Posts Tagged ‘Training’

VCA4-DT and VCP5 Exam Reviews

January 6th, 2012

With 2011 wrapped up and the holiday festivities over with, I decided to kick off 2012 by sitting a few new VMware certification exams.  Before I get into the details of the exam experience, I must extend my sincere appreciation to the new testing center I tried out – New Horizons Computer Learning Center in Eagan, MN.  It’s a new facility, friendly staff, state of the art equipment, AND THEY ALLOW COFFEE IN THE EXAM ROOM!  I’m locked on to this facility for all future exams.

Ok, VMware Certified Associate 4 – Desktop, otherwise known as VCA4-DT.  Thursday morning, 70 questions, multiple choice, 90 minutes if I remember right. Time isn’t much of a factor on this exam as it has been in past exams I’ve sat.  Unfortunately I failed by a narrow margin. 289/500 (300 is the passing mark).  Not passing was a bummer since I’ve only failed one other exam and that was 14 years ago.  The reality was that I hadn’t had enough View Administrator seat time to recall what was being tested.  I can’t go into specifics but I will say that having a photographic memory of the View Admin console will go a long way to get by this exam.  I’ve managed a tiny View 4.6 and now 5.0 environment in my lab but I haven’t spent countless hours in the console on a day to day basis which is what I think is really required.  That makes sense – after all it is an Administrator role based exam.  My hope was that brushing up on the blueprint objectives and reading Mike Laverick’s Administrating VMware View 4.5 book cover to cover the night before the exam would have been enough to get by.  It wasn’t.  No fault to Mike of course, his was a fine book.  I planned short on the preparation, rolled the dice, and.. well you know by now what happened.  It was a humbling experience but at the same time it’s an effective method to learn more.  After I get back from Dell Storage Forum London I’ll plan on hitting the lab and ultimately finishing the exam the proper way.  After that, I’ve got my sights set on VMware Certified Professional 4 – Desktop (VCP4-DT) which I may already be better prepared for.

On to the VMware Certified Professional 5 or VPC5.  Friday morning, 85 questions, multiple choice, 90 minutes.  I reached the end of the exam with 14 minutes left to review marked questions – I had quite a few.  I don’t know why – I rarely change my answer when reviewing questions.  I mark the questions with the intent that there may be a better answer which comes to me later on in the exam but it rarely happens and I believe statistics prove that on average, first instinct is going to be the better or correct answer.  I’ll be honest, dwelling on yesterday’s fail did a number to my confidence level but I had no choice but to push forward studying the blueprint for a solid 8 hours last night into the wee hours of the morning.  Granted, the VCP5 exam should be higher on the difficulty level, but the infrastructure content maps quite a bit better to my expertise that VMware View administration does.  I had seen some comments from others that the VCP5 exam didn’t contain much along the lines of Configuration Maximums type questions.  Based on that, I didn’t spend much time in the vSphere 5 Configuration Maximums document.  I brushed up on HA, DRS, and although I have little hands on working experience with the appliance based bolt ons like the vCenter appliance, vDR, VSA, or Auto Deploy, I tried to pick up as much as I could on those areas.  On exam difficulty, the content came easier to me based on familiarity.  For most of the exam I was pretty well within my comfort zone.  As a Technical Marketing Product Specialist at Dell Compellent, the storage related questions aren’t quite the level of difficulty they once were.  There was a pretty good blend of easy/medium/difficult questions, and also a few which I felt were worded poorly enough such that I knew the correct answer either way, but interpretation of the question is going to determine a right or wrong answer.  Results on this exam were better – 406/500 (300 passing).  There were plenty of questions on the other vSphere products I talked about earlier such as the vCenter appliance, vDR, VSA, and Auto Deploy. While I feel I did answer a few of those questions correctly, the remainder is likely what accounts for the majority of the points I missed on the exam.  By the way, if you’re not using vSphere Update Manager on a regular basis to assist in upgrading your environment, you should be, and you’ll want to know that product for this exam as well.

Have a great weekend and for those attending Dell Storage Forum London next week, I hope to meet up with you.

BrownBag Blow Out – vSphere Lab Give Away

December 9th, 2011

Snagit CaptureCody Bunch over at ProfessionalVMware has pulled together a whole bunch of fantastic lab resources which he plans to give away to one lucky contest winner at the BrownBag Blow Out – vSphere Lab Give Away.  This is a great opportunity to walk away with books, videos, 1×1 VCAP training, storage, laptop PC, VMware Workstation, VMware exam vouchers, a brand new v3 vCalendar from you-know-who, and maybe more (I hear Cody has a book coming…)

Contest Rules:

1) Create and send a 1 – 3 minute video, explaining who you are and how you think the lab would help you.

2) Shipping to US addresses only.

3) Employees of prize vendors and Cody’s tight friends are ineligible.

4) Entries must be received by midnight 12/13.

5) Winner will be announced between 12/14 and 12/16.

6) The very best of luck to all contestants and may the luckiest and most deserving person win. If you sue Cody or cause trouble for him you will be the biggest loser.

Head on over there now & submit your entry!

vSphere 5 Clustering Technical Deepdive Sale

November 26th, 2011

I assume you follow Duncan and Frank and read their blogs, but in case you don’t, check out this Crazy Black Friday / Cyber Monday deal!  Between now and Monday 11:59pm PST, prices are slashed on Frank and Duncan’s ebook vSphere 5 Clustering Technical Deepdive.

The sale pricing is as follows:

US – ebook – $ 4.99

UK – ebook – £ 3.99

DE – ebook – € 3.99

FR – ebook – € 3.99

If you’re serious about vSphere 5, you need this book in your technical library.  Even if you’re already a seasoned vSphere expert, there are some major changes in the features which Duncan and Frank deepdive on.  Tis the season for giving so if you already have a copy for yourself, take advantage of these prices to pick up another copy for your favorite co-worker, employee, manager, spouse, or child.  Now is as good a time as any to get the young ones started on VMware virtualization.

Professional VMware BrownBag Group Learning

September 19th, 2011

Snagit Capture

If you weren’t already aware, VMware vEXPERT Cody Bunch has been hosting a series of BrownBag learning sessions covering topics from VCP4, VCAP4-DCA, and VCAP4-DCD exam blueprints, in addition to VCDX topics.  A number of individuals from the VMware community have been lending Cody assistance in leading these sessions.  I’ll be stepping up to the plate this Wednesday evening, 9/21 at 7pm CDT to help out.  I’ll be covering VCAP4-DCD exam blueprint objectives:

  • 1.1 Gather and analyze business requirements
  • 1.2 Gather and analyze application requirements
  • 1.3 Determine Risks, Constraints, and Assumptions

If you’re thinking of attempting the VCAP4-DCD exam or if you’re preparing for the VCDX certification, this session is for you.  Again, details below, sign up today – it’s free!

Updated 9/21/11: The live session is complete but you can download the recorded version at the Professional VMware link above.  I’m also embedding a link to the SlideRocket presentation for as long as my trial account is active (through the beginning of October).

Palo Alto VCDX Defense Application Due Date June 6th

April 22nd, 2011

The application due date for the VCDX Defenses in Palo Alto, CA is fast approaching.  Applications are due June 6, 2011, 5:00 PM Pacific Time.

For those who may be interested in an upcoming Palo Alto defense date, plan accordingly to make sure you meet the pre-requisite exam requirements.  Details for the application process can be found here:

vmware.com/go/vcdx > VCDX Defense Overview

VCP4 Exam Cram: VMware Certified Professional (2nd Edition)

February 7th, 2011

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Tonight I was grateful to have received from Pearson Education the book VCP4 Exam Cram: VMware Certified Professional (2nd Edition).  The book is authored by Elias Khnaser (Twitter WWW) along with Technical Editors Brian Atkinson (WWW) and my friend Gabrie van Zanten (Twitter WWW).  This 2nd edition is 340 pages in length and ships with a cardboard fact filled cram sheet in the front as well as a CD in the back which contains VCP4 practice exams and an electronic versions of the cardboard cram sheet in case your friends are jealous of your intimate VMware vSphere knowledge and decide to swipe yours.

The book (ISBN-10: 0789740567) includes 10 chapters along with an appendix.  The chapter layout is as follows:

  1. Introducing vSphere 4
  2. Planning, Installing, and Configuring ESX/ESXi 4.1
  3. vNetworking Operations
  4. vStorage Operations
  5. Administration with vCenter
  6. Virtual Machine Operations
  7. vSphere Security and Web Access
  8. Managing vSphere Resources
  9. Monitoring vSphere Resources
  10. Backup and High Availability

There are a very few number of books which focus specifically on the VCP-410 exam.  This one is hot off the presses; published on January 31, 2011.  As such I would expect to find the most recent and relevant vSphere as well as exam information contained within.  Admittedly, I have not read this book cover to cover and have no plans to having passed the VCP4 17 months ago.  However, I have thumbed through several sections admiring the quality and thorough coverage of exam blueprint objectives.  This one looks pretty good and based on my positive experience with Exam Cram books in the past (Active Directory Services Design), I would recommend this book.  As a certification focused text, it contains practice questions at the end of each chapter and a comprehensive 75 question practice exam at the end of the book to test your knowledge.  Elias is open in that this book is recommended as supplemental learning in addition to the VMware ICM class (required for the certification) and a few other sources such as the VMware PDF documentation, but to be honest I think he sells himself a little short.  At well over 300 pages of exam focused material, I think it will go a long way towards passing the VCP-410 written test.

The book is available at Amazon in paperback for $28.40 or the Kindle version for $25.56.  Pearson was kind enough to ship me several copies which I will make available an the upcoming Minneapolis VMware User Group meeting.

What are you still doing here?  You should be reading this book.  Go.

I’m a VCAP4-DCD and VCDX4

January 11th, 2011

Bless me readers for I have sinned.  It has been nearly five weeks since my last blog entry.  Since then I’ve acquired numerous electronic distractions in the house and took a little vacation from work and virtualization.  I also randomly and unprovoked received a Microsoft Hyper-V sticker in the mail from Stephen Foskett and I have been thinking about revenge almost daily.  (no, not really)

Yes it has been a while and I did take a break from work and all things virtual for some family time and “me time” over the holidays.  So let me get the needfully ubiquitous out of the way by saying Happy New Year to all!  I hope 2011 brings continued health to your family, joy into your life, success into your career, agility into your VMware virtualized datacenter/private cloud, and uncontested Secure Multi-Tenancy into your public cloud.

For me personally, success starts early in 2011.  As you probably guessed by the title, I got some great news from VMware tonight in that.. well you can read it verbatim:

Congratulations on passing the VMware Certified Advanced Professional on vSphere4 – Datacenter Design exam!

I’m now a VCAP4-DCD.  I a few weeks later I was notified by VMware that I was assigned VCAP4-DCD #35.

Passing this exam is great on a few levels.  I now have the VCAP4-DCD certification to go along with the VCAP4-DCA credentials I picked up a few months ago.  In addition to that, the VCAP4-DCD pass also upgrades my VCDX3 certification to VCDX4.  I haven’t received the official word on that from VMware yet but I’ve met the requirements and notification which I expect within the next few months is more or less a formality.  I’m pretty happy to have these achievements, and particularly early on.  With no other certifications currently in sight, I can conitnue forward working on various projects and initiatives.  If you thought I ran out of things to write about, that’s not the case.  I’ve got plenty in the queue.  One benefit I value working with products in an enterprise environment as opposed to strictly working on the education/instructor side of the fence is that there is no shortage of experience gained and lessons learned while working in the trenches.  I work in a blend of VMware vSphere design and operations which I think is an exceptional example of Yin and Yang because they perpetually stregthen each other through experience.

By the way.. on the electronic distractions.. my family (this was a collaborative decision) picked up our first gaming console.  We got the PS3.  My PlayStation Network ID is VCDX034.  Hit me up if you’re interested in a game of NHL 11 or Madden 11.  I’m not very good but I’ll take a beating and I’m a good sport about it.  VCAP4-DCD achievement unlocked. VCDX4 achievement unlocked.  See what I did there? 😎

Update 8/18/11:  No VCDX4 certificate or welcome kit received yet.