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Monthly Archives: February 2016

How to Prepare for Your VCP6 Exam

Daniel_Mizrahi_Pic2By Daniel Mizrahi

For many, VCP training and examinations can be a complex, nerve-racking process that often leads to the question, “Where do I start?” If you find yourself already asking this question, you came to the right blog! I will outline my recent experience, which will guide you through your VCP6 in the most efficient and effective way possible.

First, take a moment to familiarize yourself with the different types of certifications and learning paths by visiting the VMware Certification webpage.

I chose the Data Center Virtualization (VCP6-DCV) track accompanied by an On Demand training course. The DCV certification gave me the tools I needed to perform my role here at VMware as a technical account manager. The On Demand course gave me the scheduling flexibility I needed to complete the training. It includes a series of lectures you can complete at any time, and a pre-built lab environment—all available for 45 days!

Regardless of the VCP option and learning path you choose, you’ll be required to take the online vSphere 6 Foundations Exam prior to your proctored VCP examination. Do not underestimate the Foundations Exam. It is difficult and designed to prepare you to successfully complete your VCP exam. You will need to take the online vSphere 6 Foundations Exam Prep course to fill in any gaps in the training course and better prepare yourself for the exam.

I highly recommend the following as best practices during examinations:

  • Spend more time reading questions than answering them
  • Focus on finding incorrect answers before looking for the correct one
  • Flag questions you are uncertain about, and return to them later
  • Use all or most of the allotted time for the exam

Treat your VCP certification as a project, and use the following checklist as a tracker:

I am approaching the one-year mark in my VMware career and, as required, I have recently passed my VCP6 exam. The process outlined above worked for me and will work for you. Some things that may seem overwhelming now will actually be very simple.

If you are still concerned, try not to worry. Clarity will come naturally when you follow the process. Add a little bit of time to the equation and, before you know it, you’ll have your VCP!


As a TAM, Daniel helps drive the implementation of VMware products and service offerings while cultivating customer use cases and feedback. He collaborates with key stakeholders and technical teams to ensure a successful implementation of the VMware SDDC by creating processes that reinforce best practices.

Virtualize SAP HANA with Confidence in Application Availability

Damian_Bieniek

By Damian Bieniek

The SAP HANA platform has been surging in popularity, especially since support for virtualization in production environments on VMware vSphere® 5.5 was announced just a year and a half ago. And it’s no wonder, as this in-memory platform helps you run analytics applications smarter, business processes faster, and data infrastructures simpler…so you can really compete in the new digital economy.

However, minimizing the downtime associated with application failures within virtual machines (VMs) has posed a challenge for some organizations considering virtualizing a business-critical application like SAP HANA. But no more.

As a part of my role as a VMware TAM, I recently had the opportunity to participate in a cross-organizational SAP/VERITAS/VMware team that’s focused on improving virtualization performance for SAP HANA. The team recently released a paper called, “Virtualizing SAP HANA with Confidence using Veritas™ ApplicationHA.” In it, you will learn how you can operate SAP HANA in virtual environments with extremely high application availability.

Through integration with VMware vCenter Server™ and Veritas™ Operations Manager, ApplicationHA significantly enhances application visibility and manageability in VMware virtual SAP HANA environments. It does this by allowing you to gain visibility and control of SAP HANA and other applications inside VMware VMs to minimize the risks associated with application downtime by monitoring not only the VMs, but also the applications running inside them. When appropriate, it coordinates with the VM to restart. Other benefits include:

  • Increased availability for SAP HANA environments with automated application recovery
  • No compromise on advanced VMware functionality
  • Simple administration and full integration with vCenter reduces training costs and the need for additional tools
  • Integration with image restoration software

Click here to download your copy.

Click here to learn more about VMware TAM services.


Before joining VMware Damian was acting as a Senior Consultant in the SAP Basis Team of a SAP Managed Services Provider and worked for several companies as Consultant SAP Basis and SAP Business Intelligence. His responsibility was to plan, design and implement SAP Solution Landscapes for his Customers as well as Troubleshooting and Support.

 

Network Troubleshooting with VMware Native Tools

Petr McAllisterBy Petr McAllister

Recently, a network team of one of my customers expressed interest in getting gradual statistics of workloads in the virtual environment. Any network interface cards (NICs) – physical or virtual – were under the definition of virtual environment. However, the focus was more on physical uplinks.

In this post we will look at the steps of collecting the network stats in vSphere environments by moving from very specific stats to a more aggregated analysis. In real life situations, it’s very likely that you’ll have to follow the opposite path – look at the environment from 30 thousand feet and then get closer and watch the item that concerns you.

So, in our troubleshooting scenario, we connect directly to one of the hosts using SSH protocol. You always have a choice of running commands locally on the host or using centralized tools called vSphere Management Assistant (vMA). (Details on the tool can be found here: https://blogs.vmware.com/kb/2010/03/what-is-the-vsphere-management-assistant-vma.html.)

After connecting to the host, we issue the following command: “esxcli network nic list”. This returns the list of physical NICs that are installed on this specific host.

PMcAllister Network NIC List

After checking with the network team and figuring out what exact NIC is the point of interest, we could execute “ethtool –S <NIC Name>” command to get the detailed stats. Here is a possible output:

PMcAllister ETH Tool

Next, we wanted to see life statistics of all physical and virtual NICs on the host in real time. So we started esxtop utility (if you use vMA it will be ‘resxtop’). To switch to the network data, you simply hit the letter “n”. To adjust columns displayed, the letter “f” is used, and then fields can be chosen. A more detailed description of esxtop can be found at Duncan Epping’s blog at http://www.yellow-bricks.com/esxtop/

PMcAllister Port ID

As you can see, stats for both physical and virtual are displayed here. If you’re interested in what “Shadow of vmnicX” lines are – they’re simply heartbeat instances of uplink ports to monitor these uplinks. More details are in William Lam’s blog – http://www.virtuallyghetto.com/2013/01/what-are-shadow-of-vmnic-in-esxtop.html

Now to the next question. Let’s say there is a significant number of hosts and we are required to check network stats on all those hosts. Connecting to each of those hosts and running ‘esxtop’ would be a time-consuming operation. Is there a way to aggregate this information and look at summarized numbers?

Fortunately, my customer owns and runs vRealize Operations Manager 6. I can’t thank my colleague enough who demonstrated to my customer how easy it is to get the following screen in vRealize Operations Manager 6.

Just follow these three simple steps after you log in to vRealize Operations 6:

  • Select the object on the left (can be your whole environment, data center, cluster, etc.)
  • Click on ‘Details’ tab at the top right
  • Select ‘Host Network Diagnose List’ in the middle of the screen

That’s it – you have a summary screen of exactly the same stats that every host would individually report through ‘esxtop’ utility. Isn’t it wonderful?

PMcAllister vRealize Operations Manager

As was mentioned at the beginning of this article, you can go in an opposite direction – look at the vRealize Operations report, select a specific host, and then go to command line at this host and run additional commands there.

Also, we must mention here that VMware Virtual Distributed switch (vDS) provides you with the ability to supply its stats through Netflow protocol. More details can be found here: https://blogs.vmware.com/vsphere/2011/08/vsphere-5-new-networking-features-netflow.html

To learn more about using vRealize Operations Manager, use the FREE VMware Hands-on-Labs at http://labs.hol.vmware.com/. Specifically, “HOL-SDC-1610 Virtualization 101: vSphere with Operations Management 6” and “HOL-SDC-1602 vSphere with Operations Management 6: Advanced Topics.”


Petr McAllister is a VMware Technical Account Manager based out of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.