After passing my VCP-NV – the entry level certification for VMware NSX network virtualization technology as soon as it was available I scheduled its advanced exam called VMware Certified Implementation Expert. While there is Expert in the name it should not be confused with VCDX (VMware Certified Design Expert) which is the next level certification. The VCIX is actually more similar to the vSphere or Cloud VCAP Administration exams (VCAP-DCA or VCAP-CIA). Although the exam was announced in October I had to wait till end of November to take it with one test center asking me to reschedule it elsewhere.
The exam concept is very similar to other VCAP Administration exams – cca 4 hours of lab tasks which are usually related to each other. The lab is a nested virtual environment hosted most likely somewhere in west coast USA. You are accessing it remotely while using small test center 4:3 low resolution monitor through a test app that switches screens between the questions and RDP jump box. The awkwardness of switching between questions and the environment (copy paste is not working) together with high latency that makes VM consoles screens redraw line by line (I had to make them smaller to actually see ping results in real time) and PDF manual reading impossible, all that makes the test experience very hard. vSphere Web Client slowness and browser crashes did not help either.
I also had issues understanding some of the questions – I provided feedback through the test tool (bad idea – you will loose precious time) and internally at VMware so I hope that will get fixed in the future.
On the other hand the tasks that you should be implementing or troubleshooting were actually a lot of fun. If I would do those in my lab they would not be that hard but I must admit that I ran out of time, did skip 2 tasks and did not solve 2 troubleshooting ones. As there is altogether about 17 questions I was not sure if I passed but today (after 1 week of waiting) I received email with a passing score.
So what about preparation? I would recommend going through the Hands on Lab or the NSX Install Configure Manage labs as those are very similar to the testing lab. For the troubleshooting I would propose building your own lab from scratch and redoing all the lab tasks from ICM course – this will provide experience of quickly finding the touch points to check when something is not working (emphasis on quick as there will not be enough time to read manual and experiment in the actual exam). Work through all the chapters mentioned in the blueprint. The exam covers most of them.