Yesterday, after a lot of focused study; I took the VMware Certified Professional Network Virtualisation exam (VCP-NV / VCP6-NV).
Though now a certified in the three of VMware’s certifiable columns of the Software Defined Datacentre (Data Centre Virtualization, Cloud and Network Virtualization); I have always found virtual networking a challenge…. So this latest certification is giving me an extra buzz.
In early, October, I took a phone call from my boss to ask would I go on the NSX: Install, Configure and Manage (ICM) course in UK; I gladly said yes and packed up my bags and trooped off to the airport for a week of networking and coffee with the trainer Edvard Filistovic.
As I got to know my fellow students in the morning over coffee, it became clear that they had all come from a hard core networking background (All were either CCNP or CCIE). Me with my rusting CCNA was feeling a little intimidated. After day 1, there was a fear from the networking guys they jobs were at threat, after day 2, it became clear to everyone that their role wasn’t at threat but in fact enhanced by the new technology. NSX was bringing the worlds of networking and infrastructure together.
I said earlier that I found virtual networking difficult; the learning journey that I have taken on over the last two months has given me a whole new appreciation and understanding of networking in general but virtualized networking specifically. The confidence the training and certification has been invaluable.
People reading this may ask what I did to prepare for the exam… You know about the NSX: ICM (v6.1) course above which I would consider a must for anyone embarking on getting the VCP6-NV badge unless you already came from a dual networking and VMware background. I would say you would need to be at least CCNA level to understand the networking involved.
I have always found online videos a great way absorb information; and I couldn’t recommend Pluralsight’s video series more. They have always been my first port of call on my learning journey as I learn or enhance my skill set. On a NSX theme, I watched/learned from Jason Nash’s series entitled: “VMware NSX for vSphere Introduction and Installation” and “VMware NSX for vSphere: Network Services”
The other main NSX online video resource I used was the fantastic #vBrownbag series run, presented and taught by our own VMware community. The wealth of information that these guys present is irreplaceable, and all the more amazing is that this is done in their spare time. Thanks!
I also used VMware’s Cloudcredibility site to validate some of that learning. Cloudcredibility has some excellent resources and tips to fully understand the NSX world.
There is an assumption in the exam that you know your stuff about vSphere Standard and Distributed Switchs. With that in mind, I would highly recommend “Networking for VMware Administrators” by Chris Wahl and Steven Pantol. The book does not cover NSX, but is a powerhouse of information for the core VMware networking that NSX builds upon.
If you read any blog about taking a VMware exam, there is always a bit that talks about reading the exam blueprint. This one is no different, ready the blueprint! Read the associated documentation links! If you know these documents you are a long way to passing the exam.
Lastly, I do have to give a special shout out to Ross Wynne (vExpert, VCIX-NV), who answered some of my more bizarre NSX questions; at one point even sick in bed was sending me diagrams from his son’s little blackboard.