Becoming a vSAN Specialist: The Process Begins


Late last year, I made the decision to obtain the vSAN Specialist badge (2VB-601) that VMware just recently began offering. While I currently don’t have the necessary home lab equipment, I plan to get started and then figure out  the lab situation. My ideal plan is to have a three node NUC cluster running vSAN, but this may change. Regardless, the most important thing is to start, so here we go!

This will be a study guide/exam guide for those interested in becoming a vSAN Specialist. It will also serve as a general guide to deploying and using vSAN. Throughout this process, I hope to obtain my badge, deep dive with vSAN, and help others along the way.  The exam, 2VB-601, is a badge which validates your knowledge of vSAN. It is very characteristic of current VCP exams; however, it is not considered a VCP exam. Also, you must have at least one VCP exam already. Since I obtained my first VCP-DCV6 last year, I thought this would be the perfect compliment. So, here we go!

Why vSAN? Traditional datacenter infrastructure is continuing to change at warp speed, and because of this, infrastructure must evolve in order to meet the needs of the customer. Two main factors are at play, costs and time to market. vSAN addresses both of these perfectly within the world’s most popular virtualization platform. The days of massive storage arrays and complicated setups/upgrades are quickly fading; rather, the days of building out your solution brick by brick (saves money) and converged core technologies (compute, storage, network) are taking its place.

vSAN continues to be a major disruptor within the Hyper Converged space. Currently VMware is the market leader within the space, with about 10,000 customers actively using vSAN now (this continues to grow each day). So with that said, vSAN will continue to evolve and become more popular. Ready to learn with me? Excited? Well let’s begin.

With all things VMware, the TRUTH always persists within the official exam guide/blueprint. It can be found here.  In closing, here are the objectives that will be covered during this process. This is going to be a long journey, but I look forward to learning more about vSAN and helping others along the way!

Section 1- Storage Fundamentals

Objective 1.1 – Identify storage device characteristics

Objective 1.2 – Identify storage performance factors

Section 2 – VSAN Fundamentals

Objective 2.1 – Provide a high-level description of vSAN

Objective 2.2 – Describe vSAN requirements

Objective 2.3 – Understand how vSAN stores and protects data

Objective 2.4 – Describe vSAN space efficiency features

Section 3 – vSAN Configuration

Objective 3.1 – Identify physical network requirements

Objective 3.2 – Configure vSAN networking

Objective 3.3 – Configure a vSAN cluster

Objective 3.4 – Create and manage disk groups

Objective 3.5 – Validate a vSAN configuration

Section 4 – vSAN Policies and Virtual Machines

Objective 4.1 – Explain how storage policies work

Objective 4.2 – Create and manage storage policies

Objective 4.3 – Explain how storage policies are applied to virtual machines

Objective 4.4 – Check storage policy compliance

Objective 4.5 – Describe vsanSparse snapshots

Section 5 – Managing and Operating vSAN

Objective 5.1 – Configure vSAN encryption

Objective 5.2 – Understand various failure events and how vSAN responds

Objective 5.3 – Describe maintenance mode options

Objective 5.4 – Manage hardware replacement

Objective 5.5 – Describe iSCSI Target service

Section 6 – Stretched Clusters and Two-Node Clusters

Objective 6.1 – Describe a stretched cluster architecture

Objective 6.2 – Create a stretched cluster

Objective 6.3 – Understand data placement in a stretched cluster

Objective 6.4 – Describe the two-node cluster architecture

Section 7 – Monitoring and Troubleshooting vSAN

Objective 7.1 – Understand hardware failure scenarios

Objective 7.2 – Interpret vSAN Health in the vSphere Web Client

Objective 7.3 – Access performance information in the UI and using CLI

Objective 7.4 – Access capacity management information

Section 8 – Interoperability with vSphere Features

Objective 8.1 – Identify vSphere features that work with vSAN

Objective 8.2 – Understand vSAN compatibility with SRM

Objective 8.3 – Describe 3rd-party solution integration with vSAN

Objective 8.4 – Understand vSAN compatibility with Horizon

Section 9 – Designing a vSAN Deployment

Objective 9.1 – Understand vSAN design considerations

Objective 9.2 – Understand vSAN cache tier sizing

Objective 9.3 – Design a vSAN cluster

Objective 9.4 – Identify vSAN design and sizing tools


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