vCloud Suite Licenses and (NO)vRAM

Yes I said the “v”- word again. That “dirty” term that was abolished at VMworld 2012 this year.
(forgive the cynicism)

To my surprise – it is still haunting me – and I suppose soon us all.

A week ago I received my first vCloud Enterprise Suite license.


Happy as can be, I added it into my vCenter Server and then I realized something which was strange..

vSphere Client

I checked the API as well.



The license itself definitely has a vRAM entitlement embedded into it – of 96GB per CPUNO VRAM.

I reached out to John Troyer who got back to me almost immediately (thanks John!!) with an answer. This is still listed in the license – and was not ripped out in time for the 5.1 release – and can safely be ignored. I received the same answer as well from Mike Laverick 

I opened an SR for clarification – and am waiting on an official answer – I assume this will be the same as I received above.

At the moment KB 2032903 - Managing licenses on ESXi hosts using the vSphere Web Client states the more or less same thing.


I just do not understand if this property is a feature embedded within the license itself (and if so then it should be easy to remove – and so it should have been!), or is this property expected within the API – and if removed will break something.

I will update with my findings.

**Update 29-11-2012**

I received an answer (as expected) from VMware customer support that there is no vRAM limit on ESXi licenses anymore. This seems to have been a problem with the generation process of the vCloud Suite licenses which should now be fixed. The entitlement can be safely ignored.


VCAP5-DCD - Mission Accomplished

As you can deduct from the title of this post – yes I passed. I scored a 345 today (passing mark was 300).

I wanted to share with you my feelings and thoughts about the exam that I sat today. Yeah Baby!!

Not all Pearson VUE exam centers are equal. Some are more strict than others – luckily today the one I went to today was not on the extreme side as opposed to the one where I sat the VCAP-DCA). This does not say that the rules were not adhered to, but it was a bit more relaxed.

The time limit on the exam is 225 minutes – and just to make sure you understand the math,
that is 3 hours and 45 minutes. Those of use that live in non-English speaking countries (like me) get an additional 30 minutes – and that is 4 hours and 15 minutes.

Let me start by saying – sitting and doing an exam for 4:15 is not humane. Really not. It reminds me of the blog post I did on Beta Exams.

During the exam you cannot:

  • eat
  • drink
  • go to the bathroom (if you do you loose precious time)
  • chew gum
  • blow your nose
  • get up from your chair to walk around
  • smoke (if that is your poison)
  • etc..etc..

Concentrating for 4 hours straight is hard, concentrating on a screen for 4 hours is even harder. For those of us that have a long attention span, this is not a simple task, and even more so for those with attention deficits. I personally do not understand why it has to be has to 100 questions. I can remember at least 3 different cases where questions repeated themselves with small nuances between the versions. I am sure that the quantity of questions can be reduced to make the exam more “candidate-friendly” without losing out on the actual content being tested.

I will not go into the detail about the format – there are many posts around with that info.

I will emphasize though – as was pointed out on Forbes’ post – you CANNOT go back to a previous question. That means that you have to complete each question – or make a decision to give up on that question in order to continue. That means you have to watch your time VERY CAREFULLY!!

Don’t get stuck on something. Some questions will take 10 seconds – but others will take a good 15 minutes.

I tried to manage my time in the following way. Complete 25 Questions within an hour, that way you can keep a track on your progress. I more or less managed to keep to this, but still I ran out of time at the end.

One more thing. At the beginning of the exam you will be told how many of the 100 questions will be scenario based questions (94:6). Keep track of the how many scenarios you have completed. Time management –  again, this is they key element of the exam. I did not do track my scenarios today, and when I thought I was finished, question 100 was a ….  badabing!!! –> scenario question.
I did not have time to complete it.

Here are the resources I used to study for this exam:

  1. Experience

    There is nothing to replace hands-on experience and knowledge with vSphere environments and architecture. This was my main resource.
  2. The VDCD-510 Blueprint

    Read the documents provided in the tools for each section. It is a long list, and a lot to read. Some of it was new to me, some I know in my sleep. I have collected the links for you here.

    Objective 1.1
    Five Steps to Determine When to Virtualize Your Servers
    Functional versus Non-functional Requirements
    Conceptual, Logical, Physical:  It is Simple
  3. Objective 1.2
    VMware Cost-Per-Application Calculator
    Virtualizing Oracle Kit
    Virtualizing Exchange Kit
    Virtualizing SQL Kit
    Virtualizing SAP Kit
    Virtualizing Enterprise Java Kit
    Business and Financial Benefits of Virtualization

    Objective 1.3
    Developing a Strategy and Deployment Plan

    Objective 2.1
    VMware vSphere Basics Guide
    What’s New in VMware vSphere 5?
    ITIL v3 Introduction and Overview
    Conceptual, Logical, Physical:  It is Simple

    Objective 2.2
    Datacenter Operational Excellence Through Automated Application Discovery & Dependency

    Objective 2.3
    Improving Business Continuity with VMware Virtualization Solution Brief
    VMware High Availability Deployment Best Practices
    vSphere Availability Guide

    Objective 2.4
    Optimizing Your VMware Environment
    Four Keys to Managing Your VMware Environment
    Operational Readiness Assessment
    Operational Readiness Assessment Tool

    Objective 2.5
    Proven Practice: Implementing ITIL v3 Capacity Management in a VMware environment
    vSphere Monitoring and Performance Guide

    Objective 2.6
    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 Disaster Recovery Whitepaper
    Designing Backup Solutions for VMware vSphere

    Objective 2.7
    vSphere Security Guide
    Developing a Strategy and Deployment Plan
    Achieving Compliance in a Virtualized Environment
    Infrastructure Security: Getting to the Bottom of Compliance in the Cloud
    Securing the Cloud

    Objective 3.1
    Conceptual, Logical, Physical:  It is Simple
    vSphere Server and Host Management Guide
    vSphere Virtual Machine Administration Guide

    Objective 3.2
    vSphere Server and Host Management Guide
    vSphere Installation and Setup Guide
    vMotion Architecture, Performance and Best Practices in VMware vSphere 5
    VMware vSphere™: Deployment Methods for the VMware® vNetwork Distributed Switch
    vNetwork Distributed Switch: Migration and Configuration
    Guidelines for Implementing VMware vSphere with the Cisco Nexus 1000V Virtual Switch
    VMware® Network I/O Control: Architecture, Performance and Best Practices

    Objective 3.3
    Fibre Channel SAN Configuration Guide
    iSCSI SAN Configuration Guide
    vSphere Installation and Setup Guide
    Performance Implications of Storage I/O Control–Enabled NFS Datastores in VMware vSphere® 5.0
    Managing Performance Variance of Applications Using Storage I/O Control
    VMware Virtual Machine File System: Technical Overview and Best Practices

    Objective 3.4
    vSphere Server and Host Management Guide
    vSphere Installation and Setup Guide
    vSphere Resource Management Guide

    Objective 3.5
    vSphere Server and Host Management Guide
    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

    Objective 3.6
    vSphere Monitoring and Performance Guide
    vCenter Server and Host Management Guide
    VMware vCenter Update Manager 5.0 Performance and Best Practices

    Objective 4.1
    vSphere Server and Host Management Guide
    Validation Test Plan

    Objective 4.2
    vSphere Server and Host Management Guide
    Operational Test Requirements

    Objective 4.3
    vSphere Server and Host Management Guide
    Deployment Guide

  4. vBrownbags

    I used the vBrownbag sessions that are listed and broken down per-objective on Nick Marshall’s post - VCAP Video Study Guides. This is a great set of resources – but takes a decent amount of time to go through.
  5. Study Guide

    Karim Elatov – has a very nice study guide that gives a good amount of material that will help.

So mission accomplished – VCAP5-DCA and VCAP5-DCD done within the past 2 months.

Guess what’s next?


Guest Customization on Ubuntu 12.04 Fails

I came across an issue today – trying to deploy a Ubuntu Precise VM from a template and applying a customization setting to the VM – with default DHCP configuration.

These are the errors I was getting

deploy error

So first up the second error message is wrong – because the log file should not be <No Log> but rather /var/log/vmware-inc/toolsDeployPkg.log

Going into the log file on the VM I saw the following.

less /var/log/vmware-imc/toolsDeployPkg.log

ERROR: Fatal error occurred during customization !! Customization halted.
ERROR: Error : Could not create file /etc/dhcp3/dhclient.conf!
at /tmp/.vmware/linux/deploy/scripts/Utils.pm line 475.
INFO: Return code is 252.
Customization process returned with error.
Deployment result = 252
Setting generic error status in vmx.
Transitioning from state INPROGRESS to state ERRORED.
Setting deploy error: Deployment failed. The forked off process returned error code.
Deployment failed. The forked off process returned error code.
Wait before set enable-nics stats in vmx.
Trying to connect network interfaces, attempt 1
Got VMX response 'queryNicsSupported'
Got VMX response 'disconnected'
Got VMX response 'connected'
The network interfaces are connected on 1 second
Launching cleanup.
Command to exec : /bin/rm
sizeof ProcessInternal is 32
Returning, pending output
Returning, pending output
Process exited normally after 0 seconds, returned 0
No more output
No more output
Customization command output:
Deploy error: Deployment failed. The forked off process returned error code.
Package deploy failed in DeployPkg_DeployPackageFromFile
## Closing log

A quick look on Google brought me to this article (in Spanish) describing a similar problem – but with a Debian VM.

The problem is that the VMware customization script is trying to access a path which does not exist.


Solution is to change the template from which you are deploying and create a soft-link to avoid the error.

ln -s /etc/dhcp /etc/dhcp3
Convert the VM back to a template, deploy a new VM with the same configuration..
And all is fine and dandy!



What is VMware KB Number 1?

Have you ever wondered what VMware Knowledge base article Number one is? Where it all started? Genesis is the beginning of the bible… KB number 1 was the beginning of a plethora of knowledge that has changed how we consume technology today.

As of the time of writing this blog post the lastest KB is 2035036.

So far back does it go? I decided to check. Powershell of course helped me out here.

The first public KB article that you can access today is …..
KB 22 - Extremely Slow Power on when Using IDE Virtual Disks.

KB 22

And as you can it was last updated on January 25th, 2011 – Product: VMware Workstation 3.x

So how old is this actually? Wikipedia to the rescue.


History ladies and gentlemen. This KB is probably about 11 years old.

Freaky how today is actually November 1st, 2012, exactly 11 years after Workstation 3.0 was released.

VMware has come a long way since then – changed, evolved. It would be interesting to hear what it was like way back then.

Personally – I am intrigued in hearing what KB 1 is.

If you have any insight into how it was back then – please feel free to add it to the comments below.