VCDX Study Notes

Now that the VCDX certification is widely available i have decided that i need to start improve my knowledge of Virtualisation systems and how they work for when i decide to take the plunge and attempt the exams. This area is my blog is primarily going to be used to write up my revision notes, a bit like what Jon has done on his 2VCP's Blog Duncan over at Yellow-Bricks has a great post which has a long list of Articles and Guides that he studied before taking his VCDX Design exam, so I'm going to follow his advice and start reading. Here is his current list taken from his post – "VCDX Design Exam, how to prepare?"

Well there is plenty there for me to get stuck into.. so lets get to it! Here is a couple of Online VCP Exams you can use to make sure your knowledge is still at a good level. If you can't pass these exams then maybe you shouldn't be aiming this high!


VMware Enterprise Administration Exam Blueprint Study Notes

Section 1 – Storage Objective 1.1 – Create and Administer VMFS datastores using advanced techniques. Knowledge

  • Describe how to identify iSCSI, Fibre channel, SATA and NFS configurations using CLI commands and log entries
  • Describe the VMFS file system – Metadata – Multi-access and locking – Extents – Tree structure and files – Applicability to clustered environment – Journaling
  • Explain the process used to align VMFS partitions
  • Explain the use cases for round-robin load balancing

Skills and Abilities

  • Perform advanced multi-pathing configuration – Configure multi-pathing policy – Configure round-robin behavior using command-line tools – Manage active and inactive paths
  • Verify SAN LUN accessibility
  • Configure and use NPIV HBAs
  • Manage VMFS file systems using command-line tools
  • Configure NFS datastores using command-line tools
  • Configure iSCSI hardware and software initiators using command-line tools

Tools

  • VI client
  • CLI – esxcfg-vmhbadevs – vdf – fdisk – vmkfstools

Objective 1.2 – Implement and manage complex data security and replication configurations. Knowledge

  • Describe methods to secure access to virtual disks and related storage devices – Distributed Lock Handling
  • Identify tools and steps necessary to manage replicated VMFS volumes – Resignaturing – Snapshot LUNs
  • Understand how to configure physical storage adapter properties

Skills and Abilities

  • Configure storage network segmentation – FC Zoning – iSCSI/NFS VLAN
  • Configure LUN masking – Storage device – Host
  • Configure iSCSI/NFS security options
  • Use esxcfg-advcfg – Set Resignaturing and Snapshot LUN options – Set ESX Server host-side disk options
  • Manage RDMs in a replicated environment – Virtual compatibility mode – Physical compatibility mode
  • Use proc nodes to identify driver configuration and options
  • Use esxcfg-module – Modify storage adapter settings – Identify and load/unload modules – Get module status

Tools

  • VI client
  • CLI – esxcfg-advcfg – esxcfg-module

Objective 1.3 – Troubleshoot Virtual Infrastructure storage components. Knowledge

  • Identify storage related events and log entries
  • Analyze storage events to determine related issues

Skills and Abilities

  • Verify storage configuration using CLI, VI client and server log entries
  • Troubleshoot storage connection issues using CLI , VI Client and logs – Rescan events – Failover events
  • Interpret log entries for configuration validation and predictive analysis
  • Troubleshoot file system errors using logs and CLI

Tools

  • VI client
  • CLI – vm-support script – esxcfg-*
  • vmkfstools

Objective 1.4 – Implement and manage Storage VMotion. Knowledge

  • Describe Storage VMotion operation
  • Explain implementation process for Storage VMotion
  • Identify Storage VMotion use cases
  • Understand performance implications for Storage VMotion

Skills and Abilities

  • Use Remote CLI to perform Storage VMotion operations – Interactive mode – Non-interactive mode
  • Implement Storage VMotion based on various use cases – Migration of all virtual disks to target storage location – Migration of virtual disks to independent target storage locations

Tools

  • Remote CLI

Section 2 – Networking Objective 2.1 – Install and configure Virtual Infrastructure networks. Knowledge

  • Differentiate physical and virtual switch characteristics
  • Create and modify virtual switches and virtual switch policies
  • Enable advanced networking capabilities – TCP Segmentation Offload (TSO) – Jumbo Frames – NetQueue
  • Identify and understand the impact of various routing protocols

Skills and Abilities

  • Configure service console network using CLI
  • Configure VLANs (virtual networks)
  • Configure TSO and Jumbo Frames
  • Enable Cisco Discovery Protocol
  • Use CLI commands to modify virtual network configuration

Tools

  • CLI – esxcfg-nics – esxcfg-vswitch – esxcfg-vmknic
  • VI client

Objective 2.2 – Install and configure a virtual networking infrastructure to meet set security design requirements. Knowledge

  • Understand network segmentation benefits and best practices – Isolation of Service Console traffic – Isolation of VMkernel traffic
  • Define common network security risks and explain their impact to a virtual network infrastructure
  • Describe and configure virtual switch security policies

Skills and Abilities

  • Configure VLANs
  • Set virtual networking security attributes – Forged Transmits – Promiscuous Mode – MAC Address Changes – VLAN configuration
  • Configure switch notification

Tools

  • CLI – esxcfg-vswitch – esxcfg-vswif – esxcfg-vmknic
  • VI client

Objective 2.3 – Administer advanced VMkernel networking configurations. Knowledge

  • Define configuration options for VMkernel ports – Peer DNS – MTU – TSO
  • Understand VMkernel routing
  • Troubleshoot VMkernel configuration issues

Skills and Abilities

  • Add and remove VMkernel ports
  • Enable/Disable VMkernel ports
  • Configure the VMkernel routing table

Tools

  • CLI – esxcfg-vmknic – esxcfg-route
  • VI client

Objective 2.4 – Manage Failover and Failure Detection Knowledge

  • Describe how to map port groups to physical NICs
  • Understand failover order for physical NICs and attached port groups
  • Explain options for detecting link failures
  • Troubleshoot failover operations

Skills and Abilities

  • Use CLI commands to manage uplinks
  • Configure failover order – Active Adapters – Standby Adapters – Unused Adapters – NIC promotion
  • Configure beacon probing
  • Configure reverse teaming
  • Set advanced network failover options – Failover detection – Failback – Link state tracking

Tools

  • CLI – esxcfg-vswitch
  • VI Client

Objective 2.5 – Administer advanced Service Console networking configurations. Knowledge

  • Define configuration options for VMkernel ports – Peer DNS – MTU – TSO
  • Understand VMkernel routing
  • Troubleshoot VMkernel configuration issues

Skills and Abilities

  • Inspect Service Console network configuration
  • Enable/Disable vswif interface
  • Configure advanced service console networking – Redundant HA heartbeat – Packet tracing – CHAP authentication for iSCSI
  • Configure hostname resolution – /etc/hosts – /etc/nsswitch.conf – /etc/resolv.conf
  • Monitor traffic over a Virtual Switch – Bandwidth – Dropped packets
  • Identify and resolve network issues using network monitoring tools – tcpdump – Snoop

Tools

  • CLI – esxcfg-vswif – dig – netstat – route – nslookup – hostname – vmknic – esxcfg-route
  • VI client

Objective 2.6 – Manage Service Console firewall configurations. Knowledge

  • Understand firewall rules
  • Explain the use of services in a firewall configuration
  • Identify which ports must be open in a virtual infrastructure firewall configuration

Skills and Abilities

  • Configure ESX Server firewall settings
  • Open and close ports
  • Monitor firewall logs

Tools

  • CLI – esxcfg-firewall
  • VI client

Objective 2.7 – Administer complex iSCSI configurations. Knowledge

  • Understand how iSCSI is used with the VMkernel
  • Identify iSCSI features and limitations
  • Design an iSCSI solution

Skills and Abilities

  • Configure the ESX Server iSCSI software initiator
  • Open the related firewall ports for iSCSI – Manage iSCSI initiator settings
  • Discovery
  • CHAP authentication

Tools

  • CLI – esxcfg-swiscsi – vmkiscsi-tool – esxcfg-rescan – esxcfg-firewall
  • VI client

Section 3 – DRS Clusters and Performance Monitoring Objective 3.1 – Create and administer complex DRS clusters. Knowledge

  • Demonstrate the use or resource pools and child pools with DRS clusters
  • Understand how to monitor DRS cluster performance and resource utilization within the cluster
  • Explain best practices for DRS cluster design
  • Understand performance considerations for DRS clusters

Skills and Abilities

  • Deploy complex resource pools – Utilize best practice guidelines – Configure expandable reservations where applicable
  • Deploy a complex DRS cluster – Ensure optimal use of Maintenance Mode – Configure appropriate threshold settings
  • Implement Distributed Power Management within a DRS cluster
  • Monitor DRS clusters – Cluster performance – Resource utilization – Troubleshooting

Tools

  • VI client

Objective 3.2 – Demonstrate advanced performance analysis techniques. Knowledge

  • Demonstrate the use of various performance tools
  • Understand configuration options for performance data collection – line graphs vs. stacked graphs – real-time vs. historical metrics – statistics collection levels
  • Use performance information to troubleshoot and resolve: – CPU Utilization issues – Memory utilization issues – Disk utilization issues
  • Network utilization issues

Skills and Abilities

  • Use esxtop to monitor the health of the ESX Server
  • Use vm-support to capture performance snapshots of the ESX Server
  • Use guest OS performance analysis tools to determine performance characteristics within the virtual machine
  • Generate reports and collate data from VirtualCenter – Alarms – Resource utilization – Performance – Topology Maps
  • Diagnose resource utilization issues – CPU ready time/wait time – Memory ballooned/swapped – Disk queue depth/locking – Network dropped packets/

Tools

  • CLI – esxtop – vm-support
  • VI Client – Performance graphs – VirtualCenter management server configuration

Section 4 – Business Continuity and Data Protection Objective 4.1 – Configure Virtual Machine Clustering. Knowledge

  • Explain the different methods of clustering virtual machines – Cluster in a box – Cluster across boxes – Physical to Virtual clustering (N+1 clusters)
  • Describe how shared storage is configured with clustering
  • Understand HBA configuration options

Skills and Abilities

  • Configure bus sharing options – Physical – Virtual
  • Configure Raw Device Mappings (RDMs) – Pass-through – Non pass-through
  • Configure HBA options – Queue depth – Device/LUN Reset – Timeout value

Tools

  • CLI – esxcfg-advcfg – esxcfg-module
  • VI client

Objective 4.2 – Configure advanced HA deployments Knowledge

  • Describe guidelines for restart priority and isolation response.
  • Explain how to customize a typical HA deployment
  • Understand HA communication (heartbeat)
  • Detail impact of DRS affinity rules on an HA cluster
  • Describe troubleshooting techniques
  • Explain best practices for HA deployment

Skills and Abilities

  • Configure restart priority and isolation response – Cluster-wide setting – Individual VM override settings
  • Configure advanced HA options – Failure detection time – Redundant isolation address settings – Default failover host
  • Configure physical switch settings to support HA
  • Troubleshoot HA deployments – Failover capacity – Examine log entries – Correct network issues

Tools

  • CLI – esxcfg-advcfg – hostname –s
  • VI Client

Objective 4.3 – Configure and Administer VMware Consolidated Backup (VCB) Knowledge

  • Explain VCB capabilities, limitations and best practices
  • Describe how snapshots are created
  • Understand differences between file-level and full VM backups
  • Detail what files are part of a full VM backup
  • Explain how to integrate VCB with – Third-party backup software – Multipathing software – VirtualCenter – VMFS Storage
  • Explain VMware Converter based restores
  • Describe common VCB log files

Skills and Abilities

  • Verify sizing of VCB holding tanks based on full VM backup requirements
  • Perform integration tests – VCB to VirtualCenter – VCB to Third-party backup software – VCB to VMFS Storage
  • Analyze VCB logs to verify functionality
  • Use VCB command line tools to verify and troubleshoot VCB deployments
  • Review multipathing configuration
  • Run performance tests to determine optimal VCB deployment
  • Configure a VCB backup role into VirtualCenter

Tools

  • CLI – vcbVmName – vcbSnapshot – vcbMounter – vcbExport – mountvm – vcbRestore – vcbUtil
  • VI client
  • VMware Converter

Section 5 – Operational Maintenance Objective 5.1 – VMware Update Manager Knowledge

  • Describe Update Manager capabilities
  • Explain VUM architecture and components
  • Describe DRS-enabled remediation

Skills and Abilities

  • Install and Configure Update Manager – VUM Server – VUM Agents – VUM Download Server – VI Client plug-in
  • Perform Update Manager tasks – Establish baselines (Fixed & Dynamic) – Manage and attach baselines – Schedule and perform scans – Interpret scan status and compliancy – Schedule and perform remediation – Rollback
  • Troubleshoot remediation failures

Tools

  • VI client
  • CLI – vmware-umds

Section 6 – Logging Objective 6.1 – Configure VirtualCenter log behavior Knowledge

  • Identify location of VirtualCenter related log files
  • Describe options for customizing VirtualCenter log behavior
  • Describe options for customizing VI Client log behavior
  • Explain default log file characteristics
  • Understand log file collection methods

Skills and Abilities

  • Modify VirtualCenter Server log configuration
  • Modify VirtualCenter Agent log configuration
  • Export VirtualCenter logs

Tools

  • VI client
  • CLI

Objective 6.2 – Configure Service Console log behavior Knowledge

  • Describe Service Console log consolidation
  • Identify location of Service Console related log files
  • Describe options for customizing Service Console log behavior
  • Explain default log file characteristics
  • Understand log file collection methods
  • Define additional third-party log files located on the Service Console

Skills and Abilities

  • Configure Service Console log file rotation
  • Modify VC Server log configuration
  • Modify VC Agent log configuration
  • Export VC logs

Tools

  • CLI – syslogd – logger

Section 7 – ESX Server Security Objective 7.1 – Configure secure remote access. Knowledge

  • Explain how to prevent remote root login
  • Describe the process to allow selected users remote access capabilities
  • Understand authentication process and options
  • Describe SSH implementation
  • Understand how user access is tracked and logged
  • Explain the use of TCP wrappers to restrict access from specific hosts/addresses

Skills and Abilities

  • Enable/Disable root SSH login
  • Modify the default settings to allow both incoming and outgoing SSH traffic
  • Create ESX Server user accounts and assign group memberships – Command Line – VI client
  • Configure SSH – AllowUsers/DenyUsers – Banner
  • Define VI Client roles and user and group assignments
  • Use Service Console commands to track user access
  • Use esxcfg-auth to modify authentication settings – Preferred authentication method – Login attempts – Password aging
  • Configure TCP wrappers – hosts.allow/hosts.deny

Tools

  • CLI – vmware-authd – esxcfg-auth – who – w – last – fuser

Objective 7.2 – Delegate administrative privileges Knowledge

  • Explain how to restrict access to administrative functions
  • Describe the process to restrict access to specific administrative commands
  • Understand how attempts to use administrative functions can be logged

Skills and Abilities

  • Switch from a standard user account to root
  • Enable the use of the wheel group
  • Configure sudo – Users/Groups – Hosts – Commands – Aliases

Tools

  • CLI – visudo – su – sudo – which

Section 8 – Rapid Provisioning Objective 8.1 – ESX Server Scripted Installation Knowledge

  • Explain the usage of the Scripted Installation wizard
  • Describe the various methods of automated deployment – CD Rom – HTTP/FTP – NFS
  • Define the directives contained in the installation script

Skills and Abilities

  • Set up hardware and various connections – Boot from SAN – Layout of local drives in various raid configurations
  • Create an install script and verify the following sections – Command – %packages – %pre – %post – %vmlicense_text
  • Configure Service Console components of an ESX server – Network Time Protocol (NTP) – DNS – SNMP
  • Install supported third party agents according to the design plan

Tools

  • VI client
  • CLI
 
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