VCP-NV exam experience
As I finally got the possibility to sit the exam I wanted to share the experience. The VCP-NV is the latest addition to the VMware certificate family and was officially released a couple of weeks ago.
The exam itself was very fair with a few surprises here and there but keeping to the blueprint all the time.
As a VMware employee I have the very nice advantage of getting the ICM material to peek at, but without the appropriate instructor it is rather a nice outlined version of the admin and install guide with a couple of more pictures and labs added to it. The ICM material also does not completely cover the whole blueprint, so the admin, install and design guide became my new best friends for the past week or so.
Unlike in Cisco exams no subnetting was needed (yay…) but you still got to know how frames or packets move around the virtual AND physical components of the network (arf, I found that to be the most annoying question type on the whole exam). Some routing knowledge above the facts on how to actually configure it does also help.
I was glad to see that there indeed were very few questions on configuration maximums and sheer numbers, even though they are called out in the blue print very explicitly!
What I also liked was that there were less “which submenu do you need to go to, to achieve task xyz” I really do hate this type of question and it was a pleasure not having to know the GUI by heart as much as was needed in the prior instances of the different VCP flavours.
There were a decent amount of architecture based questions, how everything fits together, not only on the NSX side but also in general vSphere networking, physical networking (do know the design guide by heart) and the actual consumption layer.
If you have never worked with vCNS before a quick glance on the core features, similarities and differences compared to NSX are advisable, as well as a review of all functions of the standard and distributed virtual switch.
NSX does offer more than just virtual switching and routing, the exam will expect you to know what exactly, how you can configure all the extra bits and pieces, what they are used for and their architecture, hands on experience does come in handy here.
To gain that experience I would recommend doing the hands on labs that are available, you can easily find them by searching for NSX. I would also recommend doing the appropriate section of the “vCAC from A to Z” lab to see and understand the vCAC integration. There was not a single question that a vSphere admin, who does patch an environment, deploy OVAs (yes that’s it for the installation) and configure a virtual switch, would need a home lab for to prepare because basically everything asked on the blueprint can be done in the hands on labs as well, you just have to deviate from the lab manuals a bit 🙂
If you are more the reading type of guide, go a couple of time through the admin, install and design guide, maybe have a look at the available VMworld 2013 and 2014 sessions on NSX on youtube.
For those preferring to have something more instructor led the ICM would probably the option covering the most content, with a bit of homework to cover 100% of the blueprint. Additionally the blueprint is being covered by the vBrownBag EMEA crew as well going through all the objectives in the coming weeks.
I am looking forward to the VCIX as I personally prefer hands on tasks way more than multiple choice questions and I do hope that VMware will keep up the good standard set with thee VCP-NV.