Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Certifications during pandemics - Pearson VUE online proctoring

Recently I had the opportunity to take (and pass) 3 certifications and I did it using Pearson's OnVUE online proctoring. Talking to other colleagues of mine I found out there are mixed feelings about the experience. For me it was an overall good experience. So, I've decided to put together a few thoughts about how it went. 

The good 

You can schedule the exam anytime you want and you can do it from one day to another. You are home in your office, so it's a familiar space. There is no commute to the test center and back. For me these are the biggest advantages. 

The not so good

You have to clean up your desk and disconnect everything. If you have docking station, multiple monitors and other equipment it will be a bit of work to do. If you have other things around your desk (like my old film cameras  that I keep as decorations), you will need to move those too. Be prepared to use your webcam to show that cables are unplugged. 

Another thing to take care: no one is allowed to enter the room be it kid, partner or pet. This may prove an inconvenient.

The app delivering the exam is not optimized for wide monitors. That makes the questions very long and places the buttons in strange positions. But you get used to it, or better use laptop screen. 

The weird

The proctor experience can vary a bit. It was fine for 2 exams to use external monitor, not fine during another one. The weirdest thing: I was told during one exam not to look up because that is not allowed and doing it again will fail my exam (!?!). Small issue here: when I try to remember things I involuntarily look up. Luckily I managed to pass the exam without remembering too many things. 

Connectivity issues

It happened one morning to take longer to connect and get someone to enter online with me. It took me more than half hour to start the process. But after that all went well. No biggie here, just start on time.

Once you get the exam started, the experience is the same like in any test center. I am not sure that I would like to go back to a test center unless absolutely necessary (like looking up during the exam). 



Wednesday, October 6, 2021

What's new in vRealize Automation 8.5.x and 8.6

The latest releases of vRealize Automation bring in a series of interesting features. 

Cloud Resource 

Cloud Resource view was introduced back in May 2021 for vRA Cloud and allows to manage resources directly instead of managing them by resource groups (deployments). It allows now to manage all discovered, onboarded and provisioned deployments, trigger power day 2 actions on discovered resources and bulk manage multiple resources at the same time.

ABX enabled deployment for custom resources

Provisioning a custom resource allows you to track and manage the custom resource and its properties during its whole lifecycle. No dynamic types are needed for full lifecycle management. 

Cloud Templates Dynamic Input 

Use vRO Actions for dynamic external values to define different types of input values directly at the Cloud Template and bind local input to the dynamic inputs as action parameters. 

Kubernetes support in Code Stream Workspace

The Code Stream pipeline workspace now supports Docker and Kubernetes for continuous integration tasks. The Kubernetes platform manages the entire lifecycle of the container, similar to Docker. In the pipeline workspace, you can choose Docker (the default selection) or Kubernetes. In the workspace, you select the appropriate endpoint. 

The Kubernetes workspace provides:

  • the builder image to use
  • image registry
  • namespace
  • node port
  • persistent Volume Claim
  • working directory
  • environment variables
  • CPU limit
  • memory limit.

You can also choose to create a clone of the Git repository.


vRA leverages Azure provisioning capabilities, including the ability to enable/disable boot diagnostics for Azure VMs for Day 0/2, and the ability to configure the name for the Azure NIC interfaces.

Other updates and new features 
  • Native SaltStack Configuration Automation Config via modules for vSphere, VMC, and NSX
  • Leverage third-party integrations with Puppet Enterprise support for machines without a Public IP address
  • Deploy a VCD adapter for vRA
  • Onboard vSphere networks to support an additional resource type in the onboarding workflow