vSAN Specialist Exam 2VB-601 – Tips

This was on my radar from last year but did not have enough time to get this done. I sat and passed the vSAN Specialist Exam today and wanted to share my feedback and experiences on how I approached it.

Read the Exam Preparation Guide

I know this is stating the obvious, but the blueprint should be your compass on preparing for this test. It reviews the Exam Sections and what to know before taking this test. Moreover, there are 10 practice questions to gauge your level of knowledge. When I started, I tested myself and knew what areas I had to prepare further for.

Download the latest guide here.

Read Storage Hub!!!!

I cannot stress this enough – storagehub.vmware.com is a WEALTH of information.

I went through each section and read each pertinent area of focus. Moreover, the Storage Hub has some nice features. Did you know you can export each respective section to PDF or mark it offline?

Very nice options for travel. I read quite a bit on my iPad and highlighted things I did not know.

What’s amazing is the depth and completeness of our documentation. I learned SO much by reading through many of these detailed documents. This should be everyone’s single source of truth for all things vSAN. Our vSAN Technical Marketing and Engineering teams have done a great job of making the inner-workings of vSAN public.

Do the Hands-on Labs!

There are three great labs available:

  1. vSAN 6.6 – Getting Started
  2. vSAN 6.6 – Challenge Lab
  3. Storage Policy Based Management

They are very comprehensive and cover your typical tasks within vSAN deployments and designs.

Exam Experience

I haven’t taken any of the Specialist exams before, so this was my first experience. I thought the test was fair, and not easy but not very difficult either. If you know vSAN, you should be able to knock this out. Key factors for preparation:

  1. Ensure you know how to size an environment. This is important in real life, but you should be able to calculate raw and usable sizes on the back of a napkin.
  2. Know your FTT policies.
  3. Go build vSAN in your lab and play around with it. I think this is critical to the learning process and also passing this exam.
  4. Last of all, know how storage operates. Having a storage background *does* help here.

It’s 60 questions and you have 105 minutes to complete, which in my opinion is plenty of time. I think I went through all 60 questions in about 35 minutes or so and was able to go through again and review all of the questions.

Good luck and onward to my next challenge!

-Daniel

Meltdown and Spectre Vulnerabilities

25Jan2018 – Updated with latest VMware Public KB for vCloud Director info

I’m sure many of you have heard of the Intel CPU vulnerabilities and how they can impact x86 architectures – I have a feeling this is just the start of something larger too.

I’ve had many Providers reach out to me, very concerned about how this can impact a SP design, especially with virtualization.

To step back, I found this very simple depiction that was shared on Twitter that summarizes the two vulnerabilities – thank you Daniel Miessler (link to his blog article):

So, what does this mean for VMware Cloud Providers? Well, official statements are underway, but here’s what I know so far – again, this is NOT an official statement:

Further information on Spectre and Meltdown on the newly created URL: https://meltdownattack.com/

As I see further information, I will continue to share – this impacts everyone and I have a feeling this is something we all will be dealing with for a long time.

-Daniel

vROps Management Pack for vCD – NOW Tenant App!

I recently did a blog on the Management Pack for vCD on vROps – great way of a vCD admin to manage their vCD solution.

VMware just released the vRealize Operation Tenant App for vCloud Director 1.0 – this now allows you to provide tenant access to their org/VDC and provide tenant-level metrics! Very excited about this.

What’s New?

  1. Tenant Admin specific views to enable Operations Management solving monitoring, troubleshooting and capacity planning use cases
  2. Provider Admin can pick and choose the tenants to whom access it to be provided
  3. Photon OS based Virtual appliance (OVA) for easier installation
  4. HTML5 Client based on VMWare Clarity

Get it here: https://marketplace.vmware.com/vsx/solutions/management-pack-for-vcloud-director

vSphere Central – Go-To Bible for core functions!

Hot off the presses here – VMware has released a new content page for go-to information for install, configuration, and management guidance.

https://vspherecentral.vmware.com

Things to point out:

  1. vCenter High Availability Overview – https://vspherecentral.vmware.com/#!/vcenter-server/configuration-and-day-2-operations/vcenter-high-availability-overview
  2. vROps Performance and Health Monitoring Guidance – https://vspherecentral.vmware.com/#!/operations-management/performance-and-health-monitoring
  3. Command-Line Interfaces – https://vspherecentral.vmware.com/#!/developer-and-automation-interfaces/command-line-interfaces

This is a GREAT go-to page for core functions from a lifecycle perspective. Get this out to your teams!