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VMware VCP @ VMware Academy (360GSP) Training Blog

Discussion in 'Training & Development' started by SimonD, May 16, 2011.

  1. SimonD
    Honorary Member

    SimonD Terabyte Poster Moderator

    Part 1 of a 3 part post.

    Wanting to do my VCP has been on my radar for the last couple of years but being a contractor it obviously meant that not only was I paying for the course but also not being paid whilst I was doing the course, however over the last two years I have been dealing with more and more in the virtualisation arena and I really wanted to get my VCP to allow me to enhance my career abilities further.

    About two months ago I went through the VMware Education site looking at all the approved training providers here in the UK, what I was searching for was a provider that wasn’t going to cost me a fortune to train with and was able to fit me in when I wanted to do it (I find it always better to train between contracts, I simply can’t do the whole self-study thing and trust me having been in IT for 10+ years I know that). I had looked at the likes of Magirus and Global Knowledge but costs were quite high (circa £2500 ex vat) so I tried to see if there were any other options out there.

    Now I was aware that in the US VMware offered an Academy for people to get their VCP certifications through, this meant that the training lasted longer than the usual 5 continuous days but it also meant that the training costs were cheaper. Looking into whether there was any Academies over in the UK I was happy to discover that there was at least one, whilst not exactly local to me it was certainly within commuting distance (after all I spend between 5 and 6 hours a day commuting as it is).

    I contacted the Academy (360GSP) to discuss course dates and costs and was pleasantly surprised to discover that they pretty much run these courses every week but also at weekends, which would suit me down to the ground, added to that were that the costs were considerably cheaper than going through traditional training providers, having talked with the lovely Angel I decided that this sounded ideal to me and booked a place on the course, ideally this was to coincide with my leave date from my then current contract. The course duration would entail that I didn’t spend any time out of work but would be spending three consecutive weekends sat in a training centre instead of spending time with my family (who I only see for weekends at the moment due to my wife having to work in Dublin for 2 months :()

    During the period between booking and attending the course I was made an offer by my current employers to go permanent with them, it was really an offer I couldn’t refuse. The only real downside with the role was that there wasn’t any VMware on site and no plans to go down the VMware route (we have a large virtualised environment with various platforms such as Egenera, Xen and Hyper-V) but who knows what’s going to be around the corner.

    Move forward to last weekend, on the Saturday 14th of May saw me sitting at the training providers premises in Wembley by 09:15. I am introduced to Daisuke Tanabe (or Dai) our VMware instructor for the course. The course is smaller in comparison to other courses I have been on with only 6 students in total; I prefer smaller attendance numbers because that means more time with the instructor.

    We are all told to sit at a workstation and provided with the two training manuals as well as the lab manual and we start going through the training material, it should be noted at this stage that each student is given access to a single physical ESXi server (Dell 2950) as well as various virtualised OS’s for use during the training course. Each of the environments worked well with only the odd minor glitch occurring (no show stoppers at all). Dai was very clear when we came across material that was important to remember (Configuration Maximums for example).

    I should add that with my previous experience with VMware and ESXi (as well as my various testing of shared storage platforms) I found the first couple of days to be more of a recap for me rather than being taught something new, however the content delivery and discussions held during the class have been very good. I am now 1/3 of the way through the course and so far I have really enjoyed it.

    One last thing about the training provider and this is something I discovered on Saturday, due to the fact that they are open 7 days a week and are also a certified testing centre they are considered to also be one of the busiest, certainly when I was out getting a drink during the breaks I always saw different people sitting exams, so if there are people in the Wembley area wanting to take exams on a weekend I would definitely give 360GSP a look.

    Come back next Monday for the next installment on my VCP training
    Last edited: May 16, 2011
    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).
  2. SimonD
    Honorary Member

    SimonD Terabyte Poster Moderator

    Well today I finished the last installment of my Install, Configure and Manage course, this was carried out over three weekends (which have meant essentially 3 straight weeks at work of one sorts or another so Bank Holiday Monday is definitely needed).

    6 days to do the ICM course is slightly more than usual courses but because of the technical level of the entire class it's obvious that you can't go too fast and I have to say that the course did go along at a decent pace.

    Days 3 - 6 covered the remaining topics in the ICM course curriculum clearly and concisely with us covering everything in the course books, there was also plenty of discussion with regards to normal every day administration of vSphere servers and third party tools and utilities to consider when managing and maintaining a vSphere environment.

    For those interested in passing the VCP you should be aware that simply attending a VMware accredited course isn't enough to pass the exam, there are additional reading requirements that need to be taken into consideration when preparing for the course and Dai ensured that we all had links to this documentation on our MyLearn portal. The course didn't suffer with a lack of information and I do realise and know from first hand experience how cramming can actually be detrimental to long term remembering when it comes to subject matter, with that in mind I have to admit that the 3 weekends were definitely better than cramming this in over 5 week days.

    Onto the company for a bit, one of the nice things that I experienced every weekend was that on every Saturday the MD of the company (Sher Syed) was always onsite ensuring that things were running smoothly (and infact this was one of the first courses where as far as I am aware there weren't any issues of any kind), I thought it was a nice touch that he keeps in touch with his business even over the weekend.

    It was also nice to see that as an Academy they also offer more courses than just the VMware course, they also offer Cisco and EMC courses (EMC course is more of a theory than specific technical) as well as various MS courses. I also understand that they are about to offer the VMware VCA-DT course in the not too distant future (which I am interested in attending).

    What's instore for me over the next couple of weeks? I want to book my VCP exam in the next couple of weeks (I want to complete it by the end of June), with my 5 odd hour daily commute, an iPad (and iPhone) and the Amazon Kindle app I am on my way to having everything I need to ensure that I manage to get the rest of the required knowledge stuffed into my head in time for the exam, the hardest part for me at the moment is remembering the Maximum Configs but as I already have an app for that (flash cards :)) on the iPhone which I use every day to test myself, as well as having a fully equipped home lab I am hoping this will all help me pass the exam on the first attempt (and if it doesn't there is always 2nd Shot).

    Final thoughts? I was very pleased with the course content, price and the fact that the course was run over weekends rather than during the week day. Only downside for me personally was the daily 200 mile drive which obviously had cost and time implications but obviously not the fault of the training provider at all.

    Well done 360GSP, you have a happy customer here and one who is definitely interested in returning to do the VMware View courses at some point in the not too distant future.
    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. craigie

    craigie Terabyte Poster

    Cheers for sharing that with us Simon, where abouts is the training company located? As I'm looking to do my VCP in about later this year.
    Certifications: CCA | CCENT | CCNA | CCNA:S | HP APC | HP ASE | ITILv3 | MCP | MCDST | MCITP: EA | MCTS:Vista | MCTS:Exch '07 | MCSA 2003 | MCSA:M 2003 | MCSA 2008 | MCSE | VCP5-DT | VCP4-DCV | VCP5-DCV | VCAP5-DCA | VCAP5-DCD | VMTSP | VTSP 4 | VTSP 5
  4. onoski

    onoski Terabyte Poster

    Interesting post Simon, as I did mine a while back in London with a training firm called ECS Arrow at Threadneedle street not far from Bishopgate. The trainer and the training labs were spot too.
    Certifications: MCSE: 2003, MCSA: 2003 Messaging, MCP, HNC BIT, ITIL Fdn V3, SDI Fdn, VCP 4 & VCP 5
    WIP: MCTS:70-236, PowerShell
  5. SimonD
    Honorary Member

    SimonD Terabyte Poster Moderator

    Hi mate,

    The company operate out of Wembley Point in Wembley (so Saturday was fun to get out of at 5pm ;)). Definitely worth looking into in my opinion, at the moment they have a deal on where the ICM course is £1100, usually £1696.

    Whilst the commute wasn't too bad it did mean I was out of the house at 7.30ish every weekend for the drive (trains are a bit of a mare atm).
    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).
  6. drum_dude

    drum_dude Gigabyte Poster

    That's a good price! Cheers for the info!
    Certifications: MCSA , N+, A+ ,ITIL V2, MCTS
    WIP: MCITP 2008 Ent Admin, Server Admin, Exchange 2010, Lync 2010, CCNA & VCP5
  7. derkit

    derkit Gigabyte Poster

    Thanks for the review - this is something that interests me but there is no way that my company would pay for me - but at this price, I'd be more than happy to pay myself.

    As an aside, this Wembley Point centre is my now local Prometric place - very clean, spacious and at 10am on a Monday morning there were a couple of spaces to sit the exams. For those who are travelling by train, the nearest tube is Stonebridge Park which is on a line straight down from Watford Junction so get there and it would be an easy journey in.
    Certifications: MBCS, BSc(Hons), Cert(Maths), A+, Net+, MCDST, ITIL-F v3, MCSA
    WIP: 70-293

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