Book Review: Implementing VMware vCenter Server


Book Cover: Ipmlementing VMware vCenter Server

I was recently given the opportunity to review Packt Publishing’s recent release of Implementing VMware vCenter Server: A practical guide for deploying and using VMware vCenter, suitable for IT professionals.  At first glance, I wondered how an entire book could be written about vCenter alone.  While reading it, though, I was pleasantly surprised time and again when I saw how much good information was shared.  This book is an excellent primer for those new to vCenter and really, VMware in general.

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Reviewing NetApp Shelf Faults


imageWith the arrival of Spring days away, I’m getting the fever to get moving and share some great content.  I’m excited to be putting out some NetApp-related posts that I think people will find useful.  I’ve installed several new NetApp systems for clients recently and these posts should help them start managing, monitoring, and configuring their systems correctly from the start.  Or perhaps you’ve had NetApp in your environment for some time but have had questions about getting insight into your systems or some “best practices.”  These posts should get you started and answer some of those questions.


A coworker recently received an alert from NetApp AutoSupport and he didn’t know what to do with it.  Since the alert itself wasn’t detailed enough to take action, I thought I’d share this for those who also receive these less than ideal alerts.

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Thoughts on VCP Recertification


imageThanks to Twitter and Patrick Kremer’s article, I caught the recent news that starting 10 March 2014, VMware will require VCPs to recertify every 2 years to keep their certification current.  You can read VMware’s release here.  I took the time to read the comment threads on Patricks’ and other’s blogs to get an idea of folks’ reactions.  Since you asked, here are my thoughts on the subject.

I shouldn’t have to say that it’s obviously VMware’s prerogative to change or create new policies regarding their certification programs.  This shouldn’t be a topic of conversation. 

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Deploy and Manage Dell Management Suite Infrastructure


By request, this post is a reproduction of an internal operational document I handed over for the environment in which I installed it.

Overview

The Dell Management Infrastructure consists of two dedicated VMs in addition to relying on vCenter and a database. The two dedicated VMs run three separate Dell applications in a Windows Server 2008 R2 VM and a Linux Virtual Appliance. The three applications are Dell OpenManage (OME), Dell Repository Manager (RM), and the Dell Management Plug-in (DMP) Virtual Appliance itself. An overview of the infrastructure is below.

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Thoughts on Implementing Cisco Data Center Unified Computing Exam (DCUCI v5.0) 642-999


CCNA-DC

Working for a Cisco VAR, I recently had the opportunity to take the DCUCI exam to meet our Partner requirements. As noted in the title, I took version 5.0 of the exam. I thought I might take a moment and record my thoughts on the exam. As always, I have to stay within the limits set by Cisco’s non-disclosure agreement about test questions and content, but I hope to give someone an idea of what to expect and how best to prepare.

I haven’t recorded my test prep materials before, so here goes my first attempt. It includes a Data Center background in VMware vSphere, Cisco Nexus, and storage, on-the-job experience, lab time and training videos.

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Thoughts on CCNA-DC 640-916 Exam


CCNA-DC

Introducing Cisco Data Center Technologies

I’m happy to report that I just passed the second CCNA Data Center exam. I’d like to take a moment and record my thoughts on it.

As many know, the exams went public less than a year ago in December of 2012. I’ve followed those interested in the entire Cisco Data Center program like Tony Bourke (@tbourke) of DataCenterOverlords.com, Chris Wahl (@ChrisWahl) of the WahlNetwork.com, Andy Schmid (@andytschmid) and the PacketPushers.net dudes to get an idea of what to expect. I was also up against a timeline to get CCNA-DC certified in order re-up my CCNA for another three years.

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Upgrading NetApp Data ONTAP with HFS


I wanted to take a quick moment to document the awesomeness that is a quick and easy upgrade of Data ONTAP 7-mode with HFS. HFS is a lightweight web server that’s run as an executable and lets you quickly and easily transfer your Data ONTAP images from a Windows machine to the FreeBSD-based NetApp operating system. I can’t take credit for finding this gem of the storage admin. That goes to Mike Mills (@MikeasaService) who found this while we were implementing NetApp systems in a war zone. Thanks, Mike! Of course, if you’re a Mac-man (or gal, but that doesn’t really roll of the tongue as nicely) or a Linux dude, you can easily mount the /etc/software directory using NFS in which case you don’t need a web server. But I digress…on to the steps!

Download Data ONTAP image – from the NetApp Support site (support.netapp.com) and follow the prompts and be sure to download the correct version, in this case, 7-mode

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NetApp FAS2240-2 with DS4246 Expansion Disk Shelf Design


I recently had the opportunity to design and implement NetApp’s entry-level storage solution for a client and I’d like to take this chance to share my approach to the design decisions. One reason for posting this is to help others that may be contemplating similar designs. I know there are a lot of talented and experienced engineers out there that may come across this and I encourage you to comment on this design. I look forward to learning from your experiences and at the same time I hope mine can help others. I should note that the hardware purchased was outside the scope of this design as the decision had already been made, hardware ordered and shipped. Also, common sense says that I’ve changed hostnames and IP addresses to protect the innocent.

The hardware specifications include

Feature FAS2240-2
Controller Form Factor Single enclosure HA; 2 controllers in a 2U chassis 
Memory 6 GB per controller 
CPU  Dual Core Intel Xeon C3528 @1.73 GHz, HT enabled
Onboard I/O: 6 Gb SAS  2
Onboard I/O: 1 GbE 4 
Mezzanine I/O: 10 GbE  2

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Book Review: VMware Workstation – No Experience Necessary


Book Cover: VMware Workstation - No Experience Necessary

Have you looked at VMware Workstation recently? The Workstation development team at VMware has been busy! Did you know you can let others access VMs in Workstation via a web interface? Do you need VNC access to VMs in Workstation? It’s there. You can also access VMs from across the Internet using TeamViewer. How about this for a cool POC: accessing VMs in Workstation via a tablet or mobile device. Need P2V or V2V? Workstation can play, too. All this can be done using VMware Workstation. But how do you do it? If you’re a developer or administrator and you need a better way to work, this book can help you get started with Workstation.

Although I received the free ebook of this title in order to do this review, I was eager to get the good word out on VMware Workstation anyways. I’ve used it for several years now. It, and VMware Player, were my introductions to virtualization back in 2010. They’ve helped me build a solid foundation in VMware virtualization as well allowing me to grow in my career. So if you’re a Systems, Server guy, or developer that hasn’t quite dived as deep as you would like into VMware and virtualization, get out your credit card and a hot cup of coffee, buy a license of VMware Workstation and this book, and settle in for some fun and learning.

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Thoughts on the new VMware Certified Associate-Cloud certification


VCA-Cloud

Throughout October 2013, VMware offered $60 off all of their new VCA exams as a campaign kickoff promotion. There are three exams available today covering Datacenter Virtualization (DCV), Cloud, and Workforce Mobility (WM), what I gather to be desktop virtualization et al. (can you tell I’m not a desktop dude?). A Network Virtualization exam covering NSX should be available soon. I was trolling the Twitter the other morning when I followed a link to Mike Preston’s (@mwpreston) blog. There, I found his post Is October the month of certification? – The price is right! in which he shared a promo code that takes off the final $60 from the original $120 price of the certification test. Last time I checked, $120 minus $120 was a heck of a good deal. So I decided to drop what I was doing and take some tests!

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