Now that I am well settled into my new role at Rackspace and have completed writing the drafts for my chapters of the upcoming Official VCP6-DCV Cert Guide (VMware Press, Pearson), I have a clear idea on information that I want to share within the virtualization and cloud community. Beginning now I plan to aggressively post on the following topics.
- VMware technical tidbits: Information that I encountered as I engage in design projects and professional services engagements that I expect you will find useful.
- VMware certification: Specific advice on obtaining VMware Certification, plus details on various topics covered by the exams.
To get the ball rolling, today I published a page on vSphere 6 Page Sharing, Salting, and Memory States. This information may be useful to you as you analyze the behavior of your environment and explore means to increase the impact of page sharing. It may also be useful to you as you prepare for the VCP6-DCV exam.
I plan to deliver the following three presentations at VMworld next week in the Rackspace Booth.
Upgrade to vCenter Site Recovery Manager 6.0 and vSphere Replication 6.0: Four Keys to Success.
Date / Time: Monday – August 31 11:30 AM (Pacific Time)
You currently rely on a successfully implemented disaster recovery (DR) solution built upon vCenter Site Recovery Manager (SRM) 5.5 and vSphere Replication 5.5; but, due to its complexity and the perceived risks, you avoided upgrading to version 5.8. Now, version 6.0 is available with features you want. How do you successfully upgrade your DR solution, while minimizing risk and disruption?
Engage with a Senior Integration Consultant from Rackspace to learn the 4 Keys to success for upgrading SRM and vSphere Replication, such as avoiding common pitfalls, selecting the best upgrade path, establishing a rollback plan and implementing new features.
How to Design a Reliable Disaster Recovery Solution: The Keys to Success
Date / Time: Tuesday – September 1 – 3:30 PM (Pacific Time)
You are finally ready to design a new disaster recovery (DR) solution, but you do not know where to start. Everyone tells you that they have the solution that can provide DR for your vSphere environment, where most of your applications run, but which solution is right for you?
Join with a Senior Integration Consultant from Rackspace to learn how to design a reliable DR solution that is not focused on a product, but focused on your unique requirements. Learn the keys for a successful design: Simple design methodology, resiliency /manageability, application details, recovery plans., success criteria and non-disruptive testing.
VMware vRealize Operations: Using Out-of-the-box Actions and the vRO Solution and Workflow Package
Date / Time: Wednesday – September 2 – 1:30 PM (Pacific Time)
VMware vRealize Operations (vROps) 6.0 uses the concept of symptoms, recommendations, and actions to enable you to monitor, analyze, and remediate issues in your vSphere environment. Out of the box, it provides powerful functionality that helps reduce the mean time for identification and resolution of problems. In this session, you will see how to customize alerts and recommendations in vROps by assigning built-in actions, such as deleting snapshots, powering off virtual machines, and changing resource usage to address common issues. Additionally, you will see how easily you can extend the power of automating remediation by implementing the vRealize Orchestration (vRO) Solution and Workflow Package for vROps, which includes popular actions such as decommissioning hosts, migrating virtual machines, and upgrading VMware Tools.
Earlier this year, VMware announced changes to their certification program, which many people in the community were already struggling to grasp. Here is my attempt to simply it:
- The program offers 4 tracks: Data Center Virtualization (DCV – focused on vSphere), Desktop and Mobility (DTM – focused Horizon Suite), Cloud Management and Automation (CMA – focused on vRealize Suite), and Network Virtualization (NV – focused on NSX).
- It provides 4 main levels in each track: Associate (VCA), Professional (VCP), Implementation Expert (VCIX), and Design Expert (VCDX).
- VCA’s can successfully explain the concepts associated with the technologies and products in the track. They can successfully engage in discussions related to the track, such as discussions on conceptual solution design, using proper vocabulary.
- The main requirement for VCA is successfully passing an online exam.
- VCP’s can independently, successfully install the technologies and products in the track in a manner that is adequate for Proof of Concept Testing. They can also implement production-ready solutions based on these technologies and products by applying installation procedures and design documents provided by solution architects.
- The main requirements for new VCPs are to attend an official course and to pass two exams. The first is a core fundamentals exam focused on vSphere. The second exam is a professional exam based on the specific track. Previously, this level only required passing a single exam. Current VCPs can follow migration paths that have fewer requirements.
- VCIX’s can demonstrate their ability to design and implement solutions based on the technologies and products in the track well enough to be considered as a minimally qualified candidate for the VMware Professional Services Team. Previously, this level was called VCAP (advanced professional), but the new name focus on Implementation.
- The main requirements for VCIX are to become a VCP in any track and to pass two exams on the specific track: a VCIX-Lab exam (hands-on, implementation exam) and a VCIX-Design exam. Previously, this level contained two separate VCAP certifications, but now it is a single certification that requires passing both exams.
- VCDX’s can successfully perform the role of solution architect involving the technologies and products in the track.
- The main requirements for VCDX are to become VCIX in the track, submit a design and application, and to successfully defend it to a VCDX panel.
In summary, the main changes from the previous certification program is that new VCP candidates must pass two exams, the purpose and name of VCAP has been changed to VCIX, and two exams must be passed for VCIX.
NOTE: Current VCPs of any track may only need to pass a single exam to become VCP6-DCV.
Be certain to examine the detailed requirements and migration paths on the VMware Certification page.
Tomorrow, I plan to deliver this presentation at a VMUG Louisville event
- Presentation Name = Discussion on VMware Certification
- Currently available certifications, tracks, and levels.
- VCP5-DCV and VCAP5-DCA requirements
- Exam Expirations
- Details and advice VCP5-DCV Delta Exam and Recertification
- Recommendations on preparing for the VCP5-DCV and VCAP5-DCA exams.
- Duration: about 45 minutes
Also at the event:
- A fellow vExpert – Kendrick Coleman – presents on vCloud Air API Usage
- Presentation by Nimble Storage
- Lunch, giveaways, and colleagues
Location and Registration:
- Kentucky Science Center – Downtown Louisville
- Registration and Details
The certification exams for VCAP5-DCA and VCAP5-DCD on vSphere versions 5.0/5.1 are set to expire on January 31, 2015. The exams for vSphere version 5.5 will continue to be available. So, if you plan to seek the VCAP5-DCA certification and prefer to be tested on vSphere 5.0 / 5.1, then you should plan to take the VDCA510 exam by the end of January. Likewise, if you plan to seek the VCAP5-DCD certification and prefer to be tested on vSphere 5.0 / 5.1, then you should plan to take the VCDC510 exam by the end of January. Otherwise, you can take the VDCA550 and VDCD550 exams, which cover vSphere 5.5, at any time.
For those of you that choose to use the Official VMware VCAP5-DCA Cert Guide from the VMware Press to prepare for the VCAP5-DCA exams, be sure to purchase the Premium Edition, which includes online content that covers the blueprint for the VDCA550 exam. The online materials include information on using the vSphere Web Client, new features in vSphere 5.5, items that covered in the VDCA550 blueprint (but not covered in the VDCA510 blueprint), and additional practice exams.
Recently, on a professional services engagement, we encountered a situation, where the Customization Wizard was failing to successfully apply SYSPREP to Windows 2012 Servers. Because our main objective and my time was focused on other areas, we could not take time to resolve the underlying the root cause, so we needed a work-around. This led us to applying SYSPREP manually, which I had not done in a long time. Here are the details that we applied toward using SYSPREP manually in a VM template
Our main concern is if we deploy two VMs from a template or VM that already has a SID, then an issue may occur if we try to add both new VMs to the domain. The following error may occur when adding the second VM.
To fix this in the second VM, you can use these steps:
1 – Open RUN and enter sysprep
2 – Right-click on sysprep and choose Run as Administrator
3 – In the System Preparation Tool Window, set the System Cleanup Action dropdown = Enter System Out of Box Experience (OOBE). check the Generalize box, and set the Shutdown Options to Reboot.
4 – SYSPREP will run the necessary action and restart Windows.
5 – As Windows reboots, it will prompt for new Settings. Apply the appropriate settings for this VM. Windows will now have a new SID.
6. – After Windows starts, you should be able to successfully add it to the AD domain.
To avoid this issue in the future, deploy a Windows VMs from a template where SYSPREP has been used to strip the SID and where Windows will prompt for new settings on the next boot. To prepare the template, perform these steps:
- In a new VM, install Windows 2012 R2
- Install VMware Tools
- Install all Windows Updates
- Use Steps 1 to 3 from above, except on step 3, set the Shutdown Options = Shutdown (not restart)
- After Windows shutdown finishes, use the vSphere Client to right-click on the VM and choose Convert to Template
Here is a slick way using host profiles. It calls for using a host profile and using the Configure a fixed administrator password option. Details at:
But, it may not be supported. The statement in the following KB article indicates that the only supported way to reset the root account password on an ESXi host is to reinstall ESXi.