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Network Health Check in vSphere 5.1 February 19, 2013

Posted by vbry21 in VMware blogs.
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I’ve been playing with the new features of the Distributed Virtual Switches in vSphere 5.1 lately as part of my prep for the vSphere 5.1 Optimise and Scale course.

One of the new features is a marvellous thing called Network Health Check

The purpose of this feature is to detect certain issues and inconsistencies between the physical and virtual networks.

Certain key parameters such as MTU, NIC Teaming configuration and VLANs need to be configured consistently on the virtual and physical networks. If not we could than get some rather dramatic network connectivity issues.

What Network Health Check does is to search for these inconsistencies and report them to the administrator.

Network Health Check can detect and report the configuration differences between the port group and the switch port configuration by using layer two Ethernet packets. At one-minute intervals (by default), request and acknowledge packets are sent back and forth between the virtual interface and the switch. When packets are dropped, a configuration warning is displayed on the VMware vSphere® Web Client.

The requirements for Network Health Check include:

For VLAN and MTU checks, there must be at least two physical uplinks connected to the distributed virtual switch.

For the teaming policy check, there must be at least two active uplinks in the team and at least two ESXi hosts connected to the virtual distributed switch.

For a wonderful little demo visit the VMware Knowledge Base



A summary of the differences between a Standard and Distibuted Virtual Switch February 19, 2013

Posted by vbry21 in VMware blogs.
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The differences between vSphere Standard and vSphere Distributed Switches

Feature                                                                                Standard switch                               Distributed Switch

Layer 2 switch                                                                    x                                                                    x

VLAN segmentation                                                        x                                                                    x

IPv6 Support                                                                      x                                                                    x

802.1Q Tagging                                                                  x                                                                   x

NIC Teaming                                                                       x                                                                   x

Outbound traffic shaping                                               x                                                                   x

Inbound traffic shaping                                                                                                                       x

VM network port block                                                                                                                       x

Private VLANs                                                                                                                                        x

Load-based teaming                                                                                                                             x

Datacenter-level management                                                                                                        x

Network vMotion                                                                                                                                  x

vNetwork switch APIs                                                                                                                         x

Per-port policy settings                                                                                                                      x

Port State monitoring                                                                                                                          x

NetFlow                                                                                                                                                      x

Port Mirroring                                                                                                                                         x


The above table gives a brief outline of the differences between the two types of switches that can be created in vSphere 5.1.


The big thing for me though is the manageability of the distributed virtual switch, all of that functionality comes from the Port State monitoring, NetFlow and Port Mirroring, these options allow me to see exactly how the switch is behaving.



What’s the purpose of the .dvsdata folder in vSphere 5.1 February 19, 2013

Posted by vbry21 in VCAP5-DCA, VMware blogs, VMware Training.
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I’ve been doing some work on the VMware 5.1 Optimise and Scale course, today I’ve been looking at the section on Distributed Virtual Switches.

One of the questions I keep getting asked relates to the .dvsData folder.

When a virtual machine is connected to a port on a distributed switch, a folder named .dvsData is created on the datastore on which the virtual machine resides. The .dvsData folder is only created if you have a virtual machine that is attached to a distributed switch and that is located on that datastore. If virtual machines are attached only to standard switches, then the .dvsData folder does not exist. Also, the datastore that holds only the virtual machine’s .vmx config file has the .dvsData folder.

In the .dvsData folder is a subfolder whose name matches the UUID of the distributed switch. Each distributed switch has a UUID in the format “31 3f 2b 60 cf 01 c4 bf-d0 9a bb 7d ef 6f fe 71″ (this varies). In the UUID folder, you might find one or more files. Each file corresponds to the port ID that the virtual machine is associated with. This number corresponds to the parameter ethernet#.dvs.portId, where # is 0, 1, and so on. This parameter is located in the virtual machine’s .vmx configuration file. The ESXi host periodically synchronizes the virtual machine’s port state into this file. The host does this every five minutes.

The .dvsData folder and the subfolder is primarily used for VMware vSphere® High Availability. When a vSphere HA event occurs and the virtual machine is restarted on a different ESXi host, the destination host reads the distributed port state from the .dvsData subfolder and starts the virtual machine on that datastore.

As you would expect this folder is quite important, do not delete the .dvsData folder. However, if you must delete the folder (because you are performing VMFS maintenance for instance), ensure that no virtual machines on the datastore are registered in vCenter Server. After determining that no virtual machines are registered, then you can safely remove the .dvsData folder and its subfolders.


For lots more information read the vSphere Networking guide.

Some useful vSphere 5.1 demo videos February 6, 2013

Posted by vbry21 in VMware blogs, VMware Training.
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The VMware course I teach the most is the vSphere 5.1 Install Configure and Manage, and as part of that course, I like to demo the product.

But this means that once the demo is over it’s over.

VMware as a company have a wonderful resource which I will start pointing my delegates to.

The resource is the VMware Instructional Videos Website.

A very nice man named John Krueger has produced some very nice vSphere 5.1 demo videos, they are well worth a look.


VMware’s vast array of certifications February 6, 2013

Posted by vbry21 in VMware blogs, VMware Training.
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When I started working with VMware products there was one certification, the VMware Certified Professional.

A good few years later we have a massive range of VMware Certifications.

VMware Certified Professional

VMware Certified Advance Professional

VMware Certified Design Expert

To make matters worse we now have these certifications in.

Data Center Virtualisation

End User Computing



However to help us with this vast array of new certifications VMware have provided a road map.

Visit VMware’s Certification website to get more information.

Also visit them for a handy little document that explains the job based certification tracks


Now I’ve got my MCSA 2012 time to start thinking about MCSE 2012 February 5, 2013

Posted by vbry21 in Microsoft Training, Windows 2012, Windows 2012 Hyper-V.
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Now I have achieved my Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate in 2012, I now need to gain my Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert in Server Infrastructure.

To become an MCSE, first off we need to be an MCSA 2012, in a previous post I discussed my exam experience.

I have looked at the Microsoft Certification website in order to find my route to MCSE Server Infrastructure

This informs me that I now need to sit and pass two additional exams.

Designing and Implementing a Server Infrastructure       Exam 413

Implementing an Advanced Server Infrastructure            Exam 414

As a Microsoft Certified Trainer I have decided to use official Microsoft courseware and practical hands on experience in order to prepare and pass the exams.

The courseware I’ll be using is as follows.

Course 20413     Designing and Implementing a Server Infrastructure

Course 20414     Implementing an Advanced Server Infrastructure

I’m hoping to sit and pass these exams over the next few weeks.


My next VMware exam the VCP-Cloud February 4, 2013

Posted by vbry21 in Uncategorized.
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I had intended that my next VMware exam would be the VCAP5-DCD, but at the moment, this is not to be, I have due to my duties as a VCI for a UK national training company decided that my next exam will in fact be the VCP-Cloud

I am extremely fortunate to work for a training company as this means that I have a large amount of kit I can play with, without regard to production systems.

I am also extremely fortunate to be a vExpert as I also have some very useful peers who know the product inside out and upside down.

In order to prepare for my exam I am going to use the tools available to me as a VCI, or in other words, I’m going to use VMware approved training.

As with all VMware certifications, the first place to visit must be the exam blueprint which is available on the VCP-IaaS certification page.

As you will see, even though vCloud 5.1 is now available, currently the exam covers vCloud Director 1.5

The resources I’m using are as follows.

VMware vCloud : Deploy and Manage the VMware Cloud [v1.5]

Also visit the VMware Education site for additional free supplemental courses on Chargeback, vShield and vCloud fundamentals..

Another fantastic resource is Eric Sloof’s brilliant site NTpro , what can I say? This gentleman knows his stuff.

But most importantly I will be installing and configuring a lab environment to supplement my theoretical journey.




My MCSA 2012 exam experience February 3, 2013

Posted by vbry21 in Microsoft Training, Windows 2012, Windows 2012 Hyper-V.
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On Friday 1st February 2013 I sat and passed my 070-417 Microsoft exam, with the passing of the exam I upgraded my Windows 2008 Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate to become a Windows 2012 Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate.

Let me tell you about my experience.

My first step was to identify the path required to allow me to sit and pass the exam.

First port of call was Microsoft’s certification site, this lead me to the information that in order to become an MCSA in Windows 2012 I had to either pass three exams.

Installing and Configuring Windows Server 2012                Exam 410

Administering Windows Server 2012                                       Exam 411

Configuring Advanced Windows Server 2012 Services     Exam 412

Or as my preferred route already being a MCSA 2008, just one exam.

Upgrading Your Skills to MCSA Windows Server 2012       Exam 417

To give an overview of the Exam 417, but not giving any questions away, the exam actually consists of three exams, the 410, 411 and 412, the exam consists of around 20 questions per exam and you must pass all 3 sections.

Being a Microsoft Certified Trainer I used the following materials for my preparation.

Course 20410     Installing and Configuring Windows Server 2012

Course 20411     Administering Windows Server 2012

Course 20412     Configuring Advanced Windows Server 2012 Services

Course 20417     Upgrading Your Skills to MCSA Windows Server 2012

In addition I installed a little test lab of 3 Windows 2012 servers, I installed and played with all the features mentioned on all the courses.

Good luck if you intend to sit any of the exams, but of course if you prepare well, then luck is not an issue.