VMWare VCA6-DCV Study Notes Pt 1

As per my first post, one of the first certifications that i’m studying as part of my “reboot” is the VMware Certified Associate 6 – Data Center Virtualization (VCA6-DCV).

This is a great entry level introduction to VMWare and virtualisation as a whole – with the added bonus that the training is provided online for free. You’ll still need to fork out for the online exam, but its comparable to the cost of other industry exams, so it not too bad.

The course itself is all theory (booo!) but it does give a good grounding the different aspects of virtualisation and it leads nicely into the more advanced certifications.

VMWare it is wisdom has split the online course into 4 distinct sections:

  1. Course Introduction
  2. Introduction to Data Center Virtualization with VMware vSphere
  3. Components of VMware vSphere
  4. vSphere Solutions to Data Center Challenges

In this first post i’ll write up my notes on the first two sections (we can pretty much ignore the Course Introduction, so really it’s just number 2), with the remaining notes being added in two additional posts covering 3 and 4.

Lets crack on..

1. Course Introduction

  • Course Overview
  • Course Objectives
  • Course Outline

As mentioned above, this serves only as a brief overview of what the training covers, so notes are pretty pointless.

2. Introduction to Data Center Virtualization with VMware vSphere

  • VMware Vision
  • Virtualization Overview
  • Virtualization: The Foundation of Cloud Computing
  • Data Center Virtualization Overview
  • Introduction to Virtual Machines
  • Virtual Machine Capabilities
  • Hypervisor
  • ESXi Hypervisor
  • vSphere 6.0
  • Capabilities and Benefits of vSphere 6.0

I’ve broken my notes down into the appropriate sections below as delivered in the training videos:

VMware Vision

  • Transforms IT making businesses more agile, efficient and profitable
  • Simplifies IT across the datacenter
  • Aim to reduce CAPEX and OPEX by 50% – independent of HW/SW
  • IT as a service model

Virtualization Overview

  • Virtual versions of physical components (servers, storage and network)
  • Reduce IT expenses
  • Multiple OS’s and Apps on a single server – consolidate hardware
  • Virtualisation Types – Server, Network, Storage, Application, Desktop
  • Multiple OS’s on one machine, each has access to local resources
  • VMs are kept separate – they are not aware of other VMs on the same host – one could crash and the rest would be unaffected
  • Network virtualisation, physical network as software
  • Storage virtualisation, abstraction layer for storage so can be managed in a virtualised environment
  • Application virtualisation, increases mobility, allows migration with minimal downtime
  • Virtualised Desktops reduces cost and increases service for mobile workers

Virtualization: The Foundation of Cloud Computing

  • Virtualisation is the foundation of cloud computing
  • Virtualisation, consolidating and automating resources and management allows demanding applications to run
  • vRealize Suite, a cloud management platform – automates delivery of infrastructure and applications
  • vSphere, infrastructure management platform integrates with Openstack
  • BDE (Big Data Extensions) efficient at handling large data workloads (such as Hadoop)
  • Data Center Virtualisation Overview

Introduction to Virtual Machines

  • Conversion of hardware devices into software resources
  • Physical servers are: expensive, consume space, consume power, generate heat.
  • Hardware failures are a potential threat and maintenance tasks can be time consuming.
  • Virtualisation consolidates your servers into fewer pieces of hardware, the OS’s are separated from the hardware by a hypervisor

Need for Datacenter Virtualisation

  • 70% of IT budgets go into maintenance of existing systems
  • x86 servers are designed to run one OS and application at a time so very inefficient.
  • Traditional servers operate at between 5% and 15% of capacity

Benefits of Datacenter Virtualisation

  • Reduce Capital and operating costs – get more out of existing hardware, fewer servers means fewer operating costs.
  • High availability, if a node fails, then other hosts automatically pick up the VM with no downtime
  • Business continuity – easier to survive IT disasters. VM’s can be transferred over to working hosts.
  • Increase productivity by streamlining and automating everyday tasks
  • Improved responsiveness by allowing the business to scale up on demand

Introduction to Virtual Machines

  • Tightly isolated software container with its own virtual hardware, guest OS and applications equivalent to a physical computer
  • VM’s share the hardware of the host server on which they are mounted with other VM’s, allow for quick component upgrades or replacements, allow to you “hot add” components without rebooting – reducing downtime
  • OS’s and applications function exactly the same as if they are on a physical computer
  • Many VM’s on a single host
  • Hypervisor separates VM’s from host and allocates resources as required

Virtual Machine Capabilities

  • Can be used to host any application
  • Increases availability – protection against hardware failure or site level disasters
  • Easy to move, copy and restore
  • Increases speed of deployment – new servers can be provisioned in minutes
  • Use snapshots to roll back harmful updates or patches.
  • Snapshots captures contents of hard drives and the state of CPU and RAM
  • Bare-Metal Backup allows a complete image based backup of a virtual machine while its running and allows a full restore without the need to load a recovery OS – can also be used to restore individual files
  • Hot-Add virtual hardware, add resources without restarting – however to decrease resources this needs to be done will the VM is powered down.

Benefits of using Virtual Machines

  • Multiple applications on each host
  • Maximum host utilisation, minimum host count
  • Faster and easier provisioning of applications and resources

Hypervisor

  • Provides virtual hardware and physical resources to create VMs
  • Managed by vCenter Server and installed directly on the host hardware

Types of Hypervisor

  • Bare-Metal Hypervisors are installed directly on physical servers without OS’s, they act as an OS for the host and have resource management capabilities. They have very low resource requirements and don’t require an OS to run. An example is VMWare ESXi.
  • Hosted Hypervisors run as an application on top of an existing OS. This is useful if the underlying hardware isn’t supported by a bare-metal hypervisor. VMWare Workstation is a good example of a Hosted Hypervisor

The ESXi Hypervisor

  • Low overhead so improves OS efficiency
  • Stable
  • Provides basic management functions – VM creation, reconfiguration, performance monitoring and remote control of the VMs
  • Installed directly onto host using HDD, USB, SD cards or network boot using PXE and TFTP

vSphere 6.0

  • Enables users to virtualise, scale up and scale out applications
  • Highly available, on-demand and resilient infrastructure
  • Reduce costs, increases efficiency and simplicity
  • Built for next-gen applications
  • Foundation of the Software Defined Data Centre (SDDC)
  • Accelerates shift to cloud computing

Capabilities and Benefits of vSphere 6.0

  • Delivers enhanced scale, performance and availability
  • Simplifies virtual datacenter management
  • Perform live workload migration and zero application downtime for maintenance
  • Build and operate cloud environments
  • Features depend on chosen product edition
  • Improves efficiency through utilisation and automation
  • Maximises uptime and reduces downtime
  • Lowers IT costs (CAPEX by up-to 70% and OPEX by up-to 30%)
  • Provides agility with control – can be scaled up or down with business needs
  • Standard platform to use existing resources as well as next-gen IT services
  • Addresses challenges of availability, scalability, optimisation, management, application upgrades and cloud.

Thats it for the first part of my notes for the VMWare VCA6-DCV online training, hopefully it will be of use.

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