After a Nutanix Technology Champions websession we had earlier this year I thought it was a good idea if there would be one in The Netherlands. The only requirement was to supply at least 12 people and also to leave some spots for Nutants. While I reached out to the current NTC’s Bert van der Lingen reached out to the NPP’s he trained in the Netherlands. It didn’t take long before we had enough people interested to start the process. The location was also arranged quickly at the Dutch Nutanix offices while the date was set for september 24-28th.
Since we had 25 people signed up for the bootcamp there where three coaches assigned for this week: Tim Buckholz (NPX #12), Bruno Sousa (NPX #15) and Crescenzo Oliviero (NPX #16). Including in their coaching role they also where the Nubank customer for whom we had to create a new design. While being the customer we had to ask the right questions but if we weren’t sure about something they also showed great patience with us in explaining things.
In the time leading up to the bootcamp itself I was still apprehensive about my own (lack of) experience but lots of people told me that it shouldn’t be a problem. I went in with an open mind that it would be a great learning opportunity. Looking back at the week this was the best way to look at the process. No matter what you designed the NuBank customer always managed to find flaws and gave good feedback on what was lacking but also on what was good.
One constant factor was change! The first day was a shock to most: Sizing can be rather difficult you know. On each day new tasks were added like networking, storage but also Business Critical apps and VDI you could expect curveballs to be thrown at any time! For this my open mind probably was a bonus because it was clear some people had issues with this. If you didn’t care about failing but still did the best you could in building the designs you would learn the most in my opinion. During the week we also learned to ask more and more questions to the customer, something we hardly did during the first day.
During the afternoon on day four it was time to build that last design so we could do a proper defence of it for the Nubank customer. For the presentation each team had 45 minutes and time management was difficult. It’s really easy to go down a rabbit hole in explaining nerd knobs while there is no time for that.
Even during the last presentation it was clear that the newly tech created during the week was needed in some cases. Our team required wireless ipmi while others had wireless load balancers, wireless 40GB lines and other wireless stuff.
For myself I consider this one of the best weeks of learning I have ever done. There’s hardly anywhere to work with a such a group of dedicated and motivated people. And it proved even more how good and important the vCommunity is in sharing knowledge and caring for others.
For the people who are only interested in the result: today I passed the VCP-NV exam with 367 points. This after I followed the NSX Install, Configure, Manage (hence the ICM) On-Demand course in May. This training was provided through the Partner training funds that my employer TenICT/AnylinQ have been assigned by VMware.
About the NSX ICM On-Demand training.
For the people not familiar with the on-demand training possibilities from VMware: with these courses one has a month the time to follow a set of computer narrated lectures covering all the same subjects as the official classroom training provides. Besides this you have access to a digital book belonging to the training. You also have access to a lab environment during this month where you have to complete all the lab tasks during the training.
Personally, I prefer classroom training since this allows the trainer to deviate from the official training when possible or required. Think about explaining things in a bit different matter or diving deeper into some of the material. Also, the computer-generated voice gets boring pretty fast and the sound quality also went sub par during some of the chapters. Combine this with a price that is only a fraction lower than the official price and I wouldn’t really recommend it unless you have someone sponsoring it for you.
What the training did was provide a good base for the exam. After this it’s a question of reading blog posts, playing with it in the lab (or Hands on Labs) and maybe you might need to read a book.
About the exam
So I did the exam as almost usual at @TheAcademy in Eindhoven, The Netherlands. They have a new room setup since over a year that I hadn’t been into yet (doing SME jobs has its perks) equipped with what I believe to be 21″ full HD screens. While these don’t provide for a better experience for vcp exams they do for vcap’s so that’s good to know. There are 77 multiple choice questions and I had two hours to spend on these. This time I didn’t need, and I left the building after 45 minutes. I can read English just as fast or sometimes faster than my native Dutch. The questions where a bit easier than I expected so maybe that score of 367 should have been a bit higher.
What you need to know
What permission level is needed to know what (Enterprise admin, NSX Admin, Auditor, Security Admin)
Order of installing things or setting them up
Be able to read drawings to follow the packets
Be able to create those drawings in your head and follow the packets
Some basic command line stuff for example for the controller cluster (only that what can be found in the courseware!)
Know your Distributed switches and what they can do
What vm/function related to NSX does what
Numbers & maximums i.e. how many of what can do what, what’s needed to do that, what numbers needs this to be, What’s the default number for this.
No, and do you want to know why? This exam only hits the top of the iceberg in NSX possibilities, for example it hardly touches any real configuration nor does it have a lot of load balancing or nerd knob settings. For those things you really need to have a lot more experience and do the vcap exam. I am not sure if I will be following that path but this training and exam at least gives me enough knowledge to break things in NSX.