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.

 

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.

A general system error occurred: Connection refused

capture4

Logging into my dev environment today I had an issue where I couldn’t start VM’s.  This was happening across clusters and different hosts.

To get the VM’s up you can log into the ESXi host using the Vsphere client.

The issue is the workflow service either hung up or stopped in the VCenter server. In order to fix the workflow service, you will need to check the status and take the proper measures. Take a look below.


  1. Check the status with the command below. you will get an output similar to below. INFO:root: is the line where the service

service-control –status vmware-vpx-workflow

capture1

2. Once the status is found use one of the two commands to either start or stop the service.

service-control –stop vmware-vpx-workflow

capture2

service-control –start vmwarevpx-workflow

capture3

3. Try to power on a VM now and see if the results worked!


There’s no current KB article from VMware on this.  But plenty of resources on the topic.


 

Vmworld 2016 sessions top 10 and keynotes

So VMWorld was awesome! It was filled with great sessions great people and all around an awesome atmosphere. some of the top 10 sessions are listed here.

http://www.vmworld.com/en/sessions/top-10-us.html

A complete list of most sessions can be found below.

http://www.vmworld.com/en/sessions/2016.html

If you didn’t have a chance to make it to VMWorld this year don’t worry! The keynote sessions and the breakouts are available on VMWare YouTube page also!

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLeFlCmVOq6ysL5tbnypeSTJeCtsk7Rd1S

Day 0 VMworld

IMG_20160830_143156

So day 0 was pretty great I took a late flight from Boston to get here and landed around 12AM PST so I was tired. but the LIGHTS were awesome , Vegas is a lot to take in if you have never been here before, this is my first VMworld and my first time to Vegas. Day 0 was a pretty straightforward day registration was the only thing opened for the first couple of hours but the exhibitor halls opened around 5. Walking into the exhibitor hall as overwhelming there was a lot of vendors with some pretty elaborate booths.

After the exhibit closed I headed over to the VMUG party at the house of blues in Mandalay bay, the band that was playing was great playing a mix of old school feel good 80’s to more modern tunes. really a good mix of songs. Then all of the sudden Michael Dell comes out. and in my opinion is was a classy move. To me it showed that he was taking community into consideration and was willing to talk about the future of VMware and the community directly to the people looking for that kind of reassurance. Real classy Michael Dell.

Oracle licensing and VMware

I was talking to a DBA the other day about oracle licensing, so I decided to write a post about it. Not only because it is confusing as hell but it’s a good to know for any potential oracle implementations in the future. But before we begin a couple of terms we need to know and understand for any of this to make even the slightest of sense.

We are going to assume enterprise licensing will be used in this case.


Soft Partitioning-

Oracle definition- “Soft partitioning segments the operating system using OS resource managers. The operating system limits the number of CPUs where an Oracle database is running by creating areas where CPU resources are allocated to applications within the same operating system. This is a flexible way of managing data processing resources since the CPU capacity can be changed fairly easily, as additional resource is needed.” – As stated in http://www.oracle.com/us/corporate/pricing/partitioning-070609.pdf

 


Hard Partitioning-

Oracle definition- “Hard partitioning physically segments a server, by taking a single large server and separating it into distinct smaller systems. Each separated system acts as a physically independent, self-contained server, typically with its own CPUs, operating system, separate boot area, memory, input/output subsystem and network resources.” – As stated in http://www.oracle.com/us/corporate/pricing/partitioning-070609.pdf


Now if you had a virtual machine that was running an oracle database you would assume that the partitioning method that would be used is soft partitioning. Because having the ESXi software make software partitions out of a physical socket .

BUT this is not the case. There is a key phrase in that definition that really stands out.

“The operating system limits the number of CPUs where an Oracle database is running by creating areas where CPU resources are allocated to applications within the same operating system.”

Since assigning a vCPU and vCores to a machine doesn’t limit that particular VM to only use only those resources  that’s one reason why oracle does not consider VMware a soft partitioning product.  (Unless you have CPU affinity enabled)

If you had a box with 4 physical sockets and 8 cores per socket that VM will be able to use any of the 32 cores. Oracle has a simple formula to offer a good insight into how much licensing will cost for a database, it looks something like this.

# of sockets*# of cores*CPU factor*License

So let’s say for a 4 socket intel Xeon system with 8 cores per socket and enterprise licensing. CPU factor chart will be found here http://www.oracle.com/us/corporate/contracts/processor-core-factor-table-070634.pdf

4*8*.5*$47,500= $760,000 Per VM Per host.

That is a lot of money! But it gets more complicated than that. Say this particular VM is in a 3 host cluster. When you introduce VMware technologies like DRS and vMotion is that considered partitioning technology? So does the cluster need to be licensed? There has been more discussion on this in the IT community than there has been about aliens in Area 51. But the short answer is yes. if you have a 3 node cluster with the same specs stated above you will need to have all of those physical machines licensed. Any CPU that the oracle server can touch ( or potentially touch) needs to be licensed under the oracle license agreement.

Here might be a couple of solutions to this issue.

The first solution is to make your own cluster for Oracle database. Make it a 2 node cluster that in the event of a host failure you have it moved to another node. Spec out the physical host configurations to match exactly what you need and not over power it. If you need a 2 socket 4 core setup then just buy 2 of those. Don’t over provision!

The second solution might be to set up CPU affinity. Set the database to only use one particular CPU in the host and make sure it stays there. Now there are obvious downsides to this, one failing over would not happen. This practice has a lot of debate surrounding it. and definitely use it at your own risk. There has been mixed results from Oracle and the team of lawyers they employ.

And the third solution is probably the most painful. Pay Oracle. It’s simple and feels like you need a shot of penicillin after but it is the easiest solution.

-Resources and sources-

http://www.oracle.com/us/corporate/pricing/partitioning-070609.pdf

http://www.oracle.com/us/corporate/pricing/technology-price-list-070617.pdf

Thanks for reading!

I try my best to give the most accurate information possible! But I don’t know everything. If you found something I said not accurate let me know!

 

 

VMFS deprecated Bug ESXI 6.0 Update 1

So if you recently added a new datastore to you vcenter you might have gotten a nice little alarm on the ESXi hosts you added the datastore to, something like below.
Deprecated VMFS

This little gem above is a bug that is included in your ESXi version 6.0 update 1. While it’s a pain to fix it is pretty easy solution and doesn’t actually mean you have deprecated VMFS volumes on your host. But just to make sure check anyway and make sure this bug applies to you.

The solution is pretty simple by restarting two management agents on each affected ESXi the error will clear, of course until you add a new datastore. Then chances are the error will reappear. If you have a massive amount of ESXi hosts and the option is available to update to ESXi 6.0U2 then I personally would update instead of restarting these agents on all your hosts.


Step 1: Log into your ESXi host via SSH or DCUI

Step 2: Run the following command to restart the management agents on the box

services.sh restart

ssh

This command will reset the management agents on the ESXi host and clear the deprecated VMFS tag that has plagued your vcenter.


Kb article is below for more from VMware.

VMFS deprecated datastore 2109735