Brents IT Blog

Random thoughts by an IT GOAT


VMware Training

So last year when we bought our brand new VMware licensing bundle, the package included some training credits(YAY!).  I decided that i would attend the training before the end of this year and i after several false starts and projects due yesterday(Booo!), its number finally came up!  Anyhow, last week i spent sitting in a class room staring at a wall with light projected on it.  Yes, i was finally learning how to use the features in VMware i didnt have time to figure out earlier.  There are apparently many features.... so here is a list of some useful ones i think anyone staring at VMware should look up:

1. DRS and HA ( )
2. Resource pooling
3. VMotion
4. Update Manager
5. Security

So lets talk about the above....

DRS and HA are listed as one because they pretty much go hand and hand.  DRS (distributed resources scheduling) essentially allows you to setup vmware to move vm's based on resource availability automatically.  I dont like the fact that you cannot set really specific rules, but there is a slider you can use to set the aggressiveness DRS will use when determining whether or not to move a vm. 

Resource pooling is useful because you can setup pools in a cluster(and on hosts) to basically give priority to vms assigned in each resource pool.  As with most things, you can also nest the priorization. 

VMotion is the most useful thing i have come accross in a long time.  Obvious its the bread and butter of VMware, another reason its on the list, but it essentially allows you to take a host offline for maintenance(or lose a host) and continue operations with little to no down time.  I upgraded to VSphere while my environment was live in the middle of the day.  Obviously for those who know, i was not able to finish the upgrade until later, but i completed the most intense parts quickly and efficiently.

Update Manager is an interesting feature.... it essentially allow you to download windows, linux and vmware updates for all your VM's and VMware system.  You can schedule updates to take place, take snapshots before updates automatically and perform various tasks automatically during the updates.  You can also set it check vm compliance automatically.   Its very much like WSUS, but encompasses much more.

Security was a feature that was a must and is well entrenched in VMware.  Security scales from top down or bottom up.  Limited a person or group to a machine, a folder, a host, etc...  Create and assign roles(very nifty).

As for my classroom experience, i would say it was it was well worth it, usually i start to dose off in these things, but the teacher was very dynamic.  If you need to buy the time, spend the money!  The instructor we had was very knowledgable about the products from VMware as well as third parties.  I took many notes with software names mentioned as well as some side tricks.  Also note that VMware dictates to the training center that they provide lunch!  We had an assortment of lunches during the week, since i am picky, they even ordered some stuff especially for me on the days i didnt like what they provided.

Be prepared for a fast paced training course, so please make sure you play around with vmware some before attending the class.  You can download the full suite from vmware and its a 60 day trail, so plenty of time to break it and come up with questions for class.

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