Mar 232012
 

Happy to say I passed the VCP-510 today.

I have to say the VCP exam has become harder since the VI3 days. The VI3 was the last time I took the VCP as skipped the vSphere 4.x as it wasn’t something I needed at the time.

The broadness of the technical content that the VCP 5.x can choose to ask questions on and the level at which you need to know that contact is considerable. Since my VI3 qualification we have seen a plethora of features like vDS, storage vMotion, Storage Profiles etc, etc, etc. For the VI3 I honestly thing you could do the course read a few whitepapers and pass the exam. The VCP5 is definitely a step up, if you have little or no hands on they you will struggle to pass this exam. I have been in a more presales role for a while now so I struggled to get up to speed.

Although this is a hard exam, its a good thing it is. Far to many early VCPs back in 2008ish were claiming to be something they were not and along with the VCAPs I think its clearer now who knows their stuff.

What did I use to get up to speed:

  • vSphere 5 ICM course
    • This covered off the basics but did not cover things like ESXTOP, Auto Deploy, vDS, VASA etc etc. All of the excluded things are featured in the exam so either do the ‘Whats New’ course aswel or take the ‘Fast Track’ course. But no matter what you will be lucky to pass the exam with just attending a course. (exam prerequisites)
  • Trainsignals VMware vSphere 5 Training.
    • If you don’t get an opportunity to do the course or even if you do they this is CBT is highly recommended. The Demos alone are a fantastic way to learn especially if you don’t have access to a lab. I am doing a full write up on this CBT so ill link to it here once I’ve completed it.
  • Blog posts and link:

I’m not going to link everything I used as the above links already have some good resources in them to look at and some links to other useful pages.

WHATS NEXT: VCAP DCA or DCD I think. Would love to be among the first bunch to attempt a VCDX 5 defence but that’s just aspirational at the moment.

If you read this far down any you have your VCP-510 soon then I wish you the best of luck.

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Jan 262011
 

Firstly I should point out I’m not an exchange guy. In fact I have only installed and maintained it on a –200 user platform, and that was Exchange 2003. So when I was asked to review TrainSignals Exchange 2010 training I found myself being the perfect candidate to give an impartial view. In addition I have not done many video based courses like this so being able to compare this training to a on site instructor led course gave me the opportunity to choose if I should follow this path in the future.

The training package comes in DVD format and contains 3 disks. Split over 40 lessons the subject range across ‘System requirements and Prerequisites’, Understanding and Managing Databases’ to ‘Anit-Virus and Anti Spam Features’. The initial overview and setup I found to be more than enough to be able to grasp what was expected of the training and also what was expected of myself i.e. setting up my lab environment. While I am a relative Exchange newbie it did strike me that someone with some experience may find it more tedious to sit through every section or slide so the ability to fast-forward or skip sections is a huge advantage over an instructor led course.

Just like an instructor led course there is a powerpoint presentation and an instructor that guides you through the training. There are even instructor notes should you want to retrain someone using the TrainSignal slides. The instructor ‘Peter Bruzzese’ explained the concepts very well and I thought managed to get his point over excellently. However even when you did miss a piece or didn’t understand the first time you can always role it back to the point you lost him.

I found that being able to put them onto my iPad (or equivalent) meant I could still see my screen that I was working on and watch the demos and powerpoints. These files are on the additional content DVD (DVD 3) and it is very easy to follow and even tells you how to get the files into iTunes.

I do a few recommendations regarding the instillation:

  • I would of liked the option of the command line instillation as well as the GUI. (or at least point us to the Technet article on how to do it).
  • Patching the server prier to use was skimmed over and is key to passing the instillation pre-requisites.
  • When errors in the instillation did occur (for me anyway) there were no “and a few common instillation issues are” section. This left me having to pause the training why I troubleshot the issues.

I appreciate it is not possible to account for every error or misconfiguration that a user will come across or cause however this would have been a ‘nice to have’.

All in all this was a fantastic training course that you can manage at your own pace to really understand the subject. The only issues I could find were personal to me (as i did not set up my lab correctly in the first place). This type of education, for me, is much preferred to the self-paced books that are out there. As I am Dyslexic it can often take time and multiple re-reads of a book to understand it but with this method and the standard TrainSignal have produced enables me to learn at heighted pace and level of data absorption.

TrainSignal provide a wide range of courses including Microsoft and VMware and if they are to the same standard as this one they are sure to be excellent. Get the pirchase details here and also check out www.trainsignal.com and follow the on twitter.

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