vCenter Server 5.1.0a and ESXi 5.1 patches released

VMware has just released an vCenter Server 5.1.0a update to address some issues found in GA release. I personally have had no issues with GA build in our small lab environment but there are people facing some trouble with new SSO service, and for that there are quite few items in the new vCenter Server 5.1.0a Release Notes.

VMware also released a new build version 838463 of ESXi 5.1 installation image to address ESXi 5.0 –> 5.1 upgrade issues on hosts with EMC PowerPath/VE 5.7 installed. New ESXi 5.1 build also addresses some CBRC issues with VMware View, but for full vSphere 5.1 compatibility you still need to wait for a new VMware View release. See KB2034549 for more information about patch.

You can find updated ESXi 5.1 installation image just below GA build on the “Download VMware ESXi 5.1 Installable” page at my.vmware.com.

esx51-838463

VMware vSphere 4.1 Update 3 released

VMware has released vSphere 4.1 Update 3 bundle for ESXi, ESX and vCenter Server.

VCP5-IaaS Beta Exam experience

Few weeks ago, I received an invite to take part in beta program of new VMware certification program VMware Certified Professional 5 – Infrastructure as a Service or VCP5-IaaS in short. In a essence VCP5-IaaS certification is about VMware vCloud Director based cloud services, this exam tests your know-how and experience of installing, managing and troubleshooting vCloud Director based cloud services.

Beta exam period was very short and deadline was close. Luck was on my side as I didn’t have more than two days of scheduled training for week before exam period closing, so I had time I needed to prepare. After check with local test centers it turned out that none of the available dates for exam fitted my schedule. The fact that beta exam period was to end on the eve of the Finnish midsummer festival really did not help my exam booking efforts, Finland literally shuts down for midsummer festival time as people leave to countryside for their summer cottages or where ever they might spend their time at during summer time.

juhannus07juojarvellaPicture © Jussi Kaksonen

Helsinki is very close by of Tallinn and there is active (and very cheap) ferry traffic between these two Baltic cities so I was able to widen my scheduling options outside of Finland. I was able to schedule exam for a suitable date at IT Koolituskeskuse OÜ in Tallinn, same test center where I took my VCP5 beta exam last year.

Now that exam and ferry tickets were booked, all I had to do now was to study for the exam. With very little hands on experience of vCloud Director I really had to study a lot.

I prepared my lab with vCloud Director and its necessities, gathered all the documentation I was able to get hold of and BOOM I was called to fill in a fellow instructor who got sick during vSphere Fast Track training .. and I had never delivered a Fast Track training before. I had to put vCloud Director manuals away and begin reading vSphere Fast Track material, which for my luck was very much the same than vSphere What’s New and Install, Configure Manage lessons I had delivered several times already. Training delivery was success with many happy students but I had lost couple days of valuable time to prepare for VCP5-IaaS exam, and I still had scheduled vSphere What’s New training to deliver before exam.

I continued my studying with free VMware vCloud Director Fundamentals [V1.5] online training, this training gave me good overview on features available on vCloud Director 1.5. Then I begun to fill in caps in my knowledge with VMware vCloud 1.5: Deploy and Manage the VMware Cloud training material. I have been told by some sales reps that you do not need any training for vCloud Director as it is so easy to setup, I really have to disagree with that. I agree that vCloud Directory is very easy to install but to manage it successfully and to fully understand the networking infrastructure in it you will find Deploy and Manage the VMware Cloud training invaluable. So I highly recommend you to take it if you find yourself in a position that you have to manage vCD infrastructure.

I worked through Deploy and Manage the VMware Cloud training labs and I was really getting hold of things but time was not on my side, I had to skip some labs I really would have liked to do. It was already day before my exam and I was getting tired of very busy week I have had. I decided to relax and shut down my lab, I was as prepared as I ever would be for this exam.

On day of my exam I had to get up on 5.30 AM to get on a ferry to Tallinn in time. Finnish summer was showing its best as weather was beautiful for a ferry ride.

VCP5-IaaS-ferry

I arrived at IT Koolituskeskuse somewhat early but I was told that I am allowed to start my exam when I am ready, their service was very good like it had been a year before.

As I took this exam in a country where English is not considered as native language I got 30 minutes extension on exam time, and I really needed all the time I was granted. I finished with 4 minutes to spare on clock. Some questions were quite complex and I had to read those through multiple times to really understand what the question was about. Some questions were obviously wrong in that they didn’t have any correct answers listed, but this was after all a beta exam so it was expected to be work in progress. I gave feedback on questions I felt need of changing and I believe that all errors will be fixed by the time final exam is published.

After exam I had feeling that I had good chances of passing VCP5-IaaS but I won’t know for sure until answers are ran through by VMware Certification Team and scoring is decided. VCP5-IaaS beta exam participants should receive their VCP5-IaaS results in few months time.

If you wish to take VCP5-IaaS when it is launched this is what I recommend you to study with

Depending on your experience with switched networking, firewalls and stuff it varies how long it will take you to familiarize yourself with VMware vCloud. But most of all you will need an open mind as VMware vCloud will totally change they way you build data center networks!

Enhance PowerShell and PowerCLI with Console

I have always been annoyed with clumsy cmd.exe console in Windows OS, unfortunately Microsoft didn’t improve it at all even with PowerShell. Few days back I came across with Open Source utility Console which is a major improvement over standard cmd.exe console, I remember testing this utility many years ago but didn’t have much of use for it back then.

Console is a frontend replacement for cmd.exe, PowerShell or any other CLI on Windows, Console also works well with vSphere PowerCLI and in my opinion makes it much nicer to use.

PowerCLI in Console

vSphere PowerCLI in Console

Download latest Console version from http://sourceforge.net/projects/console/ and extract it to your preferred location.

Search for PowerCLI shortcut in your Windows Start menu, right click it and select Properties, select and copy Target entry on Windows clipboard for later use.

Console_PowerCLI_target

Execute Console utility and open Settings by pressing CTRL+S. Select Tabs and either edit existing tab configuration or add a new one. Enter Title for your tab and paste Shell entry from Windows clipboard.

Console PowerCLI config

If you like you can set Startup dir and Icon. PowerCLI icon is embedded into Windows executable and you need a tool such as IcoFX to extract it. Location of executable holding the PowerCLI icon can be found at Change Icon … button in PowerCLI properties window.

You can now launch PowerCLI from Console tabs menu.

Console_Tab_Menu