First Look at vRealize Suite Lifecycle Manager (Part 2)

A couple of months ago I installed vRSLCM and deployed an instance of vROps (see Part 1). My intention was to quickly follow that up with looking at how I could import and upgrade an existing environment but time seems to fly and this is the first opportunity I’ve had. So this is Part 2 (or maybe it should be ‘2nd Look at vRealize Suite Lifecycle Manager’)…

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VCAP6-DCV Deployment Exam Experience

The VCAP6-DCV Deployment exam has been on my radar for a while and I registered for the exam to coincide with what I thought was a quieter spell where I could do a bit of brushing up. Of course life doesn’t work out like that and my quieter spell… well it wasn’t. I was a bit unsure what to expect with this exam for a couple of reasons; firstly that I’ve done a few ‘design’ VCAPs before but not a ‘deploy’ one, and so I was a little unsure as to what to expect in terms of format and question style. And, secondly my role for a few years now has been architecture focussed which means less hands-on.

The exam date crept up on me and I decided to give it a go rather than reschedule to a date in the future when I may be in no better position to do it anyway. The exam is based on VMware Hands on Labs so if you are familiar with those, particularly the challenger labs, then the operation of the lab environment isn’t really anything new. The exam consists of 27 questions for which you are allocated 210 minutes. The timer in the top right-hand corner seems quite reassuring – 210 minutes seems like a long time and 27 questions not that many (when compared to the VCP exams for example) – but it shouldn’t be; the time does seem to be absorbed into space. On average you have around 7.5 minutes per question and some are quite in-depth with several different tasks that cross different areas (e.g. storage and networking). If you are comfortable with a particular area you can work through it reasonably quickly but for anything you aren’t familiar with, there isn’t a much time to work it out (to put it mildly).

Around half way through my exam I hit an issue where to network connection to the lab disappeared and then recovered itself after around twenty minutes. The problem is the timer doesn’t stop ticking! Somewhat resigned to defeat, I carried on and finished the exam with maybe 6 questions completely unanswered. I guess this is always the danger with a live, lab-based exam. Needless to say I expected to fail pretty badly and was actually surprised when the results came through around half an hour later and I’d only missed out by around 20 points. In actual fact this made it more frustrating than if I’d missed the mark by 100 points.

Given I was pretty close despite being unable to answer several questions (and so presumably did reasonably well on the ones I did answer), I rescheduled again straight away rather than remain bitter for several weeks or months. Second time round I just hoped I didn’t have a reoccurrence of the issue and went in with much more intensity knowing time is tight anyway and there is always the risk of an issue so the quicker you can work the less chance an issue will make a difference to the result. Even so I still finished with 2 questions pretty much unattempted but am pleased to say I made it through by a reasonable margin.

Tips I’d give:

  1. Time management really is key. You can navigate back and forth through the questions and you get marks for partial answers so it makes sense to answer what you know, leave anything you don’t and make a note to come back to it. When you go back prioritise. There are no negative marks for doing something wrong (unless you destroy your lab).
  2. Read the blueprint, pretty much everything is going to be tested in some way. You don’t have time to sit there working things out you really don’t know. Time management again!
  3. Kyle Jenner has a really good study guide.
  4. You do get access to the documentation but I can’t imagine you’d have the luxury of being able to use it in any meaningful way. There are a whole load of documents covering everything from resource management, install, PowerCLI, security etc. etc. – it’s hard enough just finding the right document, never mind the relevant content in the time available. Did I mention time management?

Overall I’d say it was a pretty fun exam to do (if you are that way inclined) – tough but fair; even in-spite of the issue I experienced on the first attempt. Looking forward to VCAP7-CMA Deployment when it’s available 😉

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First Look at vRealize Suite Lifecycle Manager (Part 1)

I was pretty excited to see the release of vRealize Suite Lifecycle Manager (or vRSLCM – try saying it after a couple of beers…) version 1.0 a couple of weeks ago. For the last few years lifecycle management and ensuring interoperability has been a big part of my role as a Cloud Architect and given an ever increasing number of products it’s something that has caused many a headache!

For those using VMware Cloud Foundation, SDDC Manager has been around for a while enabling automation and patching of products in the SDDC stack but until now there has been nothing for tailored SDDC deployments. Continue reading

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VCAP7-CMA Design Exam Experience

This week I sat the VCAP7-CMA Design exam (or 3V0-732 as it is affectionately known). The exam is fairly new but I wanted to give it a shot while a had the chance and before other things consumed the diary. Having done the VCAP6-DCV Design exam a few months ago this one felt very different.

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Goodbye Vblock as Dell EMC Converges on Vxblock

A few days ago Chad Sakac, President of Dell EMC Converged Platform Division (formerly VCE) announced on his blog that come July 1st the Vblock will be no more. Having spent the last 5 years working more or less exclusively with Vblock systems as the foundation for cloud platforms this came as a bit a surprise but on second thoughts it shouldn’t be.

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Containers, vSphere Style!

I’ve been lucky enough to be able to spend the last couple of days having a better look at Docker and vSphere Integrated Containers (VIC for short). So first of all what are containers and how do they fit in a vSphere world?

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VCAP6-DCV Design Exam Experience

I recently sat exam 3VO-622 which leads to VCAP6-DCV Design certification and 1 step of 2 required for VCIX-DCV (the other being 3VO-623 / VCAP6-DCV Deploy). A few colleagues asked me for my views of the exam so I thought I’d share them here. I know the are a number of these already out there but I figured another wouldn’t hurt…

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