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  1. Google Ninja jibbajabba's Avatar
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    #1

    Default Time for the beast - Study Log for VCAP5-DCA

    Right, I never get to it unless I actually start it (nice logic, right). I usually right my own blog which is not accessible publicly but this time I thought I might as well use this forum. For my sake, for other people's sake, and even if it just so people can complain that I am rubbish and should do something

    I am VCP 3,4 and 5 (technically VCP2 too, but as it turned out the testing center wasn't licensed any more so I kinda "lost" it) and have quite a few partner ones (VTSP / VSP and the lot) - so its time to play with the big toys.

    I will use this thread basically as study log. I will post the resources I am using, what I am currently reading, what the status is, what labs I am doing and so on.

    The first post (<this one here>) is where I update resources in use / currently using, and further posts are with other "stuff". I will see how I do this as I go along.

    First and foremost, the setup. You cannot get this done without having a lab, right.

    I can consider myself lucky that I have quite a nice setup I think so I thought I might as well share it (always open to suggestions of course).


    The Excel Sheet contains the hardware I am using and IPs / VLANs etc. None of it is important to you, but at least I got everything in one place in case I need it. It might change of course, but that is what I came up with over my lunch break.

    I currently host my lab in our work place. I am working in a hosting company so I got the resources thankfully. No need to host 6A worth of kit in the garage ... Usually I have the lot in a 12U cabinet. Below you can see it has 13U servers and what you can't see, another 3U of switches and firewalls. But at home I don't use the 5th host and just one switch and a software firewall.
    Here I just have it in there for spares (fully functional though).

    20131206_164517.jpg

    Here is an Excel sheet with my setup in "theory" - in theory because I haven't configured it yet, but the hardware is correct and complete

    >> Excelsheet @ Dropbox <<

    Here how the "lab" looks in the garage



    Cabinet is a 12U Usystems 7210 Midi Cabinet 600mm (w) x 1000mm (d)

    What else do I need ? Resources used.

    I will update the below list over the next couple of days and hopefully I can also record start and finish date.

    Resources

    Books
    Mastering VMware vSphere 5.5 by Scott Lowe
    Status = Reading / Started Feb 10, 2014

    VMware vSphere Clustering Deepdive 5.1
    Status = Not started yet

    Websites

    Thanks Asif:
    Other experiences of the test:
    VCAP | Ben's Jibber Jabber
    Virtual Nomad: My VCAP-DCA experience
    VCAP5-DCA Testing Strategy and Tips | whiteboardninja
    Building a VCAP live exam lab environment | SOSTech

    Objectives:
    The Foglite – VCAP5-DCA Objectives
    The VCAP-DCA 5 Study Sheet | Wahl Network
    VCAP5-DCA Objectives | TheSaffaGeek
    http://www.virtuallanger.com/wp-cont...tudy-Guide.pdf[/QUOTE]

    Thanks GSXRules:
    VCAP5-DCA links

    Thanks Essendon:
    VCAP5 – DCA | Everything Virtual!

    Thanks QHalo
    8 weeks of #VCAP | mwpreston.net

    Further reading
    anexinet ISG Blog Site: My VMware Certified Advanced Professional 5 - Data Center Administration (VCAP5-DCA) experience

    Training Videos from Pluralsight
    VMware vSphere Optimize & Scale: Storage & Networking Done
    Part 1 of 3 in the VMware vSphere Optimize and Scale (VCAP-DCA) series focuses on storage and networking.

    VMware vSphere Optimize & Scale: Performance & High Availability In Progress
    Part 2 of 3 in the VMware vSphere Optimize and Scale series focuses on performance and high availability.

    VMware vSphere Optimize & Scale: Monitoring & Automation
    Part 3 of 3 in the VMware vSphere Optimize and Scale series focuses on monitoring and automation.

    VMware vSphere Advanced Networking
    This course is a deep dive into vSphere administration and troubleshooting.
    Last edited by jibbajabba; 02-25-2014 at 12:02 PM.
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  3. Learn it, Do it, Know it! Asif Dasl's Avatar
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    #2
    Nice lab! I wish you luck man, I've mine scheduled for July but I've got EMCISA and Microsoft exams in the mean time so it might get pushed back or forward, I dunno! I wouldn't have the experience you have with vSphere but I will be following your journey with interest. I think you'll pass it with ease. I'll leave you with some posts I find useful for VCAP-DCA - I hope you don't mind.

    Other experiences of the test:
    VCAP | Ben's Jibber Jabber
    Virtual Nomad: My VCAP-DCA experience
    VCAP5-DCA Testing Strategy and Tips | whiteboardninja
    Building a VCAP live exam lab environment | SOSTech

    Objectives:
    The Foglite – VCAP5-DCA Objectives
    The VCAP-DCA 5 Study Sheet | Wahl Network
    VCAP5-DCA Objectives | TheSaffaGeek
    http://www.virtuallanger.com/wp-cont...tudy-Guide.pdf
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    #3

    Default DCA links

    Building a VCAP live exam lab environment | SOSTech
    Is pretty general and is mostly notes from describing the exam environments

    VCAP Test Track (lab on a lap)
    has more specifics about sizing to fit a DCA-replica lab on to a 16GB laptop
    Also includes a blurb about how to request remote access to the lab

    VCAP5-DCA links
    is a collection of all the link I could find on the DCA, grouped by type


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  5. DoWork
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    #4
    You have that rack and I'm doing it all on my laptop

    I take it the 21st. Good luck!
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  6. Senior Member tstrip007's Avatar
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    #5
    Best of luck. Will be following this.
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  7. Google Ninja jibbajabba's Avatar
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    #6
    Quote Originally Posted by QHalo View Post
    I take it the 21st. Good luck!
    I was lucky to get kit like that. Working in a company which was being closed has its advantages. Thankfully I can host this at work at the moment. I don't have a proper connectivity to my garage so I have a wireless bridge in the garage and go through the SAN via RDP to work on the lab (too slow otherwise).

    I used to use my laptop but I also use the lab (if not for VCAP) to test other stuff, like Citrix, Hyper-V and the lot.

    The 200 or so GB of RAM in total come in handy

    But thanks guys for the links ...
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  8. DoWork
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    #7
    Just bustin ya mate. I'm expanding my home lab a bit to accommodate a good View and vCAC setup after DCA and DCD.
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  9. VCDX in 2017 Essendon's Avatar
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    #8
    Hey Hey, I've done a writeup on the DCA too! VCAP5 – DCA | Everything Virtual!



    You'll pass the test, no worries Jibba and QHalo - it's cake. Just be quick, dont get hung up and get as many task completions as possible. It doesnt matter how you get to the end result (PowerCLI or C#). Have I said you need to be quick? Do not wait for a task to finish, for example when you're enabling FT on a machine, dont wait for it to finish - instead, go on to another task and then come back when the FT'ing is complete.
    VCDX: DCV - Round 2 rescheduled (by VMware) for December 2017.

    Blog >> http://virtual10.com
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  10. kj0
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    #9
    Best of luck dude. I"m definitely planning on starting it once I finish my VCP.

    Hopefully if I get the job I'm waiting on hearing back from I will be able to have a Lab similar to yours.
    2017 Goals: VCP6-DCV | VCIX
    Blog: http://readysetvirtual.wordpress.com
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  11. Google Ninja jibbajabba's Avatar
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    #10
    I would hope so but there are things I never done really, using VMA for a start. A few things were taken out of vCAP so it makes it probably easier. I doubt I will go for the exam before July or August, but we shall see. I'll sign up after payday lol, just to get a deadline in.
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    #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Essendon View Post
    Hey Hey, I've done a writeup on the DCA too! VCAP5 – DCA | Everything Virtual!



    You'll pass the test, no worries Jibba and QHalo - it's cake. Just be quick, dont get hung up and get as many task completions as possible. It doesnt matter how you get to the end result (PowerCLI or C#). Have I said you need to be quick? Do not wait for a task to finish, for example when you're enabling FT on a machine, dont wait for it to finish - instead, go on to another task and then come back when the FT'ing is complete.
    Interesting Blog Title
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  13. Google Ninja jibbajabba's Avatar
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    #12
    Updated the first post with some more resources. Thanks guys. I am sure they will come in handy ...
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  14. Google Ninja jibbajabba's Avatar
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    #13
    Still waiting for VUE to approve my VCAP pre-requisites but in the meantime signed up for Pluralsight ..

    First post updated with courses I will be watching (VMware vSphere Optimize & Scale)...
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  15. Senior Member tprice5's Avatar
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    #14
    Quote Originally Posted by jibbajabba View Post
    Still waiting for VUE to approve my VCAP pre-requisites
    Whatchu talkin' bout?
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  16. Google Ninja jibbajabba's Avatar
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    #15
    Quote Originally Posted by tprice5 View Post
    Whatchu talkin' bout?
    For VCAP you sign up first on VMware - they provide you with a new Candidate ID, that Candidate ID is then used to add the advanced track to VUE. They then tell you that it takes 24-48hrs for them to approve / check that Candidate ID. And I am waiting for that stage now for them to add the Advanced Track to my account so I can actually book my exam.

    At the moment it doesn't allow me to book VCAPs but displays a message

    Add VMware Advanced to My Testing Profile
    Your request to add VMware Advanced has been forwarded to our Testing Program team. If you provided a valid email address, we will notify you when your request has been processed. This typically occurs within one business day. You can also return to this site and check if VMware Advanced has been added to your list of Testing Programs. Thank you for your interest in VMware Advanced.
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  17. DoWork
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    #16
    Call them. I had a ton of issues getting the approval. Requires a new ID, etc, etc. I called and it was instantly taken are of.
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  18. Google Ninja jibbajabba's Avatar
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    #17
    Quote Originally Posted by QHalo View Post
    Call them. I had a ton of issues getting the approval. Requires a new ID, etc, etc. I called and it was instantly taken are of.
    Did .. man what a pain .. So Now for some reason I got two accounts .. One guys tells me to call back and merge them, another guy tells me they cannot be merged because one account is for advaned and one is for "normal" exams.

    Is that correct ?!?
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  19. Google Ninja jibbajabba's Avatar
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    #18
    June 30th for now. Thankfully I was allowed to use company CC
    Payment Details
    Exams for
    Name:
    Michael xx
    Candidate ID:
    VMW-xx-xx
    Order Total
    Subtotal: 260.00
    VAT-GBR: 52.00
    VISA**** GBP 312.00
    By the way - that's $515.92 !!!!

    How unfair is that (given that the exam in the US is what, Ł300 odd ?)
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  20. DoWork
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    #19
    Quote Originally Posted by jibbajabba View Post
    Did .. man what a pain .. So Now for some reason I got two accounts .. One guys tells me to call back and merge them, another guy tells me they cannot be merged because one account is for advaned and one is for "normal" exams.

    Is that correct ?!?
    Yes that's correct. I now have one ID for VCP exams and one for VCAP exams. Oh, and if you take Cisco exams, you're gonna need another one for them too.
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  21. DoWork
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    #20
    Toss this up there as well. I'm using it right now.
    8 weeks of #VCAP | mwpreston.net
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  22. Google Ninja jibbajabba's Avatar
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    #21
    Thanks GW

    Added to the list ....
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  23. Senior Member
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    #22
    Quote Originally Posted by jibbajabba View Post
    Did .. man what a pain .. So Now for some reason I got two accounts .. One guys tells me to call back and merge them, another guy tells me they cannot be merged because one account is for advaned and one is for "normal" exams.

    Is that correct ?!?
    Had the same bullcrap story... I had to get a different account for the advanced exam (booked for DCD early march). Had to call in to try and sort it out and the customer rep was rude and obnoxious as hell...

    Marc
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  24. DoWork
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    #23
    Ok ok, I used their chat system instead of calling. Was much more pleasant
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  25. /threadkiller ande0255's Avatar
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    #24
    Very interested to see your progress, I'm just about to start my journey towards the VCP5-DCV and I am pretty intimidated for a whole new topic to say the least! Pausing Cisco study for another vendor almost feels like living in sin, but think I want to cross that line!

    Good luck and keep us posted!
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  26. Google Ninja jibbajabba's Avatar
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    #25
    Man I forgot how long-winded Server 2008R2 installs are. Even when you just install the SQL connectivity tools on the vCenter Server, of course it needs to bloody download and install almost 1GB worth of SP.

    Whilst reading "Mastering vSphere 5.5" and additional Advanced videos from Jason Nash going well, I finally finished my lab in preparation of some decent ... labbing ...

    I had to bastardise the lab for something else too - thankfully there are enough resources. Basically I need to upgrade our vCloud Director infrastructure which currently runs an unsupported version (1.5). There are so many components to upgrade it is unreal. VMware's upgrade Matrix doesn't even include some components and their support is as usual useless.

    Anyway, like I said before - I may post some stuff people aren't interested in, but this thread is mainly a study aid and log-book for me.

    So here it goes.

    What does my lab look like ?

    The management hosts have both 28GB of Ram while the Production ones have 72GB each. I needed to disable Admission control on the Management Cluster as I am somewhat short on RAM. I was tempted to move some RAM around, but the production hosts are nice and powerful enough to run additional nested setups.

    In the screenshots you can see that the main infrastructure is based on vSphere 5.5 but the nested setup on 5.0, reflecting our production builds.

    So what is the core-infrastructure made of ?

    Physical Server: SAN
    Server 2012R2
    ISCSI Target
    Additional Roles: DC / DNS (yea I know)

    Management Cluster VMs

    vApp Management VMs
    - DC (Server 2012R2)
    --> second DC / GC Server / DNS

    - GW (ClearOS 6)
    --> Linux VM acting as router between a clients VLAN and default VLAN of the switch (Switch is SG300-38 in Layer 2 mode)

    - SQL (Server 2008R2 + SQL 2012)
    --> Hosting SQL Databases for all components including vCloud

    - VCS01 (Server 2008R2)
    --> vCenter 5.5

    vApp Tools
    - VMware vCenter Log Insight
    --> Collects Syslogs from all hosts and vcenter

    - vSphere Data Protection 5.5 Advanced
    --> Daily backups of all Management VMs and in addition all SQL databases (agent powered)

    - vSphere Management Assistant (vMA)
    --> CLI stuff

    Production Lab Cluster VMs

    vApp ESX-Hosts
    - ESXi 5.0u3
    --> 3 nested hosts with 12GB of Ram each

    vApp Management
    - VCC01 (CentOS 6.5 x64)
    --> First vCloud Director Cell (v1.5.1)

    - VCC02 (CentOS 6.5 x64)
    --> Second vCloud Director Cell (v1.5.1)

    - VSM01 (Virtual Appliance)
    --> vShield Manager for vCloud Director (v5.0.1)

    - VCS01 (Server 2008R2)
    --> vCenter 5.0u2 for vCloud Director

    An additional note for nested setups. You know when you create a VM, it would obviously show "VMware" as hardware.

    Example:


    There is however a nice setting you can add to the vmx-file of the virtual host (or add advanced settings)
    Code:
    SMBIOS.reflectHost = "true"
    That will pass the hardware information through to the virtual machine (nice cheat )



    Anyway, the lab .. Here just a screenshot of the lab overall



    It's storage config



    And it's network



    Tedious .. especially MPIO .. Really time to learn some CLI stuff and script the lot

    Nothing special - Actual infrastructure and its relation to the virtual cluster



    Again, nothing really related to VCAP - but it's my log so there it is

    Enough for today .. that was 6hrs glued to a PC - needs some beer or something

    Comments are always welcome
    Last edited by jibbajabba; 02-15-2014 at 03:30 PM.
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