I am happy to state that I passed my VCAP-NV and will be achieving VCIX6-NV.
This was an exhausting test – and sometimes frustrating. I even had a PSOD on one of my hosts that I had to resolve (pretty sure that was not part of the lab test)!
I have many people to thank but there have been some great guides out there. I posted a blog article on links I collected for preparing for my VCAP-NV.
I’ll be the first to admit this was my second attempt at my VCAP-NV: the first attempt one just got to me. Not to make any excuses, but my background isn’t networking/routing, so many of these topics were green to me.
I dusted myself off and said I’ll knock the second attempt out of the park. As you can see, VMware does document the blueprint objectives you missed on the test.
So what did I do? Before I start that, here’s a summary of my experience:
- This test will frustrate you. Yes, it is meant to. Accept it and embrace it.
- It is a nested vPOD/Lab environment. ProTip – for East Coasters, schedule your test first thing in the morning before the West starts working – much more responsive!
- It will attempt to confuse you. Take a deep breath and look at the overall question – what are you trying to accomplish?
- Also, sometimes the simplest answer is all you need. Don’t overcomplicate things (I have a tendency to do this).
- Do not spend too much time on a specific problem. If it’s not working as expected, make a note of it and move on.
- This was my problem with the first attempt. I spent too much time on a specific set of questions and ran out of time.
- Stay true to the Blueprint. If you practice and study using its guidelines, you will be okay.
First off, I wrote the entire Blueprint on my whiteboard with the main tasks. Excuse my handwriting, but you get the gist of what I was trying to accomplish here. I notated how many times I did a specific item.
After I didn’t make it the first attempt, I circled the sections I missed in black (even though half of them were because I just ran out of time). These were areas I focused on for the second attempt.
- Lab, lab, and lab. This is a test you cannot dump your way through. I don’t see how it would be possible to pass this without hands-on experience, especially with routing protocols and how NSX interacts with them.
- Labs of Focus
- The VMware Hands-On Labs (HOL) is FREE! You would be crazy for not using these and getting some insight/guidance on how things work. I primarily used the 1803 and 1825 labs on VMware HOL – link here.
- VMware Education – NSX Install, Configure, Manage – Lab Connect.
- I thought this was a great, self-paced, approach to a vPOD environment with 22 guided labs. There is a cost to using this, but I believe there may discounts for Partners.
- VMware Education – Install, Configure Manage – Lab Connect Link
- Josh Andrews’ VCIX6-NV Practice Exam
- I thought this was a very nice addition from SOSTech / Josh Andrews.
- Josh provided 9 sample “test” questions using the 1703 (or 1803 which is the new version) lab.
- Definitely test yourself and document where you may struggle.
- Link to the SOSTech VCIX6 Practice Exam
- Existing Blog Guides
- I thought Clinton’s VCAP6-NV was the most comprehensive guide out there. I used this as a rule of thumb and mimicked many of the things he documented in his blog series. DEFINITELY spend some time here.
- Other Guides I went through:
- There are probably others I’m missing, but definitely leverage what’s out in the community – thank you to those of you that have published and spent a significant amount of time documenting!
- Labs of Focus
- Practice and get involved. Read all of the publications out there on VMware’s site. Build out designs for customers. This will take time but provides further exposure and compounding of the topics.
- Break stuff. You need to see how NSX works when you start “pulling cables” if you will. I spent countless hours just doing this. There are several troubleshooting topics so you’ll need to understand what happens when things go awry.
What’s next? I will continue to focus on VMware NSX, but may attempt one of the VCAP-DCV’s. I hope this post will benefit others – cheers!