VCAP-DCA, Completed successfully

My exam story:

I sat my VMware VCAP-DCA exam on Monday 15th of September, at Arrow ECS’ Test Center in Ballerup, Denmark, at 09.30am.
I had scheduled it for 10.00am, but as the Test Center is a 240km drive away, I of cause left home very early Monday morning to be safe.
And because there was no issue with traffic, I arrived in good time, and was given the option to start my exam early.

About one hour into my exam, the connection to the remote lab environment broke down.
My first thought was, “Have I screwed up the lab environment, and am I now locked out of it?”
But the my brain got a hold of it self, and I remembered that I was not actively doing work in the lab at the time, I was at the moment reading a piece of the documentation to help me with the current task, which is in a separate window, available outside the RDP session that is used to connect to the lab environment.
So I decided to re-read the current task, hoping that I would be able to reconnect again shortly.
After about a minute, I was finished re-reading the task, but I was still unable to re-connect the RDP session to the lab environment.
So I decide to give it a minute or two more, while I would read the next few tasks.
When I click “Next” to get to the next tasks, the Task window stopped working, and just showed a blank white screen.

Then I knew that it was not myself that had messed up the connection to the lab environment, but instead the issue must be some network-related issues outside my control.

I tried to get a hold of the Exam Administrator, but there was nobody in the room next to the exam-room, where the Exam Administrator should have been.

I then started walking back and forth between the Exam Administrator room, and my exam PC, in the hopes that then network connection would come back up. That went on for about 8-10 minutes, to rather much disturbance for a female co-exam taker in the same room, taking her VMware VCP exam. The reason for my “slight” panicking, was that I had at the moment no idea what the problem was and I did not know if the clock was still “ticking” inside my exam.

Finally the Exam Administrator was back, and said that the exam had broken down.
First thing, was a quick verification that there was an issue, and afterwards the Exam Administrator found out that the network connection the central testing servers was down.
I was informed that to get the connection back up, the local testing setup needed to be restarted, but that could not be down while the female co-exam taker was still working on her VCP exam, which by the way was cached locally, and was there for unaffected by the network connection issues.

So I had to wait until she was done with her VCP exam. So I sat down outside the exam room in a lounge chair, and waited for about 30-45 minutes while trying to relax. The female co-exam taker was done and was happy to have passed her VCP exam.
The local testing setup was restarted, and I could reconnect to my lab environment, and was happy to see that I had only missed a couple of minutes, according to my memory of that the clock was showing before the network connection broke down.

The rest of the exam went without trouble.
And about 12 minutes before the time ran out, and had finished all tasks, except one where I suspected an issue in the lab environment, which was outside the scope of the exam.

After about 25-30 minutes, I received a mail stating that I had passed the VCAP-DCA exam.

My tips to preparation:

My tips to the exam:

  • Manage your time, and initially skip tasks if your are uncertain on how to solve them. You can always come back to them, if there is time later on. If you skip a task, write down the task number, and maybe a keyword or brief description on the note board provided to you. (There is not review overview of all the tasks/questions in the VCAP-DCA exam)
  • Know how to do searches across multiple PDF’s, that way you can more quickly search all the PDF documentation for a given keyword, if you are uncertain which PDF file to look in. (I believe the provided PDF reader was Foxit Reader, but I can’t remember 100%.)
  • If you know a specific task can be done in the vSphere Client (Windows C# client), then do it that way, because I felt it was quicker to work with and more responsive, considering there are some lag/slowness in the lad environment.
  • Always take your time, when reading a task, because you can easily miss crucial information,  if you just skim the provided text for the task.

A little note about the result:

When I received the email with the exam results, one of the first things my eyes and brain noticed, was that I had only just passed, because the score report stated that the “Passing Score” was 300 points and my score was also 300 points.

So I thought “Hot damn, that was a close call”. But after thinking about it for a couple of minutes, it did not make any sense to me. I had completed 22 out of 23 tasks, more than several people I knew that had taken the VCAP-DCA exam. And I did not feel I had made any major mistakes.

So I reached out to a couple of people. So I personally knew and others I found on Twitter, who had all recently taken their VCAP-DCA (the version based on 5.5) exam.
And they all informed me that they had scored exactly 300 points.

So it seems that VMware/Pearson Vue, does not provide you with the actual score, but rather just informs you whether or not you have passed the exam.
(I have no confirmation from neither VMware or Pearson Vue that this is the case, it is just my own personal theory).

Book Review – Learning Veeam Backup & Replication for VMware vSphere

Disclaimer:
I have received this book as a free review sample, with the only requirement that I would write a review of it here on my blog and post short reviews of it on amazon.com, goodreads.com and books.dzone.com. These should be unbiased and I was in no way obligated to write positive reviews.

Learning Veeam Backup and ReplicationThe book is available in both eBook and Print versions from Packt Publishing

I know Christian Mohn, the author of  “Learning Veeam Backup & Replication for VMware vSphere” from Twitter (@h0bbel), his blog vNinja.net and I have also listened to a few of his podcasts, vSoup, which he does regularly with co-presenters Ed Czerwin (@eczerwin) and Chris Dearden (@ChrisDearden).
Continue reading

My first VMUG presentation

I did my first VMUG presentation at the Danish VMUG meeting on April 3., in Palads Biograf in Copenhagen.
For a summary of the day, go read Terkel Olsen’s blogpost: “Great VMUG Meeting in Denmark”

My subject/title was “100% virtualized on Apple hardware”, which I had 30 minutes to talk about. I was scheduled as the second speaker of the day, just a short break after Tommy Drægert from BitDefender.

I had done some presentations before, for maybe 30-35 people.
At the Danish VMUG meeting there were around 100 people in the cinema, so I was naturally a little nervous. It might also have had something to do with the fact that I decided, like 20-25 minutes before my presentation, to translate my complete slide deck from Danish to English, and also do the speaking in English instead of Danish.
Continue reading

Virtualize OS X using vSphere on Mac hardware

Just a short announcement that I have written a blog post on my employers blog, called “Virtualize OS X using vSphere on Mac hardware”.
In the blogpost I try to answer the following questions:

  • What is required to vitualize OS X?
  • Which hardware is supported, and which hardware works?
  • How to license OS X in a virtual environment?
  • What are best practices for running OS X in a virtual environment?
  • How to safely deploy OS X from a template?
  • How to backup OS X in a virtual environment?

Head over to the bmspeak blog to read the post:
http://bmspeak.businessmann.dk/2014/03/10/virtualize-os-x-using-vsphere-on-mac-hardware/

vCenter 5.5 install fails during vCenter Server Directory Service installation

Today I was installing a new vCenter 5.5 server for a customer,
on a freshly installed Windows Server 2012 VM, which would also be hosting the Micrsoft SQL database locally.

I had already joined the server to the domain and setup Micrsoft SQL Server 2012 SP1, and created the vCenter Database,
and an accompanying System DSN, so I was ready to do the vCenter installation.

I chose to install using the Simple Install method, because… well this was a simple installation.

SSO, vSphere Web Client and Inventory Service all installed with any issues.

But during the vCenter Server installation, I got a error Continue reading

VMworld Europe 2013 – Day 1

VMworld Europe 2013

I arrived in Barcelona sunday night with my colleagues, Heino Skov and Brian Markussen, and couple of customers.

Sunday night, we had a few beers, which where payed by the nice people from Avnet.
Many of the danish VMworld attendees where there, and we had some good talks.

This morning we got registered at the conference center, and got our badges and bags.

During the day, I have talked with a lot of people in the VMware community.
Also been by the Hands-On-Labs, and took two labs, vSphere Distributed Switch from A to Z (HOL-SDC-1302) and Virtual Storage Solutions (HOL-SDC-1308).

Later I will attend the Parter General Session, and then go out to the Businessmann arranged dinner, with the colleagues and customers.

I am very much looking forward to the coming days and sessions.

Avoid issues with backup of WordPress using BackWPup

I have used BackWPup in the past to do backup of this WordPress based website, but recently I encountered some problems.

In my original BackWPup setup there was a simple BackWPup-job that just created a ZIP-archive of everything WordPress related at my webhost, One.com, and then sent that ZIP-archive to my Dropbox.com account for offsite storing.

But recently I started receiving error-emails, that the backup did not finish correctly.
Continue reading

Creating a never booted OS X template in vSphere 5.1

Page 1 – Introduction and reason for doing this

The goal of this blog post is to produce a never booted installation of OS X Mountain Lion, in a VMDK, which can be used as a template in VMware vSphere vCenter 5.1.

The reason for doing this, is that when a OS X installation is done the normal way, using the Installation GUI, then on the first boot of the newly installed machine there is created a bunch of machine specific files and items.
These machine specific files and items, e.g. the Local Kerberos Key Distribution Center (or LKDC), needs to be cleaned out, if the installation is going to be used as a template, either in VMware vSphere or using traditional image deployment techniques.

Instead of doing the installation using the normal GUI procedures, it is possible to install OS X into an empty DMG image file, and therefor the installed version of OS X is never booted, and thereby the machine specific files and items are never created. Leaving you with a pristine and untouched version of OS X, ready to be booted for the very first time, when deployed.

During this blog post I will walk you through how to do all this, with detailed instructions and screenshots.
Continue reading