Virtual Thoughts

Virtualisation, Storage and various other ramblings.

vSphere and Containers part 1 – VIC (VMware Integrated Containers)

In this multi-part series, we evaluate the options available to vSphere users/customers wishing to deploy a native container service into an existing vSphere environment.

Part 1 – VIC (VMware Integrated Containers).

Part 2 – PKS (Pivotal Container Service).

Why should we care about containers?

Containers change the way we fundamentally look at application deployment and development. There was a huge shift in the way we managed platforms when server virtualisation came around – all of a sudden we had greater levels of flexibility, elasticity and redundancy compared to physical implementations. Consequently, the way in which applications were developed and deployed changed. And here we are again, with the next step of innovation using technology that is making rifts in the industry, changing the way consume resources.

 

What is VIC?

VIC (or vSphere Integrated Containers) is a native extension to the vSphere platform that facilitates container technology, because of this tight integration we’re able to perform actions and activities using the vSphere client and integrate it with auxiliary services. VIC is developed in such a way so it presents a Docker Compatible API endpoint. Therefore Ops/Dev staff already familiar with Docker can leverage VIC using the same tools/commands that they’re already familiar with.

VIC is a culmination of three technologies:

 

The containers engine is the core runtime technology that facilitates containerised applications in a vSphere environment. As previously mentioned, this engine presents a Docker-compatible API for consumption. Tight integration between this and vSphere enables vSphere admins to manage container and VM workloads in a consistent way.

 

 

Harbour is an enterprise-level facilitator of Docker-based image retrieval and distribution. It’s considered an extension of the open source Docker Distribution by adding features and constructs that are beneficial to the enterprise including but not limited to : LDAP support, Role-based access control, GUI control and much more.

 

 

Admiral is a scalable and lightweight container management platform for managing containers and associated applications. Primary responsibilities are mainly around automated deployment and lifecycle management of containers.

How VIC works

The management plane of VIC is facilitated by a OVA appliance, rather than going through the installation steps here, I will simply point to the direction of the (excellent) documentation located at https://vmware.github.io/vic-product/#documentation. At the core though, we have the following constructs:

  • VIC Appliance – Management plane.
  • Virtual Container HostsInfrastructure resource with a docker endpoint.
  • Registry – Location for Docker-compatible images.

 

Which, from a logical view looks like this:

 

Key observations are:

  • The VCH (Virtual Container Host) isn’t a Virtual machine, it’s actually a resource pool. Therefore, I think the best way to describe a VCH is a logical representation of a pool of resources, including clustering, scheduling, vMotion, HA, and other features.
  • When a VCH is created, a VM is created that facilitates the Docker-compatible API endpoint.

 

Advantages of VIC

So why would any of us consider VIC instead of, for example, standard Docker hosts? Here are a few points I’ve come across:

  1. Native integration into vSphere.
  2. Administrators can secure  and manage VM and Container resources in the same way.
  3. Easy integration into other VMware products.
    1. NSX.
    2. VSAN.
    3. vRealize Network Insight.
    4. vRealize Orchestrator.
    5. vRealize Automation.
  4. Eases adoption.
  5. Eases security.
  6. Eases management.

Conclusion

VIC helps bridge the gap between Developers and Administrators when it comes to the world of containers. I would say VIC is still in its infancy in terms of development, but it’s being backed by a great team and I think it’s going to make a compelling option for vSphere customers/users looking to embrace the container world, whilst maintaining a predictable, consistent security and management model.

My Technology Hitlist for 2018

It’s time for me to set a few objectives with which technologies I want to learn more about in 2018. As a reminder for me and to try and not lose focus, I’ve compiled it into a blog post.

 

vRealize Automation / Orchestration

I’ve always dabbled in automation and orchestration but never really gone “full on”.  I used to write a lot of scripts for migrations and such “back in the day”, so I’ll be looking forward to getting my hands dirty again and messing around with automating and orchestrating….all the things.

 

Docker / Containers

My career pretty much started with mainstream x86 server virtualisation. P2V’s were rife and everyone was losing their minds with technologies such as vMotion. The industry has changed now, and I personally feel the next wave of change in the way we manage applications and the underlying operating system libraries is with containers. Docker is leading the charge and this ties nicely with Automation and Orchestration. VMware integrated containers intrigues me as well, as it bridges a gap between the ops teams that are used to, and familiar with vSphere but are experiencing even more demand to provision, manage, secure and automate containers.

Containers are nothing new and are currently loved by the likes of developers, but from what I’ve read/heard/seen, typical enterprises are approaching with caution.

Kubernetes

Pretty much a follow on from containers. This, in my opinion, is the key driver to take [insert container engine of choice] to prime time, typical enterprise consumption. We all know the likes of Netflix, Facebook, Google are already using containers en masse and with an eye-watering amount of orchestration behind it, but I personally think the uptake from typical enterprises is a lot slower, particularly outside of Dev/Test but we’re getting there.

 

NSX-T

Fitting in with VMware’s ethos of any cloud, any device, anywhere, NSX-T sits as the hyperivsor-agnostic SDN solution. Having already dabbled quite a lot in NSX-V, I’d like to know more about NSX-T and the auxiliary technologies.

 

Google Cloud

Although some would consider late to the game, I think Google Cloud has potential. I’m already familiar with AWS and I think it’s a good idea to learn another cloud technology, so GCP it is.

Why not Azure? – I’m just not a Microsoft person anymore. Years ago (before Azure was even a thing) I used to be all over Windows Server, AD, Exchange, Group Policies, IIS, DHCP, WSUS etc, took the exams etc. After years of managing this ecosystem, I lost my enthusiasm for it. Bodged windows updates, Windows Server “quirks” and the like – couldn’t deal with it. Therefore I stay away.

“%20” free space on my NIC card? Good job, Windows.

Heck, if work would permit it, I’d run Linux on my company laptop.

Certifications?

Ideally this year I’d like to get:

  • VCIX-NV
  • Docker Certified Associate
  • Certified Kubernetes Administrator
  • VCP7-CMA

 

Understanding Data Center traffic flow using NSX-V capabilities

The defining characteristic of the Software Defined Data Center (SDDC), as the name implies, is to bring the intelligence and operations of various datacenter functions into software. This type of integration provides us with the ability to gain insights and analytics in a much more controlled, tightly integrated fashion.

VMware NSX is the market leader in network virtualisation. In this post, we have a look at a selection of tools which come with NSX, enabling a greater understanding of exactly what is transpiring in our NSX environment.

 

What we do now

Before diving into NSX-V traffic flow capabilities, let’s take a step back into how some organisations may approach identifying traffic flows currently by taking a simple example issue:

“Server A can’t talk to Server B on port 8443”

In this example, we assume that Server B is listening on port 8443.

Here are a few tools/methods that can be used to help identify the root cause

 

What these tools/methods have in common are:

 

  • Disjointed – Treated as separate, discrete exercises.
  • Isolated – Requires specific tools/skillsets.
  • Decentralised – Analysis requires output to be crossed referenced and analysed manually.

 

How NSX-V native tools can help

NSX-V provides us with a number tools to help us gain a deeper understanding of our network environment as well as provide accelerated troubleshooting and root cause analysis. These can be found via the vCenter client:

 

Flow Monitoring

Flow Monitoring is one of the traffic analysis tools that provide a detailed view of the traffic originating and terminating at virtual machines. One example use case of this is to determine in real time the traffic flows originating from a virtual machine – the below example demonstrating this. No agent or VM configuration is needed, unlike with Wireshark – NSX does this all natively without any modifications to the VM:

 

The VM in the example above has an IP of 172.16.201.10. We can see that itself is making DNS calls out to 8.8.8.8 as well as communicating with another machine with an IP of 172.16.200.10 over port 8443.

Endpoint Monitoring

 

Endpoint Monitoring enables us to map specific processes inside a guest operating system to network connections that are facilitating this traffic. This is helpful for gaining insight into application-layer details. The examples shown below demonstrate NSX’s ability to identify:

  • The source of the flow (process or application)
  • The source VM
  • The destination (can be any destination)
  • Traffic Type

 

 

 

Traceflow

Traceflow acts as a very useful diagnostic tool. Compared to flow monitoring, which takes a real-time view of network traffic, traceflow allows us to simulate traffic by synthetically “injecting” this traffic into our environment and monitoring the data path. In this example a test was executed for connectivity from a web server to an App server over port 8443:

 

NSX has informed us that this packet was dropped due a firewall rule – it also gives us the Rule ID in question. We can click on this link to get more information about this rule:

 

Once this rule was modified we can re-run the test, which shows this traffic has been successfully delivered to the target VM.

Traceflow also gives us an idea as to the journey our packet has travelled. From the above output we can see that this packet has traversed two logical switches, two ESXi hosts, one distributed logical router, and has forwarded through the distributed firewall running on the vNIC’s of two VM’s:

 

 

Packet Capture

The Packet Capture feature in NSX-V enables us to generate packet traces from physical ESXi hosts should we wish to perform any troubleshooting at that level.

These captures are done on a per-host level and we can specify to gather packet captures from one of the following interface types:

  • Physical NIC
  • VMKernel Interface
  • vNIC
  • vDR Port

Or from one of the respective filter types. Once started NSX will start gathering packet logs. Once the session has stopped these can be downloaded as .PCAP files which can be opened with a tool such as Wireshark

 

Conclusion

As organisations are adopting software-defined technologies, the tools and processes we use must also change. Thankfully, NSX-V has a plethora of native capabilities to observe, identify and troubleshoot software-defined networks.

vRealize Log insight – Frequently Overlooked Centralised Log Management

Log analysis has always been a standardised practice for activities such as root cause analysis or advanced troubleshooting. However, ingesting and analysing these logs from different devices, types, locations and formats can be a challenge. In this post, we have a look at vRealize Log Insight and what it can deliver.

 

What is it?

vRealize Log Insight is a product in the vRealize suite specifically designed for heterogeneous and scalable log management across physical, virtual and cloud-based environments. It is designed to be agnostic across what it can ingest logs from and is therefore valid candidate in a lot of deployments.

Additionally, any customer with a vCenter Server Standard or above license is entitled to a free 25 OSI pack. OSI is known as “Operating System Instance” and is broadly defined as a managed entity which is capable of generating logs. For example, a 25 OSI pack license can be used to cover a vCenter server, a number of ESXi hosts and other devices covered either natively or via VMware Content Packs (with the exception of Custom and 3rd party content packs – standalone vRealize Log Insight is required for this feature).

 

Current Challenges

Modern datacenters and cloud environments are rarely consumed by homogeneous solutions. Customers use a number of different technologies from different vendors and operating systems. With this comes a number of challenges:

 

  • The inconsistent format of log types – vCenter/ESXi uses syslog for logging, Windows has a bespoke method, applications may simply write data to a file in a specific format. This can require a number of tools/skills to read, interpret and action from this data.
  • Silos of information – The decentralised nature of dispersed logging causes this information to be siloed in different areas. This can have an impact on resolution times for incidents and accuracy of root cause analysis.
  • Manual analysis – Simply logging information can be helpful, but the reason why this is required is to perform the analysis. In some environments, this is a manual process performed by a systems administrator.
  • Not scalable – As environments grow larger and more complex having silos of differentiating logging types and formats becomes unwieldy to manage.
  • Cost – Man hours used to perform manual analysis can be costly.
  • No Correlation – Siloed logs doesn’t cater for any correlation of events/activities across an environment. This can greatly impede efforts in performing activities such as root cause analysis.

 

Addressing Challenges With vRealize Log Insight

Below are examples of how vRealize Log Insight can address the aforementioned challenges.

 

  • Create structure from unstructured data – Collected data is automatically analysed and structured for ease of reporting.
  • Centralised logging – vRealize Log Insight centrally collates logs from a number of sources which can then be accessed through a single management interface.
  • Automatic analysis – Logs are collected in near real-time and alerts can be configured to inform users of potential issues and unexpected events.
  • Scalable – Advanced licenses of vRealize Log insight include additional features such as Clustering, High Availability, Event Forwarding and Archiving to facilitate a highly scalable, centralised log management solution. vRealize Log Insight is also designed to analyse massive amounts of log data.
  • Cost – Automatic analysis of logs and alerting can assist with reducing man-hours spent manually analysing logs, freeing up IT staff to perform other tasks.
  • Log Correlation – Because logs are centralised and structured events across multiple devices/services can be correlated to identify trends and patterns.

 

Extensibility

vRealize Log Insight’s capabilities can be extended by the use of content packs. Content packs are available from the VMware marketplace (https://marketplace.vmware.com/vsx/?contentType=2)

Content packs are published either by VMware directly or from vendors to support their own devices/solutions. Examples include:

  • Apache Web Service
  • Brocade Devices
  • Cisco Devices
  • Dell | EMC Devices
  • F5 Devices
  • Juniper Devices
  • Microsoft Active Directory
  • Nimble Devices
  • VMware SRM

 

Closing Thoughts

It’s surprising how underused vRealize Log Insight is considering it comes bundled in as part of any valid vSphere Standard or above license. The modular design of the solution allowing third-party content packs adds a massive degree of flexibility which is not common amongst other centralised logging tools. 

Homelab Networking Refresh

Adios, Netgear router

In hindsight, I shouldn’t have bought a Netgear D7000 router. The reviews were good but after about 6 months of ownership, it decided to exhibit some pretty awful symptoms. One of which was completely and indiscriminately drop all wireless clients regardless of device type, range, band or frequency it resided on. A reconnect to the wireless network would prompt the passphrase again, weirdly. Even after putting in the passphrase (again) it wouldn’t connect. The only way to rectify this was to physically reboot the router.

Netgear support was pretty poor too. The support representative wanted me to downgrade firmware versions just to “see if it helps” despite confirming that this issue is not known in any of the published firmware versions.

Netgear support also suggested I changed the 2.4ghz network band. Simply put. They weren’t listening or couldn’t comprehend what I was saying.

Anyway, rant over. Amazon refunded me the £130 for the Netgear router after me explaining the situation about Netgear’s poor support. Amazing service really.

Hola, Ubiquiti

I’ve been eyeing up Ubiquiti for a while now but never had a reason to get any of their kit until now.  With me predominantly working from home when I’m not on the road and my other half running a business from home, stable connectivity is pretty important to both of us.

The EdgeMAX range from Ubiquiti looked like it fit the bill. I’d say it sits above the consumer-level stuff from the likes of Netgear, Asus, TP-Link etc and just below enterprise level kit from the likes of Juniper, Cisco, etc. Apart from the usual array of features found on devices of this type I particularly wanted to mess around with BGP/OSPF from my homelab when creating networks in VMware NSX.

With that in mind, I cracked open Visio and started diagramming, eventually ending up with the following:

 

I noted the following observations:

  • Ubiquti Edgerouters do not have a build in VDSL modem, therefore for connections such as mine, I required a separate modem.
  • The Edgerouter Lite has no hardware switching module, therefore it should be purely used as a router (makes sense)
  • The Edgerouter X has a hardware switching module with routing capabilities (but lower total pps (Packets Per Second))

Verdict

I managed to set up the pictured environment over the weekend fairly easily. The Ubiquiti software is very modern, slick, easy to use and responsive. Leaps and bounds from what I’ve found on consumer-grade equipment.

I have but one criticism with the Ubiquiti routers, and that is not everything is easily configurable through the UI (yet). From what I’ve read Ubiquiti are making good progress with this, but for me I had to resort to the CLI to finish my OSPF peering configuration.

The wireless access point is decent. good coverage and the ability to provision an isolated guest network with custom portal is a very nice touch.

Considering the Edgerouter Lite costs about £80 I personally think it represents good value for money considering the feature set it provides. I wouldn’t recommend it for every day casual network users, but then again, that isn’t Ubiquiti’s market.

The Ubiquiti community is active and very helpful as well.

 

 

 

 

Embracing the SDDC with NSX-V automation

The Software Defined Data Center (SDDC for short) has become a widely adopted and embraced model for modern datacentre implementations. Conveying the benefits of the SDDC, particularly the non-technical aspects can be a challenge. In this blog post we take a practical example of a single activity we can automate in NSX and the benefits that come from it, both technical and non-technical.

The NSX API

An API (Application Programming Interface), in simple terms is an intermediary that allows two applications to communicate with each other via a common syntax. Although we may not be aware of it, it’s likely we use API’s every day when we use applications such as Facebook, LinkedIn, vSphere and countless others. For example, when you create a logical switch in the vSphere web client, behind the scenes an API call is made to the NSX manager to facilitate that request.

The NSX API is based on REST which leverages HTTPS requests to GET, PUT, POST and DELETE data from the NSX ecosystem:

  • GET – Retrieve an entity
  • PUT – Create an entity
  • POST – Update an entity
  • DELETE – Remove an entity

An entity can be a variety of NSX objects such as Logical Switches, Distributed Routers, Edge Gateways, Firewall rules, etc.

 

Options for working with the NSX API

Several avenues exist for working with the rest API, each having their own advantages and disadvantages:

  • Direct API calls via REST client – These can be made via clients such as Postman. These calls are static and are therefore suitable for one-off requests.

 

 

  • PowerNSX – PowerNSX is a PowerShell module that enables the consumption of API calls via Powershell cmdlets. It’s an open source community project but is not supported by VMware. Also, not all API calls are currently exposed as cmdlets.
  • API calls via code – API calls can be made from a variety of programming libraries (Powershell, C#, Java, etc) which add functionality by adding an element of dynamic input. We use this as an example in this blog.

 

Practical example – Creating new networks in a legacy virtualised compute environment

To illustrate the power of automating NSX via automation let’s take an example activity and break it down into respective tasks. In this example, we want to create an N-tier network (IE a network comprising of Web, App and DB tiers which are routable and sit behind a perimeter firewall).

 

Depending on factors such as the number of vendors used and the structure of the IT team, we can see that executing a relatively simple task of creating an N-Tier routable, secure network for the purposes of consumption could:

  • Involve multiple network teams (vSphere admin/network admin/security admin)
  • Involve multiple tools (in this example tools from vSphere, Cisco, Juniper and Sonicwall)

This operational complexity can hinder the speed and agility of a business due to factors such as:

  • Multiple teams need to collaborate. Collaboration between vSphere / Network / Security teams can be time-consuming
  • Multiple tools/skillsets required. In the example above skills pertaining to Sonicwall, Juniper, Cisco and vSphere are required to create a secure network topology

 

Practical example – Automating in NSX

To demonstrate the automation capabilities designed to address the example a Powershell script was created to facilitate API calls directly to NSX. The advantage of doing this is:

  • API calls are supported by VMware.
  • The entire API ecosystem is exposed for consumption.
  • Powershell can prompt the user for information, which is then used to dynamically populate API requests.
  • All tiers of the network are created and managed by a single management plane.

 

This script starts with the layer 2 logical switches and then moves up the networking stack configuring the layer 3 and perimeter elements of this network:

 

For each logical network we prompt the user for the following:

  • Name – What we want to call the logical network
  • Network Range – The intended network range for this network. This is used to determine the DLR’s interface on it
  • Network Description – What we provide as the description
  • Network Type – Simply put, Uplinks are used for peering (North/South) traffic. We need one uplink network to facilitate the peering between the DLR and ESG

 

Once the user has put in the required networks, API calls are executed from the Powershell script to create the networks:

Next is to prompt the user for the DLR and ESG names:

 

This information is used to construct the Distributed Logical Router (DLR) and Edge Services Gateway (ESG) devices via API calls:

At this stage, the following has been created:

 

 

At which point the script outputs the total amount of time elapsed to construct this topology in NSX (including the time taken for the user to input the data for).

In this example it took 291.7 seconds (4.9 minutes) to construct the following:

  • Create 3 internal logical switches (for VM traffic)
  • Create 1 uplink logical switch (for BGP peering)
  • Create 1 DLR and configure interfaces on each internal logical switch (default gateway)
  • Create 1 ESG and configure interface for BGP peering
  • Configure BGP dynamic routing

Not bad at all.

To validate the routing, we can simply log on to the ESG and check its routing table:

We can see the ESG has learnt (by BGP) the networks that reside on our DLR.

This is one of the almost endless examples of exposing and leveraging the NSX API.

For anyone interested in the Powershell script – I intend to upload the code once I’ve added some decent input validation.

VMware Cloud on AWS

Perhaps one of VMware’s most significant announcements made in recent times is the partnership with Amazon Web Services (AWS), including the ability to leverage AWS’s infrastructure to provision vSphere managed resources. What exactly does this mean and what benefits could this bring to the enterprise?

 

Collaboration of Two Giants

To understand and appreciate the significance of this partnership we must acknowledge the position and perspective of each.

 

 

 

  • Market leader in private cloud offerings
  • Deep roots and history in virtualisation
  • Expanding portfolio

 

 

 

 

  • Market leader in public cloud offerings
  • Broad and expanding range of services
  • Global scale

 

VMware has a significant presence in the on-premise datacentre, in contrast to AWS which focuses entirely on the public cloud space. VMware cloud on AWS sits in the middle as a true hybrid cloud solution leveraging the established, industry-leading technologies and software developed by VMware, together with the infrastructure capabilities provided by AWS.

 

How it Works

In a typical setup, an established vSphere private cloud already exists. Customers can then provision an AWS-backed vSphere environment using a modern HTML5 based client. The environment created by AWS leverages the following technologies:

  • ESXi on bare metal servers
  • vSphere management
  • vSAN
  • NSX

 

The connection between the on-premise and AWS hosted vSphere environments is facilitated by Hybrid Linked Mode. This allows customers to manage both on-premise and AWS hosted environments through a single management interface. This also allows us to, for example, migrate and manage workloads between the two.

Advantages

Existing vSphere customers may already be leveraging AWS resources in a different way, however, there are significant advantages associated with implementing VMware cloud on AWS, such as:

Delivered as a service from VMware – The entire ecosystem of this hybrid cloud solution is sold, delivered and supported by VMware. This simplifies support, management, billing amongst other activities such as patching and updates.

Consistent operational model – Existing private cloud users use the same tools, processes and technologies to manage the solution. This includes integration with other VMware products included in the vRealize product suite.

Enterprise-grade capabilities – This solution leverages the extensive AWS hardware capabilities which include the latest in low latency IO storage technology based on Solid State Drive technology and high-performance networking.

Access to native AWS resources – This solution can be further expanded to access and consume native AWS technologies pertaining to databases, AI, analytics and more.

Use Cases

VMware Cloud on AWS has several applications, including (but not limited to) the following:

 

Datacenter Extension

 

Because of how rapidly an AWS-backed software-defined datacenter can be provisioned, expanding an on-premise environment becomes a trivial task. Once completed, these additional resources can be consumed to meet various business and technical demands.

 

 

 

Dev / Test

 

Adding additional capabilities to an existing private cloud environment enables the division of duties/responsibilities. This enables organisations to separate out specific environments for the purposes of security, delegation and management.

 

 

 

 

 

Application Migration

 

 

VMware cloud on AWS enables us to migrate N-tier applications to an AWS backed vSphere environment without the need to re-architect or convert our virtual machine/compute and storage constructs. This is because we’re using the same software-defined data centre technologies across our entire estate (vSphere, NSX and vSAN).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conclusion

There are a number of viable applications for VMware Cloud on AWS and it’s a very strong offering considering the pedigree of both VMware and AWS. Combining the strengths from each creates a very compelling option for anyone considering a hybrid cloud adoption strategy.

To learn more about VMware Cloud on AWS please review the following:

https://aws.amazon.com/vmware/

https://cloud.vmware.com/vmc-aws

 

Joining the Insight Team

As of this week, I started a new position at Insight as a VMware/SDDC Solutions Architect/Evangelist. Exciting times!

I’ll be fortunate to work with the likes of established community contributors and experts in the field such as vJenner and Chan.

Why Insight?

The IT landscape is constantly changing and with it, we as IT professionals must adapt accordingly. I wanted a new challenge, to expand my horizons and delve deeper into the areas I’ve already gained experience in. Insight is such a place that will allow me to do this. My new boss described it quite eloquently: “We sell everything to everyone”. This doesn’t mean that Insight will push for subpar products though – part of the philosophy here is that we’re transparent, flexible and agnostic. Leading solutions are evaluated and assessed to address a plethora of challenges presented by both existing and new customers. Multiple vendors, multiple products, private/public/hybrid cloud and everything in-between is considered as part of the product/solutions/services portfolio.

I will continue to focus primarily on VMware based solutions with a bit of AWS on top, together with complementary technologies (IE storage, networking, containers, automation, scripting)

 

 

 

VMware vRealize Operations 2017 Specialist Exam (2VB-602)

“Specialist Exams”….Wait, what?

I have a requirement to essentially get more up to speed with vRealize Operations Manager. As I was digging through some of the reading material I came across the specialist exam. The details for which can be found here.

I wasn’t actually aware up until this point VMware actually offer specialist exams. At time of writing vRealize Operations and vSAN are the only two specialist certifications you can take.

I can understand the logic behind it – vRealize is becoming a very comprehensive suite of applications and with the VCP7-CMA certification primarily focused on vRealize Automation, it makes sense to separate out certain technologies into their own curriculum.

2VB-602 (vRealize Operations)

For a couple of weeks or so I’ve been messing around with / reading up on / watching videos of vRealize Operations primarily focused on 6.6 without even knowing about the certification. The exam, however, is based on 6.0 – 6.5 and 6.6 brings some rather substantial changes. Therefore don’t expect to see 6.6 related questions in the exam.

Resources

Although I wasn’t actually focused on passing this specific test, Here’s what I’ve used so far in an attempt to get up to speed:

 

Pluralsight’s training course on vRealize Operations (created March 2017) – https://www.pluralsight.com/courses/vmware-vrealize-operations-manager

VMware’s documentation center – https://docs.vmware.com/en/vRealize-Operations-Manager/index.html

vApp Deployment and Configuration Guide – https://docs.vmware.com/en/vRealize-Operations-Manager/6.6/vrealize-operations-manager-66-vapp-deploy-guide.pdf

VMware training videos – http://players.brightcove.net/1534342432001/S1xUFpuYwx_default/index.html?playlistId=5446534362001

Exam Experience

The exam can be taken anywhere unlike the VCP or VCAP exams which require you to attend a training center. The questions were pretty tough, but that may have come down to my lack of experience with the product.

Overall, it was a interesting experience. I probably would have preferred vRealize Operations to have it’s own VCP level exam being proctored etc. It’s a nice-to-have, but I still have a lot to learn about vRealize Operations but it’s given me some confidence that I’ve probably understood the fundamentals.

 

NSX Livefire Course

 

Recently I was lucky enough to attend a NSX livefire course hosted at the VMware EMEA HQ in Staines, It’s designed to facilitate a intensive knowledge transfer of NSX related subject matter. All participants are bound by NDA, however most of the information is GA with the exception of roadmap information.

 

Day One

Day one was focused on introducing all the participants, laying a foundation for the course objectives as well as some background info on NSX. In addition the following topics were covered:

  • Lab intro
  • Dynamic routing and operations
  • Integrating NSX with phyiscal infrastructure

Day Two

We covered:

  • Security
  • Multi site implementations
  • Business continuity and disaster recovery

Day Three

We covered:

  • Operations and Troubleshooting
  • Cloud management integration

Day Four

We covered:

  • VDI
  • Best practice

Overall, it was a very packed few days but an extremely valuable and positive experience. I would strongly recommend  attending if given the chance.

 

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