Geek Speak

5 Posts authored by: alrasheed

vSphere, which many consider to be the flagship product of VMware, is virtualization software with the vCenter management software and its ESXi hypervisor. vSphere is available in three different licenses: vSphere Standard, vSphere Enterprise Plus, and vSphere Platinum. Each comes with a different cost and set of features. The current version for vSphere is 6.7, which includes some of the following components.


Have a spare physical server lying around that can be repurposed? Voila, you now have an ESXi Type 1 Hypervisor. This type of hypervisor runs directly on a physical server and doesn’t need an operating system. This is a perfect use case if you have an older physical server lying around that meets the minimum requirements. The disadvantages to this setup include higher costs, a rack server, higher power consumption, and lack of mobility.


What if you don’t have a physical server at your disposal? Your alternative is an ESXi Type 2 Hypervisor because it doesn’t run on a physical server but requires an operating system. A great example is my test lab, which consists of a laptop with the minimum requirements. The laptop includes Windows 10 Pro as its host operating system, but I have my lab running in a virtual image via VMware Workstation. The advantages to this setup include minimal costs, lower power consumption, and mobility.


To provide some perspective, the laptop specifications are listed below:

  • Lenovo ThinkPad with Windows 10 Pro as the host operating system
  • Three hard drives: (1) 140GB as the primary partition and (2) 465GB hard drives to act as my datastores (DS1 and DS2 respectively) with 32GB RAM
  • One VMware ESXi Host (v6.7, build number 13006603)
  • Four virtual machines (thin provisioned)
    • Linux Cinnamon 19.1 (10GB hard drive, 2GB RAM, one vCPU)
    • Windows 10 Pro 1903 (50GB hard drive, 8GB RAM, two vCPUs)
    • Windows Server 2012 R2 (60GB hard drive, 8GB RAM, two vCPUs)
    • Pi-Hole (20GB hard drive, 1GB RAM, one vCPU)


With the introduction of vSphere 6.7, significant improvements were created over its predecessor vSphere 6.5. Some of these improvements and innovations include:

  • Simple and efficient management at scale
  • Two times faster than v6.5
  • Three times less memory consumption
  • New APIs improve deployment and management of the vCenter Appliance
  • Single reboot and vSphere Quick Boot reduce upgrade and patching times
  • Comprehensive built-in security for the hypervisor and guest OS also secures data across the hybrid cloud
  • Integrates with vSAN, NSX, and vRealize Suite
  • Supports mission-critical applications, big data, artificial intelligence, and machine learning
  • Any workloads can be run, including hybrid, public, and private clouds
  • Seamless hybrid cloud experience with a single pane of glass to manage multiple vSphere environments on different versions between an on-premises data center and any vCenter public, like VMware on AWS


If you’re interested in learning more about vSphere, VMware provides an array of options to choose from, including training, certifications, and hands-on labs.


What Is VMware NSX?

Posted by alrasheed Oct 1, 2019

When purchasing Nicira in 2012, VMware wanted to further establish itself as a leader in software-defined networking, and more importantly, in cloud computing. VMware NSX provides the flexibility network administrators have long desired without having to rely solely on network hardware and its primary roles include automation, multi-cloud networking, security, and micro-segmentation. Additionally, the time spent provisioning a network is dramatically reduced.


NSX, the VMware software-defined networking (SDN) platform, lets you create virtual networks, including ports, switches, firewalls, and routers, without having to rely on a physical networking infrastructure. It’s software-based, nothing physical is involved, but the networks created can be seen from a virtual perspective. Simply put, the NSX network hypervisor allows network administrators to create and manage virtualized networks. Virtual networking allows communication without the use of network cables across various devices, including computers, virtual machines, and servers, using software.


However, virtual networks are provisioned, configured, and managed using the underlying physical network hardware. It’s important to keep this in mind, and it’s not my intention to say otherwise or mislead anyone.


Given the choice between a physical and software-defined network infrastructure, I prefer SDN. Physical networking devices and the software built into them depreciate over time. These devices also take up space in your data center—and the electricity needed to keep them powered on. Also, time is money, and it takes time to configure these devices.


Software-defined networks are easier on the eyes, which includes not having to worry about network cables or a cable management solution. Does anyone truly find the image below appealing?


Poor Cable Management


Virtual networking provides the same capabilities as a physical network, but with more flexibility and more efficiency across multiple locations without having to replace hardware or comprising reliability, availability, and security. Devices are connected over software using a vSwitch. Communications between the various devices can be shared on one network or separately on a different network. With software-defined networks, templates can be created and modified as needed without having to reinvent the wheel as you would with a physical networking device.


NSX-T is VMware’s next-generation SDN, which includes the same features as its predecessor NSX-V. The main difference is its ability to run on different hypervisors without having to rely on a vCenter Server.


VMware NSX editions include Standard, Professional, Advanced, Enterprise Plus, and Remote Office Branch Office (ROBO), each with a unique case. For example, Standard provides automated networking while Professional includes this as well plus Micro-Segmentation. For detailed information about each edition, please review the NSX datasheet here.


If you’re interested in learning more about NSX, VMware provides an array of options to choose from, including training, certifications, and hands-on labs.


The vCommunity

Posted by alrasheed Sep 24, 2019

We all want to be part of something special and have a common bond. It includes doing what’s best for you but also keeping others in mind to provide them the support they need to be successful in life, professionally and personally. Teams are defined by the sacrifices we make for each other in hopes of succeeding in a manner beneficial to everyone, while also providing an experience to lead to a positive and fruitful relationship for years to come.


We’ve all been there. The feeling of hopelessness. No matter what you do or say, and regardless of your contributions, you feel neglected or underappreciated. It creates a feeling of emptiness, as if you don’t belong or you’re on the outside looking in. Regardless of your profession, we each have a set of standards, morals, and core values in place which we should adhere to.


These neglected and underappreciated sentiments described how I felt in my career roughly two years ago. It was a constant feeling of always being at the bottom of the proverbial totem pole. A “take one step forward and two steps back” mentality. The approach of taking the high road felt like a dead end or being stuck in a roundabout where only left turns are permitted, like a NASCAR race, but considerably less fun.


When I discovered the vCommunity, everything changed. There was light at the end of the tunnel. There was hope I never realized existed, and it changed my outlook on my professional career and helped guide me personally. The vCommunity shares the same values I preach, like unity, joint ownership, team, generosity, and most importantly, that kindness matters. You get what you put into it, and I can assure you it’s been a blessing in disguise I wish I had discovered years ago.


The vCommunity includes individuals, groups, organizations, and everyday people located across the globe in areas you’d never imagine. But it doesn’t matter because we serve one purpose—to help one another as best as possible. A simple five-minute conversation has the potential to turn into something special for both parties.


I’ve shared my experiences, and each has provided wonderful returns. Examples include tech advocacy programs like vExpert, Cisco Champion, Veeam Vanguard, and the Nutanix Technology Champions. I’ve had the pleasure to be introduced to wonderful people in the IT industry from across the globe thanks to my good friends at Tech Field Day and Gestalt IT. I’m now considered an independent influencer who has a passion for connecting people with technology through blogging.


None of this would be possible without the aforementioned groups, and there’s no chance I’d consider myself a blogger without their support.


There are additional methods to connect with fellow vCommunity members, and they don’t have to include any association with a group or program. How so, you ask? By simply using your voice and connecting with podcasters to share your stories and experiences. You’d be surprised how much of an influence this can be for someone. I’ve had the pleasure to join Datanauts, vGigacast, Virtual Speaking Podcast, Gestalt IT, and Technically Religious. Each has provided me with a platform to help others and the feedback has been tremendous. My biggest take is the influence it has had on others. I’m humbled to know I’ve had a positive effect on someone.


Additionally, I recommend the following podcasts because they provide quality content with valuable information and resources. They include Cisco Champion Radio, The CTO Advisor, DiscoPosse Podcast, Nerd Journey Podcast, Nutanix Community Podcast, Packet Pushers Community Show, Real Job Talk, Tech Village Podcast, The VCDX Podcast, ExploreVM Podcast, Veeam Community Podcast, VMUG Professional Podcast, Virtual Design Master, and the VMware Communities Podcast.


Let’s recap and discuss why I’ve taken the time to share this with you. I want you to grow, be empowered, and be successful. It’s my goal to help someone achieve these goals by providing any assistance possible. #GivingBack should a requirement because nobody can achieve success without assistance from someone. For me, Jorge Torres and William Lam led me down the path to this point, and I’ll always owe them for believing in me.


I realize there are plenty of examples of giving back and I wish I could acknowledge every one of you, but you know who you are, and I thank you for it. The moral of the story is be happy, give back, and you’ll be rewarded for your contributions and dedication to the #vCommunity. Lead by example and others will follow.


“For fate has a way of charting its own course, but before one surrenders to the hands of destiny, one might consider the power of the human spirit and the force that lies in one’s own free will.” Lost: The Final Chapter

Obtaining a VMware certification requires effort, dedication, and a willingness to learn independently with a commitment to the subject matter.


To fulfill the requirements made by VMware, you must attend a training class before taking the exam. The cost for each of these courses provided by VMware is extremely high, but I found an alternative to fulfill this requirement at a very affordable rate. In my case, I decided to use my personal funds to meet the training requirements made by VMware to pursue the certification. Without question, cost was the deciding factor and thanks to Andy Nash, I discovered Stanly Community College. The course is taught completely online and covers the installation, configuration, and management of VMware vSphere. It also meets all the training requirements made by VMware. If you’re interested in pursuing training provided by VMware, please review the vSphere: ICM v6.5 course to help provide additional information about the course and cost compared to Stanly Community College.


I highly recommend reading the certification overview provided by VMware before moving forward with your decision. Each situation is unique, and the information provided will serve as an asset when determining which training option to pursue, including the certification you have in mind. For example, the prerequisites for the VCP-DCV6 exam can be found here. Additionally, the requirements vary for first-time exam takers or if you don’t currently hold a VCP certification. As of February 4, 2019, VMware has removed the mandatory two-year recertification requirements that allows you to upgrade and recertify.


There are multiple training options in addition to the choices I listed above, and, in some cases, they’re free of cost and are available to you anytime, anywhere. The formats include hands-on labs, vBrownBag, blogs, and various podcasts.


Hands-on labs are a fantastic resource because they permit you to test and evaluate VMware products in a virtual environment without needing to install anything locally. VMware products include Data Center Virtualization, Networking and Security, Storage and Availability, and Desktop and Application Virtualization, to name a few. Additionally, this provides you with the opportunity to confirm which product you’re interested in pursuing for the respective certification for without making a financial commitment for the required training course.


vBrownBag is all about the community! Its purpose is to help one another succeed through contributions made by fellow community members. In the end, it’s all about #TEAM.


Blogs include the following contributors: Melissa Palmer, Daniel Paluszek, Gregg Robertson, Lino Telera, Chestin Hay, Cody Bunch, and many others.


Podcasts include the following contributors: Simon Long, Pete Flecha and John Nicholson, VMware Communities Roundtable, and many more.


Let’s examine the pros and cons of pursing a certification.




Used to measure a candidate’s willingness to work hard and meet goals

Cost (out of pocket vs. employer)

IT certifications are required for certain job openings (may assist you with obtaining a desired position as an applicant or current employee)

IT certifications are required for certain job openings (may prevent you from obtaining a desired position as an applicant or current employee)

Certifications are used to confirm subject-matter expertise

Time (balancing certification training with a full-time job or family responsibilities)

Companies save on training costs if they hire a certified candidate

Certifications may not be considered valuable if you don’t have the experience to back them up

Certifications increase your chances of receiving a promotion or raise

Test vs. Business needs/situations may not be aligned

Certifications ensure you’re up to date on the latest best practices



As you can see, multiple resources are available to help you succeed in pursuit of your certification, including the wonderful contributors in the #vCommunity.

We’ve all been there. It’s time to consider building a home lab, whether it’s for testing a scenario, preparing for a certification, or learning more about a software application. There are two home lab options to consider.


A physical home lab includes a rack server, servers, networking equipment, monitor, keyboard, KVM, and so on. Additionally, the rack server requires a space tall and wide enough to house it, as well as sufficient power to run it.


A software-defined home lab (virtualized) eliminates most of the items needed in a physical lab environment. There’s no need for a rack server, servers, or space, and the power consumption is significantly less. A software-defined home lab can run off a single NUC, a desktop, or laptop computer. The hardware requirements (RAM, storage, processor) can vary depending on your home lab.


This is where we’ll dig deeper into the question asked in the title of this post: what is virtualization?


Virtualization provides an alternative to a physical environment because it allows the end user to create a software-based (virtualized) model of a server with additional servers, applications, and networks in a software-defined manner. Additionally, time savings are an important factor. VM templates are lifesavers because if you’re not satisfied with the virtual environment you’ve created, you can delete it and start over using the template and you’ll be up and running in half the time it would take to rebuild a physical server in the same manner.


There are five commonly known use cases to virtualize:


Server – allows multiple operating systems to run on one physical server

Storage – provides the ability to combine multiple physical storage options into a single logical storage environment

Network – provides the ability to create multiple software-defined networks (SDN) in a virtualized manner

Desktop – like server, but allows the end user to create and deploy multiple virtualized desktops onto a single desktop computer accessible from any device

Application – a prime use case scenario when you need to host an application for testing


The options to create a virtualized environment have also expanded to include public cloud services but some factors to consider are based on need. For short-term projects with a limited budget requiring a VM stood up in seconds, a public cloud service is ideal. This provides flexibility without the overhead, but keep in mind these services can be easily adopted because of the simplicity, and there’s a tendency to neglect the costs associated with them over time. If a public cloud service is a long-term solution, it’s even more important for you to keep track of costs for the same reasons listed above, perhaps with email alerts to keep track of each option selected with corresponding cost.

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