Cloning virtual machines in vSphere series – Part 3: Linked Clones

KR_linked
Reading Time: 6 minutes

Let’s start with part 3 in the cloning virtual machines in vSphere series, I am going to talk about another type of clones, linked clones!

 

All articles regarding cloning virtual machines in vSphere series:

Part 1: Types of clone
Part 2: Full Clone
Part 4: Instant Clones (not published yet)

As said in previous articles, this series is only focused on VMware vSphere hence, VMware Horizon View is not contemplated (Linked clones are commonly used in that product).

What is a linked clone?

What can you see here?

KR_linked
Keanu Reaves has been linked cloned!

In the previous image, you can see 3 different characters but they share something in common…the actor!

 

Linked clones are the same! A linked clone is a type of clone (a copy of a virtual machine) where the parent VM shares virtual disks with their clones.

The resulting linked clone will be created from the parent’s VM snapshot and because of being a snapshot, it will have the same state that was the snapshot was taken.

LinkedClone

When the linked clone is created, it shares his own virtual disk (.vmdk file) with the snapshot from the parent VM, this leads to some unique features:

  • The clone will be dependent from the parent VM because they are sharing their virtual disks. If you delete the parent’s VM snapshot, it will corrupt the clone’s virtual disk.
  • Even both VMs are sharing their storage, any changes performed in the clone won’t affect the parent VM and vice-versa.
  • The linked clone will have the exact same data as the source VM because it was created from a snapshot.
  • The save spacings are obvious because the clone will only write the new modifications in its own virtual disk. So, the clone’s virtual disk size will be only the amount of data that changed after it was created!

General process

  1. Use or prepare a VM (Parent VM) that will be used as a master/parent to deploy the linked clones
  2. Power-off the Parent VM (Recommended but not mandatory)
  3. Perform a snapshot of the VM.
  4. Time to create Linked clones referencing the snapshot we created previously.
  5. Power-on the clones and customize them (apply customization specifications for example).
  6. (Extra) Before powering-on the linked clone, perform another snapshot of the clone to use it as a rollback (if the end-user needs it).
  7. (Extra) Power-on the clone and is ready to be delivered.
  8. (Extra plus) If you decide to keep the linked clone for any reason, you can perform a full clone of it and it will become an independent VM!

 

In the next section, I will show you how to create a linked clone with PowerCLI from a Windows VM and in my case, I will use Custom Specifications within the script to launch the clone.

Lab time!

Here we have the VM that we’re going to use as our Parent VM:

Name: SQLMasterVM
IP: 192.168.1.174
Disk allocation: Around 35 GB summing both disks.
Domain: vmug.bcn

Inside the Guest OS:

 

Space allocated in DS:

 

What are we going to do?

  1. Shutdown the master image VM that hosts some DBs.
  2. Create a snapshot when the VM is powered-off to ensure that is consistent (this is a VM with a SQL installed so, even more recommended)
  3. Perform the linked clone via PowerCLI.
  4. Start the VM (We aren’t going to do the extra step of creating a snapshot of the clone) and use custom specifications to fully customize the clone.

All of this will be performed by this simple script:

##Creating SQL Linked Clone from a Parent VM "SQLMasterVM"
#variables
$OSSpec = Get-OSCustomizationSpec -Name 'Win-SQL'
$BaseVM = "SQLMasterVM"
$LinkedVM = "SQL-LC1"

# Delete snapshots on the Parent VM
Get-Snapshot -VM $BaseVM | Remove-Snapshot -Confirm:$falseStart-Sleep -Seconds 2

#Create snapshot
New-Snapshot -VM $BaseVM -Name "Linked-Snapshot" -Description "Snapshot for linked clones for $LinkedVM"

#Gather information of the created snapshot
$snapshotParent = Get-Snapshot -VM $BaseVM | Select Name
$snapshotParent = $snapshotParent.Name
Start-Sleep -Seconds 5

#Create Linked Clone referencing snapshot and start the VM.
New-VM -Name $LinkedVM -VM $BaseVM -Datastore "VMS" -ResourcePool (Get-Cluster -Name Gaiden-Cluster | Get-ResourcePool) -OSCustomizationSpec $OSSpec -LinkedClone -ReferenceSnapshot $snapshotParent -DiskStorageFormat Thin
Start-VM -VM $LinkedVM

In this script, I am also using the OSCustomizationSpec parameter, while using the sentence to create the linked clone,  to change the IP, name and join again to the domain the resultant clone. Also, I am changing the SQL instance name in my case because it’s a server with MSSQL server installed.

Once the script finished, a new linked clone is created and powered on with the name “SQL-LC1”.

 

We can see the amount of time that takes to create a Linked clone (5 seconds):

And now look at the storage allocated by the Linked clone (powered off), 750 MB approximately:

 

After the Linked clone is created and powered on, you can do whatever you want.

I had to wait some minutes (around 10 min. in my case) until the OS customization specification finish all the actions specified (power on the VM, join to the domain, reboot the VM, execute a script to update SQL instance, etc.)

Here is the “real” space allocated after the Linked clone has booted up and I logged in with a user, around 4 GB:

 

A look inside the Guest OS of the linked clone (new hostname, IP and has the same storage as the Parent VM:

Use cases

It’s commonly used in VDI and DEV environments but here are some examples:

  • Desktop Deployment
  • QA
  • Bug testing
  • DB server testing
  • File server testing
  • General testing

 

Benefits and limits

Let’s summarize which are the benefits and limits that we can find in linked clones:

Pros

  • Super fast cloning compared to a Full/Normal clone, it takes seconds instead of minutes to clone large VMs.
  • Space savings due to changes are stored in a separated disk (clone’s flat disk).
  • Useful for development environments or if you want to keep the clone just, perform a full clone of it!
  • Deploy as many linked clones as you want, they will reference the snapshot in the Parent VM hence, there is no disk chain on that (except for the snapshot you created of course) and the benefits of replicating .
  • Ongoing changes made in the virtual disk of the source VM don’t affect the linked clones and changes to the disk of the linked don’t affect the parent.
  • It can be performed with the parent VM powered on but, it will have some performance degradation and probably inconsistent data (if for example, the parent VM hosts a DB).

Cons

  • Recommended but not mandatory that the parent VM has to be powered off.
  • There is a storage/disk dependency as the linked clone is created from the parent’s VM snapshot then, if you delete that snapshot, inconsistencies will occur in the clone (and at the end you will delete it).
  • Performance on the destination clone will be impacted (as virtual machines are sharing storage)

 

To conclude

Linked clones have multiple benefits compared to full clones and it has many use cases as we saw before.

You can easily replicate the status of a VM (snapshot) and deploy linked clones to your end-users with all the benefits as for example space savings or the deployment speed.

To end this series, we will look at instant clones, another type of clone that is even faster than linked clones but, with some particularities.

Experience at a local VMUG – Barcelona VMUG

Reading Time: 3 minutes

I am going to talk about my experience at a local VMUG, in my case the VMUG from Barcelona (BCN). It was my first time at a local VMUG event and this is why I decided to share my thoughts about it.

VMUG – What is?

As you probably know VMUG stands for VMware User Group. Basically, you will find an international community of people where they share their experiences and discuss things related to VMware and other technologies.

At your local VMUG, you will find VMUG members that you can meet online or in person, sponsors. There you can find many passionate people about VMware and connect with them, so I highly recommend to attend to the VMUG events as it is a great experience to learn concepts or technologies and connect with a lot of people.

There are many communities around the world if you want to find your local VMUG go and register at https://www.vmug.com/

vmug_booth

VMUG – Why attend?

Because you won’t regret it!

I didn’t imagine that the environment and people were so good, everyone is passioned about technology, mainly VMware things, and you can hear their stories and share experiences that both probably lived in your life.

Hence, it doesn’t matter if you’re presenting or attending your local VMUG, the thing is to go there, meet people and learn about the sessions! You will find that a lot of people share some passion for VMware and technology so, don’t be shy to say hello and try to meet them.

Presenting at a local VMUG

I’ve been involved in this local VMUG for a year approximately but, I never had the chance to attend any event. Since VMworld I didn’t hear anything about a new event so, I spoke with the VMUG forum about when would be a new event and finally, it ended with myself presenting my session.

In my case, I presented a session (in Spanish) about Clones in vSphere (I’ll do a post about presenting in the near future) on March, 15th.vmug_present_aboutme

You didn’t expect something like my case, I was lucky to present at my first time in this event but, usually, it’s better to go there and meet the people before presenting and not in the other way.

Final thoughts

I am glad that I finally was able to attend and meet a lot of VMUG members, you can learn a lot from people through their sessions and also make connections that will be valuable in the future.

I would highly recommend attending and experience the passion of VMUG members and the knowledge that you can gather from them.

Also, I would like to acknowledge the VMUG leaders from the BCN VMUG for letting me present and the sponsors that make it possible.

I hope to see everyone in the next event!

Cloning virtual machines in vSphere series – Part 2: Full clone

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Continuing with the cloning virtual machines in vSphere series, today I am going to write about the full clone, how it works and some useful information about it.

So, let’s talk about clones… but just full clones.

clones_thematrix

How does it work?

As you probably know a full clone is an exact copy of a source VM, meaning that, everything from the parent VM is copied (VM settings, disks, files, etc.).

This action can be performed if the parent VM is powered off or powered on and, if it has snapshots it will consolidate them once the clone is done.

Fullclone_process

When you clone a VM be aware that, all data will be identical so, if you power on the clone without performing any customization, probably you will have conflicts with IPs, MAC addresses, SIDs (Windows), etc.

The great thing about a full clone is that, after the cloning operations are performed the clone will be an independent copy of a virtual machine that doesn’t share anything with the parent virtual machine (we are talking about from a compute and storage perspective within vSphere).

Ways to do it

First of all, you will need VMware vCenter to do it.

There are other ways (not official) like copying all data related to the virtual machine (.vmdk and .vmx files) and then register the “new” VM with another name.

Let’s continue with the usual ways:

vSphere Web Client

You can do it through vSphere Web Client, as simple as, right-click a VM -> “Clone to Virtual Machine…” :

vSphereWebClient_clone

Once it finishes, it takes some time (depends on the storage that the source VM has allocated) but in the end, you will have your new clone.

Likely you are more familiar about deploying templates…

Deploying a template is the same as cloning but. aside from copying the same data from the parent virtual machine, vSphere lets you customize the deployed VM for creating many clones and with different configurations as you wish.

PowerCLI

Of course, you can do it with PowerCLI. These are the minimal parameters needed to perform it (Disk Storage Format parameter is optional but recommended because, by default, it will convert all disks to Thick Provision Eager Zeroed):PowerCLIwithPercentatge_clone

New-VM -Name <CloneName> -VMHost <VMHost> -VM <VirtualMachineSourceVM> [-DiskStorageFormat <VirtualDiskStorageFormat>]

In the previous screenshot, you can see the minimum parameters required to perform a full clone, if you want to see more options you can check it here.

As you can see in the code, it’s similar to deploying a template, isn’t it?

Use cases

The main use case is deploying from a template, maybe we are not aware but, deploying from a template is just cloning our source VM (Master template) and then customizing it.

I saw many customers use it as a “rollback” when they have to perform a destructive task within the Guest OS. In this way, just shutting down the parent VM and powering on the clone.

If you think a snapshot can do the same as a clone well, not always… some applications don’t handle well doing a quiesced snapshot.

This is why, as a solution, you can create a full clone when the virtual machine is powered off and then, have a copy that will be consistent and without corruption.

Another use case could be to perform a full clone to use it in other environments. Although there are better ways to do this (with other products), when the Guest OS has many customizations, this can be an alternative solution of re-creating the entire virtual machine.

Benefits and limitations

The benefits of a full clone were mentioned before:

  • If the cloning operation is executed when the source VM is powered off, it can be used as a rollback in many cases (there are better options like a VM backup but, it can help a lot).
  • Creation of an independent VM that shares nothing with the source VM.
  • Used in templates, so, they are very useful!

These are some limitations instead of disadvantages that we can find:

  • It takes some time to create a full clone (it depends on the allocated storage) as it has to copy all storage from the source VM.
  • It can only be performed with VMware vCenter (there are other ways as I explained before but they are not official).
  • If done when the VM is powered on, it has an impact on the source VM that can be noticed by the business so, isn’t the best option to do it while the virtual machine is in running.

Conclusion

To sum up, a full clone is a great way to have an identical copy of another VM to use it as a permanent virtual machine once you configure it accordingly.

As said before, is the same as deploying a template because you are just cloning a VM (deploying a template) and then customizing it.

It usually takes some minutes to finish the clone (depending on the storage allocated in the parent VM), this is why there are other ways to deploy clones in a faster way (on the next posts!).

Cloning virtual machines in vSphere series – Part 1: Types of clone

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Most of you already know how to clone virtual machines within vSphere, and I mean cloning from the vSphere Web client within vCenter but, beyond that, there are other types of clones you can use in vCenter like, Linked Clones or Instant Clones (aka Project Fargo/VMfork)

Due to the large content that can be discussed about each clone’s type, I decided to make a short series of posts talking about cloning VMs!

 

Types of clone

Here I will summarize each type of clone that exists in vSphere, some of them are used in different products or interfaces but in the end, all of them are accessible through PowerCLI.

Full clone

This is the “classic” clone you can perform in vSphere Web Client no matter which is the VM’s status (powered on or off), that you can perform a copy of the VM.

If you want to perform a consistent clone, it’s recommended that you power off the VM and then perform the clone.

This is an independent copy and has no dependency from the parent virtual machine after the clone is complete (meaning that you can remove the parent VM if you need it).

The main advantage is that you can have a reliable copy of the Parent VM (remember this is not a backup) if you want to replace it. As this is a full copy of the VM (it will copy the entire disk), this might take several minutes depending on the size of the VM.

After you perform it, remember that everything will be the same then, all configuration (SID, network configuration, hostname, etc.) within the VM will be identical hance, it can lead to problems if both VMs co-exist at the same time without the proper configuration.

FullClone
Full clone

Linked clone

Is a clone made from a snapshot of the Parent VM. This means that both VMs (the Linked clone and the parent VM) have in common virtual disks.

So, the linked clone is dependent on the parent VM, meaning that the linked clone needs access to the parent VM. The clone must be done while the Parent VM is powered off (as a best practice).

Once a linked clone is performed, changes on the parent VM doesn’t affect the linked clone and in the other way, changes in the linked clone don’t affect the original VM. Mainly the benefits of using linked clones are:

  • Saving disk space because only the differences between the origin snapshot and the linked clone are allocated and the fast.
  • Quickly deploy tens or hundreds of VMs in a fast way as it doesn’t need to copy the entire disk.

This is a technology commonly used in VMware Horizon View to provide desktop deployment (rapidly deploy a lot of VMs). The thing is that we can also use it with PowerCLI without having Horizon View and use it for more use cases.

LinkedClone
Linked clone

Instant clone

Similar to the linked clone, Instant Clone is like an improved version of linked clone technology. This is something “new” in vSphere 6.7 as is available through the API.

Like the linked clone technology, there is a parent VM which will share the disk with the clone (Instant clone) but, in this case, it will share the memory too (even if TPS is disabled).

There are two types of Instant Clones that I will explain in more detail in the next posts but, as a summary, you can do an instant clone from a source VM from a point in time and deliver many VMs (instant clones) as you want.

The Parent VM must be powered-on instead of powered off like other types of clones, in this way, it can provide even a faster way to deploy VMs because it will not require to power-cycle the Instant Clones.

As benefits, we will have the same as in Linked Clones technology plus memory efficiency (because it shares memory between VMs) and the ability to resume the VM in a point of time without power cycling the clone.

In the other hand, depending on which type of instant clone you can run with a lot of delta disks.

InstantClone
Instant clone

So…

I tried to summarize each clone’s type that we can perform within vSphere and if you want to read more, stay tuned to go in more detail in the coming series of posts related to cloning VMs within vSphere.

 

IT skills: Which gap to fill?

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Regarding this nice article, I read while ago from Eric Shanks: https://theithollow.com/2018/03/26/fill-skills-tank/.

I decided to write about it as it’s always in my mind since he published it. In particular, I will talk about what we should learn in order to fill a gap for a position/job in any technology and my experience.

Which path to choose?

I started learning Microsoft (MS) products and then I learned other technologies like Virtualization, Cloud, Storage, etc. In any case, you don’t have to worry about which would be your first technology because you can move later if you realize it doesn’t fit you.

For example, you can start learning Linux  (I hope I had taken that path!) instead of Windows and then move to Windows or learning about Storage, any path would be correct as long as you continue to learn the same technology or a new one.

When you start learning, you have an idea of what do you want to learn: Network, Cloud, Storage, etc. and then try to master that technology or move on to another one. Hence, you must start somewhere in order to grow your knowledge and then, you will decide which technology or technologies do you want to focus on.

As soon as you start you will notice if you like or not, but choose one!

Knowledge lost as a tank with a leak.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, Eric Shanks mentioned in his blog https://theithollow.com/2018/03/26/fill-skills-tank/ , is like filling a tank (which drains as time passes by) with your knowledge:

When you learn a new topic it stays in your mind (won’t drain) as long as you keep using it, hence you will gain different levels of knowledge within the topic, in some years maybe you will achieve an advance and then maybe an expert level or maybe not, as not everyone has the ease to learn things. Also, remember that to maintain a certain level you must update your wisdom (due to the topic is always acquiring new updates or features) about the topic and therefore more effort and time to put on.

You can try to learn other things and try to earn the same level of knowledge in each one but, it can be tough to do…You must spend a lot of time updating the different topics and to maintain it. So, we should try to fill our tank with the knowledge we really want or desire (by testing, reading, writing, etc.), in this way, we could maintain a great level of wisdom but, nothing is more useful than practising!

In my personal experience, when you are learning something new (by reading or watching videos) at the end, there is nothing more useful than practising it in a lab, even if you know the steps.

It’s really a way to ingrain in your mind those steps and if you fail when deploying a new product or feature it’s even better 🙂

Filling the gap, but which?

This is what I really wanted to talk.

Sometimes, it can be really hard to achieve a new position because you notice that there are some gaps between your skills and the desired position/job.

About dream jobs…

For example, if your dream position is to be a Technical Architect, you must be good enough in a lot of topics (networking, storage, virtualization, soft skills, etc.) but, can be very difficult to earn expertise on each area(without mentioning the soft skills needed).

As you know, each matter has sub-matters, for example,  if you want to learn VMware, you can learn the Server virtualization platform (vSphere) but, there are other areas like Storage virtualization platform (vSAN) and Network virtualization and Security platform (NSX) for example.

So, here we see that you can be an expert on vSphere but, a lot of positions will demand that you know about vSAN or NSX for example, and you spent a lot of time and effort on being a great expert on vSphere.Then,  do you really need to gain an advanced level before applying to a position that requires it?

Well, it depends, you should figure it out with the Recruiter but at least earn an entry level in the skills that the job requests.

We can conclude that to achieve that position, you must do an approach to each technology so, it usually takes a lot of years of experience and learning

About filling the gap

Another example, if you are a Windows Administrator and now you want to learn about Azure, well, it’s related to Microsoft but it’s different than learning about an another OS. In this case, you should gain knowledge in areas like Storage, Networking and maybe some coding skills.

Hence, we can conclude that you should try to learn at least a bit of every technology (related to your main knowledge) and trying to maintain/update your knowledge in those areas.

Also, bear in mind that the more you learn about different topics, the more you “lose” in other ones, so, my personal advice is to stay close of what do you want to learn and don’t be shy to learn about what you don’t.

 

 

 

 

Experience at VMworld 2018 Europe – Day 3 and Day 4

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Reading Time: 3 minutes

To finish these posts about VMworld  2018 Europe, I am going to summarize day 3 and day 4 together as day 4 is usually the less busy of all of them (people usually leave in the morning).

On day 3 (Wednesday), I rest like 5-6 hours (pretty normal to me) after spending some part of the night at the Veeam Party. I made it to be at the enclosure at 8:30 AM because at 9:00 it will start the second general session.

I grabbed some coffee and go to the correspondent Hall, the same as the day before.

2nd General Session

For me it was a weaker session than on the previous day but, I was great.

Here you have a link to the Youtube video of the session: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5W_8t6F_yY0

In the previous post, I forgot to mention the VMware ESXi on a Raspberry PI as a prototype, that Pat and Ray showed us, really cool.

vCommunity, vStreetfighter and more

I must say that I had like 4 sessions scheduled on Wednesday and I only went to a couple of those. The most of the time I was hanging with people from the vCommunity and playing also I played some Street Fighter V in the gaming area. We have a group for that, check out #vstreetfighter for some tweets on Twitter and join us!

First, let me show us a couple of fights that I had against Bilal Ahmed (I lost and I don’t how yet…). You can check here that Gregg Robertson offered a challenge against me at the gaming area.

 

Another picture I took from him while been interviewed (Will we see this interview at any time?)

 

With Brett Guarino who, is really a nice guy and chatted a lot with him!

 

Here a blurry photo with Chris Williams! Also, there is half Val there! haha

I can’t be happier to be able to meet these persons and more that I didn’t mention or couldn’t take a photo. When you are there, the time passes by quick and because of this, I  didn’t go to some sessions (I knew that I could watch them later at home).

I enjoyed having dinner with Chris a couple of times, hanging a lot in the Solutions Exchange area or with Jorge de la Cruz to everywhere.

Thank you to Virtual Speaking Podcast for the Headphones, I was the lucky winner!

VMparty

I was there about an hour or so and there I went with Jorge de la Cruz to have dinner in a nice restaurant.

There was plenty of fast food: hamburgers, nachos, seafood, candy and more… so, if you want to feel full, you can’t go there!

Also, a Rolling Stones tribute band was there and they played really well!

The end

Well, I left around 5 PM and say goodbye to some people that still there.
It only would have been better if Gregg Robertson and Ariel Sanchez were been there.

And that’s all! Last post of the year obviously because it’s the last day.

P.S. : I forgot to mention I took a photo with someone… Rodney Mullen!

Experience at VMworld 2018 Europe – Day 2

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Today I am going to explain from my personal experience, the Day 2 at VMworld 2018 Europe, lots of networking, some technical sessions, events and the Solutions Exchange.

Before moving forward, I forgot to mention that I met in my first day a nice guy, Daniel Paluszek @dpaluszek, we had a great conversation and he should be known as the vCloud Director guy ;).

vBreakfast

If you don’t what is, check it here: http://www.vbrain.info/2018/10/14/vmworld-emea-2018-vbreakfast-2018-edition/

Thank you, Fred for doing this kind of things! In this case, Abdullah Abdullah @do0dzZZ was the host for this year as Fred couldn’t assist.

I woke up at 6 AM… a bit painful but, some sacrifices needed to be done when you are not at the office! It started at 7:00 AM but, I arrived around 7:30 AM or so.

And I arrived… a lot of people were sitting there! I had the chance met some people I already know from Twitter and others that not. We had great conversations there meanwhile we tried to eat some toasts with iberian ham and also a bit of omelet.

There I met finally Chris Williams @mistwire and Alastair Cooke @DemitasseNZ part of the vBrownbag crew! And also, more folks like @matjovanovic, @uprightvinyl.

The first General Session

I arrived at the hall and sit wherever I could and what a nice session…with some announcements and great stories to hear!

VMworld Europe 18 – 1st General Session

Besides the newer versions of VCF, Horizon, AppVolumes and more, the more interesting for me was the acquisition of Heptio and the announcement of VMware Cloud PKS (it will be expanded to Azure in the future!).

If you want to watch it, you can do it here: https://www.vmworld.com/en/europe/learning/general-sessions.html

After that, I had plenty of time to meet more people and attending a couple of technical sessions.

The best time, the vCommunity

The best time of all of this is the #vCommunity and the networking that you can do. I met a lot of people there and I couldn’t be happier to have done it.

I met an amazing person and famous (amazing) blogger here in Spain, if you don’t who is, please do it! He’s Jorge de la Cruz (@jorgedlcruz) and nowadays works for Veeam. He’s just a blogger machine (I don’t know anyone who posts more than this man). In their blogs, he has information about anything! You can check it out here: https://www.jorgedelacruz.es/ and https://jorgedelacruz.uk/

Selfie with Jorge de la Cruz

A couple of selfies I took this day with some vBrownbag’s members!

This day, I also meet there Héctor Herrero @nheobug, Federico Cinalli @FCinalliP and Xavier Genestós @sysadmit.

The Solutions Exchange

A thing you can’t miss, the Solutions Exchange. A lot of partners in this Hall where you can chat with people that work in the company and have great discussions, gather some swag and maybe you can win something in the raffle (yes, a lot of companies offered free tickets and there were big prizes like a Nintendo Switch, Apple Watch, etc.) !

Veeam’s party

I was so lucky to be invited to this party and what a nice party! I only can say that there were good drinks, food and of course music! It was in a famous discotheque called Apollo.

Bad quality picture from the Veeam party

I know it’s not the best quality but, is just to show you how it looked:

And that’s all… I had to leave “early”, around 12 AM as I had to commute by train so, I didn’t have a chance to stay and enjoy this party.

P.S.: I forgot to mention that each day there is a free lunch in a specific area where you can grab food. The lunchtime I think that I was delivered between 12:00 – 2:00 PM

The next  post, the third day!

Experience at VMworld 2018 Europe – Day 1

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Let me talk to you about my experience on my first VMworld! This is a personal experience I want to share about Day 1 at VMworld 2018 Europe.

Introduction

I live in Barcelona so, I am fortunate that I don’t need to travel to go to the VMworld Europe. The only thing is to commute by train between home and Fira Barcelona (where VMworld is established).

It was Monday, November 5th, 2018. I woke up around 6 AM and took the train to arrive at 8 AM approximately.

This is how the entrance looked:

Inside VMworld

I picked up my badge (using a QR code from the VMworld app) and headed to the VMvillage (the main place on this event).

After taking some pictures… I went to take a lab at the HOL Lounge, why? Because I wanted to try new labs, there are more slots available and I wanted to feel an experience like that at VMworld. Also, you learn some coins for the VMware code ( http://vmwcc.com/).

The first day is the calm day, I mean, the Solutions Exchange (where partners have their booths) is not opened and there are less interesting sessions (at least for my self) than other days. People usually are on TAM/Partners sessions or maybe they come on Tuesday.

I explored every enclosure’s corner and checked where were all Halls  (to not waste more time the next day). There was food everywhere, from sandwiches to pastries and of course coffee, you could pick it on any lounge or at the VMvillage for free.

In the middle of the VMvillage, there was a Gaming Area with a  table tennis table, pinball machines, a giant table football and more things… my favourite part, the Arcade machines with a lot of games!

I was eager to meet some people I met on Twitter and of course, I did it!

The first person I met was Graham Barker @VirtualG_UK an awesome guy who which I spent some time in the beginning, now I am thinking we didn’t take a selfie…

Also, I met Angelo Luciani @AngeloLuciani, very kind guy! He takes selfies with a lot of people and always open to anyone, I chatted with him a bit and it was a pleasure.

See you…tomorrow!

At the end of the day, I had some workshops to attend and couldn’t meet more people (obviously some of them are busy in the first day) but this only was the beginning of an awesome journey that will start at the next day, when the action begins.

I returned home early as I had things to do and also on the next day vBreakfast will be awaiting me (at 7:00 AM).

So, the first day was a great experience, is more dedicated for the partners but maybe you can network with people that on the next days will have no time (as probably you).

In the next post, the second day, hasta la vista!

Pre-VMworld 2018 Europe – Expectations and information

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VMworld 2018 Europe is only a week away! And I wanted to explain you share expectations and information I found about. It will be my 1st time!

VMworld Location

As you may know, VMworld Europe is located in Fira Barcelona between 5-8th of November. As it’s in Barcelona, I am able to assist without paying any trip (I live close to the city).

Main information

When: 5-8 November 2018
Where: Barcelona, Spain | Exact location: https://goo.gl/maps/eR8cFyow89q
Agenda: https://www.vmworld.com/en/europe/agenda.html
If you want to register:
https://www.vmworld.com/en/europe/index.html

A quick guide from VMware before going: https://blogs.vmware.com/vmworld/2018/07/vmworld-guide.html

Events

At VMworld, there are a lot of events happening before, during and after. You can join them free or by invitation. Be quick to register as some events will close earlier…

All events (parties, meetings, etc.):
http://www.vbrain.info/2018/10/09/vmworld-emea-2018-parties-gatherings-events-and-more/
http://www.running-system.com/vmworld-2018-barcelona-party-list/

I will be attending vBreakfast: http://www.vbrain.info/2018/10/14/vmworld-emea-2018-vbreakfast-2018-edition/

Also, I’ll be at VMFest on Wednesday and maybe other parties but I can’t assure anything.

Expectations

I am going every day except for Thursday that I’ll leave before 1 PM.

My schedule is built with sessions, workshops, parties (just a couple) and obviously a couple of hours of free time, to network and do whatever I want (also relax, as it seems that can be exhausting). Remember that all sessions will be recorded so if you can’t attend it, you can watch it later.

About the parties, I won’t be able to stay too late because I need to come back home and we have more days to enjoy VMworld.

If you want to talk or something (like play some video games), you can find me on Twitter (I am really active). I’ll be open to everyone in the community!

Even I know I am not a famous guy, (and don’t pretend to be it), talking with new people can be satisfying and it’s always great to meet someone new.  If you are shy you could try to engage someone on Twitter and let him/her know that you are there!

As it is my 1st time I can’t give any advice on this, you should check other blogs for that.

P.S. I wanted to meet especially (among other people) Ariel (@arielsanchezmora) but it couldn’t be as he can’t assist.

See you there and enjoy Barcelona!

Dan Belmonte

 

 

VCAP6-DCV Deploy exam experience

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Hi! I am going to talk about my VCAP6-DCV Deploy exam experience.

I thought about making a huge post about the VCAP6-DCV experience (resources, notes, etc.) but, I don’t want to overwhelm you know. Hence, I am going to make another post for that, hence this post will be shorter and more readable.

1st attempt (Java error at the beginning)

At September, 21st I sat down to take my first attempt in a VCAP exam. I was confident because I was studying the previous 10 weeks approximately and I covered all the objectives.

Well, my exam was scheduled at 10:00 AM, I sat down and my exam starts. The interface is exactly the same as the HOLs, so, if you familiarized with it, you will gain a lot of time!

The lab was deploying and the manual on the right side showed some information but as soon as the lab finishes to deploy…bum!

A Java error appeared: Java error: Unhandled Exception, then I pressed OK and my exam finishes itself!

I contacted the TA and she told me that my exam was finished, and I was like “What? In 2 minutes?”. After spending some hours with Pearson VUE, the TA (Test Administrator) opened a case with Pearson VUE and I left the Test Center.

I left with a feeling that this test center has serious issues, the TA didn’t know how to speak in English (I was taking it in Barcelona, Spain) and finally, I ended talking my self with Pearson VUE and explaining the problem. They couldn’t do anything as my exam was finished (it wasn’t my fault obviously)

A week later I received a voucher code for my crashed exam.

2nd attempt (Manual stuck in loading)

This second attempt was scheduled at October, 5th. I rescheduled in another Test Center as I didn’t trust the TA for that Test Center.

The problem you face with the VCAP exams is that they are delivered in fewer Test Centers, therefore, there are  less available spots to take it. I found another Test Center here in Barcelona, so I scheduled there even I didn’t know that one.

Well, my exam started at 10:00 am, the server’s console loaded correctly after the lab was deployed (nice!) but, the manual didn’t appear, there was only a grey window without content.

After waiting for 5 minutes, I spoke with the TA, and he told me to wait another 5 minutes. So, as expected, the manual was stuck loading and even trying to stop and start the exam didn’t fix the problem.

Hence, the TA contacts Pearson VUE and Pearson VUE fixed the problem this time! But what happened with all the time I lost in my exam? Well, the TA told me Pearson VUE would contact with VMware and the time will be added meanwhile I am taking it.

At that time, the exam started again but I had a weird feeling about.

In the exam, I finished writing down each question number and a brief description on the erasable board, in this manner, I could check quickly which questions I can take first and cross out which I have done.

It was curious that at times, backspace and shift keys worked in Putty. Also, occasionally, during 5-10 minutes I experienced quite delay with the Web Client. I continued with the exam, contacted with the TA about the time but no response from Pearson VUE and time were running out…

The time isn’t going to be added, hence, I had to left like 4 or 5 empty questions because I didn’t have more time (I lost 30 minutes) and the exam finalizes automatically. I felt bad because of the 30 mins. would be nice to try other questions.

After that, I spoke with the TA and he opened a case with Pearson VUE about the time lost. One hour later, I received my score report, 278/500 (almost got it!).

After a few days, Pearson VUE reviewed my case and, as I was close to passing the exam (remember that you need 300/500), I suppose they decided to give me another voucher code, so I felt good about the free re-schedule but bad for the score and the time lost.

3rd attempt (Redeployed lab and final attempt)

Well, this is really a lie, because I “took” 2 exams in a row. Let me explain…

On October, 16th, my exam was scheduled at 10:00 AM, I studied a bit the previous night just to remember some things. My last attempt was 11 days ago and I was focused on other things so, it’s always good to brush up some concepts.

Well, the exam started and the lab was deploying itself… then, it appeared a notification like “Query not found”. This time the manual loaded correctly, but the pop-up appeared all the time, appearing and disappearing, and the console didn’t load as the error appears instead.

Therefore, the TA (Test Administrator) contacted Pearson VUE and for my surprise, Pearson VUE this time could contact VMware quite fast. The TA told me that VMware was going to redeploy another lab (Now my time wasn’t wasted at all!) and I could try in 30 minutes.

Finally, I tried again and it worked correctly, the manual and console loaded correctly so, I took the exam. The connection seemed a bit better so I can’t complain about. Also, the backspace and shift keys worked as in my previous exam, therefore, I took advantage of it.

Now, I tried to answer all questions (I left 1 answer empty because I didn’t want to lose more time) and I finished my exam (well the lab finished and it closes automatically) with a good feeling.

In 1 hour approximately I received the email and…a PASS! Couldn’t be happier! Finally, a full exam without issues made me pass the exam!

Conclusion

I can do a recap of what I learned about my experience with that exam and all the issues I experienced:

  • If you have any problem, contact your TA, don’t waste time to wait for the manual or console to load.
  • Test if backspace and shift keys work! I was concerned that these keys were blocked but I was able to use it and avoid the On-Screen keyboard, maybe it can work for you.
  • Manage your time, manage your time. Everything you will read about this exam (or new ones) is about managing your time and I couldn’t agree more.
  • Use the erasable board! I used to write down each question number and a brief description, it helped me to know if I was running out of time and focus in the “easy” questions.
  • Be aware of the dates, it was like a month ago since I scheduled the first attempt, so, if you are going to take it because your certification is expiring, be sure to schedule it in advance.

I am not going sugar coat the fact that I was happy with the exam’s delivery because I suffered many issues…but, finally, with some patience it was paid-off.

I hope this can be helpful for someone and I will write another post about the resources and how I prepared my self about this exam.

 

Thanks for reading!

Dan Belmonte