Preparing for the VCAP-DCA exam

I have begun my preparations for taking (and passing) the VCAP-DCA exam during the first quarter of 2015. I consider myself fortunate to work in an environment where there is hardware that I can utilize as a lab environment. However, looking at the blueprint for the VCAP-DCA test, I realized there are bits there that would be more difficult to test in that environment. As such, I started looking for a low-cost solution for creating a home lab to play with iSCSI, VMware Replication and other topics covered in the exam. After doing research on the internet, I decided to focus on the Intel NUC platform as the basis for the lab systems.

I posted to Twitter earlier in the week and I was able to get several good pieces of advice for where to look for understanding how to run ESXi on the Intel NUC platform. The best articles I read were written by @virten at He has tested several of the Intel NUC generations and individual platforms.

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VCP5: Creating an iSCSI lab environment for vSphere

As I worked through the VCP5-DVC blueprint, the necessity to revisit iSCSI storage configuration and management became a key point of my study efforts. I had not used iSCSI storage before within a VMware vSphere environment, so learning how to tie it all into the infrastructure was totally new to me. In fact, the last time I had used iSCSI storage was with my previous employer 5+ years ago within a customized CentOS OpenVZ environment.

Fortunately, Google did not fail me and there were many resources readily available for teaching me how to implement iSCSI storage within a CentOS Linux virtual machine. From there it was a matter of creating a storage adapter within vCenter and exporting the iSCSI datastores to the environment.

This post will go through the steps to configure the iSCSI storage within a Linux VM, export it to vCenter and add it into the IaaS offering as a VMFS datastore. I found this extremely helpful in my preparation for the exam and in learning how to troubleshoot misconfiguration settings within the iSCSI VM — making mistakes are often the best way to learn!

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VCP5-DCV and VMworld EMEA Preparations

It’s been very quiet around here since VMworld US ended a little over one month ago. I have had my head down studying for my VCP5-DCV exam — which I am taking on Wednesday. The rest of my spare time has been consumed getting ready for VMworld EMEA in Barcelona, Spain. I took the feedback received after VMworld US and will be showing a demo of Hadoop being deployed virtually through the vCAC orchestration workflows that interact with Big Data Extensions.

I am looking forward to my trip to Spain. I am planning on having several days to wander about and see some of what Europe has to offer — especially a FC Barcelona game on Saturday the 18th.

I do have some good things planned for the site, including posts on Isilon performance metrics with Hadoop, expanding BDE functionality to include Flume nodes, blueprints for deploying HDFS-only virtual clusters to be used for a unified data warehouse layer.

It is going to be a very busy winter here in Utah this year with all of the Hadoop work, next-generation Openstack (VMware Integrated OpenStack) and preparing for the VCAP5-DCA test in January.