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Saturday, November 17, 2012

VCAP-DCD 5: Revised Exam Impressions

I just finished taking the revised VCAP-DCD 5 exam this morning.  As some may have heard by now, VMware has made a revision to the format of the DCD5 and it is no longer possible to go back or review any of the questions at the end of the DCD5 exam.  This makes the exam similar (in style) to some of the Cisco exams I have taken and may require a slight adjustment in strategy and mind set for those that are use to the old format of the DCD exam.

Thanks to some folks on Twitter, I found out about the changes 12 hours before I was scheduled to sit the exam.  I have been too busy lately to bother re-scheduling, and while it was a shorter notice than than I would have liked, I did have *some* time to mentally prepare for the different format.

I haven't decided on whether I "Love or Hate" the changes yet.  On one hand, it is a bit disappointing that you can't review your answers to make sure you chose the best options on some of the tricky questions.  On the other hand, I did feel that not having the option to review the questions helped clear up my head and allowed me to put more  focus on each question as I advanced through the exam.

Time management is still as important as ever, and you want to make sure that you aren't wasting too much time on short questions or re-reading unnecessary information that can kill time.

It was definitely a challenging 4 hours.  I finished the the last question with about 3-4 minutes left on the clock and was glad to see the "Congratulations" message on the following page.

As for advice, the exam blueprint is a good place to start since the exam maps to the blueprint fairly well (which echoes what other have mentioned).   If you don't have the opportunity to work on some areas of the technology on a regular basis, be sure to lab out different scenarios and configurations in order to understand the features well.  Most importantly, experience definitely plays a big part on an exam like this and can definitely reduce the time spent weighing the options on some questions.

Friday, November 11, 2011

iSCSI Boot with VMware ESXi on Cisco UCS

This is a follow up post to the iSCSI Boot From SAN post that shows how the virtual networking and Storage Adapter configuration of ESXi looks post install.

Note:  At the time that I posted this, only ESXi 4 is supported by Cisco for iSCSI Boot From SAN on Cisco UCS but ESXi 5 is what I had on hand to test the iSCSI Boot From SAN configuration.

  Once the networking configuration for the host has been completed, connect to the host with the vSphere Client.  The first iSCSI enabled vNIC for the Service Profile is automatically added to a vSwitch and a vmkernel port is configured with the IP address that was configured in the Boot Parameters for the 1st iSCSI vNIC in the server’s Service Profile referenced from my post here.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

iSCSI Boot from SAN on Cisco UCS

Last week Cisco released the new 2.0 code for Cisco UCS.  I had some time to play with the update and tried out the new iSCSI Boot from SAN support feature to see how it works.  Here are some of the steps I used to get a VMware ESXi 5.0 host up and running via iSCSI storage on UCS.

Service Profile and vNIC Configuration

1)      In the UCSM, create a Service Profile.  This profile will be created as usual(except for vHBAs) but make sure that you create 2 vNICs that will be reserved for iSCSI traffic.  UCS will use these vNICs as “Overlay NICs” that will provide the VLAN connectivity details for the iSCSI vNICs in the Service Profile.
2)      Configure the VLANs on the Overlay vNICs by selecting the vNIC and clicking the Modify VLANs link in the working pane. 
3)      In the Modify VLANs window, Select your VLAN for iSCSI and select the “Native VLAN” radial button for the VLAN.  Making this the native VLAN for the Overlay vNICs will pass the frames for the iSCSI VLAN untagged and ease the configuration and installation of the OS.  Click OK, and then click the Save Changes button in the working pane for the vNIC.  Repeat these steps for the 2nd vNIC that will be used as an Overlay vNIC for iSCSI.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Activating UCS System and Fabric Interconnect Firmware from CLI

Activating UCS System and Fabric Interconnect Firmware from CLI

I recently had to update the firmware on 2 UCS 6120XPs FIs that were on different firmware versions at the UCS Manager(USCM, also called system) level of the interconnects.  

My first step was to erase the configs on each interconnect and setup was rerun to configure the FIs in "stand-alone" mode.  Also the firmware packages were already loaded to the servers via the GUI(Please refer to the CLI documentation for steps on erasing the configuration and uploading firmware images).  To update the firmware via the CLI I used the following steps:

Friday, January 7, 2011

Direct Attached FC Storage with UCS

Cisco has released the new code release (1.4.1j). I had the chance of setting up one of the newest features included in this code release which is configuring direct attached storage from an EMC storage array directly to UCS 6120XP fabric interconnects. The process was not that difficult but there were some configurations that had to be played with to make this work properly for Boot from SAN connectivity that I have not dealt with for previous configurations with Storage connected via a fabric switch. Here are the steps we used to make this work:

UCS configuration:
  1. Connect the FC storage to the FC expansion modules on the UCS 6120xp
  2. In the UCS Manager, select a interconnect and in the general tab in the right pane select “Set FC Switching Mode”. Note: This will cause the Fabric Interconnects to reboot.
  3. Once the UCS Manager is back online, select one of the Fabric Interconnects, then on the General tab in the right window, right click the desired FC ports of FC Expansion module and select “Configure as FC Storage Port” in the drop down
  4. On the default VSAN, select “Enable Default Zoning. This allows the 6100 to communicate with the storage and vice versa for sharing the WWPN of devices.
  5. Next, configure the boot policy for the host.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Travel Gear

Before I left for Japan, I wanted to be sure I could take my gadgets with me while I was on the road, but more importantly, I didn't want to lug around any bulky items.

With this in mind, I went shopping online and in stores about a month or so before my trip to find 

1) Netbook , and 
2) a back pack to keep the netbook and other items in that would fit underneath an airplane seat.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


After resting up at the Benten no Yado Itsukushima, we were ready to take a tour of the island.
Here are a few shot taken as we make our way one shopping area leading to Itsukushima Shrine.