VCAP 5.5 DCA Exam Passed And Study Hints and Tips

Over the last couple of years I have seen friends sit various VCAP exams and tell me their experiences of them (nothing NDA breaking) and I always thought to myself that it wasn’t for me, please don’t misunderstand, I am someone who would love to get his VCDX but I have never been in a role that would give me the Design credentials to attempt the VCDX. I also thought that I wasn’t really ready for the VCAP exam, I then had a chat with a friend of mine who has a number of VCAP’s \ VCIX exams under his belt and he told me that in his opinion I am more than capable of passing the VCAP and I should just book it.


So I did, on the 6th of June I booked the VCAP 5.5 DCA exam for the 4th of July, this left me with just 4 weeks to study for the exam, something I hadn’t even considered yet.

With 4 short weeks of study (I got laid off 3.5 weeks ago) I sat the exam on the 4th of July and can honestly say it’s a fair but tough exam.

The three hours went super fast, the 5 minute warning came around sooner than I thought.

23 questions attempted but I know I missed at least 4 so it was always going to be a tough thing.

30 minutes after leaving the test centre I got the email from VMware, all I can say is it was closer than I could ever imagine but needless to say a pass is a pass and I am now VCAP 5.5 certified.
My tips for anyone studying the exam.

Read the various guides out there (VCAP Diaries and vCrooky). Watch the Pluralsight Optimise and Scale courses, still very relevant today as when released. Also watch the Advanced Networking and the Troubleshooting videos if you can. Remember that the BluePrint is key, if it’s mentioned in there it’s fair game.

Esxcli esxcli command list | grep "word" is your friend. Also use advanced search in the acrobat reader and locate all documents from the desktop.

Hands on lab experience is key, whether you have access to a home lab or Dev environment or use a laptop with AutoDeploy you’re going to need hands on experience with more than just vSphere, install and configure VCO and PowerCLI, use whichever interface you’re comfortable with (C#, Web or CLI) although you will need to open up the Web client for some of the tasks (open up multiple browser sessions). 

Good luck all and know it’s possible.

Bulk Windows / Linux VM Deployments via PowerCLI and CSV file

So I had to look recently at a mechanism that could mass deploy over 100 VM’s at a time, these had to be a mix of Windows and Linux, had to have the potential to include not only IP addressing but also creating a computer object in AD prior to VM creation and domain joining as well as templates, vCenter folders, Clusters and storage.

Having had a look around and there are a couple of decent scripts out there that could do that quite well so I had a closer look at a modified script by Juan Vidañez

I have forked his script on GitHub to allow it to function as I needed (pre-creation of Computer AD accounts in specified OU’s to ensure that when joined to AD the accounts were located in the correct location on first boot and wouldn’t have to be manually moved later on).

A quick trial deployment in my home lab was very successful with 24 CentOS7 VMs deployed (1.6GB thin provisioned storage), configured with DHCP addresses, individual names and pre-created AD Computer accounts, these were deployed and running in just under 6 minutes.

Creating a CentOS 7.2 VMware Gold Template

In a post from last year I documented how to create a CentOS 7 VMware Gold Template for all the non-Linux admins out there.

There were questions at the time on me not leaving this in a fully cleaned state making it not 100% usable outside of my homelab environment. centos7

Following the instructions below will yield a template ready for future use that ensures you can deploy at speed and in a reliable fashion ensuring that SSH keys are deleted, logs emptied and unique network identifiers are removed from the image.

All told this should take no longer than 30 minutes to complete.

Just to point out that for this to succeed you need to be running vCenter 5.5u3 or vCenter 6 as found in the Guest OS Customization Matrix 

Continue reading Creating a CentOS 7.2 VMware Gold Template

VMware Academy Training Experience – vSphere 6 ICM Course with 360GSP

Over the years I have 360gspexperienced a lot of VMware training, whether that’s been with a VMware VATC (VMware Approved Training Centre), Directly with VMware or via the VMware Academy route.

My previous VCP 4 and 5 training has been carried out via the Academy route and rarely differed from the usual VATC provided training, the only difference between the Academy and VATC’s in the past was that the Academy could offer weekend training dates and also lasted 8 days instead of the usual 5 days.

In previous times training with an Academy still meant that you had to sign up for the class on the MyLearn VMware site, had to attend all the lessons and be signed off the class by the instructor, you also received a heavily discounted voucher for the VCP exam and a reasonable time to sit that exam. Again training with a VATC only provided the course attendance and no discounted VCP voucher. This time around I discovered that there has been a change to the way that the course attendance is marked and also an additional benefit that all students should use to aid in their study and understanding of the technology.

Continue reading VMware Academy Training Experience – vSphere 6 ICM Course with 360GSP

VCP-NV (VCPN610) Exam Passed

I first attended the VMware NSX ICM Course last year with the excellent Paul McSharry as my instructor, unfortunately NSX took a back seat as far as a technology stack was concerned so I kept putting taking the exam, then a couple of weeks ago I was given the chance to go on a refresher course and it gave me back the bug to sit down and study something with an intensity that I haven’t had for a while now.


Now by this time the VCP-NV exam has matured and there were a number of different study guides, I used the excellent guide from Rich Dowling as well as various #vBrownBag videos available covering the VCP-NV Exam BluePrint and not forgetting the excellent Pluralsight Videos covering NSX by Jason Nash.


I booked the older VCPN610 exam which contained 120 questions rather than the 2V0-641 exam which covers 85 questions because all the training I had done previously was done on the older 6.0 training material, however the old exam is due to expire at the end of November. The good thing is that everyone who passes the VCPN610 exam get’s grandfathered to the VCP6-NV.

All told I would say that I have spent the last month really pushing my revision to pass this exam, sure it’s only the VCP and I have to admit that some of the material was over the top for the VCP level exam but it does make me feel better for trying the VCIX exam sometime next year.

My advice is to definitely use multiple sources for training, use each to backup what you’re being told because you can never have enough reference points.

Condusiv Technologies V-locity 5 Testing

I have been running the Condusiv Technologies V-locity 5 software on a couple of test machines in my home lab over the last couple of days, alongside those VMs I also ran a couple of VM’s with the older V-locity VM product to see how performance differed.

Testing on both products still takes a few days but there are a couple of differences in how the performance data is presented at the end of the test.

In the previous version you ran a Benefit Analysis Report to show you before and after information which generated a nice PDF that you could save, this PDF gave you a page full of information that made for very easy reading.

Continue reading Condusiv Technologies V-locity 5 Testing

V-locity 5 Install and Configuration

So I was recently offered the chance to test drive V-locity 5 to see how it compared against the previous V-locity VM product that I tested nearly two years ago, one of the big differences between the two products is that this time I am using the V-locity Management Console (VMC) as my centralised management and deployment tool.

This post covers the installation and configuration of the VMC and the deployment of agents via it.

One of the first things I noticed after downloading the installation file from the Condusiv Technologies website was that the new package came in quite a lot smaller in size than the previous version, I mean like about 50% smaller, now considering this includes the VMC as well as the V-locity package you have to hand it to the developers with regards to size reduction.

Supported Platforms for the VMC and V-locity agents, as you can see you’re not restricted to either physical or virtual for either the VMC or agents.

Continue reading V-locity 5 Install and Configuration

vMetrics 1.2 Plugin for WordPress – Multiple Cluster Edition

vmetricsI have been a fan of both Nick Weaver’s WP-vSphereStats and Sean Duffy’s fork of that – vMetrics Plugin for WordPress but one of the things missing from vMetrics was additional Clusters.

I asked on Twitter if anyone knew how to add that functionality in and Sean kindly responded saying it was hard coded to the WordPress plugin’s PHP but if I had the inclination I could have a look and see if I could add the required functionality, now I should add that I am not a coder, so it was with a little hesitation that I started to look at the code.

I am pleased to say however that it only took me a couple of hours to butcher Sean’s excellent work to make it display a second cluster, it’s not pretty but it does work.

Browsing the code should make it fairly obvious what I did to allow me to show a second cluster and I don’t see any issues with adding additional clusters to the output, follow the same train of thought (or if you can do it better) and please let me know (after all, who doesn’t want better \ improved code).

Please note that I had to make changes to both the WordPress plugin as well as the PowerCLI Updater script, again fairly obvious changes but it works.

With regards to installation, you should be ok to just over write your existing plugin, if you’re starting from scratch do a manual installation using either the zip file or by directly uploading the extracted files to your plugins folder.

Change log for version 1.2:

  • Added additional metrics section for second cluster information
  • Updated PowerCLI updater script to allow you to gather and upload second cluster information.
  • Completely made a mess of the previously cleaned up PHP in main plugin code, it’s a mess but it works.

I am making this available to anyone that want’s it, I have given credit to both Nick Weaver and Sean for their earlier work and ask that anyone moving this forward does the same please.

Continue reading vMetrics 1.2 Plugin for WordPress – Multiple Cluster Edition

How to Update or Patch the vCenter 6 Appliance

With the release yesterday of vCenter 6.0.0b I decided to do a quick post on how to patch your VCSA appliance.

Please download VCSA patch from here.


Continue reading How to Update or Patch the vCenter 6 Appliance

Condusiv V-locity 5 Testing


Nearly two years ago I was given the opportunity to take out the Condusiv Technologies V-locity VM version 4 product for a spin in my home lab, the results were pretty positive and certainly something I would suggest to anyone running a Windows estate to investigate.

Move forward a couple of years and I was contacted by their technical director after having filled out an online questionnaire, he remembered my blog articles and wondered if I wanted to take the new version of V-locity 5 out for a spin to see how it compared, V-locity 5 now combines both the V-locity VM and V-locity Server products under one product banner.

V-locity is an I/O reduction software solution that increases application performance in virtual, physical and cloud environments by 50% or more without the cost of additional hardware

  • Dramatically Faster Application Performance
  • Target Applications
  • Performance Validation
  • Seamless Deployment and Management Continue reading Condusiv V-locity 5 Testing