Tag Archives: vcd

VMware Cloud Provider Specialist Exam 2019

After many months of procrastinating I finally decided to sit the VMware Cloud Provider Specialist Exam (5V0-32.19). The exam was released at the end of August 2018, so it’s been available for quite a few months now. This comes after a long wait from the vCloud community asking for a specialist / dedicated exam around vCloud Director and its product suite.

The first thing to note with this exam is that it’s not a certification but rather falls under a new collection of exams from VMware that are better represented by Skills and Achievements and are acknowledged through VMware / Acclaim Badges (as shown by the one above).

The exam is non-proctored web based. Meaning, like me, you can take the exam first thing in the morning before starting work. This is a format first released by VMware with their VMware Certified Associate exams a number of years back. The exam is 40 questions sat over 60 minutes with the standard 300 passing score. The exam is predominately focused on vCloud Director but also cover numerous other products in the vCloud Suite of products and the Cloud Provider program

It’s a relativity solid exam, I feel sitting in between an Associate and Professional certification in terms of difficulty. Having used vCloud Director and its various suite of tools for quite a few years now. I took this exam cold with no additional study. I managed to answer the 40 questions in a little over 30 minutes and then spent 10 minutes reviewing about a dozen questions I was a little uncertain on. Generally speaking, with these kind of exams, you either know or don’t know the answer. So trust you gut instinct and put your answer as the first thing that comes to your mind. Then flag it for review if you are truly uncertain.

So what should you do if you want to take and pass this exam? It’s a little tricky for me to definitively recommend study material as I relied on my previously gained knowledge of the vCloud Director and it’s various product line. I would certainly say this is an exam for someone that administers and engineers vCloud Director solutions. That’s generally going to be someone in the Service Provider space. If you don’t use vCloud Director I would question the real benefit you would gain from this exam, with the exception of forcing you to study up on the various products that go into this exam. If you’re still set on this exam and don’t have access to vCD you’re best bet would be Hands on Labs HOL-1983-01-HBD -- VMware Cloud Provider Program -- vCloud Director for Service Providers.

There is no formal Blueprint that I’m aware of but there is an Exam Preparation Guide PDF for the exam on the VMware Certification site. It has quite a lot of Sections and Objectives to work through and a huge amount of reference material. This could be quite a challenge for someone new to vCloud Director to work through.

Generally speaking though you will need to know vCloud Director. It’s the core focus of this exam. The exam is also based on vCD 9.1. This is extremely important to know. For example things like supported databases have changed in recently releases of vCD leading you to in incorrect assumption for the answer. While it’s unlikely you’ll be asked to specifically do something around point and clicks. You will more likely need to understand all the different terminologies and constructs used in vCD and how they relate back into vSphere.

You should understand the concepts and components behind vCloud Extender. What it is, what it does, and how you might use it. The same goes for vCloud Usage Meter and it’s newer SaaS offering Usage Insight. While I don’t recall but you may see some questions around vCloud Availability too.

You’ll also probably see a few questions around a new product, Cloud Provider Pod and Cloud Provider Hub. Very few people would have hands on experience with this new product. It’s basically an Orchestration platform to stand up an entire vCloud Director stack from bare metal. I’d recommend watching the VMworld presentation Introducing VMware Cloud Provider Pod presented by Wade Holmes which should give you all the high level information you need on it.

Final Thoughts:
As mentioned above, this is a solid exam. It covers quite a lot of different products in VMware’s Cloud Program Program / vCloud suite. It’s ideally suited to Service Providers using vCD. vCloud Director is a very intricate product with many external dependencies. The exam is a great way to validate and acknowledge those skills you have acquired with vCD and associated products.

Error Setting Timezone on vCloud Director 9.5 Appliance

vCloud Director 9.5 is VMware’s first attempt at an appliance for vCloud Director.  It’s built upon VMware’s Photon OS 2.0.  The appliance does a couple great things.  It’s provided as an Linux appliance pre-configured with all the required dependencies for vCloud Director and installs the vCD binaries.  It also comes as an OVA deployment allowing you to easily enter all the required parameters to simplify the deployment.

Unfortunately the appliance isn’t perfect and has a few bugs in it.  The first of which you’ll come across very soon after deployment when you attempt to set the timezone from the console.

When you open the console for the first time you’ll see a familiar looking console menu where you can login or Set Timezone.  When you attempt to set the timezone you will see an error briefly flash up on the screen then be taken back to the console menu.

/usr/bin/tzselect: line 180 /usr/share/zoneinfo/zone1970.tab No such file or directory
/usr/bin/tzselect time zone files not setup correctly

There is no obvious way to correct this issue until a patch is released.  The timezone, though, can still be set via the CLI with the following steps.

Login to the CLI and type in

ls /usr/share/zoneinfo/

Find your nearest region and perform another ls on that folder.  If your region doesn’t exist you can perform an ls on Etc to select a specific GMT zone.

In my example I choose Australia.

ls /usr/share/zoneinfo/Australia/

Inside this directory find your nearest State or City.

Use the VAMI set timezone command to set this region.  For example

[email protected] [ ~ ]# /opt/vmware/share/vami/vami_set_timezone_cmd Australia/Melbourne
Timezone settings updated

Exit out of the CLI to return to the console menu.  Your timezone should now be set.

HTTP Error 500 Post Upgrade to vCloud Director 9.0

This week I decided to jump on the upgrade bandwagon along with a number of other excited people in the vExpert Slack group.  While most, if not all, had success stories I unfortunately ran into some post upgrade portal issues.

The upgrade process to version 9.0 was no different from previous releases.  I followed my regular upgrade process which went off without issue.  When I went to log into the Administrator Portal I was faced with an HTTP Error 500 page.  Argh!

HTTP ERROR 500

Problem accessing /cloud/saml/login/alias/vcd. Reason:

Server Error

Caused by:

javax.servlet.ServletException: org.opensaml.saml2.metadata.provider.MetadataProviderException: No IDP was configured, please update included metadata with at least one IDP at org.springframework.security.saml.SAMLEntryPoint.commence(SAMLEntryPoint.java:161) at org.springframework.security.saml.SAMLEntryPoint.doFilter(SAMLEntryPoint.java:107) at com.vmware.vcloud.web.NestedFilterChain.doFilter(NestedFilterChain.java:45) at com.vmware.vcloud.web.UnfirewalledFilterChainProxy.doFilter(UnfirewalledFilterChainProxy.java:62) at org.springframework.security.web.FilterChainProxy$VirtualFilterChain.doFilter(FilterChainProxy.java:331)

To my surprise tenant Portals were fine and able to log in.  This was Admin Portal specific.

Checking the release notes I knew there was a breaking change with Federation and SAML which required you re-register your organization with your SAML IDP.  That’s fine I thought, were not using SAML.  And besides the notes seem to indicate you make the change post upgrade.

System administrators cannot use an existing vSphere SSO configuration to authenticate to vCloud Director.

Federation for the System organization has changed in this release. The System organization can now use any SAML IDP, not just the vSphere Single Sign-On service. Existing federation settings for the System organization are no longer valid and are deleted during the upgrade.

Workaround: Re-register your organization with your SAML IDP. See “Enable Your Organization to Use a SAML Identity Provider” in the vCloud Director Administrator’s Guide

Turns out, though, we were in fact using SAML, or at least had it enabled in a non functioning state.  So despite the release notes stating that it would be deleted, it appeared to remain in a broken state post upgrade and now was preventing the Portal from loading at all.

The solution turned out to be relatively easy with VMware GSS help.  Login to the Admin Portal specifying the full URL to the login.jsp file with your standard System Administrator account.

https://portal.mydomain.local/cloud/login.jsp

Navigate to the Administration Page and then to Federation.  Untick Use SAML Identity Provider and Apply.

The change should take effect immediately.  Logout and back in as you normally would to the portal without the trailing /cloud/login.jsp.

While I’m sure this was a corner case please take note of your SAML settings.  If you don’t use it, make sure you don’t have it enabled.

Connecting to vCloud Director via PowerCLI

I’m currently stuck administrating a vCloud Directory 1.5 environment.  I don’t have any major concerns with vCD 1.5 but sometimes I do find the web portal a little awkward to navigate around.  VMware have done a great job in creating PowerCLI cmdlets that open up access into the vCD APIs.

You can obtain access to the cmdlets via two methods.  You can download PowerCLI from VMware.  You’ll need at least version 5.0.1.  Or you can download PowerCLI for Tenants.  This version contains only the vCD cmdlets and removes all the other vSphere cmdlets not relevant to vCD.

If you’re connecting to vCD over the internet the great thing is you don’t need any extra or special ports opened to use PowerCLI.  Connection is done over HTTPS (Port 443) using the domain name of your Cloud Service Provider’s vCD portal.

You’ll also need your ORG name within vCD.  To find out your ORG name connect up to the vCD web portal.  Navigate to the Administration tab and select General under Settings in the left pane.

vcd_connect01

Open up PowerCLI.  Use the cmdlet Connect-CIServer to initiate a connection.

Connect-CIServer -Server portal.vpdc.domain.com -org MYORG

You should then be prompted for your vCD login credentials.

vcd_connect02

Once connect you you can start playing around with some of the more basic get commands.

To view your usage of CPU, Memory and Storage allocation you can use get-orgvdc.

get-orgvdc | ft -autosize

vcd_connect03

To list all your VMs it’s just a matter of get-civm

get-civm | ft  name, status, cpucount, memorygb -autosize

vcd_connect04

To list details of a specific VM you can try the follow

get-civm -name MYSERVER | fl

vcd_connect05

The cmdlets won’t give you the full feature set as the web portal.  Never the less you’ll find that you can speed up a lot of the daily administrative tasks you do.  It’s also a great way of extracting out information for reporting.

References

Vmware Connect-CIServer 

vCloud Director PowerCLI Community

vCD cmdlet reference