VCAP6 exams retiring in September 2018

If you’re looking at taking one of the VMware Advanced Professional exams listed below, you might want to get your skates on as they’re being retired at the end of September:

  • VCAP6 – Data Centre Virtualization Design (VCAP6-DCV Design)
  • VCAP6 – Cloud Management and Automation Design (VCAP6-CMA Design)
  • VCAP6 – Desktop and Mobility Design (VCAP6-DTM Design)

Slots for these exams will start to run out in the next few weeks, so book up now if you want to take them.

All available exams and certifications are detailed on VMware’s certification page. If you want to check the list of retired or retiring exams, the document detailing those can be found here.

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VCAP6-CMA Deploy Exam Launched

Last week the VMware education and certification team released the VCAP6-CMA Deploy exam. This is a lab-based exam intended to test a candidate’s knowledge of how to deploy and administer vRealize Automation (also in conjunction with Orchestrator, Business Standard, Application Services and vCloud Air). It’s the next tier up from the VCP6-CMA exam.

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The blueprint and exam registration link can be found on the VCAP6-CMA exam page.

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VCP-NV: Getting Started

So, you’ve decided to take the VCP-NV exam that VMware launched just recently. If you haven’t been living and breathing VMware NSX for the past few months, you’re probably going to need to do some preparation so that you don’t waste the exam fee. Even if you’re an expert, it’s sensible to at least look over the blueprint first and make sure that you have all of the bases covered.

Either way, if you want to get this certification then there are three routes that you can take to do it.

1. You’re new to VMware certification

Before you can earn the certification, you MUST attend the VMware NSX: Install, Configure and Manage course. Then to earn the VCP-NV certification, simply register for and pass the VCPN610 exam.

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2. You have any other valid VCP certification

VMware recently implemented a recertification policy. It may change over time (or go away completely) but you need to check and see if your existing VCP is still valid. If it isn’t then you need to go back to option 1.

There are optional courses that you can take but to earn the VCP-NV certification, simply register for and pass the VCPN610 exam.

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3. You have a valid Cisco certification

If you have one of these four certifications and you’re reading this before 1st March 2015, you fit in here.

  • CCNA Data Center
  • CCNA Routing and Switching
  • CCNP Data Center
  • CCNP Routing and Switching

There are optional courses that you can take but to earn the VCP-NV certification, simply register for and pass the VCPN610 exam.

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Exam Blueprint

As far as the VCPN610 exam itself goes, your first step is obtaining the exam blueprint from VMware. This can be found on VMware’s certification page dedicated to the VCP-NV.

Depending on your comfort level, you can now either work through the exam topics by yourself, with colleagues, as part of a study group or make use of other online resources. One that I’ll recommend now is the #vBrownbag EMEA webinar. There’s a series starting tonight covering Objective 1 of the exam blueprint. Register via the link on the #vBrownbag website. (The webinars are recorded an usually available to watch offline later the same week as they are broadcast.)

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VCP-NV Exam Prep Series to start on vBrownbag EMEA

Starting tomorrow on the #vBrownbag EMEA webinar, we’re starting a series of sessions covering the exam blueprint for the VCPN610 exam. The exam is a required component of the new VCP-NV certification.

The first session is being presented by Frank Buechsel (from VMware GSS) who will be covering Objective 1 from the blueprint.

Don’t miss out, register here: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/541316569

(Please note that if you have previously attended the vBrownbag EMEA webinar that the meeting ID has changed and that you’ll need to re-register – sorry.)

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VCAP5-DCA… Passed!

passI’m not the world’s biggest fan of exams and I’ve been putting this one off for a while. But, after Gregg Robertson volunteered me (at VMworld Europe) to pursue VCDX in 2014, I thought I ought to get it scheduled.

I took the VCAP4-DCA back in 2011 and became the 189th person to pass it. You would think then that the VCAP5 wouldn’t pose a big issue. I was concerned though that I spend more time now using tools like Word and Visio than I do mucking about in the vSphere Client. Turns out that I needn’t have worried quite so much.

Despite having manflu for four days before (and during) the exam and having a nightmare journey to get there thanks to a broken down train, I managed to have a crack at almost all tasks in the exam and came away with a score of 448 🙂

The two exam blueprint areas that I knew I was weaker in came up as tasks and I left them until the end to give them as much time as I could without jeopardising my chances on the other areas. That way I knew that if I messed them up, at least I’d given the rest of the exam a good go.

My tip for taking the exam: Before you start it, use the mini whiteboard or notepad that the exam centre give you to make a numbered list of the tasks that you’ll be doing. As you do each one, tick it if it’s finished or annotate what needs doing of finishing for each one to allow you to move through the exam without waiting for all tasks to complete as they can be slow and you can’t afford to waste time.

The worst part of the whole experience is waiting for the results. It used to be up to 10 business days (I think) when the DCA exam first came out. These days they say to allow up to 15 business days. I was expecting that there might be delays, what with Christmas coming up, but it was only 1 week. A pleasant surprise 🙂

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VMware Education Offers at VMworld Europe 2013

I popped by the certification area in hall 7 (behind the HoL) at VMworld Europe today to chat to the lovely people working in VMware’s Education team. One of my primary reasons for going there (aside from getting some badges) was to enquire about progress on the exam track for Network Virtualisation. More on that in a minute.

If you’re new to VMware certification or just getting started, there are a couple of good reasons to visit the Education Team whilst at the conference. Firstly they are offering a discount code to take a VMware Certified Associate (VCA) exam if you register for it before November 15th 2013.

The VCA certification is VMware’s entry level certification and the exam can be taken online. The current availability and structure of the certification tracks can be seen below.

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If you want to take your certification further (to get your VCP5-DCV for example) you need to take a VMware course to qualify. The good news is that the required course, VMware vSphere: Install, Configure, Manage, is available as an on-demand classroom course.

If you sign up while you’re at VMworld, you can take the course for only $499 and replay it for up to 90 days. Since the ICM course typically goes for upwards of $2000, that represents a big saving. For more details, go to the Certification area and ask for Julie.

So, what about the Network Virtualisation exams? No concrete news yet (although I got to meet John Arrasjid, @vcdx001 whilst trying to find that out) but given that NSX went GA today it’ll probably be in the next 3 -6 months.

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Passed: My VCAP5-DCD Experience

passI meant to sit the VCAP5-DCD exam last year after my US project finished and I’d had some time off. For one reason or another it never happened. I managed to book it just after VMworld Europe but then had to cancel again.

The other day, I finally got to sit it (I didn’t get as far as passing the VCAP4-DCD). Hooray, I passed!

Unfortunately I don’t live very near any exam centres that were offering slots for one of VMware’s 4-hour Advanced exams so I had to drive over to Milton Keynes to QA’s training facility there. If you choose to take an exam there and, like me, have to drive there make sure you leave yourself plenty of time as parking wasn’t straightforward. The facilities, the exam station itself was fairly decent. The screen size was bigger than I’ve seen in some other places and the workstation was pretty nippy. I’m tempted to go back there as and when I do my DCA exam.

The exam itself, as I’m sure you’ll read elsewhere, is 3 hours and 45 minutes long and is comprised of a mixture of multiple choice type questions, drag and drop questions and some Visio-like diagramming tasks. What made it quite a challenge was that, unlike with some other exams, you cannot return to a previously answered question, you can’t flag a question for later review. I found that this made me very conscious of time passing. I was torn between making it through all of the questions by submitting some hasty answers – some of which I know I will have got wrong through not ready the question through carefully – and taking my time thus risking leaving some questions unanswered. In the end, I finished with mere seconds to spare so I either judged it right or just got lucky!

I can understand some of the reasoning behind removing candidates’ ability to review answers but I found some of the questions were curiously worded and, with some questions, I wanted to go back and check it almost as soon as I’d moved on. In a way though, I’m glad I couldn’t because I almost certainly wouldn’t have finished. In the end, it doesn’t matter too much because I’ve passed now but I wouldn’t say that I enjoyed the experience. I’m very happy about the result though!

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TrainSignal Online – 1 Month On…

trainsignalIt’s been just over a month since TrainSignal switched to providing their courses only via an online model and binned the idea of shipping DVDs around the world.

Although they kept their plans under wraps fairly well (at least they did as far as I know), it shouldn’t really have come as a surprise to anyone that they changed their model. You only have to look back another month or so to one of the UK’s big high street names going to the wall to see further evidence that physical media is just not as popular anymore.

I had been planning to purchase one of TrainSignal’s courses just prior to them making the switch. Good job I waited eh? But after giving it a week or so to bed in, I subscribed and I now have access to the whole training catalog.

Logging in, the dashboard (below) gives you the ability to browse and take courses, take practice exams, see what’s new etc.

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You can see my progress having a look at David Davis and Jake Robinson’s “VMware vCloud Director Essentials” course. There’s also a link that will let you download the Silverlight based offline player.

The offline player, as it says on the tin, allows you to download courses to view when you don’t have an internet connection handy. It requires you to authenticate using your TrainSignal account and you’ll need to connect the player to the internet every few days or so for it to re-authenticate. Once in, you can browse the course catalog and select courses for download.

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The player’s fairly responsive and I’ve had no issues with it… save one. As stated on their website, TrainSignal do not yet offer an offline player for mobile devices (e.g. iPads etc). For me, that’s a bit of a detractor.

Overall, I like what TrainSignal have done. I can pick and choose whichever courses I want and hopefully the catalog will grow nicely. I do want an iPad app for it though!

Note: I didn’t clarify when I first wrote this that TrainSignal have offered their courses online for some time but not as a subscription model. Thanks to Ricky El-Qasem.

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TrainSignal Moves to Online Subscription Model

The first ever TrainSignal course that I “took” was David Davis’ VMware vSphere 4 training. I had heard lots about it from a few people on Twitter and several others in person and I wanted to use it to fill in a few gaps in readiness for my VCP4 exam. I’ve since been through a few other courses and they’ve all been great.

What’s changed between then and now is TrainSignal’s transition from supplying only DVDs, through adding online access to purchased course, to finally switching to a subscription only model.

It’s a move that makes a great deal of sense and it’d be worth a subscription to get access to course related to technologies that I don’t use as often. There is even an offline player but it’s currently limited to desktop computers (Windows / OSX).

One thing that I would like to see though is a way to view courses offline on mobile devices. I recently used Handbrake to transfer my copy of Scott Lowe’s Designing VMware Infrastructure to my iPad so I could work through it anywhere. At about 800Mb though, I would only want to download that ahead of time and not via 3G when on a train.

Still, good move TrainSignal. I like it.

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VMware Press Sweepstakes

VMware Press, VMware’s official publishing arm, are in the middle of running a 60 day competition sweepstake (that ends June 30th 2012). On offer are a $100 Amazon gift card and three VMware Press books for the winner and nine second prize winners will win an eBook of their choice.

Enter here.

The publisher has already produced two excellent books in Administering VMware Site Recovery Manager 5.0 and Automating vSphere with VMware vCenter Orchestrator. This summer promises a glut of new titles that I’d be interested to read too:

  • Storage Implementation in VMware vSphere 5.0 (July 2012)
  • Managing and Optimizing vSphere Deployments (July 2012)
  • The Official VCP5 Certification Guide (July 2012)
  • VMware View 5: Building a Successful Virtual Desktop (August 2012)
  • VMware vSphere 5 Integration into the Datacenter (August 2012)

As and when they come out you can probably expect me to post a review here.