VMware Certified Associate Certifications

VMware has released a new entry level certifications:  VMware Certified Associate.  This class requires NO prerequisite in-class training.  All of the training is self-paced and online.  There is still an in-person exam that is required for a student register, take, and pass.

The three tracks are:

VMware VCA – Data Center Virtualization

VMware VCA – Cloud

VMware VCA – Network Virtualization <coming soon>

If you are looking to get started in the VMware certification world, these are great certifications to get your start.


Top Tech (IT) Conferences

Here is a list of the Top Tech/IT Conferences to attend:

–  VMworld – http://www.vmworld.com/
–  VMware Partner Exchange (PEX):  http://communities.vmware.com/community/vmtn/partner-exchange
–  Tech Field Day – http://techfieldday.com/
–  Microsoft TechED:  http://www.msteched.com/
–  Red Hat Summit:  http://www.redhat.com/summit/
–  Red Hat Partner Conference:  http://www.redhat.com/summit/
–  Usenix.org LISA Conference:  https://www.usenix.org/conference
–  EMC World:  http://www.emcworld.com/
–  Dell World:  http://dellworld.com/
–  Cisco LIVE:  http://www.ciscolive.com/global/
–  Data Center World:  http://www.datacenterworld.com/spring2013/
–  Citrix Synergy:  http://www.citrix.com/events.html
–  Cloud Computing Expo:  http://cloudcomputingexpo.com

This will be a “living list” — so, please comment on any additional conferences that you think have value.



Can I upgrade my Mac to Mountain Lion (10.8) ?

I know that this isn’t necessarily VM related — but I’ve had several people ask if their Mac was “Mountain Lion Worthy.” So, here you go:

1) Get your Mac Serial Number:  Click on the (Apple Logo) at the top-left had side of your desktop.  Then, choose “About This Mac” — Now, click the “More Info…” button.   Additional information will be displayed, including your Mac’s serial number.

Depending on your OS, you may need to look through the “System Profiler”  — Choose the “Hardware Tab” and you’ll find it.

2)  Go to one of these sites and get additional information about your mac.  Just type in your serial number.

Apple Serial Number / Warranty Lookup:

3rd Party Site that gives you MUCH more information about your Mac:

3)  Now verify that your system meets the minium Hardware AND Software requirments.  Check here for the Mountain Lion Requirements:  http://www.apple.com/osx/specs/

You also might want to BURN/ISO your copy of Mountain Lion BEFORE you complete your upgrade… See more here:  http://lifehacker.com/5928780/how-to-burn-os-x-mountain-lion-to-a-dvd-or-usb-flash-driveYou WILL need this if you ever want to install Mountain Lion from a fresh/bare install…. OR attempt to run in a VM…😉


VCAP5 – Study Sites / Materials

So you’ve just finished up your VCP5 Certifications, FANTASTIC!  However, for those looking to “Keep Going” and become a bone fide VMware “GURU”, you may be interested in getting your VCAP certifications:

VCAP5 – DCD – Data Center Design
VCAP5 – DCA – Data Center Administration

AND, if you are really into obtaining advanced VMware Certifications, checkout the VMware VCDX – VMware Certified Design Expert Certification.   To obtain this certification, you MUST pass both the VCAP DCD and DCA exams — as well as submit and defend a VMware vSphere design.

Currently there are approximately “86” VCDXs on the planet… Here’s the list!

So, let’s kick this off… Here is a listing of the resources I am currently using to study for my VCAPs:

To Get started, you should look at the VCAP5 – Blueprints

Here’s the List! – SO FAR
Cody Bunch’s Brown Bag Sessions
Ray Heffer’s Enterprise Technology Blog

I know this is a “SHORT LIST” — but believe me, these will keep you busy for a good long while…  I plan to make this a “living list” — if you have any suggestions please let me know!

There are ALSO a TON of other great VMware Expert blogs out there — and I will try to create a separate list for my favorites.  However, for this post, we’ll keep it to just VCAP Prep blogs/materials.

Have Fun — Study Hard — Please with Brandon Willmortt (@bdwill) and myself (@wsellers) LUCK, — we’ll need it!

Securing Your Virtualized Electronic Medical Records System (EMR)


Electronic medical records will soon be mandatory in all medical facilities in the United States. With the continued growth of virtualization, these applications will be run with VMware vSphere, and it’s important that they are properly designed in the datacenter and on the desktop to maintain compliance with the Health Insurance Portability & Accounting Act (HIPAA) and Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH Act). In this presentation, we will explore specific mandates by the Department of Health and Hospitals that address security and how to implement solutions with VMware and it’s partner products to secure the application and patient data, and the consequences of not being compliant.


    • Under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH Act), a certified electronic medical record implementation is mandated by the United States federal government by 2015
    • HITECH Act strengthens HIPAA data security requirements
    • Perform a security risk analysis as per HIPAA rule CFR 45 164.308(a)(1)
    • As a mission critical application, makes sense to virtualize application to maintain high availability
    • Areas of Vulnerability
    • External Communication: EMRs require interfaces with practice management applications, hospitals, clinical results, and other external providers to transmit protected health information (PHI). Need to further secure VM. Deploy vShield.
    • Hardware Failure: Cluster servers with vSphere 5 HA
    • Application Failure: Implement Symantec ApplicationHA to monitor key applications to ensure HA of application
    • Hard drive Failure: As part of HA, it is necessary to use shared storage. Also good choice for integrity of application and patient data transmission of patient data to the desktop
    • Use VMware View instead of desktop PCs to ensure all electronic patient information remains in the secured datacenter.
    • Implement proximity badge (tap) solution to secure desktop sessions
    • Natural disaster or damage to datacenter: perform offsite replication to secondary site. Using SRM or vCloud Connector, can have business operations restored with minimal downtime
    • HIPAA security breach is nasty and expensive. HIPAA security violations can include criminal charges and fines can be up to $1.5 million per year. Additional embarrassment by showing up on Department of Health and Hospitals public breach list — a “wall of shame”

Key Takeaways

  1. Confidently virtualize EMR and comply with HIPAA and HITECH regulations
  2. Learn which HIPAA and HITECH regulations pertain to EMR/server/system security and how VMware and it’s technology partners can help your organization be compliant
  3. Consequences and penalties of not being HIPAA and HITECH compliant

VMware vShield 5.0.1 update

As part of the VMware vCloud Director 1.5.1 update, I also updated my vShield Manager appliance.  The update was easy and I’ve had no problems since the update.

Here are the official release notes from VMware:

vShield 5.0.1 release notes

Prerequisites that I recommend:
Backup your vShield Manager database.

It’s cool, easy, and encrypted. Soooo, you won’t be able to view any of the NAT, Firewall, VPN info.  However, I think it’s a good idea to keep this backed up.   Soooo, you won’t be able to view any of the NAT, Firewall, VPN info.   However, I think it’s a good idea to keep this regularly backed up.

Here are the screenshots: 

Log into your vShield Manager appliance — then choose “Settings and Reports” section on the left.  Now, select the updates tab.

Now choose “Upload Settings.”  — You will be able to browse to the *VMware-vShield-Manager-upgrade-bundle-5.0.1-638924.tar.gz” file.

You’ll now need to confirm your decision to upgrade your vSM:

Now, sit back — and wait for the bundle upgrade to finish.  This might take a few minutes—- AND in my specific situation, I had to click the “refresh” button in my browser.  It seemed that the install hung at 0%… However, I may not have waiting long enough.

After hitting refresh in my browser — and re-logging in, it seemed things looked OK.  The version number had been updated.

Also, if you login to the vSM appliance, you can issue a “show version” command to take a look at the update.

One thing that I DID notice:  After the upgrade, the version/build number (when viewed from vSphere) did not update.  Perhaps, I need to reboot for this to become updated.

However, when new vShield Edge servers are deployed, the correct version/build numbers are displayed.

That’s it…