This week I finally took a bit of time off work and sat the vCD 5.1: ICM course hosted by New Horizons. Unusually for courses I’ve taken in the past it was an Online ‘Live’ Course with the instructor running the course from the US (Nebraska). The course ran from 2pm-10pm BST which meant I only had to take three half days from my day job. This led to long days but it was definitely worth it.
To add to the strangeness of the course I had actually passed the VCP-Cloud and VCP5-DCV exams in August and this was a tick the box exercise to fulfil VMWare requirements to sit a pre-req course to gain the certification officially. I sat the VCP-Cloud exam first and found that from the 135 questions there was about 50% networking questions relating to VLAN-backed, port-group backed or vCloud Isolated networks with a major fixation on the externally routed configuration (i.e. using the vShield Edge device to perform the network transits to and from the Org vDC).
Shawn the Instructor led us through the meaty first three and a bit modules relating to the VMWare cloud stack and how it operates on the Physical, vSphere and vCloud layers. The first two modules are jargon heavy and relate to the introduction of the various VMWare product sets that we were to be exposed to (ESX, vSphere, vCNS/Edge Gateways, Chargeback, vCloud Connector and of course vCloud Director itself).
Module 3 is probably the most important module of all. As I said previously when I sat the VCP-Cloud exam it was very heavily weighted towards the networking side of the Cloud. Of course networking should be the major element as we’re talking a multi-tenanted environment that we’re trying to keep secure however the biggest challenge isn’t the technical element really but reading the question is. The questions can look very similar to each other and sometimes the multiple choice answers can seem very similar. This is where Module 3 becomes the most important part of the course. I’ll stick my neck out on this one but if you know vCloud networking inside and out then you’ll just about hit the pass mark on that alone!
Module 4 deals with the resource pools and tiering of resources. This again is an important section. About 10-20% of the exam questions will be about what each resource allocation model does and the differences. If in doubt go to this excellent article and you’ll go someway to understanding the differences in real terms.
On our second day we finished off the storage segment of module 4 and then dived into modules 5 and 6. Module 5 related to the actual nuts and bolts of what vCloud Director is all about, Organisations, vDCs, vApps, & templates. We built up Organisations and setup various vApps with diverse edge gateway setups using NAT, firewall rules and double hops to the external network. The double hop setups seemed to resemble what vShield App and Zones would be like in a vCD setup.
We progressed, after 4 straight labs, onto vCloud users and groups to which within 24hrs I had my team lead asking how to apply roles to certain users… Good timing there!
The final day of the course brought the class though modules 7 to 11 and labs 12 to 17. They’re the day to day administration modules you’ll need if you’re actually doing the job on a daily basis. They are short and to the point chapters with 5-10 questions on the exam in each part. As you go through them the day 1 & 2 content will be brought into focus and the airy ideas of what a Provider vDC is and why you do tiering become that little bit understandable.
I was impressed on how much was covered by the course in such a short number of days.Certainly it would cover enough to pass the VCP-Cloud exam comfortably however it missed out Chargeback as a topic. This wasn’t the instructors fault as the course blueprint doesn’t contain it but you will need to take a free online course by VMWare to be able to answer up to a dozen Chargeback related questions in the exam.
Thanks to sitting this course it unlocked both my VCP-Cloud and the VCP5-DCV certification. In all honesty had I done the course beforehand I believe I would have scored higher than the 444 marks I got in the VCP-Cloud exam as I would have been sharper on the NATing questions which I amn’t exposed to in my day to day job. Happy days though and thanks Shawn for a well presented class especially since you were 4000 miles away!