G’day – @coolsport00 here sharing my recent process in studying for the VCP-IaaS exam, which I sat and thankfully passed yesterday afternoon. As a matter of fact, I achieved the highest score of any exam I’ve taken, VMware or otherwise.
To start off, let me share the resources I used, and indeed what I recommend using, for your studies. Before I list them, let me give a little background to my knowledge-level of vCloud Director (vCD) and its components so you have an idea of what you may need to do to achieve success on the exam. I had absolutely no knowledge of vCD or any of its components – vShield Manager (VSM; which is now called vCloud Networking and Security, or vCNS) or any of VSM’s sub-components → Edge, App, Endpoint, or Data Security; vCenter Chargeback Manager (vCB); or vCloud Connector (vCC). And what I mean by having no knowledge…I mean to the point of no idea of any functionality of any kind, nor have I ever seen the interface to any of those components. I had very little idea of what each component did, outside of a rudimentary high-level idea. I just wanted to let you know that so you are encouraged that gaining knowledge and experience with vCD isn’t too entirely difficult 1. if you invest the time in learning it, and 2. reference the sources that are best for YOU in your learning process; and I hope this post will at the very least steer you in the right direction. 🙂
On to the “meat”! 🙂
- Trainsignal – two courses that were invaluable to my learning and gaining understanding of vCD and its components are vCloud Director Essentials with David Davis and the new vCloud Director 5.1 Essentials with Chris Wahl. These courses gave me an initial “visual” of what to expect, the vCloud architecture as a whole, and a good foundational knowledge of VMware’s vCloud infrastructure. I re-reviewed them often! I am thankful Trainsignal provided a 1yr subscription to vExperts to make this possible for me. If you have means to get a subscription, I recommend doing so.
- Blogs – two sites I referenced often, especially the final week before my exam, were Massimo Re Ferrè ‘s post vCD Networking for Dummies and a 3-part vCD Networking series by Duncan Epping at yellow-bricks.com ( http://vexpert.me/dS , http://vexpert.me/dT , http://vexpert.me/dU ). I especially liked how Duncan simplified vCD Networking and explained how it interacts with vSphere. Oh, and another post by Duncan I highly recommend? – vCD Allocation Models. And, though I didn’t really use it for more than a glancing over, David Davis also created a “vCloud Director Ultimate Resource” post here. It’s worth a glance. He also did one for vCD 5.1, but remember, currently the IaaS exam is over vCD 1.5…not 5.1.
- Videos/Practice Exams – VMware has a VCP-IaaS practice exam I recommend taking to get a good idea what kind of knowledge they’re looking for on the exam. Also, Paul McSharry has 3 IaaS Practice Exams here, here, & here worth taking to test where you’re at knowledge-wise in the study process. In addition, VMware has put together several “how-to” videos to set up vCD – begin here.
- Blueprint – Maybe I should have started with this, but this is self-explanatory. All your knowledge gaining for the IaaS exam starts with the company you’re testing with. 🙂 And really, this is the initial reason for this post – to provide you with an IaaS Blueprint Objective-by-Objective portable study reference. And, from the Blueprint, thoroughly read through the recommended VMware vCD Guides each of the Objectives recommend. Most are fairly short so you can get through several PDF Guides rather quickly. This should come without saying, but with any VMware Guide, you should always pay attention to any “notes” sections, as well as pay attention to additional comments or references within component procedure (i.e. install or configure) sections.
- Lab – And last but not least, I cannot stress it enough that you simply must have a lab built to study from. To be able to, at the very least, browse around the vCD Web UI and know where to find everything is simply invaluable. I built my lab using Autolab, the “portable” lab built by our very own #vBrownBag folks. I installed it using VMware Workstation on my work desktop PC, which has 16GB of RAM. I recommend having at least that much RAM. If you don’t, you will be limited in my opinion.
Now for what to expect on the IaaS exam – as noted in the Blueprint, the exam has 85 questions (8 pre-exam survey questions) and is 90 minutes long (15 extra minutes to answer the 8 survey questions). This exam for the VCP-Cloud path is for those who are already VCP5-DCV certified, so no questions on vSphere will be asked.
As with anyone else who has shared their exam experience, I of course am not allowed to share explicits of the exam, but can share that the exam, at least my version and from what I’ve read from others’ posts, is highly vCD Networking-centric – in other words, know the layers of vCD Networking and the functionality of each networking type in each network layer. I’m not a network person per sè so when I read several posts stating this should be my focus, I was a bit discouraged. After going through my studies, and now after taking the exam, if you are not a network person, don’t worry. I do suggest knowing the networking layers, etc. as I’ve already stated, but just take time to learn it and re-review it often to fully grasp it. If you do, you should do fine. I hope to provide a #vBrownBag TechTalk at VMworld to help simplify vCD Networking, if possible. Stay tuned! 🙂
As for the rest of the exam, it is my firm belief that if you study all the Objectives of the Blueprint and do so utilizing a lab, you should pass the exam. As I stated earlier, I had no foundational knowledge of vCD or any of its intertwining components and I ended up getting the best exam score of any technology certification test I’ve taken to date. I think VMware did a nice job with the questions, although there are always a few that have questionable wording. Maybe that’s on purpose; maybe not…who knows. And, how anal is it of me to notice a handful of spelling errors on the exam questions? 😉 ha
All the best in your IaaS Exam prep and testing. If you notice any errors, or would like me to add something to the Guide, by all means let me know. Hope the provided Study Guide is helpful to you!