VCP6-Cloud Exam – Thoughts

PassedExam

This past Saturday I was very pleased to pass my VCP6-Cloud exam. More specifically exam VCPC-610. I thought I’d give my general thoughts and tips for anyone about to take it. I honestly found google searches and forum posts to be limited, but that’s probably just because these exams have all been updated recently, and no doubt aren’t as main stream as the VCP-DCV versions.

First of all, I’d have to say the blueprint is massive. VMware clearly wants you to not just know vRealize Automation (vCAC), but all of the products that connect into the SDDC. At times it can seem like a bit of a sales pitch, but I highly recommend you don’t spend all your time focusing just on vRA. I read the NSX Administrators guide the day before the exam and I was glad I did. I think it may have also helped to take the VCP-DCV exam, or at least have studied for it before. This would have had the added benefit of giving me an up to date VCP-DCV certification while also preparing me for the VCP6-Cloud exam. I previously have held a VCP4 and VCP5 so thankfully this all seemed very familiar, but there were definitely a few questions on storage paths that I scratched my brain on for a while before committing to an answer.

I’d say overall there’s a good mix…and it probably goes something like this:

  • vRealize Automation – 50% – The main focus of the exam, but make sure to cover the other areas below.
  • NSX – 10% – Make sure you know how to configure the appliance and how it ties into vRA. Knowing SNATs and DNATs was essential. I was happy last week that my colleague, Tim Curless, had just completed a new NSX Multi Machine blueprint in the Ahead vRA lab which we had been talking about.
  • vCloud Connector – 5% – I didn’t study up enough on this but there were some questions around it that I have no idea if I got right or not.
  • vRealize Orchestrator – 5% – more just how it relates to vRA. Know how to connect stubs to vRA, and how to configure an advanced service and you’re good to go.
  • vSphere – 25% – Definitely a big chunk on vSphere including performance, troubleshooting. There were a lot of questions around DVS and host failures. Usual stuff on how to restore a vmnic to get management back. Nothing that was crazy difficult except the odd question they throw in to stump you.
  • vCOPs – 5% – Some questions around  troubleshooting and performance. I’d say this was the part I didn’t spend any time on really and I got away with it.

All I can really add is just make sure you study the blueprint and make sure you’ve spent considerable amount of time in vRA. I highly recommend going over the IaaS guides in great detail as well. Not only did it help me fort he exam, but I definitely learned about some new updates that had passed me by.

pdflist

My reading material…

Overall great exam. VMWare did a nice job making sure you have all the fundamental knowledge across all their products, and not just vRA.

Please respond and share your experience! Would love to know how others felt about the exam, and if you’ve taken the VCAP Cloud certs yet?

 

 

Automating Tintri with vRO Part 4: Create Tintri Snapshot on VMware Virtual Machine

In this section I’m going to walk through utilizing the workflow I created to initiate a Tintri Snapshot on your Virtual Machine.

Pre Requisites:

1. Completed Part 3 verifying that you can get a Tintri UUID from a virtual machine.
2. Have a Virtual Machine in vCenter which is running on the Tintri VM Store.
3. Import the latest Tintri Workflow Package I created and uploaded to FlowGrab.

The Tintri Snapshot

It would take far too long to go into all the details of snapshots and how they work, so instead I’m going to refer you to this PDF from Tintri. This gives a detailed overview.

However, to be a little more clear, the workflow we are executing here is going to complete the equivalent of selecting a VM in the Tintri GUI and selecting “Take snapshot…” as shown in the image below.

snapui1

 

Note, that these snapshots will NOT appear in the vSphere client UI. This is expected.

If we want to view all the Tintri snapshots upon the VM, we can also select “View snapshots”, and the list will be displayed.

snapui2

 

Executing the snapshots with vRO

So we have a great feature within Tintri, but we don’t really want to go to the Tintri UI every time. By having the vRO workflow, we can execute them directly from within vCenter or as a Day 2 action within vRealize Automation.

Step 1: Import the latest package from FlowGrab

After importing the package you should see some additional vRO workflows and actions.

vROflowgrab

vROflowgrabActions

As you can see there are 2 SnapVM workflows. The “FG-Tintri-SnapVM” workflow just encapsulates the action “tintriSnapVMfromUUID”. The 2nd workflow “FG-Tintri-GetUUIDandSnapVM” combines all the workflows from Parts 2 and 3 to create the REST session and get the Tintri UUID. As a general rule I try always create the “lego brick” workflow, and then create a larger workflow to wrap all the pieces I need. I include them both, as there may be creative workflows you want to create and need to do multiple snaps etc.

vROflowgrabSchema

Step 2: Run the workflow

Run the vRO workflow and put in your REST Host, VM, and Snapshot name.

snapVMinputs

Check the logs to verify you received a successful snapshot creation.

snaplogs

The number that is returned at the end is actually the Snapshot UUID from Tintri. If you login to Tintri you should see your snapshot listed in the GUI.

snapVMvROUIresultIn addition if you browse to “https://YourTintriIP/api/v310/vm” you will see this listed as the current latest snapshot for your virtual machine.

snapshotID-JSONThat’s it. You can now successfully Tintri snapshot your VMware Virtual Machines using vRO! At the end of the series I’ll be showing how to add these to vRealize Automation as Day 2 Actions.

What’s next…

Part 5: Automating Tintri Sync VM with vRO – Expected June 2nd

 

 

 

 

Automating Tintri with vRO Part 3: Get UUID from VMware Virtual Machine

In this section I’m going to walk through utilizing the workflow I created to get the Tintri UUID from a VMware Virtual Machine.

Why do I need this workflow?

In order for us to be able to perform any actions against VMs from the Tintri perspective, we need to know the UUID of the VM. This workflow allows us to get it.

Pre Requisites:

1. Completed Part 2 verifying that you can create a session to your Tintri VM Store and are able to return a JSESSION ID.
2. Have a Virtual Machine in vCenter which is running on the Tintri VM Store you tested in Part 2.
3. Import the latest Tintri Workflow Package I created and uploaded to FlowGrab.

What is the Tintri UUID?

The Tintri UUID is the unique object identifier for which we need to reference when performing any Tintri operations against the Virtual Machine. This is how Tintri sees the virtual machine as opposed to VMware which uses the Managed Object Reference for the vCenter object.

For example, in VMware we have this VM:

demovm

If we look in vRealize Orchestrator, you can see that the Managed object reference for this VM is:

demovmvRO

In Tintri we have the same VM

demovmTintri

If we take it a step further and look at the Tintri API in your browser, you will see that Tintri has both values for the VM. The VM MOR, and the Tintri UUID. Our goal here is to get the Tintri UUID, so we can perform REST operations against it, like Snapshot, Replication, and Sync VM which are in the next set of posts.

tintriuuid

Step 1: Import the package you downloaded from FlowGrab

Once imported you should see some additional vRO workflows, and Actions.

newworkflows

Step 2: Take a peak inside the workflows

If you look in the workflow for Tintri-Session and Get UUID you will notice that this workflow includes the workflow from Part 2a for Creating the session as well as the other workflow we just imported.

sessionuuidworkflow

We first run the Create Session workflow, store the JSESSIONID as a general attribute, and then run the GetUUID fromVM workflow using the JSESSIONID we stored from the previous workflow.

visualbinding1

 

visualbinding2

Step 3: Run the workflow

Run the workflow and select a Virtual Machine.

runworkflow1

Check the logs and make a note of the MOR and UUID.

workflowrunlogs

Take a look in vRO at the VM from the inventory view and should see the Managed object reference matches the VM you selected.

Take a look in the Tintri API from your browser, and do a search for the MOR. You should see the matching Tintri UUID there as well.

What now…

Now we are able to successfully get the UUID, we can start to perform Tintri actions upon the VM using vRO. In the next part of the series we will be going through executing a Tintri Snapshot on the VM.

Part 4: vRO workflow: Tintri Snapshot a Virtual Machine – coming Tuesday May 26.

 

Automating Tintri with vRO Part 2: Create REST Session

In this post I’m going to walk you through utilizing the vRO workflow I’ve developed for creating a Tintri session over REST. This is the first workflow in the series, and without it, none of the subsequent workflows can be utilized.

Why do I need this workflow?

In order to complete REST requests against the Tintri API, an authenticated session is required. This workflow authenticates with the Tintri REST API, and returns the JSESSION ID. This JSESSIONID variable is then utilized for each of the REST requests in the next set of operations.

Pre Requisites:

1. Tintri VM Store Configured and accessible via REST
2. vRealize Orchestrator installed and configured
3. Download the vRO workflow package from Flowgrab

Step 1: Add your Tintri REST Host

First of all make sure you have the vRealize Orchestrator REST plugin installed. The REST plugin should have been configured automatically when you installed vRealize Orchestrator.

Run the “Add a REST host” workflow to add your Tintri VMstore. If like most users, you have more than one Tintri appliance, go ahead and repeat this process to add all of them.

addresthost

addresthost2

Choose “No” for Use Proxy

addresthost3

Choose “None” for Host’s authentication type

addresthost4

 

If everything is successful, you should see your Tintri Host listed in your inventory list.

addresthost5

Step 2: Import the Tintri vRO workflow package

Import the workflow package you from Flowgrab.

You will find the following objects now available to you in vRO:

Workflow:

The FG-Tintri-CreateSession workflow uses the action and configuration elements discussed below.

import1

Action:

Right now, you will only see the tintriGetSession action item highlighted below. This is the action item which returns the JSESSIONID.

import2

Configuration Element:

import3

The configuration element was created to store the Tintri UserName as opposed to storing it directly in the vRO workflow as a general attribute.

Edit the Tintri-ConfigurationElement

import4

Select the attributes tab, and input your password for the admin account.

Step 3: Run the workflow and verify we can create a session!

Now for the fun part! Run the FG-Tintri-CreateSession workflow.

workflowrun1

Select your REST Host and click submit.

Check the logs and verify you got a status code of 200 which verifies the session was successfully created, along with the JSESSIONID.

Congratulations, you were able to successfully authenticate with your Tintri VM Store using the REST API.

What next…

Part 3: vRO Workflow: Get a Tintri UUID from vCenter VM Object – scheduled for 05/20 – stay with me!

This next workflow allows us to select a Virtual Machine from vRealize Orchestrator, and returns the UUID from Tintri.

Part 2b: Tintri-CreateSession vRO Workflow Code – Go here if you want to see the code and how this was all created – scheduled for 05/21 – stay with me!

Automating Tintri with vRealize Orchestrator Part 1: Let’s begin!

Welcome to part 1 of my series on Automating Tintri with vRealize Orchestrator.

I’m sure almost everyone visiting my blog knows how awesome Tintri is so I’m not going to go into details of the product. In short, I love it because it’s simple and clones VMs incredibly fast.

The other hidden gem about Tintri is that there very well documented REST API allowing us to do all sorts of nice automation without having to click through the GUI. Recently Tintri announced Sync VM which got me really excited. I love all things DevOps, and when I was talking with Adam Cavaliere and other SQL server Engineers, they immediately saw amazing potential for this. After speaking with a few of my customers who had vRealize Automation, they really loved the idea of being able to have Day 2 Operations for tasks like Snapshotting their VM, and were even more excited about Sync VM and how that could be used.

So after further discussion, we decided to build a vRealize Orchestrator Package including actions, workflows, and all awesome stuff for using Tintri. In this series I’m going to walk you through how I built the package, and how you can use it.

The following workflows are included:

Tintri-CreateSession – Creates a REST Session with your Tintri VMstore. This is needed for all subsequent workflows.

Tintri-GetUUIDfromVM – Allows you to select a Virtual Machine from vRO, and will return the corresponding Tintri UUID. This is needed to perform any actions against Tintri objects.

Tintri-SnapshotVM – Utilizes the 2 workflows above, and then creates a Tintri Snapshot of your VM.

Tintri-SyncVM – Magical! Takes a Source VM and TargetVM, then syncs the VMDKs underneath. Tintri does all the heavy lifting. Check out a great video on this technology at https://www.tintri.com/blog/2015/05/tech-tuesday-manage-data-syncvm-video.

Tintri-ReplicateVM – Also magical! Enable Tintri replication on a VM for DR purposes.

As I release the workflows throughout the series, you will be able to find them on Flowgrab via the SystemsGame Page. If you aren’t already familiar with FlowGrab, I highly recommend you check it out. It’s a great place for sharing workflows with the vRealize Orchestrator community.

Finally, a big thank you to Adam Cavaliere for coming up with these cool ideas and working out all the kinks for the REST API calls in Python first. If you want an expert on Tintri, definitely contact him!

Next: Part 2 – Create REST Session

v-Nick.com is now Systemsgame.com!

As anyone who follows my blog knows, it goes in bursts. I spend a ton of time working with clients on all things Cloud and Automation, but never have enough time to blog about it or get the info out there. Hopefully now that is about to change, and a new name makes all that happen right….right???

Why Systems Game?

I decided my little pun on NIC and my name has come to an end, and most of all I felt like a nice fresh coat of paint was in order. I wanted to think of something that really encompassed what I do on a daily basis. Automation, Orchestration, and Cloud are all related to systems, and well, since I absolutely love my job, and treat it as fun more than work, I figured it was more like a game.
The 2 came together and now we have Systemsgame.com

What’s coming?

I have a list of about 20+ posts to write at the moment around all my work with vRealize Automation, UCS director, the Microsoft stack, vRealize Orchestrator. Starting early next week I will be publishing an awesome series I’ve been working on for some Tintri Storage Automation. Following that I will be publishing a lengthy series on Building a Cloud with vRealize Automation and vRealize Orchestrator, combined with Puppet for Configuration Management.

Thanks for reading, and as always feedback is greatly appreciated!