As some of you may know I have been working on the VCP 4 since around January when I took the ICM 4.1 course. I wanted to give some feedback to the community on the test and what I did to prepare.
If you do not have a VCP3 then you have to take the VCP-410 exam and either the ICM, Fast Track, or Advanced Troubleshooting courses. If you have a VCP3 then you can take the VCP-410 and the What’s new 4.1 course offered by VMware.
The above graphic is from VMware.com and outlines the path.
Now my journey to VCP started in the summer of 2009 with installing VI 3.5 and later in the year installing vSphere 4. I was addicted to the technology but knew I couldn’t pursue certification because of the cost of the course work and at that time I was working on the MCITP: Enterprise Administrator certification. During the summer months a friend @K12Virtual got me interested in the VMware Community Podcast, If you aren’t a subscriber or are not involved, get involved it’s hosted on talkshoe.com which sometimes can be flaky but it’s well worth the content. It’s hosted every Wednesday at 12:00 PST. If you miss it subscribe to it on iTunes and listen in but, the chat is really amazing.
I satisfied my need to learn more about VMware, ESX, ESX(i) by partaking in the local @NEVMUG and purchasing books. The first two books I ever bought about VMware were the vSphere Quick Start Guide, and Mastering VMware vSphere.
After reading those two books and joining Twitter I started to meet new people and understand more about VMware and vSphere. It’s amazing to have an online community like VMware’s Communities and Twitter where you can ask a question and get a multiple responses with different ideas to help you out.
Now you maybe asking yourself what does this have to do with taking the VCP exam. Well my answer is EVERYTHING. What future VCP certification users need to understand is that being a VCP is a lifestyle choice. VMware is evolving changing there is new information easily accessible written by the great bloggers. If you are interested in seeing a list of all the virtualization bloggers check out @ericsiebert ‘s listing refered to as the vLaunchpad: http://vlp.vsphere-land.com/.
Another VMware site that is a great blog aggregator is http://www.vmware.com/vmtn/planet/v12n/ which is run by @JTroyer.
I ended up taking the ICM 4.1 course in January of this past year. I took it online with @GeorgeTrujillo he’s a great instructor and more than willing to spend time after class to answer questions and talk in-depth about vSphere 4.
Something to keep in mind is the ICM 4.1 is a stepping stone towards certification and after taking the course you are not expected to be able to sit the VCP exam. You still have a lot of hands on experience you need to gain before the exam. You also should print out the VCP blueprint which is located on the mylearn.vmware.com site. The even offer a short practice exam so you can test yourself to see if you are ready for the exam.
My next step towards certification was building a lab that I can tear down and bring up so I could get used to the features I needed to learn that are covered in the blueprint. I’m a hand’s on learner and going over the blueprint material over and over again really helped me understand concepts how to break components and then how to fix them.
During this time and opportunity came up from @Cody_Bunch to attend one of his #BrownBags which are archived on his http://professionalvmware.com/ website. This was one of those instances of getting involved with the community. Thanks to Cody I was able to win a book from @ekhnaser it was his new VCP4 Exam Cram book. It’s a great book to read through a week before you take the exam.
I ended up scheduling the exam and using @forbesguthrie ‘s vReference pamphlet to go over the maximums I was having trouble remembering and refresh the parts of the blueprint I was shaky on (resource pools). http://www.vreference.com/ is his site check it out.
I went to the exam and tried to take my time with each question but, I have a tendency to rush through things like Exams. If you are like me do yourself a favor the VCP Exam needs to be read carefully it’s not something to rush through and remember to read the question and answers twice before answering it.
That’s my advice and two cents on the VCP and my journey to certification. I ended up passing the exam on my first attempt. 🙂
What’s next you may ask. Well I plan on catching up on some reading:
HA and DRS: technical Deep Dive from @DuncanYB and @FrankDenneman
VMware vSphere Design from @ScottLowe @ForbesGuthrie and @maishsk
VMware vSphere and Virtual Infrastructure Security: Securing the Virtual Environment from @texiwill although I may wait for the second edition of this book.
VMware ESXi: Planning, Implementation, and Security from Dave Mishchenko. It’s to bad I already bought this book because VMware will be giving it away for free.