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Fabrizio de Luca

Fabrizio de Luca

Italian freelance VMware Certified Instructor (VCI) and VMware Certified Mentor (VCM) based in Milano, teaching official VMware courses for the major VMware Authorized Training Centers (VATC) in EMEA. Website URL:

VSICM55 - Slide 04-19 - vCenter Server Appliance Benefits



Wrong:

The first paragraph in the slide notes states the following:

The appliance is imported to an ESXi host and all configuration settings are configurable through the appliance Web browser.
Correct:

This sentence might turn to be misleading for the students. It should rather be reworded as follows:

The appliance is imported to an ESXi host and all configuration settings are configurable through the appliance Web interface/GUI.

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VSICM55 - Slide 04-12 - Default vCenter Server Plug-Ins



1. Wrong:

The overview description - in the first paragraph of the slide notes - of the vSphere Web Client plug-in packages setup is rather confused:

Plug-ins for vCenter Server are installed on both the server and client side. A plug-in component is installed on the vCenter Server while the plug-in itself is installed in the client.
1. Correct:

On the vSphere Web Client side, no setup is required to make the plug-in GUI modifications available; on the contrary, instead, installing the plug-in packages is a mandatory step in the vSphere C# Client.

1. Info:

According to the "vSphere Web Client Extensions Programming Guide" - "Creating and Deploying Plug-In Packages" chapter - "Deploying a Plug-In Package" paragraph, the behavior of the plug-in packages for the vSphere Web Client is the follwing:

You deploy a plug-in package to the vSphere Web Client by registering the package as an extension on vCenter Server. When you register your plug-in as an extension on vCenter Server, your plug-in becomes available to any vSphere Web Client that connects to your vSphere environment.

You must register your plug-in on every vCenter Server where you need to use it. When a vSphere Web Client connects to a vCenter Server where your plug-in is not registered, the plug-in is not visible to the client.

When a vSphere Web Client establishes a user session to vCenter Server, the vSphere Web Client application server queries vCenter Server for a list of all available plug-in packages that are registered as vCenter extensions. Any plug-in packages that are not present on the application server are downloaded and installed.

Note: the plug-in registration as a vCenter Server extension is done by the add-on component you deploy (i.e. vCenter Orchestrator, vSphere Data Protection, vSphere Replication, etc.).

1. Source:

VMware vSphere 5.5 Documentation Center.



2. Wrong:

The three plug-ins described in the slide notes are listed only in the vSphere C# Client "Plug-In Manager" dialog box, not in the vSphere Web Client (which is shown in the slide graphic).

  • VMware vCenter Storage Monitoring Service: Enables vCenter Server to monitor and report on storage. This plug-in adds the host’s Storage Views tab to the vSphere Client interface.
  • vCenter Hardware Status: Enables vCenter Server to display the hardware status of hosts (Common Information Model (CIM) monitoring). This plug-in adds the host’s Hardware Status tab to the vSphere Client interface.
  • vCenter Service Status: Adds the vCenter Service Status icon to the Administration panel on the vSphere Client Home page. To display the health status, select Home > Administration > vCenter Service Status.
2. Correct:

In the vSphere Web Client GUI instead:

  • The vSphere C# Client "Storage Views" tab is shown as Storage Reports within the host Monitor tab.
  • The vSphere C# Client "Hardware Status" tab is shown as Hardware Status within the host Monitor tab.
  • The vSphere C# Client "vCenter Service Status" section is shown as Service Health within the vCenter Server Monitor tab.
2. Info:

The three default plug-ins shown in the vSphere Web Client are instead:

  • vCenter Orchestrator plugin.
  • SSO Admin UI plugin.
  • Log Browser.


3. Wrong:

When describing what happens in the vSphere Web Client after one installs the server component of an additional vCenter Server module, slide notes state the following:

After the server component of an additional vCenter Server module is installed, the vSphere Web Client enables you to download and install the plug-in for that module.
3. Correct:

This is the behavior of the vSphere C# Client, not the vSphere Web Client. The process of making plug-ins available in the vSphere Web Client is described above (see section 1. Info).

3. Info:

The "vSphere Web Client Extensions Programming Guide" - "Creating and Deploying Plug-In Packages" chapter introduction explains the following:

In the vSphere Web Client, you deploy extension solutions using plug-in packages. Each plug-in package can contain both user interface plug-in modules and service plug-in modules, and manages the deployment of those modules. The vSphere Web Client extensibility framework can perform live hot deployment of the plug-in modules in a package.
3. Source:

VMware vSphere 5.5 Documentation Center.


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VSICM55 - Slide 03-16 - Other Devices



1. Room for improvement:

Information about USB support in vSphere 5.x is very limited. More details can be found in the linked Knowledge Base article.

1. Source:

VMware Knowledge Base articles.



2.a. Wrong:

Slide graphic and notes provide conflicting information, which is - in any case - either incomplete or wrong.

Slide graphic:

NVIDIA, AMD, and Intel GPUs.

Slide notes:

vSphere 5.1 supports hardware-accelerated 3D graphics for the VMware® Horizon View™ platform using NVidia Graphics Processors.
2.a. Correct:

AMD and NVIDIA are supported on Windows and Linux guest operating systems. Not all guests support 3D graphics.

Hardware requirements:
  • AMD
    • FirePro S7000 /S9000/S10000
    • FirePro v7800P/V9800P
  • NVIDIA
    • Grid K1 and K2
    • Quadro 4000/5000/6000
    • Tesla M2070Q
Software requirements
  • Windows 7 or Windows 8 virtual machines:
    • VMware Horizon View 5.x or later
    • vSphere Client or VMware Workstation client
  • Linux virtual machines with the vmwgfx driver:
    • Fedora 10 or later or Ubuntu 12 or later
    • vSphere Clients or VMware Workstation clients
Note: Linux virtual machines do not include Horizon View support.
2.a. Source:

VMware Knowledge Base articles.

 

2.b. Info:

Intel GPUs are not supported in vSphere 5.5. Even if this slide graphic and the "What’s New in VMware vSphere® 5.5 Platform" white paper state differently, this is a typo.
A VMware employee - Linjo - has confirmed this, on November 11th 2013, in the VMware Community Forums.

2.b. Source:

VMware Communities.


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VSICM55 - Slide 03-13 - Virtual Disk



1. Room for improvement:

The virtual machine virtual disk maximum configurable size has changed in vSphere 5.5 and the slide doesn't mention it at all.

1. Source:

VMware vSphere 5.5 Configuration Maximums.

1. Info:

According to the "vSphere Virtual Machine Administration" guide - "Configuring Virtual Machine Hardware in the vSphere Web Client" chapter - "Virtual Disk Configuration" paragraph - "Large Capacity Virtual Disk Conditions and Limitations" topic, here is what you shall know about virtual disks larger than 2TB:

  • The maximum value for large capacity hard disks is 62TB.
  • The guest operating system must support large capacity virtual hard disks.
  • You can move or clone disks that are greater than 2TB to ESXi 5.5 or later hosts or to clusters that have such hosts available.
  • The datastore format must be VMFS5 or later or an NFS volume on a Network Attached Storage (NAS) server.
  • Virtual Flash Read Cache supports a maximum hard disk size of 16TBs.
  • VMFS3 volumes are not supported. You cannot move disks greater than 2TB from a VMFS5 datastore to a VMFS3 datastore.
  • You cannot hot-extend virtual SATA disks, or any virtual disk if the capacity after extension is equal to or greater than 2TB.
  • Fault Tolerance is not supported.
  • Virtual SAN is not supported.
  • BusLogic Parallel controllers are not supported.
1. Source:

VMware vSphere 5.5 Documentation Center.



2. Room for improvement:

Starting with vSphere 5.5, virtual machines have a new type of virtual storage adapter: SATA AHCI (Advanced Host Controller Interface).

2. Source:

What's New in VMware vSphere 5.5 Platform technical white paper.

2. Info:

The "vSphere Virtual Machine Administration" guide - "Configuring Virtual Machine Hardware in the vSphere Web Client" chapter - "SCSI and SATA Storage Controller Conditions, Limitations, and Compatibility" paragraph offers more information.

Each virtual machine can have a maximum of four SCSI controllers and four SATA controllers.
When you create a virtual machine, the default controller is optimized for best performance. The controller type depends on the guest operating system, the device type, and in some cases, the virtual machine's compatibility. For example, when you create virtual machines with Apple Mac OS X guests and ESXi 5.5 and later compatibility, the default controller type for both the hard disk and the CD/DVD drive is SATA. When you create virtual machines with Windows Vista and later guests, a SCSI controller is the default for the hard disk and a SATA controller is the default for the CD/DVD drive.
If you add a SATA controller, you can reassign an existing or new hard disk or device to that controller. For example, you can assign the device to (1:z ), where 1 is SATA controller 1 and z is a virtual device node from 0 to 29. For SATA controllers, you can use device nodes 0 through 29, including 0:7.

Last sentence, referring to device node 0:7, stating it can be used to allocate virtual disks to a SATA controller, is opposed to SCSI controllers where node 0:7 is by default assigned to the virtual SCSI controller itself.

2. Source:

VMware vSphere 5.5 Documentation Center.



3. Room for improvement:

Last sentence in slide notes refers to independent disks and their two options, persistent and non-persistent, yet it doesn't provide any description about the behavior of those disks.

3. Info:

The "vSphere Virtual Machine Administration" guide - "Configuring Virtual Machine Hardware in the vSphere Web Client" chapter - "Virtual Disk Configuration" paragraph - "Change the Virtual Disk Configuration in the vSphere Web Client" topic provides some more details.

  • Independent Persistent Disks: disks in persistent mode behave like conventional disks on your physical computer. All data written to a disk in persistent mode are written permanently to the disk.
  • Independent Non-persistent Disks: Changes to disks in non-persistent mode are discarded when you turn off or reset the virtual machine. With non-persistent mode, you can restart the virtual machine with a virtual disk in the same state every time. Changes to the disk are written to and read from a redo log file that is deleted when you turn off or reset the virtual machine.
3. Source:

VMware vSphere 5.5 Documentation Center.


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VMworld2013 Barcelona: I've been named EMEA VMware Certified Instructor of the Quarter

In Q3 2013, my obsessive work to correct VMware training manuals for the "VMware vSphere: Install, Configure, Manage" course, which ended up with the project called myCourseware Correction, has been rewarded with the EMEA VCI of the Quarter award. Thank you very much guys!

On the same day, three other EMEA Instructors - Trevor Jones, Thomas Schneider and Steffen Özcan - were credited for their achievements in delivering courses. Congratulations mates!

 

This is the raw footage that Undeleeb Din (Enablement Lead, VMware Certified Instructor Program) made that day:

VMware, VP Laura Narducci presents VCI Award

 

Below you can read the official announcement made via the VMware Education and Certification Blog.

 

VMware Education and Certification Blog

At the recent VMware Certified Instructors (VCI) day at VMware World Barcelona, Fabrizio de Luca, Italy received the EMEA VCI of the Quarter Award.

The award was presented by Laura Narducci, Vice President, Shared Services – Global Support in recognition of outstanding instructors in EMEA who share their expertise about VMware technologies with others.

Fabrizio received the award for the period July through September for his superior efforts: he delivered several vSphere classes across EMEA and online, with average evaluation scores above 4.9 out of 5. Fabrizio has created his own website to share information with students, and has also been instrumental in testing the new VMware vSphere 5.5 courses.

Most telling, however are the wonderful comments from his students:

This is about ten years that I followed courses for different products. This is the best instructor I had. He knows his stuff and manages to keep us concentrating along the courses.
Excellent skills, knows many times more than the content. A very enjoyable person with sense of humor and lots of experience.
Source: VMware Education and Certification Blog
Link: http://blogs.vmware.com/education/2013/10/vmware-certified-instructor-of-the-quarter-award-announced-in-emea.html
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VSICM55 - Slide 03-10 - Virtual Machine Hardware



Room for improvement:

Slide graphic and notes make no mention about the capabilities of the SATA AHCI adapters, introduced in vSphere 5.5.

Correct:

According to the "Configuration Maximums for VMware vSphere 5.5" document, you can configure up to the following:

  • Virtual SATA adapters per virtual machine: 4
  • Virtual SATA devices per virtual SATA adapter: 30
Devices can be either CD-ROM or disks.
Source:

Configuration Maximums for VMware vSphere 5.5.

Info:

The "vSphere Virtual Machine Administration" guide - "Configuring Virtual Machine Hardware in the vSphere Web Client" chapter - "SCSI and SATA Storage Controller Conditions, Limitations, and Compatibility" paragraph offers more information.

Each virtual machine can have a maximum of four SCSI controllers and four SATA controllers.
If you add a SATA controller, you can reassign an existing or new hard disk or device to that controller. For example, you can assign the device to (1:z ), where 1 is SATA controller 1 and z is a virtual device node from 0 to 29. For SATA controllers, you can use device nodes 0 through 29, including 0:7.

Last sentence, referring to device node 0:7, stating it can be used to allocate virtual disks to a SATA controller, is opposed to SCSI controllers where node 0:7 is by default assigned to the virtual SCSI controller itself.

Source:

VMware vSphere 5.5 Documentation Center.


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VSICM55 - Slide 03-07 - Files That Make Up a Virtual Machine



1. Room for improvement:

File names shown on the slide do not fully reflect the actual file naming convention on the ESXi file system. In example:

  • The Virtual Machine swap file name is not <VM_name>.vswp, but <VM_name>-########.vswp
  • The VMX swap file name is not vmx-<VM_name>.vswp, but vmx-<VM_name>-#########-#.vswp
  • The Virtual Machine snapshot state file name is not <VM_name>.vmsn, but <VM_name>-Snapshot#.vmsn
  • The Virtual Machine snapshot disk file name is not <VM_name>-delta.vmdk, but <VM_name>-######-delta.vmdk
1. Info:

In the "vSphere Resource Management" guide - "Administering Memory Resources" chapter - "VMX Swap Files" paragraph you read:

ESXi reserves memory per virtual machine for a variety of purposes. Memory for the needs of certain components, such as the virtual machine monitor (VMM) and virtual devices, is fully reserved when a virtual machine is powered on. However, some of the overhead memory that is reserved for the VMX process can be swapped. The VMX swap feature reduces the VMX memory reservation significantly (for example, from about 50MB or more per virtual machine to about 10MB per virtual machine). This allows the remaining memory to be swapped out when host memory is overcommitted, reducing overhead memory reservation for each virtual machine.

The host creates VMX swap files automatically, provided there is sufficient free disk space at the time a virtual machine is powered on.

NOTE: VMX swap files are not related to the swap to host cache feature or to regular host-level swap files.
1. Source:

vSphere 5.0 Documentation Center.



2. Room for improvement:

Defaults for virtual machines logging can be set on the VM advanced settings:

  • To enable/disable logging: logging = true | false
  • To configure log rotation based on file size: log.rotateSize = <max. size in bytes>
  • To change the number of log files to simultaneously keep: log.keepOld = <max. number>
  • To specify an alternative location or filename for virtual machine logging: log.fileName = <alt. path and file name>
2. Source:

VMware Knowledge Base articles.


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VSICM55 - Slide 02-44 - ESXi as an NTP Client



Room for improvement:

The third bullet in slide notes states:

Virtual machines can synchronize their time with the ESXi host.
Info:

As noted in the lastest "Timekeeping in VMware Virtual Machines" whitepaper, using the VMware Tools to correct long-time drift can be done yet it might be less precise, hence the need to run network clock synchronization software such as NTP or the Windows Time Service to keep time accurately over the long term.

In a physical machine, it is generally necessary to run network clock synchronization software such as NTP or the Windows Time Service to keep time accurately over the long term. The same applies to virtual machines, and the same clock synchronization software can be used, although it sometimes must be configured specially to deal with the less smooth performance of virtual timer devices. VMware Tools can also optionally be used to correct long-term drift and errors by periodically resynchronizing the virtual machine’s clock to the host’s clock, but it might be less precise.
[...] testing has shown that NTP in particular behaves fairly well in a virtual machine when appropriately configured [...]. NTP is prepared for some of its readings to be anomalous because of network delays, scheduling delays on the local host and other factors and is effective at filtering out such readings.
Generally, it is best to use only one clock synchronization service at a time in a given virtual machine to ensure that multiple services do not attempt to make conflicting changes to the clock. So if you are using native synchronization software, we suggest turning VMware Tools periodic clock synchronization off.
Source:

Timekeeping in VMware Virtual Machines.


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VSICM55 - Slide 02-41 - Configuring ESXi: root Access



1. Room for improvement

It is possible to change the default password complexity.

1. Info

By default, ESXi uses the pam_passwdqc.so plug-in to set the rules that users must observe when creating passwords and to check password strength.

The pam_passwdqc.so plug-in lets you determine the basic standards that all passwords must meet. By default, ESXi imposes no restrictions on the root password. However, when non-root users attempt to change their passwords, the passwords they choose must meet the basic standards that pam_passwdqc.so sets.

A valid password should contain a combination of as many character classes as possible. Character classes include lowercase letters, uppercase letters, numbers, and special characters such as an underscore or dash.

Note: When the number of character classes is counted, the plug-in does not count uppercase letters used as the first character in the password and numbers used as the last character of a password.

1. Source

Instructions about how to configure ESXi hosts minimum password complexity requirements can be found in the VMware Knowledge Base article number 1012033, available at http://kb.vmware.com/kb/1012033.



2. Room for improvement

Effects of the Lockdown Mode enforcement and of the DCUI Access privilege.

2.a. Info

In the "vSphere Security" guide - "Securing ESXi Hosts" chapter - "Lockdown Mode" paragraph you read:

When a host is in lockdown mode, you cannot run vSphere CLI commands from an administration server, from a script, or from vMA against the host. External software or management tools might not be able to retrieve or modify information from the ESXi host.
Note: Users can be assigned DCUI access privileges explicitly via the DCUI Access advanced configuration option. The option has DCUI.Access as the key, and a comma-separated list of ESXi users as the value. Users in the list which can access the DCUI at any time, even if these users are not administrators (Admin role), and even when the host is in lockdown mode.
Note: If you enable or disable lockdown mode using the Direct Console User Interface (DCUI), permissions for users and groups on the host are discarded. To preserve these permissions, you must enable and disable lockdown mode using the vSphere Client connected to vCenter Server.
2.a. Source

vSphere 5.5 Documentation Center.


2.b. Info

In the "vSphere Security" guide - "Securing ESXi Hosts" chapter - "Assigning Permissions for ESXi" paragraph - "Specify Users with DCUI Access in Lockdown Mode" topic you read:

In versions of vSphere earlier than vSphere 5.1, the root user can log into the DCUI on a host that is in lockdown mode. In vSphere 5.1, you can specify which local ESXi users are allowed to log in to the DCUI when the host is in lockdown mode. These special users do not need to have full administrative privileges on the host. Specifying users other than the anonymous root user allows you to log which users have performed operations on the host while it is in lockdown mode.
Important: When you disable lockdown mode using the DCUI, all users with the DCUI Access privilege are granted the Administrator role on the host.
By default, the root user is specified. You can remove root from the list of DCUI access users, as long as you specified at least one other user.
2.b. Source

vSphere 5.5 Documentation Center.


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