Two days ago, VMware announced the availability of the VMware Certified Professional – Network Virtualization track. An hour or two later, my buddy Chris Wahl dared me to take it. And fifteen minutes ago, I walked out of the exam center at Moscone South with a > 300 score report. Longtime readers of the blog may recall me mentioning that I knew next to nothing about NSX going into VMworld, and are probably just as surprised as I am that I eked out a pass in such a short time.
Here’s how I did it:
- Figure out what you don’t know. This was easy—everything.
- Get a sense of what you need to know. VMware makes this easy—everything they’re going to test on is in the blueprint.
- Figure out what resources you have available. The NSX documentation is readily available, and VMware was kind enough to link to specific docs in the blueprint. There are Hands-on-Labs, to get stick time. And there’s a practice test, to give you a sense of what you’re in for.
- Read the docs. Yes, all of them. Any random footnote is a potential test question. Start with the overview and design docs to get the concepts, then move into Installation and Admin guides. Take notes.
- Do the labs. Yes, all of them. I did HOL-SDC-1403 – VMware NSX Introduction, HOL-SDC-1425 – VMware NSX Advanced, and HOL-SDC-1462 – Palo Alto Something or Other. After that, I launched and re-lauched HOL-SDC-1403 just to play around with different things, stepping through most of the tasks in the Installation and Admin guides, and exploring the UI. VMware loves to ask silly questions about which submenu under what sub tab of what configuration option a task is found in. You’ll have to poke around a little to prepare for that.
- Take the practice test. Consider it open book. Look up the answers as you go, and re-read the surrounding sections to make sure you understand each answer.
- Repeat 4-6. Stop just before you get here:
- Take the test before you forget everything.
Total prep time here was maybe eight hours of reading and annotating, and ten hours of lab time, over not-quite-three days. Not something I’d recommend, but if you’re at a conference and free from the usual distractions, it can be done.
Ooh, also–if you can, it helps to read or write a general VMware Networking book beforehand, too. It’s VCP-NV, not VCP-NSX. There’s a good bit of traditional vSphere networking covered. If you need a good resource there, you could do worse than the one in the right sidebar.