Dec 12

My VCPN610 Experience

This morning I took the VCPN610 Exam according to plan. What didn’t go according to plan was getting a score of 290 when I needed 300 to pass. So near, and yet so very very far.

This one was quite an expensive learning experience for me, so I need to make the most of it and learn what I can.

Lesson the First: VCP Exams are hard. I’ve done Cisco CCNA exams, and MS MCSA/MCSE Exams. I’d put this exam at well above the level of the MCSA, probably a bit above the CCNA, and probably along side MCSE. The exam goes quite deep, and broader than I expected.

Lesson the Second: Time is quite tight. I’m used to getting out of exams well before the end of the time, 30-50% of the allocated time isn’t unusual, even on the harder exams. I’m blessed that English is my first language, and that I’ve sat enough exams through school and uni to just get on with it. This exam took 75% of my time. I had the option to review questions (I wasn’t sure if I would have), but I didn’t have enough time to review them all properly, I’d have barely managed to re-read all the questions. Which leads to:

Lesson the Third: Note questions you are unsure of next time! There is the ability to review a question at a time, and you can jump about. Use it! Many questions you just know the answer to, many could use some thought. Mark and Return.

Finally: There are some areas I really need to look at in some more depth. Things that took more thinking about than they should for me:

  • QoS Where/How it gets applied to work over the physical and virtual networks.
  • The actual GUI process of adding in a logical network.
  • Where do the controllers live?
  • Packet walks for simple (one logical network, two logical network and distributed router) networks.
  • Service Composer
  • Upgrade Paths from vCNS and old versions.

I don’t want to just pass next time. I want a good solid score. I am capable of this, now to get it done.

Dec 10

Boot via EFI firmware

As you might or might not know, you can change your VMs nowadays to boot via EFI instead of the Plain Old BIOS.

This is great as you can now experiment with EFI without messing up your physical environment or having to reboot on metal.

There’s ongoing work on VMware Fusion and Workstation to improve UEFI support. In VMware Workstation 10, this was unsupported, but it worked.

Workstation 11 now has a option for this under VM Settings -> Options -> Advanced -> Boot with EFI instead of BIOS. With Fusion 7 you either have to edit the config file by hand or change it to another guest OS that uses EFI.

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Dec 03

VMware Workstation 11 things you might want to know

As has been published in many channels, VMware Workstation 11 has been released.

For details see: release notes and features at the official pages (I’m not going to copy & paste that as I’m sure you are better off to read it from the horses mouth)

What is important to know and a little less easy to find is that the new Workstation will only run on 64 bits host operating systems.

As you can already see when trying to download (as it clearly states Windows 64 bits/Linux 64 bits), but more information about this and the background is here in this VMware Communities question: No more x86 (i686/i386) build for Linux?

Relevant quote from that community question is written by fubvmware :

The support of 32 bit Operating System is dropped from both Workstation Linux and Windows Technology Preview 2014, it is a hard decision to make, we put a lot of thoughts in it base on the user data (from whom opt-in to share data with us), just like when we drop the support of 32 bit processor in Workstation 8, we really really want to spend our team’s efforts to the biggest platform to provide the best performance and stability.

 

Workstation 10 is a great product that works very stable, if you really need to run VM on a 32 bit Linux, it will work great even out of support (not with the new features added lately though).

For the record “Technology Preview” here is “VMware Workstation 11″

Another interesting note about Workstation 11 is the added CPU features for Haswell CPU’s in particular (and I quote from the post New Virtual CPU features in virtual Hardware version 11 shared by VMware’s own jmattson in the communities)

These are the new virtual CPU features introduced in virtual hardware version 11 (if supported on the physical CPU):

CPUID.01H:ECX.TSC_DEADLINE (bit 24)

CPUID.07H:EBX.TSC_ADJUST (bit 1)

CPUID.07H:EBX.BMI1 (bit 3)

CPUID.07H:EBX.HLE (bit 4)

CPUID.07H:EBX.AVX2 (bit 5)

CPUID.07H:EBX.BMI2 (bit 8)

CPUID.07H:EBX.INVPCID (bit 10)

CPUID.07H:EBX.RTM (bit 11)

CPUID.07H:EBX.FP_SEGMENT_ZERO (bit 13)

CPUID.07H:EBX.???? (bit 18)

CPUID.07H:EBX.???? (bit 19)

CPUID.07H:EBX.???? (bit 20)

CPUID.(EAX=0DH,ECX=01H):EAX.XSAVEOPT (bit 0)

CPUID.80000001H:ECX.ABM (bit 5)

Notably, lock elision is now available on Haswell processors

You can get your download via: VMware Workstation evaluation (as always the 30 days evaluation is the full download, you only need to have a new license in order to change it into the complete version)

Nov 03

EMC SDDC Release: first shot in a New War between former Frenemies

On October 9, 2014, EMC announced the release of the first fully software-defined data center, using products from the EMC Federated group of companies, these being:

This solution, the first of five planned solutions, utilises the following technologies from the four companies:

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Oct 23

News: Once More into the Breach, My Friends: Oracle v. Google

In a follow-up to my Oracle v. Google Java spat post—in which I reported that the appeals court has ruled in favour of Oracle, casting doubt on the whole automation industry and the use of Java APIs—it seems that Google has decided to take this to the US Supreme Court. The argument it has submitted to the court is that the appeals court ruling should be overturned in the interest of protecting innovation in high tech.

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Oct 08

News: Veeam Enters Physical Backup Land

October 8, 2014: Today at the Las Vegas VeeamON conference, Veeam announced its first foray into the world of physical device backup. With the rather catchy name “Veeam Endpoint Backup Free,” the product, when it is released, will be able to back up a physical endpoint (read Windows-based operating system) to a NAS share or a Veeam backup repository.

First, a few things about the product:

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Oct 08

News: Huawei Joins Board of Open Platform for NFV Project

On October 3, Chinese ICT company Huawei announced that Dr. Anthony C. K. Soong, its chief scientist for wireless research and standards in the US, has joined the board of directors of Open Platform for NFV (OPNFV), an open-source reference platform intended to accelerate the introduction of new products and services.

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Oct 08

Book Review: VMware View Security Essentials

Publisher PACKT Publishing
Author Daniel Langenhan
ISBN 978-1-78217-008-2
Costs (UK) Amazon Book Format = £24:30
Kindle Format = £15:44

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Oct 08

Book Review: VMware Horizon Suite: Building End-User Services

Publisher VMware Press
Author Stephane Asselin & Paul O’Doherty
ISBN 978-0-13-347908-9
Costs (UK) Amazon Book Format = £33.99
Kindle Format = £17:79

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Oct 08

SLEDs, Blades, or Racks? We Are Not Talking about Snow-sport Equipment

The data center is changing, and once again the question of hardware format comes to mind. It is an open secret that I am not a fan of the blade format. Yes, it has flexibility, but that comes at a cost: namely, the loss of density brought by the blade format. 

True, the blade format has been manna from heaven for virtualization. The hardware standardization that the format has instigated has allowed a massive move forward in computing. But isn’t it now time to revisit the paradigm? “Why?” you may ask, thinking “hardware is not important; this is the age of the software-defined data center.” Let’s leave that statement pinned on the wall until later.

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