What’s in my VCP4-DT study lab?

Earlier I posted about the setup of my VCP5 study lab.  Today I’m going to cover the lab setup I used to study for the VCP4-DT exam. This is the Desktop certification that is all about deploying and configuring VMware View 4.x.  As you will see on the certification page you must first be a VCP4 and then pass the VCP4-DT exam.  As usual for VMware exams there’s a good blueprint listing the subject areas you will be tested on during the exam.  In the past there was a requirement to complete the VCA4-DT certification as well as VCP, this requirement has now been removed, although reportedly the exam registration process for VCP4-DT hasn’t been updated.

My study lab was again a set of VMs built under VMware Workstation on my laptop.  The first VM to build will be a domain controller, Active Directory is mandatory for View and a DC is also a logical place to run DHCP and DNS for the lab.

Name DC
RAM 1GB during install
256MB once installed.
Processors 1
Hard Disk 40GB Thin provisioned
3.5GB used from host
Network 1 Host Only
Network 2 NAT for Internet access
Operating System Windows 2003 32bit

Inside the DC machine I ran DCPromo to create my domain and then configured DHCP for the Host Only network.  I also put a share on the machine to use as a deployment location for View software.  The installation proceeds much faster if the VM has 1GB of RAM, however after installation and  configuration is complete 256MB is sufficient for on-going operation.

Next you will need a vCentre server, I chose to use a Windows XP 64bit machine as I had a license to hand.  This will only work with vCentre 4.x and earlier.  You may choose to use a Windows Server 64bit operating system, however this is likely to require more RAM.  As the smallest supported Java heap size is 1GB the vCentre VM will need more than this amount of RAM.

Name VC-XP
RAM 1.25 GB
Processors 1
Hard Disk 40 GB Thin Provisioned
12 GB used from host
Network 1 Host Only
Operating System Windows XP 64bit

This machine is joined to the domain and has vCentre 4.1 and View Composer  installed. Don’t forget to put the Windows XP sysprep files in the right location to allow Guest OS customisation.

The third VM to build is an ESXi server

Name esxi01
Processors 2
Hard Disk 6 GB thin provisioned
1 GB used from host
Hard Disk2 60 GB thin provisioned
5 GB used from host
Network 1 Host Only
Network 2 Host Only
Operating System ESXi 4.1

This ESXi server is added to the vCentre server inventory.  As this lab has only a single ESXi server I will use it’s local disk for the desktop VMs, the second disk is formatted VMFS for this purpose.  The more VMs you deploy the larger the second disk will grow.

The fourth and final VM is a View Connection server.

Name CS
Processors 1
Hard Disk 30 GB Thin Provisioned
10 GB used from host
Network Host Only
Operating System Windows 2008 Server R2

This VM is joined to the domain and then the View Connection server is installed.

All of these server VMs have static IP addresses and use the DC as their DNS server.

A small windows XP VM is all that is required for desktops, these run as nested VMs so should be created using the vCentre VM.  I don’t use NLite to create a light install CD, having had problems with Sysprep when using NLite.  Use a Windows XP install ISO with SP3 slipstreamed into the ISO, this will use less disk space and be quicker to install compared to installing without the service pack & then applying it.  SP3 for Windows XP is required before the View Agent will install.

Name XP-Base
Processors 1
Hard Disk 4 GB Thick Provisioned
Network VM Network
Operating System Windows XP w/ SP3

From there you can build pools and test View Composer as you need.  You will need to be familiar with full clone and linked clone pools as well as using both sysprep and quickprep with Linked Clones.

I run the View Client on the laptop that is the host for the lab, this gives the best response but does require some RAM available, so don’t get to aggressive with enlarging your VMs if you only have 8GB of RAM.

In addition to View the VCP4-DT exam will test you on ThinApp, so you should build a couple of ThinApp VMs.  I again run these as VMs on my laptop, due to RAM shortage I don’t run these VMs at the same time as the View Lab.  The two VMs are the same:

Name ThinApp-CNB
Processors 1
Hard Disk 8GB Thin Provisioned
1.5 GB used from host
Plus snapshots
Network Bridged
Operating System Windows XP w/ SP3

The ThinApp-CNB VM is copied to ThinApp-Test as a baseline test VM. ThinApp is installed to the host laptop and the ThinApp folder is made available inside both of the VMs using Host Folders.

Build a few ThinApps, package them for both streaming and installed use.  Be sure to build one copy of the package with MSI Streaming enabled for deployment with View.  I place these packages into the DC VM of my View test lab, share them out and setup deployment within View.

Be sure to play with both Integer and AppSync updating of ThinApp packages.  I find File Hippo a really useful site for finding multiple versions of a piece of software to test the update process.

As always with VMware certifications you should study to the exam blueprint to have the best prospect of passing the exam.  Also keep in mind that if you are using the tested skills every day you will need little study, just the areas you don’t use every day.  If you are attempting certification to break into a new career area then you will need to study hard to acquire the skills. Make sure acquiring the skills is the primary objective, not simply passing the exam.

© 2012, Alastair. All rights reserved.

About Alastair

I am a professional geek, working in IT Infrastructure. Mostly I help to communicate and educate around the use of current technology and the direction of future technologies.
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2 Responses to What’s in my VCP4-DT study lab?

  1. Tas says:

    Excellent guide! Hoping to cram for this sometime soon after a good year of View tinkering exposure and production rollout for an SMB.

  2. d_ says:

    Great info. Just doing a View POC at the moment. This will help for a lab.

    Thanks for the info.

    Looking forward to the podcasts filling in the drive to work again this year. You must have heaps of content.. all your exam experience from last year!

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