Wednesday, August 28, 2013

New VMware Associate Level Certification

During VMworld 2013, other than the announcement of solutions, there was also a new certification announcement.  That is a new entry certification also known as Associate which was mentioned here.

For Data Center virtualization, we will have VCA_DV, for Cloud, VCA-Cloud and lastly for EUC, VCA-WM (a new term Workforce Mobility, which I think might replace the current name DT).

For a start, VMware has a promotion code for a 50% discount stated here.  The advantage of having an Associate certification, allows professional to have a easy head start without any prerequisites to take their first step towards VMware certification.  The cost of the exam is roughly about USD130 (SGD160 for me).  From now to end of the year 2013, when you book the associate exam, you will automatically receive 50% discount.

Some may not require to attend a course due to their scope of work but a recognition of their understanding of the technology.  With this, not only one does not have to spend on a course like VCP-DV requirement, but able to decide later if they really want to pursue the particular track of specialty later on (though VCP-DV is a foundation which need to be completed).

I have not taken this of yet so I cannot share any experience for this.  Believe those who are at VMworld perhaps they are able to do that.  Though I have completed all of the associate exams, I must say even with experience on all three tracks, the Cloud track is still a tough nut to crack.  I even failed on my first attempt and end up having to go through the blueprint and fundalmental video course in order to pass the it on my 2nd time (trying to act smart and not going through the blueprint was the main reason of failing).  By the way for those who are not aware, this is done at any computer of choice at any place of your choice (even at the comfort of your home), there is no need to go to an exam center.

You can view the respective blueprints from the certification site choosing the respective certification.

Hope to see more VMware certified professional practitioners down the road irregardless associate, professional or advanced professional.

 Here is some of the screenshot you will see:

After approval of the associate exam, you will them available in your Pearsonvue account.

The associate exams are online via your browser so you will see the typical exam page running off your computer.

On passing you will see this familiar screen. (Forgot to take the failed screen)

Update 29th Aug
Apparently some have take the associate exams and shared that this is a web based exam and no visit to the test center is required.

Update 7th Sept
Added in the experience and screenshots.

26th Sept 2013
Someone asked in the comments whether the questions are the same on retaking.  Even retaking the exam, you will still get brand new questions.  You might have some repeats but those are real minimal.  Anyhow you are still doing on your own computer so there is no way you cannot browse the training while doing at the same time.

1st Dec 2013
I have received comments and email on the VCA for dumbs and answer.  This is a exam to test your fundamental knowledge of VMware virtualization, mobility and cloud.  If you cannot pass, watch the video carefully.  There will be no dumbs or even answer that someone would make such an effort since your effort is to watch the video!

Friday, August 16, 2013

VMware Certification can be verified, Now you cannot lie!

With the recent revamped of VMware Certification site which I mentioned in my prior post, you may also see there are other enhancements in individual certification transcript.

Thanks to Choon Kok who brought this up in the VMware User Group - ASEAN.

By logging into the certification site, and choosing myTranscript to view all your certificates.

You will then see all your certifications that you hold to date.

For each certification, you will also see View and Share.

View - Let's you download a PDF of your certification.  The link is the same link as the provided in the Share popup window (Weird.  Either one of this link become redundant.  I do not see the need to provide a certificate to other if they can verify you from Share).

Share - Provide a link to others who need to make sure you are claimed who you are whether you hold a valid certification.  In here there are two options, one which is as above like View but the link has been copied down for you.  Secondary, is to provide a Authentication page, where you can provide to a anyone who need to verified your real certification status.  You can either provide the authentication site and provide the authentication code separately or you can place everything in one link.

The popup window when clicking on Share

Authentication Form site

Authenticate user will see your certification validity.

This is a nicely done piece at least now we can keep a soft copy of our certification.

Finally a system to verified a professional who claimed who he is can be verified from VMware directly by requesting from the individual to share the authentication site with customer, employer or even recruiters!

Since everything is new there are more refinement that can be done.  At least we are seeing a big improvement since this site has make many changes!

Update 31st Jul 2015
I came across to validate some professional claiming to be VCDX.  In fact, if you are to find out if someone is a VCDX, you can head over to the VCDX Directory, and look for the person using the search too.

VMware Certification Exam System Revamped

If you have been doing your booking for VMware exams, you would know you can do it over at Pearson Vue website.  However if you have now try to do the same you might find yourself seeing the below page after login and unable to make any registration.

VMware Education has recently revamped the way you make your exam booking.  Instead of viewing the information at VMware website and decide to schedule an exam and head to Pearsonvue, what VMware Education has done is let you do everything via VMware Certification site.

Head on to VMware Certification site to choose a certification you are preparing for.  Here I am going to use VCP5-DV for example.
You will find all the information for VCP5-DV including the course listing that is eligible to be certified.  At time of writing, only vSphere 5.1: Install Configure and Manager and vSphere5.1: Optimize and Scale are the only two courses (I am not here to explain how to be certified but to address the change).

To register just click on Register For The Exam.

You will see the below screen to fill in your details.

Once confirmed, an email will be sent to you just like the one below and you can head to Pearson Vue to schedule the exam.

Once you login to Pearson Vue, you will see the exam you have requested as show here.  Do note you will have to switch between normal certificate and Advanced view.  To carry on schedule the exam, just click the exam item and proceed as per normal instructions.  There is an improvement in the speed in changing exam location and time.

If you want to switch between VMware normal certification (VMware, Inc) and VMware Advanced certification, you have to click on testing program as above screenshot and check VMware Advanced and click Next on the next screen as show below:

If it is a certification that require prerequisites, you will need to request for authorization as show below.  You will receive an email once it is approved and will find it available schedule.

Next, if you have request for a registration and yet to receive a confirmation email for it and try to register another exam, you will see this error.  Apparently it seems that only one request can be done at any one time.

What if I have passed an exam before and try to register it again perhaps by mistake? You will not be able to proceed as show below.

In summary, I find there are some good improvements as well as some which can be further improve on.

The Good
  • From just one page, we can now schedule an exam without having to go to multiple site.
  • Prevent you from booking an exam that already passed.
  • After receiving the confirmation email, the booking interface is now much faster than before.

The Bad
  • Unable to remove passed exams after been added to the exam page view.
  • Only can make one exam request at one any one time.
  • Booking process though streamline but time to start booking is only possible after receiving the confirmation email.

Hope this post help this having trouble making an attempt to book an exam easier.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

VMware Horizon Mirage Performance Catcha

It has been some time since my last post.  Have been really busy however I always make a point to at least do a meaningful post a month.  Since VMworld is also round the corner, there will be many updates from all other bloggers around the world.

Recently was doing a Proof of Concept (POC) for Horizon Mirage and was questioned on the time to centralize an end device was too long.

Here's what happen:
A simple centralize of endpoint took as long as 140mins in one setup and 52mins in another which could not have been shorter since the endpoint is plain OS image about 40GB in size.

Setup 1
First setup that took 140mins where the Horizon Mirage Server is a VM on a standalone ESXi server with local disk with two 500GB 7.2RPM SATA disks extended into one datastore.

Setup 2
The Horizon Mirage server was installed on a physical server with 500GB 7.2RPM SATA Disks on Raid 1.  This took 52mins.

Separately, my colleague did a test as well in our office network which is connected via switches and the time taken was never more than 52mins.  This got us into question.
We did a meet up with the customer this time round and find out how the was Mirage Server and the end device connect to the network.  Here is what happen.  The customer has the end device connected on a switch which is daisy chained from a core switch which Horizon Mirage Server is connected on in both setup physical and virtual Horizon Mirage server.

This was applied to both setup.  The results difference was140mins and 52mins between virtual and physical Horizon Mirage server respectively.  Do note in a virtual environment local disk was used.  I have not test if this may be faster in a SAN environment.

From setup 1 and 2, we can see that physical Mirage server seems to be performing much better than a virtual machine.

From the above diagram, you can see that the 1GE core switch bandwidth is shared among 4 x 48 ports switches.  This limit the bandwidth even though Horizon Mirage does duplication and compression, the transfer speed would be greatly affected.  The total time in this setup took 52mins to centralize one device on a physical Mirage server.

Taking Setup 2, we connect the end device directly to the core switch where Horizon Mirage server is connected to and the time to centralize was brought down from 52mins to 44mins.

From the above two setup, duplication in Horizon Mirage is performed making use of CPU cycle and writing to disk may also be affected if the Horizon Mirage server is a VM as there is a hypervisor layer.  This could have added to the longer time from 52mins to 140mins.

There is another portion which was overlooked by many.

Remember during the installation of the Horizon Mirage Server as show below from my previous post on Horizon Mirage Installation:

The path of the network cache folder, which by default points to your Horizon Mirage installation path.  However if this is located on a separate disk e.g. SSD, the performance can greatly improved.  As common data heavily read from this cache.

This works just like a front-end cache on a storage before data is destage to the disk.  For network cache to work, it would be good to centralize a couple of end devices with the same image so that most common blocks will be located in the Network cache drive.

At a later stage when centralizing a end device with similar OS type you would see greater performance improvement since uncommon blocks will only be send and the response of the disk will also be much faster comparing to a shared disk.

Hope this give you a better in sight on the things to look out for when planning for Horizon Mirage setup.

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