Question about knowledge of server / storage configuration for VCP5-DCV

ande0255ande0255 /threadkillerBanned Posts: 1,178
So I just got done mapping out the blueprint of the exam to both my Pluralsight videos as well as the Mastering vSphere 5 book, and plan on creating a check list of where I find each item of the blueprint for review in addition to creating some sort of time table / study plan of attack.

That said, after using a few different virtual lab setups to stumble through setting up my nested lab, I'm starting to realize how little I know about the actual setup of Windows servers. I understand AD / DHCP / DNS from a troubleshooting perspective, but when it comes to building from the ground up I get lost pretty quickly. Registering server names via DNS, setting up OU's within the domain, etc.

Was wondering if anyone has thoughts on what server functions are necessary to be successful at studying and labbing for this exam, and beyond the exam on the job. I am also a completely clean slate when it comes to storage technologies, setting up a few volumes in OpenFiler was a huge struggle to grasp while setting up my lab, as I have had no formal training / experience and was just trying to understand what I was doing during the lab setup walkthrough.

I'm going to look into maybe some video series on Server 2008 and basic SAN technology overview, but wanted to see if anyone could suggest specific topics on either Server or Storage that are crucial for labbing and on the job.

I plan to stay on the path of networking, so I don't want to go deeper into server / storage technologies than a foundational understanding, but I feel there may be some specific topics that will make life a lot easier when studying VCP if I know - so please feel free to share whatever two cents you have on the matter.

Thanks to all of you gents in advance!

Comments

  • EssendonEssendon Stopped chasing the VCDX Member Posts: 4,546 ■■■■■■■■■■
    Here's what I did, dead simple and bare minimum.

    - One Domain Controller running on 2008 R2. 512MB RAM and 1 vCPU
    - One vCenter server running on another 2008 R2 VM with 4GB RAM and 1 vCPU
    - 3 ESXi hosts running v5

    I created a single forest/domain, I joined the vCenter server to the domain and it automatically registered itself in DNS (that's how they are supposed to be anyway). I also joined the ESXi's to the domain but manually entered in DNS records for them in the DNS server's forward lookup zone as ESXi hosts dont automatically register in DNS.

    As for shared storage requirements, I installed Starwind iSCSI SAN on the vCenter VM. EASIEST thing ever! No problems at all. I just created a few iSCSI LUN's for the ESXi hosts, made sure I enabled the "clustering" option when creating the LUN's and sure enough my ESXi hosts were able to see and add them.

    Active Directory - you dont need to create an special OU's or anything, just keep it simple. Create a service account though to run the vCenter service. That should be it really.

    Helps?
    NSX, NSX, more NSX..

    Blog >> http://virtual10.com
  • ande0255ande0255 /threadkiller Banned Posts: 1,178
    That helps immensely, thanks much for that! While I was going through lab setups I saw quite a bit that I was familiar with but didn't fully understand, and was wondering what can of worms I opened in terms of having to study server administration to work with virtualization concepts.

    If I may ask, why the 3rd ESXi host? Right now my lab consists of 2 ESXi hosts, 1 DC, 1 Windows 2K8 vCenter server, 1 OpenFiler VM. I'm assuming as I go through studies I'll probably blow that lab away and re-spin it as my concepts become clearer, but to start out does my setup seem correct for labbing at least initially?

    Thanks again for the info, it's way appreciated!
  • EssendonEssendon Stopped chasing the VCDX Member Posts: 4,546 ■■■■■■■■■■
    Yeah 2 hosts are enough too, I just wanted to have a third host so I could play with HA and DRS further. Initially though, I had two hosts too. Like I said, I wanted to play with advanced HA and DRS settings and a third host was good to have. You can get by easily for the purposes of labbing up for the VCP. So yes, your current setup is good. Just perhaps look at Starwind for your storage - easy to setup, a few clicks here and there and your set. Cant beat it really.
    NSX, NSX, more NSX..

    Blog >> http://virtual10.com
  • wgroomwgroom Senior Member Member Posts: 147
    Good topic Ande, I am in a similar position currently. I have administered domains that were established, administered Exchange, and administered Cisco switches. In all instances, I came into an established facility. Now that I am building the lab at home, I am running into issues I never considered since I was never in the planning / installation of a complete network. Each small step is a success, getting issues resolved boosts the courage. However, I am sad to say this is taking longer than I had anticipated, and at times really tests one's mettle. This site is great, as are coworkers. I have been reading all sorts of Windows sites, Cisco sites, and VMWare sites, trying to get answers to obstacles I run into. In the end, once it is all configured as I want, it will be a great feeling. Until then, frustration rears it's ugly head once in a while, but with determination all obstacles can be overcome.
    Cisco VoIP Engineer I
    CCNA R&S COLOR=#008000]Complete[/COLOR CCNA Voice COLOR=#008000]Complete[/COLOR CCNA Collaboration [In Progress]
  • ande0255ande0255 /threadkiller Banned Posts: 1,178
    I am totally in the same boat wgroom, whenever a part of the server build process goes right and functions how I intended it's a huge victory, and I am earning every inch of ground I gain. On my breaks or lunch at work, after work, and usually at work I look like this little yellow guy: icon_study.gif

    What brings you to trying to build windows servers? I figured you were just spinning up some Unified Comm boxes for labbing voice, it's nice to know I'm not the only person struggling with very basic IT knowledge :)
  • EssendonEssendon Stopped chasing the VCDX Member Posts: 4,546 ■■■■■■■■■■
    Ask away for any specific questions too guys, here to assist.
    NSX, NSX, more NSX..

    Blog >> http://virtual10.com
  • jibbajabbajibbajabba Google Ninja Member Posts: 4,317 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Like Essendon mentioned - in terms for AD I keep it simple too - in fact, sometimes I do the worst of the worst - run everything as domain admin - that is just to keep it simple - but I know how to do it right too - so I think I can afford being lazy :p

    But I agree - keep it VERY simple ... for the DC, I install the OS, patch the hell out of it, add the AD role, run dcpromo and leave it alone (after I created DNS and Users).

    Here an example of my so complicated lab AD environment :)

    rcplhw.jpg

    2r75yt2.jpg

    My SAN - a Server 2012R2 Server with ISCSI targets - is the DC too :p

    Having issues has two massive advantages :

    1. You learn a lot and
    2. It helps during interviews.

    It is very easy for a company interviewing you to find out if you pretended you have done it or you actually done it.

    Once you had issues yourself, you usually find a way to fix it eventually and you can use that as an example ..

    A bit higher up the skill latter, but for example, a lot of people I know installed vCloud Director - and THINK they can upgrade it too and put it on their CV. Now I had to test this in my lab and had issues after issues.

    "They" wouldn't know what could go wrong as it LOOKS straight forward. "They" rely on release notes and upgrade paths and trust it, hence feeling confident it is easy.

    I can tell stories about disk space issues in vShield Manager, causing upgrade x to fail, bugs in version B, causing C to fail etc., so I can show I actually did it, rather than relying on documentations (and you will find out very quickly that VMware is fast in copy / pasting rather than checking :p )
    My own knowledge base made public: http://open902.com :p
  • wgroomwgroom Senior Member Member Posts: 147
    Ande, I am building an AD domain, installing DNS, and setting home machines to log into domain. When I am complete I will have a mini enterprise installed at home. This will allow for machine backups, ability to mimic network scenarios, and keep me out of trouble. I also have a Linux machine and a Linux server as well, to get all working together as in a corporate environment. On top of all of that, there will be a Cisco VoIP environment that I can use to study for certs, as well as run projects at home prior to implementing at work.

    Thanks for the offer Essendon, it is much appreciated.

    jibbajabba, agreed. That is why I want to test at home, to learn the procedure to implement new features without breaking anything in a production environment. I hate to say I do not know how to do something, and I can learn about anything. But I am a learner from doing as much as reading, it helps solidify it for me.
    Cisco VoIP Engineer I
    CCNA R&S COLOR=#008000]Complete[/COLOR CCNA Voice COLOR=#008000]Complete[/COLOR CCNA Collaboration [In Progress]
  • ande0255ande0255 /threadkiller Banned Posts: 1,178
    Thanks much for the example Jabba, it's a huge sigh of relief to know that I'm not neck deep in other topics to get into my VCP studies! I am trying to do essentially the same thing wgroom, though I'm not sure how far I want to get into the server side of things right now, as the more exposure I get to it the more I realize how in depth even foundation level concepts can be.
  • tprice5tprice5 Senior Member Member Posts: 770
    And here I was thinking the minimum server requirement for 2008 R2 was 1GB RAM.
    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
  • tprice5tprice5 Senior Member Member Posts: 770
    jibbajabba wrote: »
    (and you will find out very quickly that VMware is fast in copy / pasting rather than checking :p )

    For being a company with such innovative technologies, there website and documentation leaves a lot to be desired.
    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
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