Friday, 23 July 2010

It's back - 10% discount off any VMware exam!

Pearson Vue have just sent me a new 10% discount code, applicable to any VMware exam taken between now and December 15th 2010. I can give the code to any student who I train between now and then on any official VMware course.

The discount code can be used against any VMware exam, so not just the VCP4 exam, but also the VCAP4-DCA and VCAP4-DCD exams when they are released soon. The code can also be used multiple times, so if you are following the VCAP4-DCA and you still need to do your VCP4 first, you can use the code when booking each of the exams.

Note that the discount code only applies to exam bookings made directly with Pearson Vue.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

VCP and VCAP4-DCA blueprints updated

VMware have now updated the exam blueprint documents for both the VCP and VCAP4-DCA exams to refer to the latest documents for vSphere 4.1.

Here's the links:
VCP on vSphere 4 Exam Blueprint
VCAP4-DCA Exam Blueprint

Jon Hall from VMware has also confirmed what I posted earlier this week about the effect of the 4.1 vSphere release on the VCP4 exam - read his post on the VMware community forum here.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Handy URLs to VMware certification and education pages

I'm going through the process of updating my VCP4 exam prep workshop to reflect the vSphere 4.1 release, and stumbled across something very useful - shortcut links to the various certification pages on the VMware website.

So instead of saving this in your browser favourites:

You can just enter this URL in your browser:

There are also other shortcuts that might come in handy too:

You can also get a simple redirection to the general Certification area by going to:

And if it's training you're looking for:
or of course: ;-)

Monday, 19 July 2010

vSphere Training - What's Next?

Have you done one of the following foundation-level vSphere courses, or have equivalent skills and knowledge?
What's New
Install Configure Manage
Fast Track

Whilst the above course teach you a huge amount about vSphere and the various infrastructure elements that it integrates with, those courses only scratch the surface of numerous topics and often leave those who attend the courses wanting more...

There are now a number of advanced-level courses available, designed to follow-on from the courses above and help people get much more in-depth skills and knowledge in certain key areas.

vSphere: Manage for Performance - read more about it here
vSphere: Troubleshooting
vSphere: Design Workshop
vSphere: Manage and Design for Security (coming soon)
vSphere: Automation (coming soon)

The advanced-level courses will also help you prepare for the new VCAP certifications too. Global Knowledge UK offer the full range of official vSphere course, delivered around the UK. Feel free to get in touch if you want to know more about any VMware training course, or certification program.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

New group on LinkedIn

I've been using LinkedIn for quite a while now, and have built up a decent number of connections from all over the world, I'm a member of quite a few groups on there too such as the VCI, VCP and new VCAP groups.

I'm not sure why I've done this today in particular, but I decided to create my own group, titled VMware Training and Certification - can you see what I've done with the name there? ;-)

The idea is to take the blog out to somewhere new, you'll already find me on both Twitter and Facebook so it seemed logical to use LinkedIn as another place to pass information out to my connections and open up a new way to interact further with those who have an interest in VMware certification and training courses.

I'm fairly open in terms of membership of the group, I have invited a number of my LinkedIn connections today and I'm glad to see some of them have already joined. See you there!

Update - July 19th
Wow, the group already has over 100 members - thanks to all those who've joined! I've added a couple of new discussions too - take a look and contribute...

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Changes to VCP exam due to vSphere 4.1 release

VMware have now released vSphere 4.1, and one of the first questions I was asked was "Will the VCP and VCAP4-DCA exams now be based on 4.0 or 4.1?" - so here's what I've found out so far...

VMware continually reviews the impact of major and minor releases to ensure that all content on the exam is consistent with the latest release of the software. They may also test on components included in these update releases if the components fall within already stated exam objectives, as they appear on the current version of the exam blueprint.

If significant new features exist in a release that are not covered by current objectives and these features are identified as being critical to a VCP’s job role, a new version of the exam blueprint would be released containing the new objectives and the exam would be updated to test on these objectives.

So, if you're preparing for your VCP4 exam it would be recommended to study from the latest 4.1 documentation, and download the latest exam blueprint.

With reference to the VCAP4-DCA, the lab environment is currently based on vSphere 4.0. Periodically, VMware would update the lab environment, and when they do they would revise the exam blueprint and potentially the exam, depending as with the VCP on whether there are new objectives relevant to the VCAP4-DCA job role that would need to be tested on in the exam. Until that time, the VCAP4-DCA will remain using a lab environment based on vSphere 4.0.

Update - July 22nd
Jon Hall from VMware has created a thread on the VMware commmunity forum for the VCP, and also posted the latest exam blueprint document:
How new versions of vSphere affect the VCP exam
VCP on vSphere 4 Exam Blueprint Guide

Update - August 1st
Quote from Jon Hall at VMware:
"As we go forward and everyone is studying using 4.1 materials, we are likely to include 4.1 based questions when we need to revise or replace questions, as long as the topic is one already addressed on the blueprint. We still will not cover topics (like storage IOCTRL) that are not on the blueprint."

vSphere 4.1 is released

Well after a fair bit of hype online over the last few days (ie. somebody out there violating the VMware NDA they signed), VMware have now released the 4.1 version of vSphere. The binaries are available for download too, so we can all now get our hands on the latest versions of ESX, ESXi, and the various vCenter components.

Apparently there are over 150 new features, I'm sure the release notes will offer a good amount of detail on those, here's a link to the new What's New in VMware vSphere 4.1 page.

I've been on the private beta for 4.1 for some time now, so I've been aware of many of these new features for a while. With my new vExpert status, I was lucky enough to join an exclusive webcast last week, to give myself and the other vExperts a chance to get a more formal head start in learning more about some of the new features.

A few facts about vSphere 4.1:
VMotion will now be known as vMotion, and Storage VMotion will now be known as Storage vMotion
ESXi free is now known as vSphere Hypervisor
The paid license versions of ESX/ESXi are now defined as Hypervisor architectures
New license bundles for Essentials and Essentials Plus, the latter to include vMotion for the first time
ESX will be deprecated in 2011, when vSphere 5 will be released
vCenter Server 4.1 is only available as a 64-bit application, giving significantly greater scalbility

Here's some notes about the most significant features/changes in vSphere 4.1:

ESXi is now defined as best practice for deployment over ESX
ESXi now supports scripted installation, boot from SAN, and easier CLI options for troubleshooting

Network I/O Control
Set per port group or port, only available on the vNetwork Distributed Switch
Designed for 10GigE, where a host is likely to only have 2 NICs in total
New version of the Cisco Nexus 1000v has a "fair wait queuing" feature

Load-based NIC teaming
New configuration option to complement existing teaming choices

Storage I/O Control
Prioritized use of storage, across hosts, set per VM
Kicks in once latency is over 35ms
FC/iSCSI only for now, support for NFS is coming

Storage performance reporting
More granular, and new NFS measurements

Array integration API
Allows cloning and migration functions to be carried out directly at the storage layer
API-based operations are between 5 and 20 times quicker than non-API
EMC, HP, Dell, NetApp, HDS are initial partners for the API

Memory compression
Designed for over-commit situations, 1000x faster than swap
Makes memory over-commit more viable as an option

DRS host affinity
Group of VMs set to run against set of defined hosts
Hard rules, never breached by DRS
Preferential rules, DRS attempts to maintain defined rules

HA diagnostics and healthcheck
GUI improvements on host/cluster status
HA/DRS have better integration on VM placement
Application API, making it possible for HA to detect application-level problems inside a VM
HA/DRS cluster sizes aligned better

vMotion speed and scale
4 concurrent migrations with 1GigE, 8 concurrent with 10GigE
Migrations 5x faster than 4.0 with 10GigE
Enhanced vMotion Compatibility enhancements

Active Directory integration (host-level)
vSphere Client options to configure ESX/ESXi to authenticate against Active Directory

More VMs, more hosts
3000 VMs per cluster
1000 hosts per vCenter
10000 VMs per vCenter

I can also confirm that the new 5-day vSphere: Install Configure Manage course will be based on the 4.1 vSphere release.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

So what is a VATC?

As you probably know by now, I work for Global Knowledge in the UK as their Lead Instructor for VMware, Global Knowledge are a VMware Authorized Training Center (VATC) in many countries around Europe, the Middle East, Africa, as well as in North America.

VATCs are VMware training partners, they are appointed by VMware on a country-by-country basis to offer VMware-certified training programs. The VATC model was first launched in Europe and has now spread to every continent worldwide, VMware manage the VATCs in each country to make sure we are delivering training to the high standards they demand.

As a VATC, we run the official courses developed internally by VMware themselves, using equipment that has to conform to certain standards, and courses run by VATCs are delivered by VMware Certified Instructors (VCIs) such as myself - all VCIs must meet a minimum standard of technical and delivery capabilities as defined by VMware.

In the EMEA region, Global Knowledge have VATC status in 11 countries. Here they are, along with links that go to their respective landing pages for VMware training:

Spain = Formación VMware
France = Formation VMware
Germany = VMware Schulung
Belgium = VMware Training
Netherlands = VMware Training
Denmark = VMware Træning
Norway = VMware opplæring
United Kingdom = VMware Training
Egypt = VMware Training
United Arab Emirates = VMware Training
Saudi Arabia = VMware Training

Global Knowledge also have VATC status in North America, in both the US and Canada:

United States = VMware Training
Canada = VMware Training

Monday, 5 July 2010

New 5-day Install Configure Manage course for vSphere 4

The vSphere: Install Configure Manage (ICM) course was released in the middle of 2009, and is by far the most popular official course on vSphere 4 - those attending the course qualify for the VCP4 certification, and the content covers all the foundation-level skills and knowledge needed to deploy and administer a vSphere 4 environment.

Towards the end of August 2010, VMware will be releasing an updated version of the ICM course, and for the first time it will be a 5-day training event. This will give us the opportunity to cover additional material in the lecture and lab sessions, giving you a more well-rounded experience during the course and helping you further in preparation for the VCP4 exam.
The new content in the 5-day ICM will be:
  • vCenter Linked Mode
  • Host Profiles
  • Distributed Power Management
  • Deeper content on High Availability
  • Fault Tolerance

As well as the addition of the new material, VMware have also overhauled and restructured a lot of the content that was previously in the 4-day ICM course. Most of the new material is derived from the content of the current vSphere: Fast Track (FT) course, the 5-day extended-hours FT course will still be available, and will still cover some additional lecture and lab material not found in the new 5-day ICM.

Update on July 13th:
I can confirm that this course will be based on the new 4.1 release of vSphere.