During VMworld 2014 VMware released new certification track – Network Virtualization. There is already quite a big number of bootstrapped VCDX-NVs which is the highest certification level and it is also now possible to schedule the entry level VCP-NV exam.
As I think that NSX is a great technology I am going for this certification track and immediately scheduled VCP-NV in my nearby PearsonVue test center and today took the exam.
While not having much time for preparation I obviously downloaded the exam blueprint and was surprised how extensive it is – nine objective categories ranging from the NSX architecture, VXLAN, distributed routing and firewalling, Edge services up to service composer, vSphere standard and distributed switch features and vCloud Automation Center integration. From the sheer content it looks like it is not going to be a simple exam.
I have been working with NSX for some time so was pretty confident in all the areas. Prior the exam I reviewed those areas I work less with (Service Composer, Activity Monitoring, dynamic routing protocols – BGP, IS-IS) and went through the packet walks (VM, VTEP, Controller, Multicast, Unicast, etc) for switched, routed and bridged traffic.
In April I passed Cisco CCNA certification so this gave me good opportunity to compare these two entry level networking exams from two major vendors with completely different SDN strategy.
VCP-NV is obviously heavily based on VMware NSX so do not expect much OpenFlow SDN or any Cisco ACI there. Compared to CCNA there is also no basic network theory (subnetting, OSI model, protocols). There are 120 questions in 2 hour time window which is quite a lot. But all are multiple choice questions – no CLI simulators or flash based questions. The questions cover all blueprint areas and my assumption is they are up to the level of VMware NSX: Install, Configure, Manage training which I did not take (only its VMware internal bootcamp predecessor). I was able to go through the test quite quickly – there is usually no reason to dwell on a particular question longer than 30s. You either know the answer or not.
The questions were mostly clearly written which made taking the exam quite enjoyable experience (well it might have been shorter). You get the result immediately and in my case it was a pass.
My recommendation for potential candidates: know vSphere networking (including the advanced features – NetFlow, Port Mirroring, …), have hands on experience with NSX – if you cannot get the bits or do not have a lab use the NSX Hands-On Labs, which are really good and lastly take the NSX ICM course!
Now back to my VCDX-NV design…