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VCP 4 studying

Discussion in 'VMware Certifications' started by Asterix, Dec 15, 2010.

  1. Asterix

    Asterix Megabyte Poster

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    Hi Guys,
    I have now found myself in a server engineer role (which i am loving) and for the last 4/5 weeks i have performed at least 50 P2V's and tend to be performing a lot of low level VMware administration. Moving forwards i would like to learn more about VMware in general and this would provide a good area to speciallise my career in. With a BSC in IT I have since increased knowledge outside work by following certification programs (in particular MCSA) and I am finding it hard to gauge whether studying the VCP4 through to certification would be suitable or completely out of my league. From posts on CF it is apparant that the pass rate is very low and a lot of people have difficulties with this one but not sure whether this is in the same way as the 70-291 (which I didnt find overly dificult) or whether this was a beast of its own! Work is really busy atm althought they have mentioned putting me on VCP training in the future when we get some time to breath (prob 6-12 months away) as i understand that training in a prereq!
    Has anyone done this exam and can comment?
    Anyone else in the same boat?
    Anyone been on the training program with limited knowledge?
    Any other suggestions that may be of help?
     
  2. SimonD

    SimonD Terabyte Poster Moderator

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    My advice?

    Spend time reading blogs, get books by Scott Lowe and Eric Siebert and a couple of others (the HA and DRS Deep Dive by Duncan Epping and Frank Denneman might be a good one). You also should have a look at the VMware Exam Blueprint as that has exactly what you need to pass the exam.

    I would also strongly suggest getting a couple of vSphere servers up and running at home to play with HA, DRS, vMotion and svMotion as well as just giving you a decent platform to play around with. I would strongly advise getting some storage sorted (OpenFiler, FreeNas, Iomega IX4-200d 2TB as a starter) so that you can utilise the aforementioned HA\DRS and vMotion.

    Lastly I would definitely have a look at David Davis' TrainSignal videos, they are a really great product that will give you an idea of whats required, I would also suggest the CBTNuggets or Elias Khnaser as alternative video products. Also if you have an ipod\iphone then also look at the VMware Communities Roundtable podcasts, very informative.

    One thing to be aware of, 6 - 12 months have a good chance of having vSphere 5 being launched, that will be an ESXi only platform so be aware that what you're studying now might not be whats required in that time frame (they update the exam very quickly, weeks\months rather than the months\years you come to expect from MS).
     
    Certifications: CNA | CNE | CCNA | MCP | MCP+I | MCSE NT4 | MCSA 2003 | Security+ | MCSA:S 2003 | MCSE:S 2003 | MCTS:SCCM 2007 | MCTS:Win 7 | MCITP:EDA7 | MCITP:SA | MCITP:EA | MCTS:Hyper-V | VCP 4 | ITIL v3 Foundation | VCP 5 DCV | VCP 5 Cloud | VCP6 NV | VCP6 DCV | VCAP 5.5 DCA
    WIP: VCP6-CMA, VCAP-DCD and Linux + (and possibly VCIX-NV).
  3. Asterix

    Asterix Megabyte Poster

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    Thanks for the advice im defo planning on getting a book to help understand the terminologies and virtualisation terminologies so i can do some on the job studying and gonna buy some training vids on payday! Once i finished these i will ensure i have covered all exam objectives and perform a practice test to gauge how ready i am.... and then book the course.......... If VCP5 is out by then, im sure lots of the knowledge will be transferable!
     
  4. scott28tt

    scott28tt Byte Poster

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    Certifications: VCP2, VCP3, VCP4, VCP5, VCAP4-DCA, VCI, MCSE (NT-2003)
  5. Asterix

    Asterix Megabyte Poster

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    Thanks guys, very helpful!
     
  6. invierno

    invierno Nibble Poster

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    Having passed this exam recently, I also would recommend Scott's blog (lots of great resources on there) and Simon Long's blog too:

    http://www.simonlong.co.uk/blog/vcp-vsphere-4-practice-exam/

    Also, when people say that one of the best resources for reviewing this exam is the VMware documentation available directly from VMware. This is a link to that information (be sure to check all three tabs):

    http://www.vmware.com/support/pubs/vs_pages/vsp_pubs_esx41_vc41.html

    I also used the Sybex book and have found it to be a great reference after the fact as well.

    I found the VCP exam to be a great way to learn about a wide variety of technologies (since VSphere touches storage, networking, systems administration, virtualization, and just about everything else too), so I for one found it be quite the worthwhile experience.
     
    Certifications: See Signature
    WIP: Java, Linux
  7. Asterix

    Asterix Megabyte Poster

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    Thanks for the update! What was your prior background? Did you work with VMWARE technologies? how long did it take you to study? Did you pass first time?
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2010
  8. invierno

    invierno Nibble Poster

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    My previous background in IT was Tier II desktop support. I'm a bit of an odd duck because I was actually tasked with this because I had impressed my boss enough within the first 3 months of my employment (this is my first IT job) that he wanted me to figure out how to make this all work; I think that it typically takes longer to get into things like virtualization. My specific task at work with VMware was for our enterprise implementation of VMware View 4, which currently is hosting about 10% of our user base and expanding. I also did the VSphere 4.0 and ESX/ESXi 3.5 installations (we tested a lot on 3.5) on the IBM 3850 servers and also have helped with the configuration of the DS3512 SAN, so I was involved in almost every step of this project. I have been working very heavily on all of this in March 2010, and I passed the exam in November 2010.

    Previous to that, I had worked a lot with the VMware Player in engineering school (biomedical/computer engineering). I had done some work with the SESC processor simulator in a CentOS VM running in the Player on a Windows 7 machine. So, essentially, my first experiments with virtualization were on my home computer with a lot of Linux distros :)

    I did not pass the exam on the first try :oops:, and that was mostly because I probably took it sooner than I should have (the scope of material for the VCP and VMware in general is very large in my opinion, similar to the 70-293 and 70-291 exams from Microsoft). The Sybex book is excellent in my opinion and it really does cover just about everything VMware will throw at you. I recently purchased the Mastering VMware vSphere 4 from Scott Lowe and I'll post a review when I'm done.

    As an additional recommendation, I found having some experience with Linux to be very valuable in working with VMware. ESX and VSphere are built on a variant of the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3, so being familiar with that and basic Linux commands (ls, rm, dir, top, etc.) and being comfortable with a CLI are useful skills to have. I recommend CentOS as the distro as it's the open source release from Red Hat of their Enterprise Linux project (www.centos.org).

    Since a lot of people it seems aren't aware of this, you can download open source versions of almost all of VMware's products (because, as indicated earlier, VMware uses the Red Hat kernel and therefore is subject to the GNU General Public License just like Red Hat is) directly from VMware. This might provide some good hands-on training for everyone out there who doesn't have US$30,000 for a home lab of VMware View with 250 licenses :thumbleft

    http://www.vmware.com/download/open_source.html

    Hope that helps!
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2010
    Certifications: See Signature
    WIP: Java, Linux

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