VMware vSphere Fast Track Day#1 – Lessons Learned

If you follow me on Twitter you may have seen my tweets regarding the VMware vSphere Fast Track training I’m attending at Jean Cordier Academy in Leuven, Belgium.
Day one is now over, here is a summary of what I have learned today in no particular order, a bit like a brain dump.

  • Coffee in big boilers sucks, but beside that lunch at the restaurant was good!
  • My trainer, Bert De Bruijn,  is very knowledgeable 😉
  • A few trainees attending Fast Track are novice to VMware and virtualization, that will be tough training for them!
  • What is VMware vSphere? An infrastructure virtualization that provides:
    • virtualization of course but also,
    • management,
    • resource optimization,
    • application availability,
    • and operation automation capabilities.
  • Course will give a lot of information but to prepare for the exam nothing beats the vSphere 4 Blueprint.
  • Also use the official mock exam to prepare yourself for the exam.
  • Virtualization is not an emulation nor simulation.
  • Virtualization fully abstracts the OS and application from the hardware and encapsulates them into portable machine.
  • There are hosted or a hypervisor architectures. vSphere is a hypervisor aka Bare-Metal Hypervisor.
  • What is a virtual machine? It’s a discrete set of files, you have the:
    • configuration file (.vmx), which contains settings of the VM,
    • NVRAM settings file (nvram), which contains the BIOS settings,
    • Log file (.log),
    • and the virtual disk file (.vmdk), which contains the data.
  • Why use virtual machine? because it is FLEXIBLE would be one of main reason, but there are quite some more 🙂
  • vSphere consists of the following components:
    • VMware ESX/ESXi,
    • VMware vCenter Server,
    • VMware vSphere Client,
    • VMware vSphere Web Client Access,
    • VMware vStorage VMFS,
    • VMwae Virtual SMP,
    • and in addition vSphere provides functionalities such DRS, HA, FT, VCB, VDR.
  • ESX comes in 2 main versions: ESX and ESXi. The first one is fading out.
  • ESXi can be accessed using:
    • VMware vSphere Client,
    • vCLI,
    • vSphere API/SDK,
    • and CIM.
  • ESXi includes a 64-bit VMKernel therefore physical servers with 32-bit only processors are not supported.
  • ESXi hypervisor is also known as the VMKernel which receives requests from the VMM (Virtual Machine Monitor) and presents them to the physical hardware.
  • ESXi has a DCUI from which you can configure a few settings, the rest is done from the VMware vSphere Client.
  • Lockdown mode disables all direct ROOT access only to ESXi machines (See table).
  • VMware vCenter consists of:
    • Core services such management of resources and virtual machines, task scheduling, alarms and event, ..
    • Distributed services such DRS and HA,
    • Plug-ins such VMware vCenter Update Manager,
    • Database interface,
    • ESXi management,
    • AD integration,
    • VMware vSphere API.
  • Ports used by vCenter Server:
    • TCP80/443-VMware vSphere Client,
    • TCP443-vSphere Web Access, SDK Clients,
    • UDP902/903-ESXi communications,
    • TCP8080/8443-Web Services,
    • TCP389/636-LDAP, LDAPS.
  • vCenter Server inventory panels organize objects into hierarchy:
    • Hosts & Clusters,
    • VMs & Templates,
    • Datastore,
    • Networtks.
  • vSphere Web Access is not supported on ESXi,
  • Use primarily VMware vSphere Management Assistant (vMA) to issue commands to ESXi.
  • Other methods issuing commands to an ESXi host:
    • vCLI on a Windows or Linux (virtual) machine (included in vMA),
    • Logging to the service console for an ESX host only,
    • Perl scripts on a Windows or Linux (virtual) machine (included in vMA),
    • PowerShell scripts on a Windows (virtual) machine,
    • Use of the VMware SDK kit,
    • VMware API (included in vMA).
  • vCLI on vMA, to issue a command you must specify:
    • Command name i.e. vicfg-nics,
    • Authentication parameters (server, username and password),
    • Which ESX/ESXi host,
    • Any options for the command
  • Read the vMA guide for much  more info.
  • What is vNetwork? optimally align physical and virtual machine networking whilst providing networking for hosts and VMs. vNetwork supports:
    • vNetwork Standard Switches,
    • vNetwork Distributed Switches.
  • Three types of network services in ESX/ESXi:
    • Connecting VM to physical network,
    • Connecting VMKernel services (NFS, iSCSI, vMotion) to the physical network,
    • Networking Service Console (runs mgmt services).
  • Check the vSPhere Maximums for the networking part.
  • A vNetwork standard vSwitch has default 56 ports (64-8 uplink ports).
  • Debate around splitting networks across multiple physical NICs, you pick up:
    • One big vSwicth containing all network services,
    • Two vSwitches, one for mgmt and iSCSI/NFS and another one for vMotion and VMs,
    • Four vSwitches, one for each network service…
  • vCLI for network management, 5 main commands:
    • vicfg-nics
    • vicfg-vswitch
    • vicfg-vmknic
    • vicfg-dns
    • vicfg-route

This is it for today. Tomorrow will be an exciting training day. Come back for the second part…


About PiroNet

Didier Pironet is an independent blogger and freelancer with +15 years of IT industry experience. Didier is also a former VMware inc. employee where he specialised in Datacenter and Cloud Infrastructure products as well as Infrastructure, Operations and IT Business Management products. Didier is passionate about technologies and he is found to be a creative and a visionary thinker, expressing with passion and excitement, hopefully inspiring and enrolling people to innovation and change.
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5 Responses to VMware vSphere Fast Track Day#1 – Lessons Learned

  1. Pingback: VMware vSphere Fast Track Day#2 – Lessons Learned « DeinosCloud

  2. Pingback: VMware vSphere Fast Track Day#1 – Lessons Learned « DeinosCloud | VirtualizationDir - Top Virtualization Providers, News and Resources

  3. Pingback: VMware vSphere Fast Track Day#3 – Lessons Learned « DeinosCloud

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