Single office design 1 (Conceptual)

A new design startup wants to get a basic infrastructure running. They are expecting to grow over the next 5 years and want to have space to expand 20% year over year. Since they are a design firm they will be using a lot of storage, we will plan for 1TB of raw data a year. The new office only has room for 1 rack in the IDF and the company wants to cut down on power consumption and equipment costs. Backup is important and the client would like to utilize a service that they can recover their VM’s from the cloud.

Business requirements are simple but important

  1. Must fit in a single rack
  2. Must have cloud backup and recovery method.
  3. Can fit 20 VM’s and have growth for 20% year over year
  4. Use as little equipment as possible.
  5. 1TB of raw data for the first year

 

VDI Multiple locations (Conceptual)

I started making random design’s for different use cases. Pretty much whatever I though about in my own head. That being said this is my first design.

A pretty basic conceptual VDI design that features two office locations (one remote and one main site) with a primary and secondary datacenter ( in a active passive setup)

In the future I will be building off of these designs to get through the physical design process .I am doing this for learning purposes so any advice please let me know!

Studying for VCIX6-DCV

I’ve studied for my VCIX6-DCV certification over the past month. Before we get into the great resources I found we should talk about the exams and the real process of obtaining your VCIX6-DCV.

The VCIX6-DCV certification is aquired by passing two exams, the VCAP6-DCV Deploy, and the VCAP6-DCV design. Each test has a sticker price of 400 dollars but you can get 20% off of the price by signing up for VMUG Advantage, which will almost pay for itself after taking the two tests.

The VCAP6-DCV Deploy exam is 27 questions with 190 minutes for the exam. This is a live exam which means you won’t be asked multiple choice questions but rather you will have to do certain tasks. For Example using auto-deploy to configure an ESXi host, or have you configure host profiles. just to name two.

The VCAP6-DCV Design exam is 18 questions and you are given 175 minutes to complete it. I would imagine this will be asking for logical and physical designs and would ask about design risks, assumptions, constraints, etc, and also consisting of identifying business requirements. A score of 300 is required to pass the exam.

The great thing about the VCIX6-DCV is that there is no need to take a third test to get it.

The requirements for the VCAP6-DCV Design are: https://mylearn.vmware.com/mgrReg/plan.cfm?plan=88743&ui=www_cert

The requirements for the VCAP6-DCV Deploy are: https://mylearn.vmware.com/mgrReg/plan.cfm?plan=88753&ui=www_cert

 


Study resources (Video)

#VBrownBag-

The folks over at #VBrownBag have started an awesome webinar series for the VMware advanced certifications focused in design, as of right now they have two installments of this series starting with objective 1.1 and 1.2 of the above requirements.

The webinars are presented by VCDX’s @RebeccaFitzhugh, @JasonTweet7889 and @GreggRobertson5

http://vbrownbag.com/category/vmware/vmwarevcap/

PluralSight-

Scott Lowe has a great series from the VCAP 5.5  design exam. Although this is a little old it is still very relevant, The basics of design at the core have stayed mostly the same in my opinion.

https://app.pluralsight.com/library/courses/designing-vmware-infrastructure/table-of-contents


Study resources (Guides)

@KyleJennerUK-

The best deploy study guide I could find is from @KyleJennerUK, this guide is detailed and walks through each step objective VMware lines out. If you walk through this guide step by step you will be able to pass your deploy exam with flying colors. Below is the link and a big shoutout to @KyleJennerUK for putting this awesome guide together.

http://www.vjenner.com/vcap6-dcv-deployment-study-guide/

It Architect: Foundation in the Art of Infrastructure Design-

This book was written by three juggernauts in the VMware world, John Yani Arrasjid (Vcdx-001),  Mark Gabryjelski (Vcdx-023), Chris Mccain (Vcdx-079). Although this book isn’t VMware specific book it goes through the design decisions of the IT world. truly a great asset and a fantastically written book.

It Architect: Foundation in the Art of Infrastructure Design: A Practical Guide for It Architects

VMware publications-

VMware does an awesome job providing product documentation. These PDFs will provide an in-depth review of vSphere 6.x. read these guides and you will know the in’s and out’s of vSphere 6.x

https://www.vmware.com/support/pubs/vsphere-esxi-vcenter-server-6-pubs.html


VMware Hands on Labs

These Lab will help with the process of obtaining you VCIX6-DCV. Most of the labs will need about an hour or two to get the full effect but they are well worth it in my opinion.

 

HOL-1704-SDC-1 – vSphere 6: Performance Optimization

HOL-1706-SDC-6 – Guide to SDDC: VMware Validated Designs

HOL-1708-SDC-1 – Virtual SAN 6.2 from A to Z

HOL-1708-SDC-2 – Virtual Volumes and Storage Policy Based Management

HOL-1710-SDC-6 – What’s New: vSphere 6.5

HOL-1721-SDC-6 – vSphere Automation with PowerCLI

I hope this helps with your studies and good luck on your exam. I will update this post as needed.

 

2016 & Beyond….

WOW What a year! 2016 has been a great year!

I received my VCP6-DCV, traveled to VMworld in Las Vegas, attended numerous VMUG Usercon’s, and all while meeting some kick ass people along the way.

As you might notice the post title says “2016 and beyond”. I would like to outline what my expectations are for myself in 2017 and what I wish to achieve.

This is for two reasons. One is I like to blog and apparently people like to read my blog for some unknown reason, and two to keep myself honest. I find that my goals are actually achieved if I write them down and hold myself accountable.

So what is it in 2017 I will be looking to achieve?


Spend more time with family

This is first on my list because it is the most important. Although I have gotten a lot done this year it has taken a toll. Working hard to pay the bills and expand your expertise sometimes gets in the way of spending valuable time with your kids and/or significant other. This is one thing I am going to try and get better at. Taking control of my work life balance will be my top priority this year.

This will be my big personal goal of 2017!

Become VCIX-DCV certified

Since I took the deploy and design class last month I feel more confident about taking this challenge. Although daily I do not work on customer designs I believe that is more crucial for making the VCDX step and not necessarily the VCIX.

This will be my career goal of 2017!

Become more community involved

Starting the blog and twitter in 2016 really helped me connect with some experts and cool ass people in the field. But I think I could do more outreach to people in the community. Whether that is doing talks at the local VMUG or just DMing people on twitter. There is an endless possibility of learning within the VMware community and I need to take advantage of that. Even if it means putting my introvert self in the past.

This will be my community goal of 2017!

Get ahead of the game with new products and technology

This is what I really need to work on in 2017 taking and learning new up and coming technology right as it hits the market. I’ve fallen behind some of the trends this year because I wasn’t actively looking for the new technology and catching up with the latest posts and blogs on a daily basis.

This is my knowledge goal of 2017!


 

What is RSC and why does it matter in Vmware

Got latency on your VM’s? It might be RSC

Let’s say we have two VM’s with the  following specs:

  • Windows 2012r2 (Latest patches)
  • VMxNet3
  • Same VLAN
  • Same version of ESXI 3029758
  • Both HW version 11
  • Both have the latest VMware tools for the ESXI Build 3029758
    Basic host diagram

Any new latency between these two machines wouldn’t be expected considering they are both within the same physical location and all within the same topology that has been in place for months almost untouched.

After Vmotioning both to the same host, the latency goes away. That would be expected considering VM’s will use the internal networking for VM to VM networking located on the same host. Bypassing the need to go out to the VDS or vSwitch As shown below.

Local host diagram

 

So let’s go back to the title of the post. What is RSC and why does it matter to VMware?


RSC ( Receive Segment Coalescing) is a technology used to help CPU utilization on a server. It achieves this task by taking the payload off of the CPU and giving it to the network adapter, in our case the VMxNet3 VMware adapter.  RSC Strips headers from the packet’s, combines those packets, then sends those packets to the right destination.  Without RSC the receiver would get 4-5 packets, but with RSC enabled the receiver only has to process the single packet sent with the 5 packets of information stuffed inside.

With VM Hardware version 11 there was a bug introduced that caused the ESXI to not keep the data properly is the PSH flag (PSH Flag explanation ) was not written in the first packet  but was written to the packets following. If you read the article below it gives an awesome example of why this is useful.

Imagine you are walking in a line of 5 friends, friend 1 doesn’t have a pass to get in the gate, but friend 2-5 does. Being a gentleman friend 1 lets friend 2-5 go thru while he buys his ticket. But then friend 2-5 are waiting for him while they are already in the park. pretty similar concept to the PSH flags’.

While packet 2-5 have the PSH flag that grants them permission to go to the application, ESXi has a hiccup while waiting for the PSH flag on packet 1 causing it to wait before the packet can be sent and the full information is received.   Here is the KB article that has the problem highlighted Vmware KB .

What is the fix?


To fix this problem the solution is pretty simple on the OS side you can disable RSC and stop the function, but doing this keep track of the memory use on that box and the box that received a bulk of those packets.

 

Running the command  Will give you the output in below:

netsh int tcp show global

netsh int tcp show global

Received Segment Coalescing State is what we are looking for. If that shows as enabled run the command below to disable it. you should receive a similar output below after running the

netsh int tcp set global rsc=disabled

netsh int tcp set global rsc=disabled

you should receive an output similar to the one above after running the   netsh int tcp show global again.

 

What is affected?


Currently, this affects people running ESXI 6.0 build  3568940 or below also running windows 2008 r2 and above. This problem can be solved 1 of two ways. By updating to ESXi 6.0 Update 2 Build 3620759 or above, or by running the above command on your machines affected by the problem.

 


 

KB Articles below for reference also for citing sources:

http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=2129176

https://communities.vmware.com/thread/524842?start=0&tstart=0

https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh997024(v=ws.11).aspx

Starting a career in architecture and design

I am taking my design and deploy class next week. i am excited, but the only problem is how do you practice this new found skill without working for an MSP?

I think starting a new career in design and architecture can be kind of daunting. Where do you start? How do you proof it? Do you make mock designs and hand it off to a trusted colleague? i think all of these are good ways to practice design. but the floor is yours…

How do you practice design?

Let me know below in the comments what your idea is. I will update this post and add the good idea’s i get.

Part 2: Becoming a great engineer

I would just like to say this post is in NO WAY insinuating I am a great engineer. I believe that no matter how much you know or think you know, there is always room for improvement and development. That being said these are some things I believe makes a technologist really stand out from the rest of the crowd.

This next post will be about the social aspect of being a great engineer. Being a part of the technology community is an essential a part of someone’s career and growth within IT.

 

Social Networks


Social networks like twitter are a great place to network and connect with other “Like-minded” people. I’m not gonna lie its sounds kind of creepy when I say “Like-minded” but none the less twitter is a great place to get in touch with some amazing and very smart people. You will find some great bloggers  like Duncan Epping ( @DuncanYB ), William Lam ( @lamw ) and Sean Thulin ( @Sthulin ).

You will find some great bloggers  like Duncan Epping (@DuncanYB), William Lam (@lamw) and Sean Thulin (@Sthulin ), just to name a few. But twitter is also great for  touch with the companies that create these awesome technologies. Vmware (@VMware), IBM  (@ibm) Cisco (@Cisco) Dell EMC ( @DellEMC )

Technology forums Like VMTN and VMware Reddit are a plethora of information, i would strongly consider these as social forums you will see a lot of VExperts and VCDX’s on both sites doling out information like they are making money. They are sites that you should take a look at.

 

Networking


It is important to connect with these people for a couple of reasons, the most obvious one is the networking aspect of our jobs. Networking is essential to gaining ground in your career, always having friends in a lot of different places is not only good if you get Laid off or looking for a career move, but is also good when looking for advice. Whether you want to reach out to these contacts for advice on a new product that might be a right fit for your environment or even better if you have an issue and your contact works for that company. The opportunities are endless when you have a great network of people at your side.

I guess the hardest part of this is finding those mentioned people. Some people will find this the hardest part of networking, is breaking the ice. In my experience, I have never had an issue at a local meeting or conference that I was pushed away for ease dropping on a technical conversation. Usually starting with a ” Hey I overheard you talking about (Insert here)” usually is a pretty good ice breaker. Learning to carry on the conversation is key though and i would have to write a whole blog post on that topic. Becuase if you know me you will know that I can keep a conversation going and have no issues with talking to people i don’t know, obviously sometimes to my detriment.

 

Honesty and confidence


The Last section i have for you tonight is the most important. What makes an engineer stick out is his/her ability to talk about technology with honesty and confidence. Knowing a product is one thing, a lot of people know one technology or another but very few can master that technology and live to tell the tale. Speaking honestly about your experiences is essential to being a great engineer. there is no other community out there that can smell bull shit like IT and most of the time they don’t mind calling you on it. It takes a great engineer to say “I don’t know” it proves that you are humble and understand that you won’t have all the problems solved. But the ability to take that “I don’t know” and make it into a learning experience is key. Being honest to yourself is the most important part. You may not have the answer to every question, but a great engineer knows where to find it.

Confidence is essential for anyone not only in IT but any industry. When you are confident in your beliefs people trust you. Confidence is one of those things that strikes comfort in the heart of people. When you go to a client or manager and say “I know the issues to the problem X,Y,Z,  And these are the solutions.” It gives them the perception that you knowing what you are doing, But also makes them feel like you have done this before, even if you haven’t. Comfort from upper management or clients is how decisions get made and how things get fixed potentially. But remember the rule above. YOU MUST BE HONEST! If the task is out of your reach or if you don’t have experience don’t get into a corner you cannot get out of.

 

I hope you like this blog post. Please comment any suggestions below!

Part 1: Becoming a great engineer

I would just like to say this post is in NO WAY insinuating I am a great engineer. I believe that no matter how much you know or think you know there is always room for improvement and development. That being said these are some things I believe makes a technologist really stand out from the rest of the crowd.

Learning


The most important step to becoming an awesome engineer is the ability to learn. Might seem pretty obvious, of course, you have to learn to become an engineer, but the truth is you must have a love of learning and a passion for your trade to not only learn but retain the information that you absorb. This requires patience and practicing your trade even when away from the working environment. This is a pretty easy skill but takes a lot of dedication. Spending 8-12 Hours a day in front of the computer might make you loath technology when you are home, which is fine but Spending time working on your own learning path and interests becomes easier the deeper and more often you dive into it.

Home Labs!

Set up your own home lab! Home labs are an awesome way to test, troubleshoot, and/or break technology. They offer you the perfect opportunity to go all out on a test environment for your own sick pleasure, like breaking a perfectly good nested ESXi hosts or seeing what happens when you rip PostGres out of Vcenter. All this can be done in a home lab and also provide awesome learning opportunities without the risk of bringing down production of work environments.  Some great articles for home labs can be found on google. But don’t be taken aback by the high prices that are shown on some home labs, you can run an awesome lab on a single host with a lot of memory and CPU. I build my home lab for about 600 dollars and it works just fine for what I use it for.

Social Channels

Social channels are huge in the learning path for any technologist. Networks like twitter offer a fast and current view on new technology releases and news. It’s also great for networking, following your favorite engineers or CEO’s provides you with an opportunity to not only pick their brains on certain things but also connect with them and bring them up in topics you are unsure about. With the various technologies new and old represented on sites like twitter, there are unlimited opportunities to learn. Reddit is another great resource for information and learning. Reddit has become the epicenter for questions and answers on the web. You can find literally anything! Set up your account and starting asking tough questions that have you puzzled. this will hopefully lead to some solids answers. But also beware Reddit isn’t very moderated on some sites and you can get some wrong information, but in that case, it is usually discredited pretty fast.

Why?

The one word “Why?” is, in my opinion, the most important word someone can ask. Not only in technology but in any field. “Why?” is that gateway to every question in technology or life for that matter, It opens up a gateway of knowledge. I find this one-word phrase irreplaceable, trying to understand technology isn’t a “Know one, fit all” experience. In order to properly grasp technology and the concept of being a technologist you must understand that one product is not one technology, it is a buffet of many different technologies. Some of those technologies may be bleeding edge and barely touch upon, and some may be two decades old but still running strong.  Asking why will bring out the questions that sometimes aren’t easily discovered otherwise. “Why?” is by far the most important question a technologist can ask.

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