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David Stamen

Senior Virtualization Engineer

VCAP-DCA | MCSA | VMware vExpert | Cisco Champion | PernixPro

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It is now VCAP6-Design study time! Here is my blueprint laid out, and hopefully will be populated with some content.

###Section 1 – Create a vSphere Conceptual Design

Objective 1.1 – Gather and analyze business requirements

Skills and Abilities

  • Associate a stakeholder with the information that needs to be collected.
  • Utilize inventory and assessment data from a current environment to define a baseline state.
  • Analyze customer interview data to explicitly define customer #### Objectives for a conceptual design.
  • Determine customer priorities for defined #### Objectives.
  • Ensure that Availability, Manageability, Performance, Recoverability and Security (AMPRS) considerations are applied during the requirements gathering process.
  • Given results of the requirements gathering process, identify requirements for a conceptual design.
  • Categorize requirements by infrastructure qualities to prepare for logical design requirements.

Tools

  • VMware Virtualization Case Studies
  • The Benefits of Virtualization for Small and Medium Businesses
  • Functional vs. Non-Functional Requirements
  • Conceptual, Logical, Physical: It is Simple
  • Virtualize Business Critical Applications (blog)
  • Virtualizing Business Critical Applications on vSphere

Objective 1.2 – Gather and analyze application requirements

Skills and Abilities

  • Gather and analyze application requirements for a given scenario.
  • Determine the requirements for a set of applications that will be included in the design.
  • Collect information needed in order to identify application dependencies.
  • Given one or more application requirements, determine the impact of the requirements on the design.

Tools

  • VMware TCO Calculator
  • VMware Cost-Per-Application Calculator Methodology
  • Virtualizing Oracle with VMware
  • Virtualizing Exchange with VMware
  • Virtualize SharePoint with VMware vSphere
  • Virtualizing Microsoft SQL on VMware vSphere
  • SAP and VMware Virtualization
  • Business and Financial Benefits of Virtualization: Customer Benchmarking Study

Objective 1.3 – Determine Risks, Requirements, Constraints and Assumptions

Skills and Abilities

  • Differentiate between the concepts of risks, requirements, constraints, and assumptions.
  • Given a statement, determine whether it is a risk, requirement, constraint, or an assumption.
  • Analyze impact of VMware best practices to identified risks, constraints, and assumptions.

Tools

  • Developing Your Virtualization Strategy and Deployment Plan
  • Constraints, Assumptions (Risk, Requirements) & Dependencies

Section 2 – Create a vSphere 6.x Logical Design from an Existing Conceptual Design

Objective 2.1 – Map Business Requirements to a vSphere 6.x Logical Design

Skills and Abilities

  • Analyze requirements for functional and non-functional elements.
  • Build non-functional requirements into a specific logical design.
  • Translate stated business requirements into a logical design.
  • Incorporate the current state of a customer environment into a logical design.

Tools

  • Conceptual, Logical, Physical: It is Simple
  • What’s New in VMware vSphere 6.0
  • Functional vs. Non-Functional Requirements
  • ITIL v3 Introduction and Overview
  • Conceptual Architecture Action Guide
  • Systems Architecture Fundamentals – Conceptual, Logical, Physical Designs

Objective 2.2 – Map Service Dependencies

Skills and Abilities

  • Evaluate dependencies for infrastructure and application services that will be included in a vSphere design.
  • Create Entity Relationship Diagrams that map service relationships and dependencies.
  • Analyze interfaces to be used with new and existing business processes.
  • Determine service dependencies for logical components.
  • Include service dependencies in a vSphere 6.x Logical Design.
  • Analyze services to identify upstream and downstream service dependencies.
  • Navigate logical components and their interdependencies and make decisions based upon all service relationships.

Tools

  • Datacenter Operational Excellence Through Automated Application Discovery & Dependency Mapping
  • VMware Application Dependencies and Entity Relationship Diagrams MK2

Objective 2.3 – Build Availability Requirements into a vSphere 6.x Logical Design

Skills and Abilities

  • Evaluate which logical availability services can be used with a given vSphere solution.
  • Differentiate infrastructure qualities related to availability.
  • Describe the concept of redundancy and the risks associated with single points of failure
  • Explain class of nines methodology
  • Determine availability component of service level agreements (SLAs) and service level management processes
  • Determine potential availability solutions for a logical design based on customer requirements.
  • Create an availability plan, including maintenance processes.
  • Balance availability requirements with other infrastructure qualities.
  • Analyze a vSphere design and determine possible single points of failure.

Tools

  • Datacenter Operational Excellence Through Automated Application Discovery & Dependency Mapping
  • vSphere Availability Guide
  • Protect Your Business with Automated Business Continuity Solutions
  • VMware High Availability Deployment Best Practices

Objective 2.4 – Build Manageability Requirements into a vSphere 6.x Logical Design

Skills and Abilities

  • Evaluate which management services can be used with a given vSphere Solution.
  • Differentiate infrastructure qualities related to management.
  • Differentiate available command line-based management tools (PowerCLI, vMA etc.)
  • Evaluate VMware Management solutions based on customer requirements.
  • Build interfaces into the logical design for existing operations practices.
  • Address identified operational readiness deficiencies
  • Define Event, Incident and Problem Management practices.
  • Analyze Release Management practices
  • Determine request fulfillment and release management processes.
  • Determine requirements for Configuration Management
  • Define change management processes based on business requirements.
  • Based on customer requirements, identify required reporting assets and processes

Tools

  • Optimizing Your VMware Environment
  • Four Keys to Managing Your VMware Environment
  • Operational Readiness Assessment
  • Operational Readiness Assessment Tool
  • vCenter Server and Host Management Guide
  • vSphere PowerCLI documentation Center

Objective 2.5 – Build Performance Requirements into a vSphere 6.x Logical Design

Skills and Abilities

  • Evaluate logical performance considerations for a given vSphere solution.
  • Differentiate infrastructure qualities related to performance.
  • Analyze current performance, identify and address gaps when building the logical design
  • Using a conceptual design, create a logical design that meets performance requirements
  • Determine performance-related functional requirements based on given non-functional requirements and service dependencies.
  • Define capacity management practices and create a capacity plan
  • Incorporate scalability requirements into the logical design
  • Determine a performance component for service level agreements and service level management processes.

Tools

  • Proven Practice: Implementing ITIL v3 Capacity Management in a VMware environment
  • vSphere Monitoring and Performance Guide

Objective 2.6 – Build Recoverability Requirements into a vSphere 6.x Logical Design

Skills and Abilities

  • Evaluate which logical recoverability services are available for a given vSphere solution.
  • Differentiate infrastructure qualities related to recoverability.
  • Determine Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery solution options for a given vSphere Design.
  • Given recoverability requirements, analyze services that will be impacted and provide a recovery plan for impacted services.
  • Plan a data retention policy based on customer requirements.

Tools

  • VMware vCenter™ Site Recovery Manager Evaluation Guide
  • A Practical Guide to Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery with VMware Infrastructure
  • Mastering Disaster Recovery: Business Continuity and Virtualization Best Practices Whitepaper

Objective 2.7 – Build Security Requirements into a vSphere 6.x Logical Design

Skills and Abilities

  • Evaluate which security services can be used with a given vSphere solution.
  • Differentiate infrastructure qualities related to security.
  • Build specific regulatory compliance requirements into the logical design.
  • Analyze application and infrastructure security requirements.
  • Build a role-based access model and map roles to services.
  • Build a security policy based on existing security requirements and IT governance practices.
  • Incorporate customer risk tolerance into the security policy.
  • Assess the services that will be impacted and create an access management plan.
  • Determine the proper security solution that would satisfy a regulatory requirement.
  • Based on stated security requirements, analyze the current state for compliance/non-compliance.

Tools

  • vSphere Security Guide
  • Developing Your Virtualization Strategy and Deployment Plan
  • Achieving Compliance in a Virtualized Environment
  • Infrastructure Security: Getting to the Bottom of Compliance in the Cloud
  • Securing the Cloud

Section 3 – Create a vSphere 6.x Physical Design from an Existing Logical Design

Objective 3.1 – Transition from a Logical Design to a vSphere 6.x Physical Design

Skills and Abilities

  • Analyze design decisions and options selected from the logical design
  • Determine impact of VMware best practices to identified risks, constraints, and assumptions in a given vSphere design.
  • Based on business requirements, determine the appropriate roles for each staff member.

Tools

  • Conceptual, Logical, Physical: It is Simple
  • vSphere Server and Host Management Guide
  • vSphere Virtual Machine Administration Guide

Objective 3.2 – Create a vSphere 6.x Physical Network Design from an Existing Logical Design

Skills and Abilities

  • Analyze VLAN options with respect to virtual and physical switches.
  • Given business requirements, determine the design for virtual network components:
    • STP
    • Jumbo Frames
    • Load-balancing
    • Trunking and link aggregation groups
  • Evaluate network redundancy considerations for a given design.
  • Analyze design for inclusion of Network I/O Control capabilities.
  • Determine use case for multiple TCP/IP stacks in a given design.
  • Based on given functional requirements for each service:
    • Determine the most appropriate networking technologies for the design.
    • Implement the service based on the required infrastructure qualities (AMPRS.)
  • Analyze design for appropriate network teaming and failover solution.
  • Determine network security and firewall requirements for a virtual network design
  • Based on service level requirements, determine appropriate network performance characteristics.
  • Given a current network configuration as well as technical requirements and constraints, determine the appropriate virtual switch solution:
    • vSphere Standard Switch
    • vSphere Distributed Switch
    • NSX
    • Hybrid solutions
  • Based on an existing logical design, determine appropriate host networking resources.
  • Properly apply converged networking considering VMware best practices.

Tools

  • vSphere Server and Host Management Guide
  • vSphere Installation and Setup Guide - vSphere Networking Guide - Network Port Diagram for vSphere 6.x
  • VMware Virtual SAN Network Design Guide
  • Leveraging NIC Technology to Improve Network Performance in VMware vSphere
  • Performance Evaluation of Network I/O Control in VMware vSphere 6
  • vMotion Architecture, Performance and Best Practices in VMware vSphere 5

Objective 3.3 – Create a vSphere 6.x Physical Storage Design from an Existing Logical Design

Skills and Abilities

  • Evaluate criteria, capabilities and limitations between storage types (Block, NAS, Object Based)
  • In a given design, determine Storage Policy availability and performance characteristics.
  • Based on the logical design and given functional requirements, for each service:
    • Determine the most appropriate storage technologies for the design.
    • Implement the service based on the required infrastructure qualities.
  • Ensure storage array capabilities are supported in a vSphere 6.x design:
    • Active/Active, Active/Passive
    • ALUA, VAAI, VASA
    • PSA (including PSPs and SATPs)
  • Based on service level requirements include VMware technologies in the design, such as:
    • Storage I/O Control and Network I/O Control
    • Storage Policies
    • Storage vMotion
    • Storage DRS
    • Virtual SAN
  • Given the functional requirements, size the storage for capacity, availability and performance, including:
    • Datastores, RDMs, Virtual Disks
    • Physical Storage (LUNs, Storage Tiering)
    • Based on the logical design, select and incorporate an appropriate storage network into the physical design:
    • Block (FC, iSCSI, FCoE, SAS)
    • NAS (NFSv3, NFSv4)
    • Object Based (Virtual SAN, Virtual Volumes)

Tools

  • What’s New: VMware Virtual SAN 6.0
  • VMware Virtual SAN 6.0 Design and Sizing Guide
  • VMware Virtual SAN Diagnostics and Troubleshooting Reference Manual
  • The VMware Perspective on Software-Defined Storage
  • vSphere Storage
  • Resource Management Guide
  • Virtual SAN TCO and Sizing Calculator
  • What’s New: VMware vSphere Virtual Volumes
  • vSphere Installation and Setup Guide
  • VMware Virtual Machine File System: Technical Overview and Best Practices
  • TechNote: Bootstrapping VSAN without vCenter

Objective 3.4 – Determine Appropriate Compute Resources for a vSphere 6.x Physical Design

Skills and Abilities

  • Analyze best practices with respect to CPU family choices.
  • Evaluate NUMA and vNUMA with ESXi hosts and Virtual machines in a given design.
  • Analyze the following in a vSphere design:
    • Enhanced vMotion compatibility
    • Implications of vSMP in virtual machines
    • Transparent Page Sharing (TPS) and large pages
    • Resource overcommitment
  • Based on the service catalog and given functional requirements:
    • Determine the most appropriate compute technologies for the design.
    • Implement the service based on the required infrastructure qualities.
  • Determine the impact of a technical design on the choice of server density:
    • Scale Up/Out
    • Auto Deploy
  • Calculate the required number of nodes in an HA cluster based upon host failures and resource guarantees.
  • Evaluate the implications of using reservations, limits, and shares on the physical design.
  • Specify the resource pool and vApp configuration based upon resource requirements.
  • Size the following resources appropriately:
    • Memory
    • CPU
    • I/O devices
    • Internal storage
  • Given a constraint to use existing hardware, determine suitability of the hardware for the design.

Tools

  • vSphere Server and Host Management Guide
  • What’s New in the VMware vSphere® 6.0 Platform
  • vSphere Installation and Setup Guide
  • vSphere Resource Management Guide
  • Performance Best Practices for VMware vSphere 6.0
  • VMware vCenter Server Performance and Best Practices
  • Best Practices for Performance Tuning of Latency-Sensitive Workloads in vSphere VMs
  • Performance Characterization of Microsoft SQL Server on VMware vSphere 6
  • Microsoft Exchange 2013 on VMware Best Practices Guide - vSphere Monitoring and Performance Guide
  • Interpreting esxtop statistics

Objective 3.5 – Determine Virtual Machine Configuration for a vSphere 6.x Physical Design

Skills and Abilities

  • Analyze the use of an RDM or a virtual disk for a given VM.
  • Evaluate Virtual Machine memory management techniques (ballooning, compression, swapping) in a given vSphere design.
  • Based on business requirements, determine the design significance of VM Swap location.
  • Determine the latency sensitivity requirements of a given virtual machine workload.
  • Evaluate virtual machine features based on the logical, functional and application requirements.
  • Use VMware best practices to size virtual machines according to application requirements.
  • Determine if reservations, shares, and limits are necessary.
  • Based on an existing logical design, determine virtual hardware options.
  • Build a Content Library of appropriate virtual machine offerings (e.g. templates, OVFs, ISOs.)
  • Determine appropriate use cases for vApps.
  • Evaluate the suitability of using VMware FT or 3rd party clustering products (e.g. Microsoft Clustering, etc.) based on application requirements.
  • Determine the impact of scheduled guest activities (e.g. anti-virus, backup, etc) to the design.
  • Evaluate vFlash read cache requirements in a given design.

Tools

  • Virtual Machine Administration Guide
  • Best Practices for Performance Tuning of Latency-Sensitive Workloads in vSphere VMs
  • Virtualizing a Windows Active Directory Domain Infrastructure
  • Guest Operating System Installation Guide
  • vSphere Resource Management Guide
  • Understanding Memory Management in VMware vSphere 6.0

Objective 3.6 – Determine Data Center Management Options for a vSphere 6.x Physical Design

Skills and Abilities

  • Based on business requirements, determine client access options in a vSphere solution.
  • Analyze business requirements when integrating vSphere with other VMware solutions.
  • Evaluate the impact of the VMware Certificate Authority and the VMware Endpoint Certificate Store to the design.
  • Based on the logical design and given functional requirements:
    • Determine the most appropriate datacenter management options for the design.
    • Implement the service based on the required infrastructure qualities.
  • Analyze cluster requirements:
    • Availability requirements for HA and FT
    • Performance requirements for DRS and vMotion
    • Storage performance requirements for SDRS and Storage vMotion
  • Determine appropriate vCenter Server design and sizing requirements:
    • vCenter Server Enhanced Linked Mode
    • vCenter Server virtual appliance vs vCenter Server for Windows
    • Platform Services Controller
  • Evaluate access control methodologies for creating roles and assignment of users to roles.
  • Determine proper structure for access control settings (i.e. folders, resource pools, etc.)
  • Develop appropriate host and virtual machine deployment options.
  • Include in the design appropriate technologies for:
    • Asset management
    • Event, incident and problem management
    • Logging, monitoring and reporting

Tools

  • vSphere Monitoring and Performance Guide
  • VMware vCenter Server 6.0 Availability Guide
  • vCenter Server and Host Management Guide
  • VMware vCenter Update Manager 6.0 Performance and Best Practices
  • vCenter Server Deployment Guide
  • VMware Interoperability Matrix
  • VMware Proactive Incident Whitepaper