September 21

Part 1: My vCloud Journey Journal

This is the first part of my vCloud Journal. And yes, I did think about conflating the word Journey and Journal together to make a brand word. However, “journalwag” sounded a bit too mangled to act as a good name! The central plank/thought behind this journal is to share with you my own personal learning-curve. You see I think I’ve got a lot in common with people in the community when it comes to all things cloudy. To date my journey has taken me through a number of revisions of vSphere, View and SRM – but to date I’ve not had much hands on experience with the vCloud Suite of technologies. Although you could say that as SRM becomes more vCloud-aware that should stand me in good stead. As for vCD itself I think I wrote one detailed article for TechTarget when vCD 1.0 was released. It was called “vCloud in your man-cave” – it was aimed at homelabbers who wanted to get their hands dirty on the core IaaS solution. But apart from that I’ve little hands on experience.

I really have two goals in mind. Firstly, I want to get tech’d up on the vCloud Suite – as I don’t believe I can be a crediable “evangelist” just by reading and repeating stuff I see on a PowerPoint. Although I might NOT end up knowing every widget, knob, button and spinner – I think I need have setup, configured and worked within the vCloud Suite as much as I have with vSphere, SRM and View. My second goal is to use the training materials from MyLearn, Instructor-led course, vBrownBags and 3rd party training such as TrainSignal’s “VMware vCloud Director Essentials” to prep for the VCP-Cloud exam. For me that’s really about having something measureable at the end of this process. Finally, my other hope is I go through this learning-curve it will serve as the source of articles/blogposts – and perhaps even in years time a book about the vCloud Suite.

So this week I started working through the 3hr MyLearn course which is called “VMware vCloud: Deploy and Manage the VMware Cloud [V1.5]“. It’s a free course and covers the older 1.5 release of vCD. But I think given it’s fundmentals, much of that content will still be relavant even though we are on the cusp of 5.1 release. The exam and related content is still based on vCD 1.5, and I’m hoping to have passed the exam before the 5.1 exam becomes available. I guess at some stage that mean doing another exam to upgrade my VCP-Cloud 1.5 certification to a VCP-Cloud 5.1 version. But in my case I don’t want to wait until the new courseware and exam becomes available. My intention is to set up my lab environment on the 5.1 distribution so if difference between 1.5 and 5.1 in terms of setup, look and feel will show up right away. I’m believe in learning can’t be just done from PowerPoints, and hands-on is imperative. I know there’s a virtual appliance of vCD, but I wanted to keep my skill up to date by installing it as well.

The course is delivered using the Acrobat Connect platform which I prefer to say pre-recorded WebEX. The only downside is you can’t take the course “offline” for watching during a daily commute or long-haul flight which might be handy.

Screen Shot 2012-09-12 at 13.15.48.png

Note: Notice the “Script” Tab which had exactly was said in a text format – hand if there’s specific quote such as the definition of vCD that you want to include in your personal notes.

There’s also the occasional video demo as well, such as the one which shows the install process…

Screen Shot 2012-09-12 at 15.50.48.png

The narration is pretty good. So good its hard to tell if the person is real or robot, or someone who once human who has been turned into a robot! The pronouncation of certain words is SO exact that it seems likely that the “script” was run through a very good text-to-speech algorthim/package. This ensures a certain consistency in delivery to be sure, but its also a bit unrelenting. Personally, I would have preferred a real-human-being delivering the content as you get variation in stress/voice that keeps more engaging. By the end of the session my girlfriend and I were prouncing “c-l-u-s-t-e-r-s” with a curious nasal American accent that only text-speech seems can achieve!!!

The demo’s are voiced by a guy, and that does sound a like a real person. So much so I began to starting to thinking if this some sort Alan Turing test. He definied artifical intelligence as conversation with computer which is indisguisable from one with a human. Sadly, you can’t ask the narrator any questions.

The course is divided into 6 modules:

  • Module 1: VMware vCloud Director Overview
  • Module 2: VMware vCloud Director Architecture and Components
  • Module 3: VMware vCloud Director Installation and Configuration
  • Module 4: VMware vCloud Director Administration
  • Module 5: Network Administration in VMware vCloud Director
  • Module 6: VMware vCloud Director User

And as is my general practise I opened a word file with a heading for each of the modules for making personal notes. That’s something I’ve done since I’ve been an instructor. It means I can run through these notes quickly and use them for revision. There’s something about writing personal notes that gets stuff into your brain. In fact that’s how I got started at RTFM. I wrote some notes, which then involved into a very well-written guide – which I then gave away for free. The rest, as they say, is history.

If your familiar with the usual “cloud” terms – elastic, multi-tennant, public, private, hybrid, service catalog, self-service, IaaS, PaaS and SaaS – you could probably skip Module 1. Module 2 is very handy as a refresh or if vCD is new to you – it goes through every component in the suite, and even goes as far to discuss how availability and messaging is handled. I think it maybe a module you view a couple of times to let all information sink into your bonce.

For me by far the most challenging module was number 5 on networking – for this reason it was the most interesting. I think I will be certainly revisiting 2/3/4/5 before attending any formal classroom-based training. Module 6 was okay – it shows the vCD product from the end-consummer perspective – and flags up typical tasks such as creating a vApp from the catalog and so on. It was a timely reminder that modules 2/3/4/5 are all about preparing the environment.

Conclusions:

I would recommend this course in two scenarios. Your a noobie to vCD (like me in many ways!) and you wanting to get familiar with all the concepts and proceedures quickly. I’d also recommend it to anyone intending to attended the instructor-led class. It will put you ahead of the game, and pre-arm you with questions for your instructor. Sadly, the lady who narrates the videos talks a quite a pace, and found it difficult to make notes whilst she talked.If your taking notes like I do, I would recommend two approaches:

1. Listen once, Listen again – make notes

2. Listen to one slide, pause and make notes – resumme

 

 



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Posted September 21, 2012 by Michelle Laverick in category "Cloud Journal