent announcement about Horizon DaaS being available now through vCHS is the latest in VMware's VDI arsenal.  Brian Madden has an excellent article about it on his site.  I'm interested to see how well adopted the cloud desktop is knowing that it hasn't made a huge impact inside of datacenters yet.  Only time will tell.

vSphere 5.5 Update 1 is here!

For all those who have implemented the "I don't upgrade until Update 1 is released" mindset get your bits downloaded because it is here.  For the rest of you, you can now find some new functionality inside of flagship hypervisor – you know, that little thing called VSAN.  VSAN support, which was once only available to a small subset of 12,000 beta testers is now baked into the update 1 release of ESXi.  The other benefit of 5.5 U1 comes in the form of cloud management.  The vCHS vSphere Web Client plug-in is now available within the Inventories section inside your web client – allowing you to view all of your dedicated and virtual private cloud instances from vCHS, from the comfort of your web client.

Pour yourself some CIDR and read this.

Chris Wahl has a great post on Wahl Network where he compares simple networking concepts to his professional career development.  Judging by the successes Chris has had, I would recommend listening to what he has to say on how you can move further in your carreer!!!

I got a fever and the only prescription is more Visio Stencils

feverVeeam has a nice collection of free Visio Stencils for both VMware and Hyper-V.  For those that fancy nice little diagrams and designs you should probably go and add these to your arsenal.  Also if you are running multi hypervisors, this gives you a nice consistent look and feel accross the diagrams that you are creating.  Thanks Veeam!

Around the world

veeam_logoSpeaking of Veeam, they have a pretty cool contest about to start!  In celebration of their 100,000th customer, yes, that's 6 digits Veeam is giving away a trip for 2 to ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD!.  How do you enter?  Simply head over to the link above and guess where you think that Veeams 100,000th customer will be located.  And hey, in general Veeam fashion they have a ton of cool prizes for the runner ups as well.  Google Glass, iPADs and Surface Pro's are a plenty.

 

8 weeks of #VCAP – CDP and LLDP

Well, 8 weeks of VCAP has dwindled down into a serious 8 days of VCAP – and for now, how about a little bit of random information from the Networking section of the blueprint.

First up, CDP and LLDP

These are relatively easy to configure, however there are a few different modes that they can be run in, therefore I thought it would be best if I write them down in hopes that maybe I’ll remember them if any scenarios require me to configure them.

Basically the functionality of the two protocols is identical – they both provide discovery of ports connected to a virtual switch.  CDP however supports just Cisco physical switches whereas LLDP supports any switch supporting LLDP.  Another note, CDP can be enabled on both vSphere Standard Switches and vSphere Distributed Switches – LLDP – dvSwitch only!

So let’s have a look at the dvSwitch config first.  Like I mentioned earlier it’s pretty simple. From the properties tab of a vSphere Distributed Switch select ‘Advanced’.  From here its as simple as setting the status to Enabled, the type to either CDP or LLDP, and the Operation mode (explained below).

  • Listen – ESXi detects and displays information from the associated physical switch port, but all information in regards to the virtual switch is not available to the physical switch.
  • Advertise – ESXi presents information in regards to the virtual switch available to the physical switch, but doesn’t detect any information in regards to the physical switch port
  • Both – Does both advertise and listen.

dvswitch

Now that we are enabled we can view what information we receive inside of the Networking section of a hosts configuration tab.  To do so, simply expand out your physical uplinks and click the information icon (shown below).

lldp 

And that’s all there is for that – with the distributed switch anyways.  To get CDP working on a standard switch we are once again back into the command line interface.  Probably good to brush up on these commands anyways since its also mentioned in the blueprint.  So, Let’s say we wanted to configure CDP on a vSphere Standard Switch called vSwitch0 to a value of Both.  We could use the following command

esxcli network vswitch standard set –v vSwitch0 –c both

And that’s all there is to that – valid options for –c would be both, listen, advertise or down.  To view we could use the same process as above.

8 weeks of #VCAP – Section 3 scenario – CPU Affinity!

Thanks once again to Tom Verhaeg for this great scenario.

The voice team has recently setup Cisco Unity. The VoIP administrator sends you an e-mail. To comply with Cisco best practices, the Cisco Unity VM needs to have CPU affinity set. You really don’t like this, but the VoIP administrator and your boss insist. Make it happen……..

Damn, this really isn’t a fun thing to do. CPU affinity restricts a VM only to run on specific cores / processors that you specify. There may be some requirements for this (such as the above), but overall you shouldn’t do it. This breaks NUMA architecture, and more important, Fully Automated DRS! To support this, the DRS level should either be manual or partially automated.

The process itself isn’t that complicated. Edit the settings of the VM and go to the resources tab. Under advanced CPU, you find the option for CPU affinity.

cpuaffinity1

If you do not see the Scheduling Affinity piece on a DRS-Cluster host, you are running DRS in fully automated mode. You can set DRS to manual for this VM by going to the cluster settings, and under DRS select Virtual Machine options. Set the DRS mode for this VM to either disabled, manual or partially automated.

cpuaffinity2Hurray!

8 weeks of #VCAP – More Networking Scenarios by Tom!

Another top notch scenario built by Tom Verhaeg! (blog/twitter)  Thanks Tom!

Your recent work on the new portgroup was top notch! Now, the network administrators have some new requirements. You currently use one vNIC for the DvS. A second pNIC has been connected to the network and you have been tasked with adding it to the DvS. Also ensure that the DvS_StorageNetwork Port Group only uses the new pNIC and does VLAN tagging on VLAN ID 20.

Another networking objective. Whoohoo! Allright, let us first check out the current network adapters available on the host:

ns-scenario1

Allright, so vmnic2 is the one that we can add to the DvS_AMS01. Go over to the networking view (Ctrl + Shift + N) and edit the settings of your DvS. We first need to check if the DvS allows for 2 uplinks, instead of just 1.

ns-scenario2

And check this out! It’s still set to 1. This is a good one to remember for the exam, on the DvS object itself, you configure the maximum number of physical adapters (also called uplink ports) per host. So set that one to 2 and let’s continue with adding vmnic2 to the DvS.

Since the host is already connected to the DvS, click the DvS and select Manage Hosts. You will find your host, and you can add the second nic.

ns-scenario3

You could also do this from the hosts and clusters view, do whatever works for you.

Now that we have added that pNIC to the DvS, we need to create the DvS_StorageNetwork port group. Remember that we need to do VLAN tagging on VLAN ID 20 here. Create the new port group now, it’s settings should look like this:

ns-scenario4

Now, for the last part: As ESXi does load balancing by default (originating port ID based) we will now have load balancing on the DvS_ProductionNetwork, which is great, but not what we need for the Storage Network.

Open up the settings of that port group and go to the Teaming and Failover section.

ns-scenario5

Both uplink ports are now under Active Uplinks. Let’s review real quick what the options are:

Active Uplinks – actively being used for traffic flow

Standby Uplinks – will only become active until a failure occurs on one of the active uplinks

Unused Uplinks – this adapter will never be used for this port group

We need to ensure that it will never use this uplink, so move the dvUplink1 over to the Unused Uplinks. It should then look like this:

ns-scenario6Hurray!