Hard Work Pays Off

Back in November CloudCred Community Manger Noell Grier reached out on Twitter and asked for help to write VCP Prep tasks for CloudCred.

cc-noelI responded and told Noell that I would like to volunteer to write some VCP Prep tasks. I had no idea how much or how little was going to be involved.  She responded and let me know that she was happy to have a team mate to help write the tasks.  At this point I was worried that I might have bitten off more than I could chew. Noell then sent me an email with details on what on section of the VCP5 blueprint I should write tasks for. Luckily, she also sent me a template that helped writing the tasks a little easier.

After a couple months of writing tasks and inputting them on the CloudCred website, the VCP Prep tasks were ready to be launched.  So the VCP Tasks were launched and the CloudCred website had a record numbers of users visit the site and complete tasks.  It felt awesome to be part of something that was taking off really well. cc-statIt was then announced that tasks that were submitted by users would be entered to win a Dell laptop.  This really encouraged my to write more tasks and help finish writing tasks for the whole VCP 5 blueprint.cc-dell-04

Three other users joined the team and helped complete the VCP Prep tasks –  Nigel Hickey (@vCenterNerd), Andrea Mauro (@Andrea_Mauro), and Mike Medrano (@GeekieMike).  I really appreciate them volunteering and helping.  It would have taking me way too long to finish it myself.

After months of waiting, it was finally announced that one of the tasks that I had written was completed the most number of times and I had won the Dell laptop. cc-dell-02 cc-dell-01It was a pleasure working with Noell on this project.  She was patient with me while I finished each blueprint section.  I am very grateful for the opportunity to help CloudCred publish the VCP Prep tasks.

Attend 2015 St Louis VMUG User Conference

usercon

The 3rd annual St Louis VMUG User Conference is a week away.  There are many changes this year and new things added to entice you to attend this year.

The big change this year is that the conference will be in downtown St Louis at the Hyatt Regency St. Louis at The Arch.

If you have not attended before or are looking for reasons to attend this year, hear are some reasons to attend this year :

  • The conference is FREE and all day
  • Keynotes presented by Kendrick Coleman and Chris Wahl
  • Attend educational sessions from VMware and partners
  • 40 sponsors
  • Free breakfast and lunch
  • All attendees will receive a gift

Sessions

Attend educational sessions from VMware and partners on topics including:

  • Data Center Management
  • EUC – Desktop Virtualization
  • Hybrid Cloud & Emerging Technologies
  • vSphere & Virtualization
  • Storage & Availability

There will be 3 sessions on the recently announced vSphere 6.  Check out the agenda to see a list of all the sessions.

Home Lab Giveaway

This year we are trying to set the bar high and do something really awesome for our members to help develop their skill set and advance their career goals.

As such, we’re ponying up the cash for the ultimate grand prize: an entire home lab kit comprising of :

  • ProLiant MicroServer Gen8 Ultra Micro Tower Server
  • 16 GB DDR3 Memory Upgrades
  • 2 SSDs: Samsung Electronics 840 EVO-Series 250GB 2.5-Inch SATA III S
  • 1 4 Port Ethernet adapter
  • VMUG Advantage subscription that includes the new EvalExperiance

home-lab

Reception Party

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After the conference the reception party is going to be at the Hyatt Regency Gateway Terrace.  It is on the roof top of the same building that the conference is in.  Free food and drinks will be provided.  This will be the perfect  place to network with fellow VMware administrators, users, employees, and partners

Even if you can’t stay all day, there are many reasons to register and stop by.  So don’t forget to register.

register-now

Voting Open for 2015 Top Virtualization Blogs

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Yes, it’s that time of year again!  it’s time for Eric Siebert’s annual Top vBlog voting contest presented by vSphere-land.com.  Thanks a lot to Eric who puts in a lot of work making sure all the blogs are listed and in the correct categories.  Then he has to collect all the votes, calculate and publish the results.

Infinio is the proud sponsor this year and with over 300 blogs devoted to virtualization it can be a real challenge trying to figure out who to vote for.   Just like last year blogs are put into categories and you can vote for the top blogs in each category.  Here are the categories for this year :

  • Best New Blog (Blog started in 2014)
  • Best Storage Blog (Majority of posts storage related)
  • Best VDI/End-User Computing Blog (Majority of posts VDI/EUC related)
  • Best Scripting Blogger (Majority of posts Scripting related)
  • Best Independent Blogger (Can’t work for VMware or a hardware/software vendor)
  • Best News & Information Website (No blogs)
  • Best Podcast

Put some thought into what blog your are going to vote for.  It is not a popularity contest.  Voting should be based on several factors including # of posts in 2014, length,  and quality.  If you feel my site meets these criteria, please vote for my site.
vote-button1-300x298Go ahead and cast your vote before the cut-off date of early March.

 

 

2015 vExpert Announcement

vExpert

Today the vExpert 2015 list was released. Congratulations to all those that made it!!!

A vExpert is an active member of the VMware community who imparts his/her advanced knowledge on others.  The vExpert program is a way of recognizing people who participate in the community and increase awareness of VMware products and uses. To  learn more about the VMware vExpert program go to VMware Community website.

I am happy and honored to be named a 2015 VMware vExpert.  I submitted my application back in Dec of 2014 and had to wait until Feb 5th to find out that I was accepted.  I submitted my aplication under the evangelist path.

CloudCred VCP5-DCV Exam Prep Tasks Released

Today Cloudcred release the VCP5-DCV tasks.  If you are practicing to take your VCP5-DCV, then these tasks are created just for you.  The tasks will help you validate that you remember what you have been studying.  There are 80+ tasks.  Each tasks was based on the VCP550 Exam Blueprint.  As we all know, certification & re certification are necessities when using and managing VMware products. CloudCred is poised to offer a comprehensive task series that helps professionals get ready for these challenging tests.

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cc-vcp4-task-01

I have been working with Noell L. Grier at VMware to create tasks for the VCP5-DCV Exam .  Part of the motivation to create the tasks for Cloudcred  is that if you are the creator of the task that is most played between now and April 15th, 2014, you’ll take home the Dell laptop!  So please complete the VCP5-DCV tasks with my name so I can win the Dell laptop!!!

If you are not familiar with CloudCred, it is a new cloud computing training and recognition platform where IT pros can show off their cloud computing knowledge and skills and win prizes.  Browse over to http://www.cloudcredibility.com to sign up and learn more about it.  It is 100% free to sign up and use.

Keynote Speakers for 2015 St Louis VMUG User Conference Confirmed

usercon

Yesterday I received word that both keynote speakers for the 2015 St Louis VMUG User Conference have been confirmed.  Both speakers are vExperts and rock-stars in the virtualization world.

One of the speakers is Kendrick Coleman.  He works for VCE, has presented at VMworld and is a contributing author to VMware vSphere Design, 2nd Edition.  You can check out his website www.kendrickcoleman.com/ to see more information about Kendrick.

The second speaker is Chris Wahl.  Chris is a senior solutions architect for AHEAD and VCDX # 104.  He is one of the authors of Networking for VMware Administrators.  He has also published many courses at Pluralsight and presented at VMworld many times.  Check out his website www.wahlnetwork.com to see more information about Chris.

The User Conference is Thursday March 19th.  If you have not registered, please browse over to the St Louis VMUG User Conference page to register and see more details.

register-now

VMware EVALExperience Released

Many years back VMware had a program called the VMTN subscription.  The VMTN subscription program was similar to MSDN and enabled you to run VMware software in your lab environment for a fixed yearly fee. Ever since the program was cancelled every now and then people asked for it to be reinstated.  A few years back Mike Laverick started a campaign to bring back the VMTN subscription.

At VMworld 2014 I attended the VMUG Leader luncheon and was told that the program was going to be released soon.  With the amount of time that has past since VMworld, I did not think it was going to happen this year.

VMware finally listened to it’s users and released something similar through the VMUG Advantage program.

VMware’s EVALExperience gives you exclusive access to nine VMware applications to test for 365 days. EVALExperience provides all of the tools you need to stay in the game and take your career to the next level, all in one place!

vmware-eval

Here is a list of software that users will have access to download and install :

  • VMware vCenter Server™ 5 Standalone for vSphere 5
  • VMware vSphere® with Operations Management™ Enterprise Plus
  • VMware vCloud Suite® Standard
  • VMware vRealize™ Operations Insight™
  • VMware vRealize Operations™ 6 Enterprise
  • VMware vRealize Log Insight™
  • VMware vRealize Operations for Horizon®
  • VMware Horizon® Advanced Edition
  • VMware Virtual SAN™

Head over to the official EVALExperience website to see all the details.

Lab users rejoice because we will finally be able to evaluate software in there labs for a full 365 days!

Now if Microsoft would just bring back the TechNet subscription.

Where to get started with VMware certification

I have people ask me all the time where to start to get certified in VMware.  VMware is one of the few certs that you need to take a class to get certified at the professional level.

VMware Certified Associate (VCA)

If you are unable to take the VCP ICM (Install Configure & Manage) class, VMware does offer the VCA (VMware Certified Associate) certification.  VMware Certified Associate (VCA) is an entry-level certification for VMware’s products.  VMware Certified Associate exams do not cover technical skills, but instead requires candidates to demonstrate an understanding of basic virtualization technology and how to apply that knowledge to VMware products. There are four separate versions of the certification:

Here is a good video that provides a good overview of the VCA certification.  Each track has a free online fundamentals course that helps you prepare for the exam.

Also, make sure you study the exam blue print for each track.  It is the best study resource for the exam.

Once you feel you are ready to take the exams you need to request authorization before taking the exam.  Just go to each tracks page (links above) and click on the “Request Exam Authorization”.  Once completed you can go to the Pearson Vue website and schedule the exam.

One nice thing about the VCA exam is that it can be taken anywhere online.  You do not have to go to a Pearson  Vue test center to take the exam.

VMware Certified Professional (VCP)

If you feel you want to take the Professional level exams, there is a requirement to take a class.  If we take a look at the VCP-Cloud for example, it shows that you have to take a “Install Configure & Manage” class before becoming a VCP-Cloud.  All of the other tracks have the same requirement, but some of the other tracks have a “Fast Track or Troubleshooting” class that could be taken instead of the “Install Configure or Manage”

There are many options to take these classes : Classroom, Live Online & On Demand.  You can schedule them directly through VMware or you can go to a training provider like Global Knowledge or New Horizons Learning Centers.  These are good options, but are the most expensive and usually the main reason why people don’t have the VCP certification.

There is another option that a lot of people don’t know about and is much cheaper.  Just like the Cisco Academy, VMware has the “IT Academy” program.  Schools and colleges offer VMware classes that will qualify you to achieve the VCP certification.  Here is a list of schools that are in the VMware IT academy program.  Sometimes IT Academy classes are almost half the cost of the commercial offerings.  I took my ICM class at an IT Academy.  It took a little longer to complete the class than the commercial offerings, but in the end the result is the same.

Just like the VCA exams, once you are ready to take the VCP exam you have to go to each tracks page and click on the “Request Exam Authorization”.  Once completed you can go to the Pearson Vue website and schedule the exam.

There is all type of study material for each tracks VCP exam, but the best thing to study is to study is the exam blue print.

All of this information and more can be found on the VMware Certification page.

This should be enough information to get you started with achieving a VMware certification.

VCP5-DV Recertification

It makes no sense at all that VMware is adding expiration dates to certs that have version numbers.  Cisco & Microsoft certs do not have versions, so it makes sense for them to have an expiration date.  I have not seen a good explanation from the certification team why an expiration has been added.

There has been so much discussion on the VMware Communities about the VCP5-DCV Delta Recertification Exam. 

Originally the exam was only going to be offered until Nov 30th 2014.  Then VMware extended the exam to March 10th 2015.  Not sure why VMware did this, but my personal opinion was not enough people were taking the exam, so VMware extended the end date to try to recoup costs of creating the exam.

I think everyone has forgotten that the Delta exam is not your only option to re-certify your VCP5-DV.

You have four options to re-certify you VCP5-DV :

  • Pass the current exam for the VCP certification you currently hold. For example, a VCP3 could recertify by passing the current VCP5-Data Center Virtualization (VCP5-DCV) exam.
  • Earn a new VCP certification in a different solution track. For example, a VCP-Cloud could recertify by earning a VCP-Desktop (VCP5-DT) certification.
  • Advance to the next level by earning a VMware Certified Advanced Professional (VCAP) certification. For example, a VCP5-DCV could earn VCAP5-DCA certification.
  • For current VCP5-DCV holders who took the VCP510, there is a limted-time, streamlined exam option just for you. This exam is only available through March 10, 2015 so act fast.

You can check VMwares re-certification policy for all the official details.

In my opinion the Delta exam is a waste of time and money.  After taking the Delta exam, you are still only VCP5-DV.

I decided to learn something new and take a VCP exam in a different track – VCP-NV.  So last week I took and passed the VCP-NV exam.

vcp-nv

Now my VCP5-DV expiration date has been extended –

vcp-dv

Don’t waste your time with the Delta exam.  Push yourself to learn something new and take a VCP in a different track or take a VCAP exam!