Backup Academy

September 12th, 2011 No comments

I was asked to look into this new training site called ‘Backup Academy’. It’s a website intended for the people getting started with virtualization and data protection.

The content was created by:
David Davis (vExpert, CCIE, VCAP)
Greg Shield (MVP, vExpert)
Elias Khnaser (vExpert)
Eric Siebert (vExpert)
Rick Vanover (MCITP, vExpert, VCP)

They have a lot of videos you can use to expand your knowledge and skills on backing up your virtual environment. The website is sponsored by Veeam, and it has primarily VMware and Hyper-V information.

When you want to test your learned knowledge you can take the exam and get  Backup Academy certified. You get a certificate stating you passed the exam, as well as logo’s for on your own website.

So I encourage everybody to go check out that site, and see if you got the knowledge needed to pass the exam.

Categories: Random Stuff Tags:

Cisco CCNA certification

August 31st, 2011 No comments

I finally obtained my Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) certification. Because of life happening I spend a few years trying to get it. Here’s why.

I have always had an interest in networks, and my current job also demands a lot of network configuring. It was only logical I would obtain the CCNA certifications, also because there are only Cisco devices at my current job.

My employer (KPN Consulting) has always been willing to help me further my knowledge so in 2009 they send me on the Cisco CCNA Basics (Introduction & ICND) course at Startel. It was a big course since it was 2x 3 days and it covered all the basics you need to take the exam. I was planning on taking the exam shortly after the course. Even though I was told there would still be about 60 hours of self study involved.

Here is the part where it all went spiraling down. There were some things going on at my job that required my attention. And my 1 year old daughter also demanded my attention. That and I could not muster the focus I needed to spent hours studying every night. There was a promotion, and a son, and another promotion…and time was passing by and the knowledge I had acquired on the course was gone.

The last certification I obtained was VMware’s VCP on Infrastructure 3 back in March 2008. Since then nothing. So I knew it was time to act. I talked about this with my manager at KPN Consulting and I told him one of my goals in 2011 was getting CCNA. I made sure I was motivated because I went  ahead and put that goal on paper and we both signed of on it. I would get a ‘very good’ on my yearly review (meaning more money) if I obtained the certification before September 1st. So wanting to finally get it, and the agreement I made with my employer got me motivated again.

So in April this year I started studying for the first part of CCNA which is getting CCENT (ICND1). It  took me till June to get it all in my head and I passed the exam on June 8 with 930 points. I used a combination of study material. I used the CBT Nuggets ICND1 series. I really love Jeremy Cioara, the CBT Nugget Cisco trainer. So watching those videos was fun and really good. Through my employer I also got the official Cisco CCNA Preparation Library, which covers both ICND1 and ICND2. They are big books and hard to go through. I have actually fallen asleep on them and spending several hours sleeping on them. So that is when I turned to the CBT Nugget series. There are also some online sites that give you test questions and test simulations to get you a feel on the  Cisco iOS. Especially the Cisco Packet Tracer tool is awesome. It will let you build an entire lab with the different Cisco devices out there and let you configure it and play with it as if you actually had the hardware right there. Powerful stuff. On top of that I found the website where Blake Erickson has a guide for sale that will help you study what is needed for the exam, and leave out the many pages in the Cisco books that you don’t need. That was also a big help.

After I got ICND1 on June 8 I gave myself a week off and started working on ICND2. I found ICND2 a lot more difficult. Mainly because you really need to know every little detail there is about routing protocols. I mean trunks and vtp and subnetting is stuff I work with everyday, but frame-relay and serial connections is not something we have where I work. So that was all new to me. After hours of studying I planned my exam for August 24. But as it turned out there were more details then I had stuffed in my brain and I failed with 776 points (825 needed). Crap. I immediately rescheduled for August 31. And after a crap session of a week I went back to the testing center. Just before September 1st 🙂

I had my exam scheduled for 11am so when I got there at about 10.40 I heard that there was an overbooking…and I might have to wait for like 2 hours. Crap again. Time for coffee. But after about an hour I could enter the testing room and start. This time I was better prepared and even got some of the question I got a week before. After about an hour I saw that I had gotten 888 points. Pass.

CCNA finally! And even within the time frame I had set. Yay. I have already requested the ‘vSphere 4: Whats new’ course and my manager has already approved the course. Now let’s get cracking on VCP4 and 5.

Categories: Cisco Tags:

vSphere slow network speeds

April 15th, 2011 No comments

Every time I run the VMware Health Check, it tells me I do not have my nics set to ‘autonegotiation’. Correct I do not.

When we started with vSphere ESX 4 the network speed seemed way to slow. Stuff would not go above 100mbit on a gigabit link. Tests between vm’s, test between hosts etc would not reach an expected speed.

The solution to this was to set all the connections (on physical switch as on host) to speed 1000 and duplex to full. After this speeds went up to 500+mbit.

I am curious if anybody else has had these results, or has any ideas on this matter.

Categories: VMware Tags:

vSphere and Cisco ASA not playing nice

April 15th, 2011 No comments

The client I am currently working at uses a Cisco ASA firewall. It has a number of interfaces and one of them is connected to a Cisco 3750-E switch with a vlan in which our VMware vSphere cluster also has a connection. You still with me? Ok.

This setup seems ok, but we are having a strange issue with it. It showed up when we brought our Microsoft Unified Access Gateway into the mix. The MS UAG is running in a virtual machine and has a portal for our terminal server applications as well as the owa interface for our Exchange environment.

All was well and everything was working…in the beginning. Soon we encountered connectivity problems when trying to go to the owa webmail portal. Usually the portal would work, but every now and then the site would give a ‘cannot find’ error. Configuring the UAG with it’s persistent static routes can be tricky to begin with, but these strange problems did not help.

Things that did nothing:
Rebooting the UAG.
Removing IP’s from nics and re-adding them.
Removing and re-adding the static routes.
Reconfiguring the UAG TMG firewall to be more open.

All these had no effect on the issue. Eventually my colleague figured out that the webmail-out interface for the UAG had no ARP entry in the arp table on our Cisco ASA firewall. So that seemed a good explanation for pc’s not being able to find the portal. Adding a static entry for the webmail-out interface to the arp table resolved our issue, for a while that is.

During a maintenance evening installing patches etc. The UAG was rebooted and our problem returned. Even though the ARP entry was in the arp table on the firewall. But now the UAG was reporting a duplicate IP on the network. After some testing it seems the correct way to do this is:

1. Remove IP from webmail-out interface on UAG.
2. Delete static ARP entry on ASA firewall.
3. Give webmail-out interface the correct ip.
4. Add the static ARP entry to the ASA firewall.

This procedure works. It might be a bit of work for a simple reboot…but at the moment it will have to do.

With this in mind we went on a google search and found a post by a Dutch blogger that experienced similar problems.

The solution apparently is disabling the Proxy ARP feature on the ASA interface. Further testing will need to be done since this might impact other machines on our network.

Categories: Cisco, VMware Tags:

First post

April 14th, 2011 No comments

And so is online. I am busy getting everything settled and setup the way I want it to be.

Expect to see stuff happen on this site.

Categories: Random Stuff Tags: