I passed the VCPN610 exam and received the VCP-NV certification on June 8, 2015. The exam is 120 questions and 120 minutes long.
In preparation, I went to a 2-day bootcamp sponsored by VMware. This was a compressed version of the full NSX ICM course. People outside VMware won’t be able to benefit from the free pricetag on this, but you can get free access to the full lab environment. Point your browser to http://labs.hol.vmware.com and look for “HOL-SDC-1403 – VMware NSX Introduction” (Update January 2016 – the 1403 lab has expired, look for HOL-SDC-1603).
I took the exam shortly after bootcamp and failed with a 271 – close, but not quite. I went in search of further study material.
- Rich Dowling created a fantastic study guide, check it out on his site.
- You absolutely have to read and understand the VMware NSX Design Guide. You might want to go directly to the NSX Product Page and click into the design guide that way, there’s no guarantee that the first link will be the most current guide.
- It goes without saying, but VMware exams stick to the exam blueprint. Go to the VMware Certification page and click on the VCP-NV exam, the blueprint link is there.
Networking is a complex area and most server engineers have limited exposure. Unlike a VCP-DCV exam where you can rely on deep vSphere experience to help you figure out the answer, the VCP-NV has many foreign concepts. Before starting down the VCP-NV path, I understood the basics – I have a CCNA and I understand VLANs, SVIs, how to create a firewall rule, and the very basics of OSPF. By very basics, I mean nothing more than a tiny 2 area OSPF deployment. I’ve never worked with BGP before.
Being outside your core knowledgebase makes the VCP-NV a difficult exam. You need to understand the underpinnings of how NSX makes VXLAN magic happen. The exam covers routing, switching, firewalls, load balancing, VLANs and VXLANs. You absolutely have to have a solid understanding of the basics of physical networking to have a chance at passing this exam.
The studying process has greatly increased my ability to talk to customers about the NSX solution and has improved my understanding of how networks function. Good luck pursuing this certification!