Saturday, January 10, 2015

VCPVCD510 exam passed - VMware Infrastructure as a Service (VCP Cloud)

Today I managed to pass the VMware Certified Professional Cloud exam - Infrastructure as a Service VCPVCD510 . So, the obligatory post follows …

Exam was tough in my opinion. It’s a “standard” VCP exam as the blueprint points out - 85 questions, 90 minutes, multiple choice. It was tough for me for a few reasons. One is that it had some of the question types that I dislike, and to be honest, I ended up guessing for in some cases. I don’t like these because in the real world, I don’t memorise certain things, I just do it - which is why the VCAP was in a sense better. But also, because in the real world, if I’m wrong the system will tell me. The kind of thing I mean is :

On a Windows server, how would you find the IP address
A) ipconfig -all
B) ifconfig -all
C) ipconfig /all
D) ifconfig /all

Obviously that isn’t a question from the exam, but it illustrates the type of thing I mean (especially if the question relates to “which menu option” type of question). In reality, I “just know”, and if I did get it wrong (perhaps had just been working on a Linux box instead) then the system will effectively tell me and I’ll “d’oh of course” and fix it. So I struggle to motivate myself to learn this kind of thing or way for exams, and that can make them harder.

The other reason I found it tough is in a sense due to the reason I took the exam. I worked on a POC vCloud Director setup in work a bit last year, but that was basically canned as the focus is on a different Cloud management platform. This was a bit annoying, but hey, not my call so unfortunately not much I can do about that. But I didn’t want to waste the time I’d put in, so I made the choice to try and carry on working at home on it, and schedule the exam.

But, the VCAP was more important to me, and so took the majority of my time. Therefore I scheduled this exam only after passing the VCAP (if I’d failed, I wouldn’t have done this, I would have focused on studying to resit the VCAP instead). So I left myself with about 4-6 weeks preparation time at home and well, I soon realised how much I’d forgotten since the work POC was canned, and also how hard I find the network aspect of VCD. And in a home setup, my network configuration is extremely limited, so can’t practice as much as I’d like (plus no chargeback or connector setup at home). So the preparation wasn’t ideal and this is more a case of trying to pass the exam because it would be nice, as opposed to working with it everyday and using the exam to validate that. Is that a valid reason for doing an exam - dunno, I tend to get mixed feelings about it.

So, as mentioned, this meant I guessed a few answers (obviously I don’t know if I did this correctly), albeit trying to narrow it down and rule out what I think were obvious wrong answers. The time on the exam meant there was time for this, as some questions did seem “easy” - as in, as soon as you read it, you know what (you think) the answer is, and if you see that answer, select and move on. But again, should I really be guessing - the way I was taught in school was to always have a go (you won’t get any marks if you don’t try etc), but guessing just feels a wrong if you are trying to validate what you (believe) you know. But that’s probably as much to do with my mixed views on IT certification, and would probably be the subject for a separate post.

Preparation and materials used:

Blueprint - same for any VMware exam. The blueprint is your friend, and you pay heed to it.

Documentation - blueprint points to the documentation, so you should read it. Some of it’s dry, and makes little sense to me without actually doing it.

Lab - built a small nested lab again at home. As mentioned, there’s no bells and whistles - no Chargeback or vCloud Connector, and the networking is limited. It’s more for trying to get familiar/remember some of the processes etc (and learn the interface, but hey, that just doesn’t work for me!)

VMware Private Cloud Computing with vCloud Director by Simon Gallagher et al - bought a Kindle copy of this (afraid I never buy physical tech books these days, all on kindle/iPad) and have a copy on my “bookshelf” on my Safari subscription.

VCP-Cloud official book - again via my Safari subscription.

A few of the Packt vCloud Director books on the Safari subscription, but those were more cursory glances, and there’s not a specific one that I would recommend.

Hopefully this clears the deck a little for me now just in case VMware release anything new in the next few months to focus on …