Tuesday, October 6, 2020

New Certification: VMware Certified Technical Associate (VCTA)

 VMware just release a new start of certification targeted on operators, VMware Certified Techical Associate (VCTA). This is not a replacement of the previous VMware Certified Associate (VCA), but rather this is targeted someone with some knowledge of technical experience and running day 2 operations.

As stated this is not a prerequisite for VMware Certified Professional (VCP) which is a higher level of certification. You can directly attempt to VCP.

Before taking any VMware exam it is always good to check out the exam guide. Check out the VCTA exam guide. Check out the FAQ regarding VCTA and the tracks available.


I am honoured to be part of this new exam development for VCTA DCV with a group of like minded individuals. Adding the number 11th exam to my bucket of contributions.

Exam Content Contributors
  • Adrian Lee
  • Aman Arora
  • Carla Gavalakis
  • Frank Buechsel
  • Gabi Faba 
  • Harrison Sherwin
  • Prateek Jain
  • Oyan Johnson
  • Ryan Patel
  • Wee Kiong Tan

Lastly, not forgetting the program manager who got all of us together to work on this, Lourdes Soler.

Thursday, October 1, 2020

New Tanzu Editions

Announcement for the new Tanzu Editions is now available.

In summary, Tanzu Advanced and Enterprise would be for bigger deployment where multiple solutions with VMware services involvement where likely you would have a reference architecture been build and supported by VMware.

For the Tanzu Basic and Standard, this is more for the vSphere environment and a replacement of the previous only available to VMware Cloud Foundation (VCF) Add-on for vSphere with Kubernetes which was then renamed to vSphere with Tanzu.

Below is extracted from the two PDF document from the solution brief. However, the solution brief didn't point out some conditions which I have marked with "*". Update 06 Oct: The PDF has been updated with "*"

What is it you might ask? It is not drastic, but it is possible only with NSX-T and not without. For vSphere Pod service and Register Service, which is embedded in vSphere 7 and part of supervisor cluster, this will require NSX. Network service provision with NSX for microsegmentation, layer 7, NSX load balancing will not be available in Tanzu Basic.

So, for naked vSphere 7 customer, they can enable the user of vSphere with Tanzu via Tanzu Basic which will allow to consume the guest cluster. vDS will be used by all the nodes for communication while the container networking will be using Antrea by default. Naked vSphere users can also purchase NSX and utilize Tanzu Basic or Standard and utilize the supervisor cluster. The Tanzu Standard will provide you with support for BYO node image and ingress controller and other Tanzu SaaS offering such as Tanzu Mission Control.

For VCF customer, it is easier to start with Tanzu Standard which will incorporate the use of the capabilities since VCF will contain NSX which will allow the use of Registry, Network and Pod Service. This is because to utilize supervisor cluster functionality you will need NSX which is already included in VCF.

Tanzu Basic pdf



vSphere 7-specific capabilities

vSphere Pod service*, Storage service, Network service*, Registry service*

Kubernetes cluster lifecycle management

Cluster API

Image registry


Container networking


Load balancing

VMware Load Balancer Services for Kubernetes

Ingress controller



·       Fluent Bit & Fluentd

Operating System

Photon OS

SaaS Global Management


·       NIL



 Tanzu Standard pdf



vSphere 7-specific capabilities

vSphere Pod service, Storage service, Network service, Registry service

Kubernetes cluster lifecycle management

Cluster API

Image registry


Container networking


Load balancing

VMware Load Balancer Services for Kubernetes

Ingress controller



·       Fluent Bit & Fluentd

·       Prometheus and Grafana for platform monitoring

Operating System

Photon OS and Bring-your-own node image

SaaS Global Management


·       Lifecycle management of provisioned clusters

·       Attach and manage any conformant Kubernetes cluster

·       Cluster and workload health observability

·       Centralized access and security policy management

·       Backup and restore clusters and namespaces

·       Backup scheduling

·       Cluster conformance inspections

·       System events and audit logs

·       Integration with Tanzu Observability and/or Tanzu Service Mesh


Thursday, September 17, 2020

VMware vSphere 7.0 Update 1 & vSAN 7.0 Update 1

Right before VMworld, VMware has announcement some new releases. Two of which that has lots of new stuff to look forward to is vSphere and vSAN.

Here I am going to list down all the resources that you can read or watch to find out more on what is new in both vSphere 7.0 Update 1 and vSAN 7.0 Update 1.

vSphere 7.0 Update 1

Check out the announcement here and the youtube video here.

As usual, with almost in every release, you see the maximum supported numbers goes up. However, one of the key supported on CPU security is from AMD on SEV-ES. Check out the article here.

vSAN 7.0 Update 1

Check out the announcement here and video.

Duncan Epping have listed details on the release and you should check out his blog.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

What's in VMware Horizon 8?

With the announcement of Horizon 8 which is a major upgrade from 7.12 which has already 12 iteration of updates, this is going to be a lot more than 7.x. We won't be listing all the 12 minor update iteration features, it will be a huge list.

Let's jump right in.

MultiCloud Support

Horizon 8 now support Azure VMware Solution. Google Cloud VMware Engine and VMware Cloud on Dell on top of your own on premise data center.

Instant Clone Smart Provisioning

The removal of parent VM requirements on every hosts is going to return back lots of resources for customers. For those who does not how Instant Clone works, can refer to this article. With Instant Clone Smart Provisioning, you will be having just one replica from your master image that sit in a shared datastore to be used. Let's wait for an article to be release on that soon.

Horizon REST APIs

With more support for REST APIs, this will allow deeper integration for automation and orchestration. There just so many things you can do if you can think of what to do. Let your imagination go wild!

Optimized Remote Experience for Unified Communications and Collaborations Tools

With support for Zoom, MS Teams and Cisco Web for Horizon, this will allow better video conferencing capability for calls and videos for the users.

Linux Hosted Apps

Ever thought that what if I can access a published app which are native to Linux operating system (OS) just like how I do it today on Windows operating system. Now you can. This was in Horizon 7.10 as a tech preview but now it is available. Not only will you be able to do for any applications that can be installed on a Linux OS, you also able to avoid expensive windows licenses for applications that can be supported on Linux.

Some of the significant features are listed above. Check out this article for a detail list of whole new Horizon 8.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

VMware Certified Professional Data Center Virtualization for vSphere 7

Today is the release of the new exam for VMware Certified Professional Data Center Virtualization (VCP DCV) for vSphere 7. You can now head over and make a date to take the exam. Upon passing this exam, you will be granted VCP-DCV 2020 certification.

There seems to be a change to this exam pre-requisite.  There is no requirement to take the vSphere foundation exam as there are no vSphere 7.0 foundation exam. So after you attended any of the vSphere 7 required 5 days training, you are good to head over and take the VCP exam.

There is a new feature in vSphere 7 also known as vSphere 7 with Tanzu. However, this is not tested in this exam. Maybe, VMware intend to have that as a separate exam since it itself is a big topic of it's own. Or maybe just like the VCP-NV, where CCNP or CCIE certification is exempted. They might use CKA as a exemption and have it as another certification when combined. Let's just wait and see what are the plans VMware have.

Head over the certification page and read up on the exam guide on what to be tested in the exam. 

Make sure you read up on the objectives and the resources provided to prepare for your exam.

Good luck!

It was a great pleasure to work with the following people to develop this exam. We get to discuss, argue, debate and correct each other work.

Exam Content Contributors
  • Brandon Bazan 
  • Carla Gavalakis 
  • Gabriela Faba 
  • Jesse Martinez
  • Patrick Kremer 
  • Ivan Talley 
  • Paul McSharry 
  • Ryan Patel 
  • Wee Kiong Tan
Lastly, not forgetting the program manager who got us together and planned the whole schedule out, Lourdes Soler.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

AWS Solution Architect Associate Exam Experience


Recently, took an exam at the test center during this Covid lock down time. It definitely my first time wearing a mask to a test center throughout the exam.

To share my experience on preparing for the exam and as well on how I felt about the exam format comparing with other exam that I have taken and written. Yes, I am part of the team who developed VCP and VCAP over the last two years.

I took the AWS SAA course last year with no experience with AWS. This was really my virgin experience with AWS from interface to using it in the lab. I even sign up for the AWS fundamental class which is one day before the three days course. After which, I also took the exam preparation course for half a day. Do note there are two exams, I took the one that is retiring. The different is the retiring exam has one more section while the new one removed it.

So if you are new like myself, it is really good to do all the above courses that I have attended. It really gives me the great understanding of AWS and their services and as well a good hands on into the interface.

After the course, I couldn't find much time until the COVID lock down. So I took the opportunity to study for it. I took up the Whizlabs AWS SAA Practice Exam. It is not a dump but it gives me a great understanding of more than what the course have covered. This is what I appreciate about it. I greatly recommend having it as a good follow up.

The actual exam is no way near to the practice exam, but the format and the way questions are asked are some sort similar. The exam took about 130 mins and you need to pass by 72% for 65 questions. If you worked that would, that gives you about 18 questions to answer wrongly.

I finished the exam in 110 mins. But I must say I did complete the 65 questions earlier but I flagged out 30 over questions to review. I did three time of review and every time I did that I read the question in detail and in the end made some changes to my answers.

My advice would be to review any questions you are not confident of and marked them to review. Really read the question several times as some of the questions are rather tricky.

Exam Format
Now to the exam format. I felt the exam questions format is not very consistent as you can have a question with choose two over four answers while some are choose two over five answers. Unlike the VMware Exam that I have developed.

The questions do have some tricky wordings and if you missed it, no matter how experience you are with AWS, you can get that answer wrong. That was what I didn't like about it. I felt that exam are created to test one's experience and knowledge and not testing them to figure out the one word that could make the whole answer turn the other way. It is like spotting the difference.

Some questions tested on memory work which was found in VMware exam in the past. But today, that has mostly all been removed unless it's a number that you would use that very often. In this exam, I hated these type of questions. Though there are not many of such questions, if I were a solution architect, I would not have memorize these information. That is what documentation page is for.

In summary, I think the exam really make me study hard for it. Have not been study this hard for an exam especially for technology that I am familiar with. However, if AWS can improve those three way of testing a candidate, the exam can be of a better quality.

p.s. no dumps was used in this whole process. Pure hardwork was involved.

VMware Certified Instructor Experience

VMware Certified Instructor

Over the course of last week, I conducted my first co-teaching for vSphere 7.0: Install, Configure and Manage course as a VMware instructor. This is a requirement for me to complete the VMware Certified Instructor.

This is one of the five days course that I was made to teach. The course was also new as vSphere 7.0 curriculum was release not long ago after the product GA.

I took a week to go through all the modules and also getting familiar with the labs. There are a lot to prepare. Since I am new to teaching, I am preparing the unexpected.

I was fortunate to have a class of 9 students. I mean real customers in the class. Though I have many years of experience, there are nitty gritty stuff which I have forgotten and didn't take much into consideration during my course of work.

The modules deck are all very new and I have to go read up most of it since some didn't surface much details during vSphere 7 launch but are covered much more in the course.

Simple things like how vSphere HA works have also slip by mind for awhile since we have been trusting the technology but never doubt it or really find out how it really works in details.

At times, I did gave some wrong answer, and quickly rectify that in the class during the break to confirm. Instead, of giving an answer immediately, I started to request to answer them later to confirm my understanding is correct.

I have to familarize with the labs that the students are taking so when question arise I was able to identity quickly what they have done wrongly. On top of that, I need to know how to resolve some issued cause by the lab setup. At the same time, understand what the lab is trying to achieve and explain for students who are not clear.

Learning to be a certified instructor and more so VMware Certified Instructor has to be taken with care. Every word that I spoken has to be certain if not check back before providing details.

While I still have much to learn, I guess I would be teaching more courses to come to meet the yearly 30 days requirement.

If you are interested been a VMware Certified Instructor, do check out the requirements here.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

VMware Thinapp IE8 on Windows 10 Build 1909

Recently, got a call from a colleague, Calvin Nguyen based in US. This customer encounter the same error that I have posted here previously. And apparently after testing, it requires the two DLL files mentioned the KB in my article.

He was using the VMware Thinapp 5.2.5 on Windows XP. But the latest 5.2.7 cannot be installed. A quick check on the release notes shows that VMware Thinapp 5.2.7 has support for Windows 10 build 1909.

If you have read, I did the IE 8 Thinapp packing in Windows XP. However, VMware Thinapp 5.2.7 is no longer supported to run on Windows XP. So how are we going to update the Thinapp packages that runs only in Windows XP if we need to update the build to the latest?

A quick workaround would be as below, we will use IE8 as an example:
  1. Package your IE8 using a VMware Thinapp (in this case 5.2.5) that is supported on Windows XP and place the two DLLs from KB just in case.
  2. Follow this KB to use native view (thanks to Calvin)
  3. Install VMware Thinapp 5.2.7 on Windows 10.
  4. Perform a relink on the IE 8 thinapp package in Windows 10 by copying over the project from your Windows XP to keep package up to date.
Wa-lah! Now your IE 8 will run in the latest Windows 10 Build.

IE8 on Windows 10 Build 1909

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

vCenter Server Appliance 6.7 DNS

Recently, got to know from a customer who have a vCenter Server Appliance 6.7 that went down after a reboot. The services refused to come up.

Looking at the error generated, it looks something similar to this KB. However, this was the the similar Error RC code which returns 1 instead of 11.

So we went asked the customer what actually happens and the results was they change a new DNS server with new IP but did not update vCenter Server. This is a big impact!

Why is this so? If you have deploy a vCenter Server, the requirement for forward and reverse DNS is required as a prerequisites else the vCenter Server Installation wizard will not proceed further. So while the vCenter Sever is still running without been updated on the new DNS, services on the vCenter start to act abnormally.

A reboot will completely bring it down as nothing will start without DNS. The only service that will start is the vSphere Client service.

There are few ways to change your DNS which I am going to list them below:

1. Login to your Direct Console and update the DNS. This will be persistent and resolved the customer issue in our case.
2. SSH and update the DNS. This is not persistent and will not be saved when you reboot the vCenter Server. This method should be done with a VMware support as accessing the SSH to perform any task which results in breaking the vCenter Server can be result in a unsupported vCenter Server.

Lastly, what should be the proper procedure when you want to change DNS? Login into your VAMI and change the DNS first before making changes to your existing DNS.

New Certification: VMware Certified Technical Associate (VCTA)

 VMware just release a new start of certification targeted on operators, VMware Certified Techical Associate (VCTA). This is not a replacem...