There are different schools of thought as to whether you should have SSH enabled on your hosts. VMware recommend it is disabled. With SSH disabled there is no possibility of attack, so that’s the “most secure” option. Of course in the real world there’s a balance between “most secure” and “usability” (e.g. the most secure host is powered off and physically isolated from the network, but you can’t run any workloads ). My preferred route is to have it enabled but locked down.
Note: VMware use the term “ESXi Shell”, most of us would term it “SSH” – the two are used interchangeably in this article although there is a slight difference. You can have the ESXi Shell enabled but SSH disabled – this means you can access the shell via the DCUI. For the sake of this article assume ESXi Shell and SSH are the same.
Recently I had the privilege to be asked to attend a Google hangout with Joe Baguley (VMware CTO EMEA), Paul Saffo (Technology Forecaster) and several other well known guys from the VMUG community
It was a first for me but a really enjoyable experience.
After my previous post about studying and the exam experience of the VCAP5-DCA exam (and 3 weeks of waking up to check my phone for the email all night) I am pleased to say that I received my Exam Score last week and it was a pass! I was really pleased to see that I passed with a very decent margin too, which was great! The rushed nature of the exam and long wait for the results leaves you going over the exam in your head convincing yourself how badly you’ve done, so it came as a huge relief and surprise.
Next up, VCAP5-DCD – possibly even at VMworld Barcelona given that there is 75% off exams for attendees taking them on-site.
DefinIT @ VMworld Barcelona
I’m also very excited to say that fellow DefinIT blogger Simon (@simoneady) and myself will be heading off to Barcelona in October to our very first VMworld conference. Regular readers may have seen Simon won a V.I.P Tweet competition earlier this year, which was fantastic. I threw my name in the ring for a vExpert Blogger pass and was slightly stunned and very pleased when I received an email saying I’d been selected to go. For both Simon and myself VMworld has been something we have both wanted to attend but never really had the opportunity before, so we’re really looking forward to it!
I started the TrainSignal VMware vSphere Optimize and Scale (VCAP5-DCA) Training course as part of my preparation for taking the exam which I took at the beginning of this week - I'm still waiting to hear the results. One thing I found when I started preparing is that there is an overwhelming volume of information - the Exam Blueprint is a great place to start as that lays out what will be tested. There are 9 sections and 27 objectives laid out, with knowledge, skills and abilities and tools required for each objective. The volume can be overwhelming, even if you already know most of it!
I found the VMware vSphere Optimize and Scale (VCAP5-DCA) course provided me with a framework on which to hang these topics - it covers pretty much every objective in the blueprint directly and allows you to get a picture of what you already know and are confident on and areas where you need to really focus on learning. Once I identified areas to study I used a number of really helpful resources as well as the VMware documentation to boost my knowledge on those topics. Quite often I re-watched the relevant topic in the TrainSignal course, but most important of all is getting into the lab.
I'm very pleased to say that as of 21st December, I passed my VCP510 exam and am now VCP5 qualified! It's something that I've wanted to do for a long time (since VCP3) but have never been able to get funding for the required course. My current employer sent me on the vSphere 5 Fast Track course earlier this year, so I was all set to take the exam.
My exam experience was somewhat marred by a very poor first attempt which I narrowly failed. The exam I sat had dozens of spelling and grammatical mistakes, inaccuracies and other problems and I spent far too long commenting on those than concentrating on the questions. Fortunately I was eventually able to speak with VMware Education and they issued me with an exam voucher (they will also be releasing a new version of the exam soon, which I'm assured will resolve these problems). My second attempt was a lot better and I smashed the 300 point pass mark by 128 points, which went some way to restoring confidence in my own knowledge of the subject!
I'm now looking forward to studying for the VCAP-DCA and DCD exams with a view to completing them in 2013...
Save the QuizMe.ps1 file into a folder and then place one or more text file in the same folder containing a comma delimited set of questions and answers. Then run QuizMe.ps1!
OTRS is an exceptionally flexible ITIL compliant ticketing/helpdesk solution, which runs beautifully on almost any LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, Perl (yes, I know it’s PHP really;-)) server, but what happens when you work in a Windows-only environment? OTRS does have a Windows installer, but it is somewhat clunky and requires almost as much work to configure as manually installing. Installing as components allows you to upgrade portions of the system and have more granular control over the setup.
I’ve recently installed OTRS on a Windows Server 2008 R2 (64-bit) server, including experimenting with various combinations of IIS/Apache, MSSQL2008/MySQL, ActiveState Perl 32-bit/64-bit, different configurations and setups - these are my findings:
- IIS7, MSSQL (64), ActiveState Perl (64) – to make use of the native IIS7 webserver and 64-bit Perl. The server does run but performs abysmally, and you have to force IIS to run a 32-bit application pool to get Perl to work.
- Apache2.2 (32), MSSQL (64) and ActiveState Perl (32) – again OTRS will run but performance is grim
- Apache2.2 (64 unofficial binaries), MySQL (64) and ActiveState Perl (64) – this seemed the most promising approach but without a 64-bit version of mod_perl the performance was worse than the final combo
- Apache2.2 (32), MySQL (64) and ActiveState Perl (32) – this performed the best, and although there are slow portions (SysConfig) the general user experience was good.
None of these combinations came close to the performance of OTRS running on a native Linux server, my 64-bit Ubuntu server absolutely flew, with less processor and RAM than the Windows box. In short, if you have the skills, use the Linux option. Yes, yes I do feel a little dirty now, sorry Mr Gates.
So, the final setup I have opted for is:
- A Virtual Machine running Windows Server 2008, 2GB RAM and 2 vCPUs at 3.2Ghz
- MySQL Server 5.5, 64-bit
- Apache 2.2, 32-bit
- ActiveState Perl, 32-bit
As with all things IT the pace of technology change is relentless and we are constantly and rightly told that change is good and that being able to evolve and move with the times is an important skill and ability.
However I am often left wondering how we can maintain a balance. I have all to often seen IT professionals falling into the trap chasing the latest and greatest and rushing to try to implement or learn new emerging technologies without much thought to what they already have.