Time for the beast - Study Log for VCAP5-DCA

jibbajabbajibbajabba Posts: 4,317Member
Right, I never get to it unless I actually start it (nice logic, right). I usually right my own blog which is not accessible publicly but this time I thought I might as well use this forum. For my sake, for other people's sake, and even if it just so people can complain that I am rubbish and should do something :p

I am VCP 3,4 and 5 (technically VCP2 too, but as it turned out the testing center wasn't licensed any more so I kinda "lost" it) and have quite a few partner ones (VTSP / VSP and the lot) - so its time to play with the big toys.

I will use this thread basically as study log. I will post the resources I am using, what I am currently reading, what the status is, what labs I am doing and so on.

The first post (<this one here>) is where I update resources in use / currently using, and further posts are with other "stuff". I will see how I do this as I go along.

First and foremost, the setup. You cannot get this done without having a lab, right.

I can consider myself lucky that I have quite a nice setup I think so I thought I might as well share it (always open to suggestions of course).


The Excel Sheet contains the hardware I am using and IPs / VLANs etc. None of it is important to you, but at least I got everything in one place in case I need it. It might change of course, but that is what I came up with over my lunch break.

I currently host my lab in our work place. I am working in a hosting company so I got the resources thankfully. No need to host 6A worth of kit in the garage ... Usually I have the lot in a 12U cabinet. Below you can see it has 13U servers and what you can't see, another 3U of switches and firewalls. But at home I don't use the 5th host and just one switch and a software firewall.
Here I just have it in there for spares (fully functional though).



Here is an Excel sheet with my setup in "theory" - in theory because I haven't configured it yet, but the hardware is correct and complete :p

>> Excelsheet @ Dropbox <<

Here how the "lab" looks in the garage

e1273s.jpg

Cabinet is a 12U Usystems 7210 Midi Cabinet 600mm (w) x 1000mm (d)

What else do I need ? Resources used.

I will update the below list over the next couple of days and hopefully I can also record start and finish date.

Resources

Books
Mastering VMware vSphere 5.5 by Scott Lowe
Status = Reading / Started Feb 10, 2014

VMware vSphere Clustering Deepdive 5.1
Status = Not started yet

Websites

Thanks Asif:
Other experiences of the test:
VCAP | Ben's Jibber Jabber
Virtual Nomad: My VCAP-DCA experience
VCAP5-DCA Testing Strategy and Tips | whiteboardninja
Building a VCAP live exam lab environment | SOSTech

Objectives:
The Foglite – VCAP5-DCA Objectives
The VCAP-DCA 5 Study Sheet | Wahl Network
VCAP5-DCA Objectives | TheSaffaGeek
http://www.virtuallanger.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/The-Unofficial-Official-VCAP5-DCA-Study-Guide.pdf[/QUOTE]

Thanks GSXRules:
VCAP5-DCA links

Thanks Essendon:
VCAP5 – DCA | Everything Virtual!

Thanks QHalo
8 weeks of #VCAP | mwpreston.net

Further reading
anexinet ISG Blog Site: My VMware Certified Advanced Professional 5 - Data Center Administration (VCAP5-DCA) experience

Training Videos from Pluralsight
VMware vSphere Optimize & Scale: Storage & Networking Done
Part 1 of 3 in the VMware vSphere Optimize and Scale (VCAP-DCA) series focuses on storage and networking.

VMware vSphere Optimize & Scale: Performance & High Availability In Progress
Part 2 of 3 in the VMware vSphere Optimize and Scale series focuses on performance and high availability.

VMware vSphere Optimize & Scale: Monitoring & Automation
Part 3 of 3 in the VMware vSphere Optimize and Scale series focuses on monitoring and automation.

VMware vSphere Advanced Networking
This course is a deep dive into vSphere administration and troubleshooting.
My own knowledge base made public: http://open902.com :p
«13

Comments

  • Asif DaslAsif Dasl Posts: 2,116Member ■■■■■■■■□□
  • GSXRulesGSXRules Posts: 109Member
    Building a VCAP live exam lab environment | SOSTech
    Is pretty general and is mostly notes from describing the exam environments

    VCAP Test Track (lab on a lap)
    has more specifics about sizing to fit a DCA-replica lab on to a 16GB laptop
    Also includes a blurb about how to request remote access to the lab

    VCAP5-DCA links
    is a collection of all the link I could find on the DCA, grouped by type


    [h=1][/h]
  • QHaloQHalo Posts: 1,488Member
    You have that rack and I'm doing it all on my laptop :p

    I take it the 21st. Good luck!
  • tstrip007tstrip007 Posts: 306Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    Best of luck. Will be following this.
  • jibbajabbajibbajabba Posts: 4,317Member
    QHalo wrote: »
    I take it the 21st. Good luck!

    I was lucky to get kit like that. Working in a company which was being closed has its advantages. Thankfully I can host this at work at the moment. I don't have a proper connectivity to my garage so I have a wireless bridge in the garage and go through the SAN via RDP to work on the lab (too slow otherwise).

    I used to use my laptop but I also use the lab (if not for VCAP) to test other stuff, like Citrix, Hyper-V and the lot.

    The 200 or so GB of RAM in total come in handy :p

    But thanks guys for the links ...
    My own knowledge base made public: http://open902.com :p
  • QHaloQHalo Posts: 1,488Member
    Just bustin ya mate. I'm expanding my home lab a bit to accommodate a good View and vCAC setup after DCA and DCD.
  • EssendonEssendon Posts: 4,548Member ■■■■■■■■■■
    Hey Hey, I've done a writeup on the DCA too! VCAP5 – DCA | Everything Virtual!

    icon_smile.gif

    You'll pass the test, no worries Jibba and QHalo - it's cake. Just be quick, dont get hung up and get as many task completions as possible. It doesnt matter how you get to the end result (PowerCLI or C#). Have I said you need to be quick? Do not wait for a task to finish, for example when you're enabling FT on a machine, dont wait for it to finish - instead, go on to another task and then come back when the FT'ing is complete.
    NSX, NSX, more NSX..

    Blog >> http://virtual10.com
  • kj0kj0 Posts: 767Member
    Best of luck dude. I"m definitely planning on starting it once I finish my VCP.

    Hopefully if I get the job I'm waiting on hearing back from I will be able to have a Lab similar to yours.
    2017 Goals: VCP6-DCV | VCIX
    Blog: [URL]https://readysetvirtual.wordpress.com [/URL]
  • jibbajabbajibbajabba Posts: 4,317Member
    I would hope so but there are things I never done really, using VMA for a start. A few things were taken out of vCAP so it makes it probably easier. I doubt I will go for the exam before July or August, but we shall see. I'll sign up after payday lol, just to get a deadline in.
    My own knowledge base made public: http://open902.com :p
  • SimonD.SimonD. Posts: 111Member
    Essendon wrote: »
    Hey Hey, I've done a writeup on the DCA too! VCAP5 – DCA | Everything Virtual!

    icon_smile.gif

    You'll pass the test, no worries Jibba and QHalo - it's cake. Just be quick, dont get hung up and get as many task completions as possible. It doesnt matter how you get to the end result (PowerCLI or C#). Have I said you need to be quick? Do not wait for a task to finish, for example when you're enabling FT on a machine, dont wait for it to finish - instead, go on to another task and then come back when the FT'ing is complete.

    Interesting Blog Title ;)
    My Blog - http://www.everything-virtual.com
    vExpert 2012\2013\2014\2015
  • jibbajabbajibbajabba Posts: 4,317Member
    Updated the first post with some more resources. Thanks guys. I am sure they will come in handy ...
    My own knowledge base made public: http://open902.com :p
  • jibbajabbajibbajabba Posts: 4,317Member
    Still waiting for VUE to approve my VCAP pre-requisites but in the meantime signed up for Pluralsight ..

    First post updated with courses I will be watching (VMware vSphere Optimize & Scale)...
    My own knowledge base made public: http://open902.com :p
  • tprice5tprice5 Posts: 770Member
    jibbajabba wrote: »
    Still waiting for VUE to approve my VCAP pre-requisites

    Whatchu talkin' bout?
    Certification To-Do: CEH [ ], CHFI [ ], NCSA [ ], E10-001 [ ], 70-413 [ ], 70-414 [ ]
    WGU MSISA
    Start Date: 10/01/2014 | Complete Date: ASAP
    All Courses: LOT2, LYT2 , UVC2, ORA1, VUT2, VLT2 , FNV2 , TFT2 , JIT2 , FMV2, FXT2 , LQT2
  • jibbajabbajibbajabba Posts: 4,317Member
    tprice5 wrote: »
    Whatchu talkin' bout?

    For VCAP you sign up first on VMware - they provide you with a new Candidate ID, that Candidate ID is then used to add the advanced track to VUE. They then tell you that it takes 24-48hrs for them to approve / check that Candidate ID. And I am waiting for that stage now for them to add the Advanced Track to my account so I can actually book my exam.

    At the moment it doesn't allow me to book VCAPs but displays a message
    Add VMware Advanced to My Testing Profile
    Your request to add VMware Advanced has been forwarded to our Testing Program team. If you provided a valid email address, we will notify you when your request has been processed. This typically occurs within one business day. You can also return to this site and check if VMware Advanced has been added to your list of Testing Programs. Thank you for your interest in VMware Advanced.
    My own knowledge base made public: http://open902.com :p
  • QHaloQHalo Posts: 1,488Member
    Call them. I had a ton of issues getting the approval. Requires a new ID, etc, etc. I called and it was instantly taken are of.
  • jibbajabbajibbajabba Posts: 4,317Member
    QHalo wrote: »
    Call them. I had a ton of issues getting the approval. Requires a new ID, etc, etc. I called and it was instantly taken are of.

    Did .. man what a pain .. So Now for some reason I got two accounts .. One guys tells me to call back and merge them, another guy tells me they cannot be merged because one account is for advaned and one is for "normal" exams.

    Is that correct ?!?
    My own knowledge base made public: http://open902.com :p
  • jibbajabbajibbajabba Posts: 4,317Member
    June 30th for now. Thankfully I was allowed to use company CC
    Payment Details
    Exams for
    Name:
    Michael xx
    Candidate ID:
    VMW-xx-xx
    Order Total
    Subtotal: 260.00
    VAT-GBR: 52.00
    VISA**** GBP 312.00

    By the way - that's $515.92 !!!!

    How unfair is that (given that the exam in the US is what, £300 odd ?)
    My own knowledge base made public: http://open902.com :p
  • QHaloQHalo Posts: 1,488Member
    jibbajabba wrote: »
    Did .. man what a pain .. So Now for some reason I got two accounts .. One guys tells me to call back and merge them, another guy tells me they cannot be merged because one account is for advaned and one is for "normal" exams.

    Is that correct ?!?

    Yes that's correct. I now have one ID for VCP exams and one for VCAP exams. Oh, and if you take Cisco exams, you're gonna need another one for them too.
  • QHaloQHalo Posts: 1,488Member
    Toss this up there as well. I'm using it right now.
    8 weeks of #VCAP | mwpreston.net
  • jibbajabbajibbajabba Posts: 4,317Member
    Thanks GW :)

    Added to the list ....
    My own knowledge base made public: http://open902.com :p
  • Architect192Architect192 Posts: 157Member
    jibbajabba wrote: »
    Did .. man what a pain .. So Now for some reason I got two accounts .. One guys tells me to call back and merge them, another guy tells me they cannot be merged because one account is for advaned and one is for "normal" exams.

    Is that correct ?!?

    Had the same bullcrap story... I had to get a different account for the advanced exam (booked for DCD early march). Had to call in to try and sort it out and the customer rep was rude and obnoxious as hell...

    Marc
    Current: VCAP-DCA/DCD, VCP-DCV2/3/4/5, VCP-NV 6 - CCNP, CCNA Security - MCSE: Server Infrastructure 2012 - ITIL v3 - A+ - Security+
    Working on: CCNA Datacenter (2nd exam), Renewing VMware certs...
  • QHaloQHalo Posts: 1,488Member
    Ok ok, I used their chat system instead of calling. Was much more pleasant :)
  • ande0255ande0255 Posts: 1,178Banned
    Very interested to see your progress, I'm just about to start my journey towards the VCP5-DCV and I am pretty intimidated for a whole new topic to say the least! Pausing Cisco study for another vendor almost feels like living in sin, but think I want to cross that line!

    Good luck and keep us posted!
    Back in my day we used to route packets on 56k lines, through the snow, uphill both ways.

    https://loopedback.com
  • jibbajabbajibbajabba Posts: 4,317Member
    Man I forgot how long-winded Server 2008R2 installs are. Even when you just install the SQL connectivity tools on the vCenter Server, of course it needs to bloody download and install almost 1GB worth of SP.

    Whilst reading "Mastering vSphere 5.5" and additional Advanced videos from Jason Nash going well, I finally finished my lab in preparation of some decent ... labbing ...

    I had to bastardise the lab for something else too - thankfully there are enough resources. Basically I need to upgrade our vCloud Director infrastructure which currently runs an unsupported version (1.5). There are so many components to upgrade it is unreal. VMware's upgrade Matrix doesn't even include some components and their support is as usual useless.

    Anyway, like I said before - I may post some stuff people aren't interested in, but this thread is mainly a study aid and log-book for me.

    So here it goes.

    What does my lab look like ?

    The management hosts have both 28GB of Ram while the Production ones have 72GB each. I needed to disable Admission control on the Management Cluster as I am somewhat short on RAM. I was tempted to move some RAM around, but the production hosts are nice and powerful enough to run additional nested setups.

    In the screenshots you can see that the main infrastructure is based on vSphere 5.5 but the nested setup on 5.0, reflecting our production builds.

    So what is the core-infrastructure made of ?

    Physical Server: SAN
    Server 2012R2
    ISCSI Target
    Additional Roles: DC / DNS (yea I know)

    Management Cluster VMs

    vApp Management VMs
    - DC (Server 2012R2)
    --> second DC / GC Server / DNS

    - GW (ClearOS 6)
    --> Linux VM acting as router between a clients VLAN and default VLAN of the switch (Switch is SG300-38 in Layer 2 mode)

    - SQL (Server 2008R2 + SQL 2012)
    --> Hosting SQL Databases for all components including vCloud

    - VCS01 (Server 2008R2)
    --> vCenter 5.5

    vApp Tools
    - VMware vCenter Log Insight
    --> Collects Syslogs from all hosts and vcenter

    - vSphere Data Protection 5.5 Advanced
    --> Daily backups of all Management VMs and in addition all SQL databases (agent powered)

    - vSphere Management Assistant (vMA)
    --> CLI stuff :)

    Production Lab Cluster VMs

    vApp ESX-Hosts
    - ESXi 5.0u3
    --> 3 nested hosts with 12GB of Ram each

    vApp Management
    - VCC01 (CentOS 6.5 x64)
    --> First vCloud Director Cell (v1.5.1)

    - VCC02 (CentOS 6.5 x64)
    --> Second vCloud Director Cell (v1.5.1)

    - VSM01 (Virtual Appliance)
    --> vShield Manager for vCloud Director (v5.0.1)

    - VCS01 (Server 2008R2)
    --> vCenter 5.0u2 for vCloud Director

    An additional note for nested setups. You know when you create a VM, it would obviously show "VMware" as hardware.

    Example:
    2zzkopt.png

    There is however a nice setting you can add to the vmx-file of the virtual host (or add advanced settings)
    SMBIOS.reflectHost = "true"
    

    That will pass the hardware information through to the virtual machine (nice **** :p)

    2n1hydx.png

    Anyway, the lab .. Here just a screenshot of the lab overall

    30sefcg.png

    It's storage config

    fnu1dj.png

    And it's network

    2ibhnb7.png

    Tedious .. especially MPIO .. Really time to learn some CLI stuff and script the lot :)

    Nothing special - Actual infrastructure and its relation to the virtual cluster

    etveza.png

    Again, nothing really related to VCAP - but it's my log so there it is :)

    Enough for today .. that was 6hrs glued to a PC - needs some beer or something :)

    Comments are always welcome :)
    My own knowledge base made public: http://open902.com :p
  • Architect192Architect192 Posts: 157Member
    Seems like you are using vApps to "organize" your structure, is that the case or you actually need them to start in sequence?
    Current: VCAP-DCA/DCD, VCP-DCV2/3/4/5, VCP-NV 6 - CCNP, CCNA Security - MCSE: Server Infrastructure 2012 - ITIL v3 - A+ - Security+
    Working on: CCNA Datacenter (2nd exam), Renewing VMware certs...
  • jibbajabbajibbajabba Posts: 4,317Member
    Thank you very much for taking the time to check it over and questioning. I hope more is to come :)

    A lot of people use vApps or even Resource Pools to organize the structure, as folders are nice but won't appear on the cluster / host view (why not ey).

    But to answer the question, I only use vApps to indeed organize the startup order. On single hosts you can obviously configure automatic startup and power-off, but in clusters you can't.

    As I am working in a hosting company I don't REALLY need to power-off any servers. But at home, as the whole lot uses approx. 6A, I do, and mostly power it on / off using remote controller power bars.

    So out of habit I configure vApps solely for start-up order. So I need to make sure that certain servers booting up in a particular order.

    1. DCs
    2. SQL
    3. VCS
    4. Virtual hosts (if applicable)
    5. VSM (if applicable)
    6. VCC (if applicable)
    7. The rest

    So as a result the vApps are configured as follows (hope it makes sense, so imagine when you pulled the plug and turn it back on)

    Core Infrastructure - needs to come up in a certain order

    20tqg08.png

    Random stuff which don't need to come up in any order

    dli8wi.png

    Take the vCloud Infrastructure - virtual hosts first, then the rest

    11tpge1.png

    For the hosts, I don't care which order

    2mwfm37.png

    And for the actual vCloud infrastructure - based on importance

    1. vCenter
    2. vShield Manager
    3. vCloud Cells

    rkadjm.png

    Like I say - I really appreciate the input and correction if / when needed :)
    My own knowledge base made public: http://open902.com :p
  • Architect192Architect192 Posts: 157Member
    Makes sense for the DC, DNS, VCenter etc... However... for the rest, where start order isn't important, you just introduced a major issue in your infrastructure. You probably should create a single Resource Pool and put all those "any order" VMs in it and create a powershell script to start them in the order you want. (Really looking forward for VMware to offer start order across cluster instead of just host).

    Using vApps or resource pools for any kind of "organising" is a bad idea. vApps are resource pools, and are viewed as an entity in itself. In case of resource contention, the shares allocated to either pools or vApps will define how much resources the VMs inside them will get to use.

    You have to make sure you balance the shares allocated to the vApps, Resource Pools and VMs appropriately.

    For example, take a vApp with multiple VMs inside it, and a single VM with 4 CPUs at the same level. Both get 50% of the resources of the host (4000 shares each). If you vApp had 10 VMs in it, they would each get 400 shares vs the 4000 for the VM at the same level as the vApp.

    Current: VCAP-DCA/DCD, VCP-DCV2/3/4/5, VCP-NV 6 - CCNP, CCNA Security - MCSE: Server Infrastructure 2012 - ITIL v3 - A+ - Security+
    Working on: CCNA Datacenter (2nd exam), Renewing VMware certs...
  • jibbajabbajibbajabba Posts: 4,317Member
    I must admit that performance is my weak point so I appreciate your input - thank you very much ..

    So basically I am "alright" until I have additional VMs. Because right now, taking the "Production" as example

    - vApp LN1
    -- vApp ESX Hosts
    -- vApp Management

    That would translate to

    - vApp LN1
    -- vApp ESX Hosts - 4000 Shares
    --- c1b01 - 2000 Shares
    --- c1b02 - 2000 Shares
    --- c1b03 - 2000 Shares
    -- vApp Management - 4000 Shares
    --- VCS --- 2000 Shares (40%)
    --- VSM --- 1000 Shares (20%)
    --- VCC01 --- 1000 Shares (20%)
    --- VCC02 --- 1000 Shares (20%)

    So If I were to add a big VM into the "root", I'd be messing up the shares in the vApps causing VMs inside the vApp to receive less shares maybe causing performance issues ....

    But I really wished as well that we could have startup orders without the use of vApps in clustered environments icon_sad.gif
    My own knowledge base made public: http://open902.com :p
  • Architect192Architect192 Posts: 157Member
    jibbajabba wrote: »
    I must admit that performance is my weak point so I appreciate your input - thank you very much ..

    So basically I am "alright" until I have additional VMs. Because right now, taking the "Production" as example

    - vApp LN1
    -- vApp ESX Hosts
    -- vApp Management

    That would translate to

    - vApp LN1
    -- vApp ESX Hosts - 4000 Shares
    --- c1b01 - 2000 Shares
    --- c1b02 - 2000 Shares
    --- c1b03 - 2000 Shares
    -- vApp Management - 4000 Shares
    --- VCS --- 2000 Shares (40%)
    --- VSM --- 1000 Shares (20%)
    --- VCC01 --- 1000 Shares (20%)
    --- VCC02 --- 1000 Shares (20%)

    So If I were to add a big VM into the "root", I'd be messing up the shares in the vApps causing VMs inside the vApp to receive less shares maybe causing performance issues ....

    But I really wished as well that we could have startup orders without the use of vApps in clustered environments icon_sad.gif

    Well, until the resources are in contention, you're fine. However...

    - vApp LN1 (4000 shares)
    -- vApp ESX Hosts - 4000 Shares
    --- c1b01 - 2000 Shares
    --- c1b02 - 2000 Shares
    --- c1b03 - 2000 Shares
    -- vApp Management - 4000 Shares
    --- VCS --- 2000 Shares (40%)
    --- VSM --- 1000 Shares (20%)
    --- VCC01 --- 1000 Shares (20%)
    --- VCC02 --- 1000 Shares (20%)

    Your resources are split 3 ways, so the whole cluster is split with 33% of the resources for LN1, 33% of the resources for ESX hosts and 33% for Management.

    Out of that 33%, your hosts (3 of them) are getting 33% of what the vApp has, so basically each host would get 11% of the cluster resources. In your management vApp (which gets 33% of cluster resources), each VM would get it's share of what the vApp has (so VCS would get 40% of 1/3 of the cluster resources).

    You can leave them as vApps, but I would adjust the shares more appropriately. Try to figure this out as if you were running production on this :)

    Have fun!
    Current: VCAP-DCA/DCD, VCP-DCV2/3/4/5, VCP-NV 6 - CCNP, CCNA Security - MCSE: Server Infrastructure 2012 - ITIL v3 - A+ - Security+
    Working on: CCNA Datacenter (2nd exam), Renewing VMware certs...
  • kj0kj0 Posts: 767Member
    Eval Ran out, so I now have to rebuild my lab to so I can get some practice in before my VCP exam.

    Your lab layout has given me some great ideas on how I should set my new lab up.


    I'm liking all the extra bits you are throwing into this lab. Keep up the excellent work, JJ.
    2017 Goals: VCP6-DCV | VCIX
    Blog: [URL]https://readysetvirtual.wordpress.com [/URL]
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