So a few weeks ago I attempted the VCAP5-DTD and I am on the fence about the whole ordeal. I will first say that I do not like any of the design exams as you generally have to stop thinking logically for some of the questions.

Here are a few materials that I used when I was studying:

Chris Bekket’s Study Guide

VMware’s Blueprint

VCAP5-DTD Design Simulator

Make sure that you go through this a few times because it helps with how they want the design questions laid out and how to handle a few of the infrastructure pieces

Implementing VMware Horizon View 5.2

  • I bought this book a while back and I went through it prior to this test and it was great even though it covers 5.2. Most if not all concepts are the same but you need to keep in mind that the configuration maximums have changed along with feature sets.

The product documentation is a great place to start digging in especially the architecture design guide

Make sure that your storage knowledge is up to par for this test and your underlying vsphere knowledge. I would also look at the Storage guide for View 5.1 and this is also covered in the book above.

Rant:
It isn’t clear what version that this exam is on. This may not be a big deal when you are comparing 5.0 to 5.1 since the configuration maximums didn’t change but between 5.1 and 5.2 it is a totally different ball game. I finally caved and stuck to my guns and studied for it based on 5.1 since the exam is fairly old and VMware takes a good amount of time to upgrade their tests when new versions come out.

Working in support, one of the most common questions I receive from Network administrators and VMware admins alike is “What’s going on, on the vSwitch?”. vSwitches (Distributed or not) can be as a colleague of mine says “A black box filled with voodoo inside”. Unfortunately in the past the best way to observe the traffic was a painful process that required SPAN ports on the physical switch, Wireshark VMs or configuration changes made to the vSwitch to allow captures. Combine this with the fact that these processes can often involve multiple teams within the organization working together and it creates a recipe for a slow moving troubleshooting process. Keeping all of this in mind I’m sure I wasn’t the only one that gave a both a sigh of relief and a bit of a celebration when reading about the Enhanced Host-Level Packet Capture command in the  vSphere 5.5 What’s New Document .

If you haven’t heard, or aren’t sure as to why this is a big deal let me outline a few of the benefits below :

  • Available as part of the vSphere platform and can be accessed through the vSphere host command prompt

The key point to take away from this is that it’s included directly on the host, so any networking issues involving vCenter do not inhibit the use of the tool

  • Can capture traffic on vSS and DvS

 

  • Captures packets at the vNic, Uplink and Port level

This is the reason I am writing a blog about the command. The ability to capture traffic at these different levels within the hypervisor not only allows to demystify the the vSwitch a bit, but it will also allow for expedited troubleshooting. No longer will the blame game be dragged out and reliant on SPAN ports and promiscuous mode to get a full view of the environment. As a VMware professional, if this doesn’t put a smile on your face there is something wrong.

  • Can capture dropped traffic

I think this really speaks for itself. If there is traffic being dropped within the hypervisor it helps to actually be able to identify where.

  • Can trace the path of the packet with timestamp details

 

While this tool has been highlighted by VMware, I was not able to find any mention of the actual command anywhere. I decided to go digging myself and found what was I was working for :

pktcap-uw

The new tool handles much the same as tcpdump but allows for additional granularity in what you’re capturing, or not, and how. A quick view of the help screen by appending the -h switch even shows support to capture at the dvfilter level (vShield App anyone?). I for one am very excited to utilize the tool as it will make my job in support that much quicker and easier to identify problems with networking in or outside the host. I will be adding another post in the upcoming days after I’ve had some time to truly understand what each option allows for and best ways to use them. In the mean time there is a public KB that gives the barebones of captures that can be found here.

I recently ran into an issue where I had to do a factory reset on a Gen 5 EMC Recoverpoint appliance. When I would apply the config the appliance would entirely drop off the network and I would have to reinstall using the ISO. After each install I noticed that the config was still being pulled from a partition on the local device…which is an issue.

When hitting Ctrl + G during the boot the appliance would try to load into the raid configuration utility….unfortunately it would hang indefinitely until you reboot the box.  In order to get into the configuration utility I had to do a few things.

  • Reboot the server
  • Hit F2 to boot into the bios
  • The bios is password protected so I used the password I found here
  • Modify the USB legacy compatibility and set it to disabled
  • Reboot the server
  • Hit Ctrl + G

At this point you should be in the Intel configuration utility. This is where I just went and re-initialized the virtual volume and rebooted the server.

Note: After this make sure you got back into the bios and set the USB legacy compatibility to enabled. If you don’t then during the new install of the RP software it will just continually boot loop.

Just install the version of the RecoverPoint software you want and it shouldn’t pull the old config and be good as new.