VCAP-NV Deployment Exam Preparation: Tips and Tricks

During VMware Empower 2019 in Lissabon my colleague Jens Henning and myself had the honor to do two breakout sessions about the VMware Certified Advanced Professional – Network Virtualization (VCAP-NV) exam.

In this session we covered tips and tricks for the deploy exam. This short post should summarize the content for all those people who weren‘t able to attend. The following information are totally suitable for the VCAP-Deploy exam in all kind of VMware‘s tracks:

  • Datacenter Virtualization
  • Network Virtualization
  • Desktop- and Mobility
  • Cloud Management & Automation

Motivation

Why is this topic relevant? More and more Partners are motivated for certain reasons to get VMware‘s Master Services competencies.

For me personally I also like the challenge of proving my knowledge. The VMware Certified Professional (VCP) with its multiple choice question is something that can be achieved by people not mastering a topic. That is definitely not the case for the deploy certifications. Why?

Because you need to prove that you are able to quickly solve problems in a (very slow and annoying) lab environment. There is no chance an amateur can pass this exam.

So how do we get to the advanced professional level? With some kind of preparation (and of course you need to become a VCP-NV first).

Preparation

The following key elements are crucial when you prepare for the deploy exam.

VCAP-NV Characteristics

  1. Old blog posts use the word exam blueprint. The exam blueprint is today called Exam Preparation Guide
  2. Iterate through the exam preparation guides until you can do all relevant tasks within minutes. 
  3. Learn the user interface; learn it for NSX-v version 6.2 !!!! 
  4. Be quick. If you are not quick, improve it. 
  5. Get your hands dirty by knowing the product inside out:
  • VMware Education Class (e.g. NSX ICM and NSX Operations & Troubleshooting)
  • VMware Hands on Labs  Build your own lab.
  • Rent a Lab for a week or two ;-) (twink twink ask comdivision if you are a VMware Partner)

Constraints of the exam

The exam VCAP-NV (3V0-643) has certain limitations (at the time of this blog post) that everyone must be aware of:

  1. Product: NSX-v 6.2 
  2. Remote-Resolution: max 1280×800
  3. No copy and paste with the physical keyboard
  4. Minutes: 205    Questions: 23   Minutes / Questions: ca. 9 
  5. Price: $450

We all know that NSX-T is the future within VMware And NSX-v 6.4 (which might be properly the last NSX-v version) is running out of support in Januar 2021. At a certain time there will come a switch in versions in the deploy exam. If you are familiar with NSX-v and want to gain the Master Services competency, do it!!!!

If you know NSX-T already and have no NSX-v skills I can’t really give you a great recommendation. You will have it easier to learn the concept since you are already familiar with the SDN concept, but you will need to spend time learning this different-doing. From my perspective NSX-v is from a UI, terminology perspective made for the vSphere admin while NSX-T is closer to a network technology.

Since at one point in time migrations from NSX-v to NSX-T will come up sooner or later I assume that a certain amount of NSX-v knowledge won’t be a mistake.

Use the following resources to increase your know-how required for the VCAP-NV exam. Do the hands on labs do in the following way:

  1. Do the hands on labs with the guide first.
  2. Do the Hands on Labs without guide.
  3. Ask you learning peer to give you on the fly objectives within a hands-on-lab and solve it without googling.

VMware Hands-On Labs

  • 1903-01-NET VMware NSX Data Center for vSphere – Getting Started 
  • 1903-02-NET VMware NSX Data Center for Security – Distributed Firewall and Micro Segmentation 
  • 1925-01-NET VMware NSX Data Center for vSphere – Advanced Consumption 
  • 1925-01-NET VMware NSX Data Center for vSphere – Multi-Site & DR Deployments with SRM 

VCAP-NV Deploy Exam Preparation Guide  VMware Certification Platform Interface   

Test-Center selection

  1. Evaluate test centers based on the following characteristics 
  2. Experience with VMware VCAP Deploy exams 
  3. Display Size  
  4. Proper Bandwidth & Latency  (Pearson/VMware)
  5. Escalation skills of the test administrator

I would recommend you go to the test center upfront and talk to them, check out their equipement. If they don’t know what’s so special with a deployment exam, search another one.

During the Exam

  1. Advanced Deploy Exam preparation times are approximately 2-3 weeks.
  2. Use VMware Hands-On Labs to prepare yourself; the VCAP Deploy front-end uses the same UI. Make use of the on-screen keyboard.
  3. Use the exam blueprint / exam preparation guide as a study guide. Figure out your areas of weakness (NSX API, dynamic routing).
  4. Build your own scenario questions. Challenge yourself with a colleague and dictate the other person scenarios based on the exam objectives within a Hands-on-Labs kit.
  5. Struggling with what to study? Use books, blogs, courses (instructor-led/online), VMworld sessions, podcasts, whitepapers, VMware documentation, reference architectures and best-practice guides to switch things up. Consider explaining topics to someone else that isn’t familiar with the topic.

If you do not pass.

  1. Each time you fail, keep track of which blueprint areas you did not pass; are they the same for each attempt or are they different?
  2. See if your exam fail areas align with the notes you recorded on the day of the exam.
  3. Focus on the areas you know are more valuable from your “scouting” attempt.

Final words about our break-out sessions

Delivering the session has been great fun. Thanks VMware For giving us the opportunity to share our knowledge. I was very proud several people showed up and asked useful questions. I hope we were able to give a proper overview so that everyone knows how to prepare and what to expect during the VCAP-NV deploy exam. I am really looking forward for our next session. Let us (Jens & myself) know on twitter if you have any questions.

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