Posted in Exam Preps, Technology

5V0-32.19 exam preparation

I am planning to take the VMware Cloud Provider Specialist Exam before the end of June (that’s when the voucher I bought will be expiring). I’ve had my eye on this exam for a year but have not really had time to really prepare.

I had started out by registering for the VMware vCloud Director: Install, Configure, Manage [V9.x] course a while ago (2019, I believe). It was a five-day course that was focused on installing, configuring, and managing VMware vCloud Director. It covered self-service provisioning, the creation of organizations, virtual data centers (VDCs), catalog services that include predefined virtual machines, and on-demand VMware NSX networks.

Unfortunately, I was heavily distracted when taking this course and must have skipped through a lot of the modules. I was however, able to download a few modules and will be going through them as I prepare.

I am also going through the VMware Cloud Director Fundamentals [V8.x]. This is a self-paced, free fundamentals course. It covers an overview of cloud computing and explains the solutions offered by VMware for cloud computing. In addition, the course introduces the architecture, components, and installation, and configuration of vCloud Director. Finally, it touches on the administrative and end-user tasks and network administration in vCloud Director.

For labs, I am looking at probably building an environment on my old laptop but the speed is driving me nuts. I am also considering building an SDDC environment using the free tier on Oracle Cloud. If that doesn’t work, I am thinking of going through a few of these hands on labs;

Oh yes, another important thing to go through for this exam is the exam blueprint. Actually, that should be the first thing to go check out. I didn’t mention it earlier cos I think the course already covered the different sections

I’ll post some more on this blog when I have some more updates so be sure to check back again.

See you in the next one…

Posted in Technology

VMware-based SDDC on Oracle Cloud

With the era of multi-cloud here, there has been a lot of synergy/partnerships between major cloud providers (public). Late last year, Oracle announced an Oracle Cloud VMware Solution (OCVS). For those who don’t know, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) is an IaaS platform that delivers on-premises, high-performance computing power to run cloud-native and enterprise infrastructures.

OCI has actually built a formidable platform. As of writing this, OCI has 29 regions across multiple continents (except Africa :-(. Although, a new region is planned in Johannesburg).

OCI Region Map

You can read more about the OCI regions here.

OCVS combines the power of VMware SDDC with Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, allowing customers to leverage the best in Public Cloud Infrastructure and the best in Compute, Storage and Network Virtualization. The Solution provides customers with the ability to deploy a VMware environment with vSphere, NSX-T and vSAN installed with the relevant management stack which comprises vCenter and NSX Manager.

According to the OracleHelp Center, Oracle Cloud VMware Solution gives you a fully automated implementation of a VMware software-defined data center (SDDC) within your own Oracle Cloud Infrastructure tenancy, running on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure bare metal instances, that contains the following VMware components:

  • VMware vSphere ESXi
  • VMware vSAN
  • VMware vCenter
  • VMware NSX-T
  • VMware HCX (optional)

The following image illustrates how these VMware components work within the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure environment.

Description of oracle_cloud_vmware_solution_architecture.png follows

You can read more about the Oracle Cloud VMware Solution here and here

Posted in Technology

The Basics of Design (Part 1)

I’ve been doing design for a large part of my career and I’m not just referring to IT designs as a solutions architect.

I think my earliest memory on design was from my secondary school days. I remember building a model airplane using plastic from a household cleaning product (Vim). I started out that project by making a sketch of what I wanted the plan to look like. I think I had planned for it to have wings similar to an F-14.

In my earlier blog on 3V0-624 Preparation & Exam Experience, I mentioned that one of the things you have to learn for the exam is the basics of design. This involves the conceptual, logical and physical design.

When I first started my career in IT and had the opportunity to design a solution for a customer, I used to make the mistake of only creating a physical design or one design that covers but physical and conceptual. The VCAP design exam handles the design concepts very beautifully and I think I appreciated it more because I had done things the wrong way and this way was so much better allowing me to avoid so many issues.

For starters each aspect of the design should be signed off by the customer before proceeding to the next design. This means the customer must approve that they understand and agree with the design before the architect proceeds to the next phase.

Conceptual Design

This is the first phase and involves representing the ideas behind the solution to the problem at hand. This design comes first and follows a meeting with the customer to gather information of what their perspective is. It is where the architect tries to represent the business drivers (inputs and activities that drive business results) and constraints (decision points that have already been made and cannot be changed or what the design must have/include).

Below is a sample of what a conceptual design may look like. Some architects initially scribble this design on a paper.

Conceptual Design – P2V Conversation & Server Consolidation

The above conceptual design was something I prepared years ago to represent a customer’s requirement to convert their physical server to a virtual one. This was the first phase of their requirement.

Along with this design is categorizing the information the architect must have gathered from the first meeting into requirements, constraints, assumptions, and risks categories.

So, if I were to use the above customer scenario;

Requirements:
Applications running on physical server must be virtualized

Constraints:
The existing physical server must be utilized in the design. Meaning I must install ESXi on it. This is a constraint cos it forces me to use the server even though it may not be compatible

Risks:
There are no IT personnel in the current branch to manage infrastructure once deployed

Assumptions:
All datacenter infrastructure has already been put in place by the organization

Posted in Technology

Time to Empower (2021)

It’s that time of the year again. Time to Empower yourself, network with your peers in the IT industry, gain some relevant skills and rub minds with experts in whatever technology field you are interested in.

VMware EMPOWER is an annual partner conference which delivers the same content to partners that was originally developed for VMware’s very own internal sales and technical teams.

EMPOWER is focused on partner enablement, training, accreditations, certifications, strategies and sales tools for VMware partners in both technical and sales roles.

As a result of the pandemic, most events have been moved online and this is no different. The link to register is here.

One of the exciting things for me is a chance to win some freebies especially exam vouchers. I was lucky enough to win two free vouchers last year from attending the Empower and VMworld. Those vouchers got me my VCIX-DCV and I didn’t have to pay the whooping $450 for each exam. So, it’s definitely worth attending.

This year’s solution areas include:

App Modernization – Build new cloud-native apps, modernize existing apps, and operate infrastructure that serves them all across any cloud.


Multi-Cloud – Consistently manage and govern your environment across public, private and hybrid clouds.


Anywhere Workspace – Make it easy for employees to work anywhere, anytime, on any device, without compromising security.


Virtual Cloud Network – Connect and secure apps and data, regardless of where they run, from the data center to the cloud to the edge.


Intrinsic Security – Leverage your infrastructure and control points in new ways to protect apps and data from endpoint to cloud.

What else is there to say – make sure you register and I hope I see you online.

Posted in Business

Parenting & Business Units

The title of this post already gives an idea of my thought process. Over the years, I’ve been involved in setting up and running a few start ups/business units and I currently work for a organisation that has spun up a number of business units that will push out new products into the market

There is a lot of fear and uncertainty in launching a new idea into the deep which common with this terrain. One of such fears comes with how to allocate resources from the parent organisation to its subsidiaries.

I usually like to use the analogy of parenting to describe how I feel this challenge should be tackled.

As a parent, I nuture my children from birth to adulthood. While they are with me and under my roof, I fend for them, feed them and handle all their bills. I also help them to find their footing, I guide their dreams and I provide direction and advise. Once they come of age, I will need to step back and let them stand on their own. At that time, most (if not all) the support is removed for two reasons – the first, is that I want them to no longer feel the need to rely on me. The second reason is that I wasn’t them to grow strong enough and possibly rise better than I ever did.

Now let’s juxtapose this idea of parenting unto the parent company and the subsidiary. I believe the same should be the case. Businesses should not start up a subsidiary and expect that small/weak company to somehow support the larger organisation. That would be an unfair expectation.

Rather, the parent organisation should for a limited time support and handle the bills of the child company up and until a time when that child company can support itself and can stand on its own.

Sadly, when this is not done, in most cases it leads to the death of those subsidiaries. I’ve seen a lot of these in the industry in recent years.

Obviously, starting up a subsidiary or spinning up a new business unit is not as simplistic. In fact, it’s one of the most complex aspects of a business and there are many, many things to consider and set in place for success.

Posted in Technology

Why every design should include VMware vSAN

vSAN is VMware’s enterprise-class storage virtualization solution. In other words, it is a virtual storage solution. If you’re familiar with server virtualization, this concept of virtual storage is easy to understand.

Intro

So, let’s start with a quick introduction to virtualization. Virtualization in simple terms refers to the process of creating software copies of a server/computer’s physical resources. Physical resources here refers to memory, CPU, storage and networking.

Enter vSAN

Now that you have an understanding of server virtualization. You can understand storage virtualization as a process of replacing the physical components of a typical storage with a distributed software based storage system.

VMware’s official definition is;

vSAN is enterprise-class, storage virtualization software that, when combined with vSphere, allows you to manage compute and storage with a single platform. With vSAN, you can reduce the cost and complexity of traditional storage and take the easiest path to future ready hyperconverged infrastructure and hybrid cloud. Evolve to an integrated hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) solution with vSAN to improve business agility, all while speeding operations and lowering costs.

One of the main benefits for me of using vSAN over a traditional storage array is the fact that it provides a greater redundancy than your traditional storage. In essence, vSAN gets rid of the dreadful SPOF which beseeches every design. SPOF stands for Single Point of Failure. Eliminating single points of failures is a key design requirement because a single point of failure in an infrastructure could render the entire platform unavailable. I’ve experienced this and its painful 🙁

Posted in Life

There is a string

When I listen to some amazing songs like Casting Crowns, One Awkward Moment, I can’t help but wonder how these artists were able to write words and compose melodies to go with those words.

Did Mark Hall know his words and songs would speak to someone on the other side of the planet? Or is it just one big coincidence.

Is man made of the same stuff that allows a single cord to run through us all?

Or is it just one massive conspiracy theory. Is it a scientific experiment or the product of some calculations done on a computer somewhere that can tell the artist that a combination of certain words and certain cords would produce a certain emotion result in humans.

As an engineer, this makes more sense for my logical, analytical mind but I think I am just giving man too much credit.

There is a string and there’s a weaver of those strings.

Posted in Technology

The ISCSI device shows up as “Not consumed”

A few months ago, my team ran into a problem when we tried to mount a VMFs datastore with ISCSI backed LUN to particular hosts in a cluster. At the time all hosts were running VMware ESXi 6.7 U3

Problem

We had purchased a few new servers and for some reason, the VMFS datastore which was already connected to the existing servers in the current cluster was not showing up properly.

The ISCSI device shows up in the storage devices section of the vSphere client but the datastore displays “Not consumed”

We had escalated to VMware support but they pointed us to the storage vendor referring to the logs that show that the connection between the two was being dropped. We had also tried formatting the datastore but that didn’t work either. It just gave an error – “Failed to create VMFS datastore Test – Cannot change the host configuration

Solution

I decided to set up a nested ESXi to try to simulate the issue since we didn’t have any spare servers to test it on. I downloaded the appliances from William Lam’s site – virtuallyghetto – https://www.virtuallyghetto.com/nested-virtualization/nested-esxi-virtual-appliance

Decided to try out 6.7 then 7.0. For some reason the appliance deployment for 6.7 failed so I went ahead to use the 7.0 appliance.

After installing and configuring the hypervisor as I would the physical server, I went on to configure the iSCSI software adapter as well and voila! I could see, mount and create a datastore from the LUN.

I went on to upgrade one of the hosts that were previously not connecting and it worked. I guess the conclusion is that the issue, whatever it was, was fixed in v7.0

Update:

After upgrading a few hosts we realized the issue still occurs on some of the hosts. This meant that the issue was not with the version of ESXi.

We took another look at the hosts that were working and compared them with those that were not and realized that it appears the MTU was different. Some hosts had 9000 and some others had 1500. The MTU was really not consistent all through.

Solution

We changed the MTU on the hosts that were not connecting to the storage and that solved the issue. It was amazing that after a few weeks of troubleshooting, the issue rested on the MTU.

Anyway, unto the next discovery….

Posted in Technology

vExpert – Your application was not approved

In December 2020, a colleague mentioned the vExpert program. He basically prompted me to apply saying “I think you should apply. I will too. Even if we don’t get it then at least we tried

I had already heard about the program and was planning on applying. I had already selected a mentor and reached out to him.

by the 4th of January 2021, I had put together all the information required and took my shot. Once I submitted. I kept my fingers crossed and was actually hopeful that I’d be selected.

On the 10th I saw this tweet and started getting quite anxious. If I had long fingernails, I’d be smashing my teeth into them.

By the 11th, I must have refreshed my mailbox a hundred times. I had also logged into the vExpert portal to see if there were any changes. I checked out the directory, filtered it to show 100 entries per page and memorized the number of pages. Then, I kept refreshing to see if it would increase. Crazy huh? 😉

I got this tweet from the Steve Athanas congratulating all the vExperts and that’s when it hit me. If I was selected then I should have already gotten the email. My heart sank and I felt terrible. But I was happy for the new vExperts and spent the remaining hours of the day on LinkedIn congratulating all the vExperts that showed up on my wall.

I finally got the denial mail and somehow felt comforted that it was personalized. It also gave some tips on what the panel is looking out for.

The award is for those who have gone above and beyond your day job. It’s sometimes difficult to dig into work vs. community work when sessions of work are under the same company you work for.

Now, I can’t wait for November when I can take another shot at it and hopefully I’ll write about that experience 🙂

Posted in Archives, Life

Legacy

I will be hitting the big 30 in November and the major question on my mind is what do I have to show for it?

Of course I can begin thinking and listing out all the “things” I think I have achieved – my job, my assets…etc but are they really worth it? Is this all my life amounts to?

This seems like one of those notes I used to write in my journal many years ago. I remember I often called it “my black book”. This was cos all the dark depressing thoughts I had were penned/penciled down in there (I should find it and dust it up). I did that for many years till I became stronger and better at dealing with them. This is not one of those notes.

Sunday, as I walked into FWC, I noticed on my left images and pictures of a man. A man that I had never seen before but I strangely recognized. As I entered church and sat down, I saw more pictures of this same man. I later realized that this was a man that made all of this happen. This was the man that God worked through to birth the immense structure and ministry under which I now sat. Through out that service and afterwards one word kept running through my mind – the word LEGACY. What will my legacy be? What will I be remembered for? What impact will my 3 decades on earth have produced? All these questions point me to one conclusion and that is that “I have failed you Lord”. As I sit and write this, I feel the great potential locked up within me that is gradually being snuffed out by the thorns in this life, by indiscipline, complacency and lack of planing. Which is why, starting today I commit to do the following;

– To break down my life’s vision statement
– To plan for it every step of the way
My exact plan for my career path (c-naptic) My exact plan for a woman My exact plan for marriage and settling down.
– To pray fervently for my fathers help and guide (I am a spiritual being above all else) and 
– To do all this daily, no matter what.

We must put a stop to such distractions and get into such a living relationship with God that our relationship with others is maintained through the work of intercession”

To those who have had no agony Jesus says, “I have nothing for you; stand on your own feet, square your own shoulders. I have come for the man who knows he has a bigger handful than he can cope with, who knows there are forces he cannot touch; I will do everything for him if he will let Me. Only let a man grant he needs it, and I will do it for him.”  – The Shadow of an Agony, 1166 R