Thursday, 30 April 2009

How do you get to be a VCP on vSphere 4?

VMware have now officially announced the variety of ways in which people can obtain the new VCP on vSphere 4 certification. As I mentioned in previous posts, the path for each person depends on whether they've attended official VI3 training (like we provide at Global Knowledge) and/or their current status as a VCP.

The various "upgrade" paths are:

Current VCP on VI3 (until 31st December 2009)
1. Pass the VCP on vSphere 4 exam - either attend the vSphere 4 : What's New course to gain the necessary skills and knowledge, or self-study

Current VCP on VI3 (from 1st January 2010)
1. Attend the vSphere 4 : What's New course
2. Pass the VCP on vSphere 4 exam

Attended official VI3 course, but not yet taken VCP on VI3 exam
1. Pass the VCP on VI3 exam (only available until early 2010) OR attend the vSphere 4 : What's New course
2. Pass the VCP on vSphere 4 exam
Current VCP on ESX 2.x (until 31st December 2009)
1. Pass the VCP on VI3 exam
2. Pass the VCP on vSphere 4 exam
Current VCP on ESX 2.x (from 1st January 2010)
1. Pass the VCP on VI3 exam (only available until early 2010)
2. Attend the vSphere 4 : What's New course
3. Pass the VCP on vSphere 4 exam
None of the above
1. Attend the vSphere 4 : Install Configure Manage or vSphere 4 : Fast Track courses
2. Pass the VCP on vSphere 4 exam
Phew, I think that's it all covered!

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Official Training on vSphere

OK, I've now got the go-ahead from VMware Education to publish the information on the availability of training courses for vSphere 4.

If you're already experienced with VI3, there will be a 2-day "What's New" course for you to update your skills to vSphere 4 and learn how to migrate a VI3 environment to vSphere 4. You can actually take a pre-release of this class now, running on the Release Candidate software:

The current Install & Configure course for VI3 will be renamed to "Install, Configure, Manage" for vSphere 4. The course will remain at 4 days in length, and will still be the closest match to the VCP exam for vSphere.

There will also be a "Fast Track" course for vSphere 4, this will be 5 days with extended hours as at currently is for VI3. The content will be the new "Install, Configure, Manage" course, plus additional content on availability, scalability and troubleshooting.

VMware have yet to decide whether to release dedicated courses on availability, scalability and troubleshooting, along with possible content on automation and scripting, and possibly other topics too. These may only be available as part of the "Fast Track", as a separate 4-day course, or even as individual 1 or 2-day courses.

So, the important bit - when will they be available?

The pre-release "What's New" is available now.

The final release of "What's New" will be available from the end of June.

"Install, Configure, Manage" will also be available from the end of June.

"Fast Track" will be available from the end of July.

Keep checking back here, and on the main Global Knowledge site for further details:

UPDATE on 26th April:
VMware Education have now posted the official course overviews for "What's New" and "Install, Configure, Manage" on their website:

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

VCP on vSphere 4

I can now reveal the following information about the VCP on vSphere 4:

Right after the release date of vSphere 4, VMware will invite roughly 200 people to take a beta version of the VCP on vSphere 4 exam. The beta exam will be 3-4 hours long, it will ask questions that may appear in the final exam, and also ask about the experience and expertise of the testers. VMware expect that phase to take 2-3 weeks.

The beta exams will be analyzed to review the quality and value of each individual question, some questions will be removed, and those questions that will make their way into the final exam will have their weighting determined. VMware expect that process to take about 2 weeks.

VMware will then form the final exam, then Pearson Vue will need a couple of weeks to implement and distribute the final exam.

All in, the VCP on vSphere will be available to take within 6-8 weeks of the product release.

VMware have asked me if I'd like to help develop content for the beta exam, and if that doesn't happen than I've agreed to be a beta tester for the exam.

I should have news in the next couple of days as to when the official training for vSphere should be available.

Monday, 20 April 2009

vSphere VCP and Courses

I've been sent two separate emails by VMware today asking me for my opinion on:

1. The VCP on vSphere
2. The Fast Track training course content for vSphere

Tomorrow is the announcement of the release date, and it's great to hear from both the Certification and Education teams at VMware to know that they're gearing up to vSphere too :-)

VI3 Enterprise Administration Exam

The VI3 Enterprise Administration exam currently only forms step 2 (of 4) of the VCDX certification program, but as I mentioned last week it is going to form step 2 (of 2) of the "Master VCP" certification at some point.

The exam is split into 2 distinct sections:
1. 75 multiple choice questions (60% of the points)
2. 11 hands-on labs (40% of the points)

The time allowed in total is 2 hours 45 minutes, the clock ticks throughout the entire session, but although it suggests to you that you should spend roughly half the time on each of the 2 sections you can manage the time however you want. You HAVE to answer and review all the questions before moving on to the labs, once you've started the labs you can't go back to the questions - that makes sense to me as having access to a lab could help you answer a question ;-)

You don't get your score straight away as VMware have to review the lab work and score you on that. At the end of the whole exam you get a "Thanks for taking the exam" message and are told it will be 2-3 weeks before you get the result. I do know that the labs are not simulations, they are done on real systems in the VMware Education labs. The passing score is 300, and the top score you can get is 500.

The content is a mixture of concepts and administration, and both the questions and labs expect you to know how to use the VI Client and the CLI via an SSH session. In fact, the exam doesn't just expect you to know the right command in the CLI, it expects you to know the precise syntax too.

The questions are simple in format, just like the VCP exam, with a question that either has a single or multiple answers. Any question that needs multiple answers states how many answers are required. Just like the VCP exam you can leave questions incomplete, mark them for review, and move back and forward between the questions as you wish.

Each of the 11 labs has a specific task that must be carried out, or a specific problem that must be fixed, I'm going to call them "lablets" rather than full labs as each is small. Each lablet is performed on the same systems, so you need to be careful to make sure you don't do something in one lablet that affects other lablets, and the exam tells you to only perform the steps necessary as instructed and not to make other system changes. You do not have access to the internet from the lab environment, you only have access to a regular ESX and VirtualCenter deployment.

You should defintely review the Exam Blueprint:

This seems to be the most comprehensive study guide (link updated to latest version):

And by far the best training course to attend (with Global Knowledge) to prepare would be the Deploy Secure & Analyze (DSA):

From a training perspective, the lablets are very similar to some the of labs in the DSA course, and the answers to many of the questions also come from the slides, notes, and labs in the DSA course.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Now I am the Master

Something I predicted would happen a long time ago is actually going to happen after all.....

We've had the VCP for a long time now, we've just about got the VCDX too, but there's an enormous gap in the middle:

Nothing has been announced officially on this yet, but the "gap" is going to be filled by a "Master VCP" certification for those who complete 2 steps:

1. The current VCP

2. The Enterprise Admin exam which is currently step 2 of the VCDX

Quite how the exam will be run, and where you'll be able to take it, is yet to be determined, but expect the cost to be £250+VAT. The exam is part multiple-choice questions and part hands-on lab, and I'm actually taking it in 2 days time (I'm registered for the full VCDX) so hopefully I'll meet the requirements as soon as the "Master VCP" is fully launched.

The exam blueprint is available at:

The blueprint content is a great match to the Deploy Secure & Analyze (DSA) course, most of which is also covered in the Fast Track (FT) course:


FT =

Practice Tests for VCP

There are more than 25000 VCPs worldwide, and more people "join the club" every day. Certification is big business, and not just to those that get the certification. There's company after company on the internet that will sell you brain dumps and practice tests, but I would advise to be careful if using them to help you study and pass the VCP exam.

The attraction is obvious, you want to get an idea of the kind of questions you're going to get when you take the real thing. The danger is that the questions you see are not representative of the real thing, or more worringly the test you are using has invalid questions or the wrong answers!

From my experience, practice tests are never perfect, they all contain errors in varying numbers - I've seen some that had as many as 25-30% of the questions that were wrong or invalid in some kind of way. This means that you could be studying from pratice tests that are designed to help you pass but could actually help you fail.

All of the resources you need to pass the exam can be found in various places on the VMware web site:

The exam blueprint which will tell you what you need to know and where to find it:

The VI3 documentation which will provide you with the answer to every question:

The official mock exam which will show you the exam and question format:

The mock exam is produced by the same team that produce the real exam, some of the questions have previously appeared in the real exam.

VMware are not stupid, they know that unofficial practice tests exist, and there's not exactly a huge amount they can do to stop them. From conversations I've had with some of the guys and gals at VMware, they review these practice tests and when they find questions that are identical to those in the real exam they remove them from the real exam. BUT if practice tests contain incorrect or invalid questions they deliberately leave those questions in the real exam - they want to catch out anyone who is memorizing practice tests.

There is another way of focusing yourself on the exam, you could come and attend a preparation workshop with us at Global Knowledge:

The workshop will help you develop a technique to help you pass, there are lots of practice questions that we go through on the day, and the session is run by a VMware Certified Instructor - and although the regular passing score is 70 we have to get 85!!

Monday, 6 April 2009

vSphere Release Date

On April 21st, Paul Maritz of VMware will be officially unveiling vSphere:

Finally, we'll get to find out the release date...

21st April UPDATE:
VMware's web site is full of press releases already today:

Pricing and packaging for vSphere has already been announced:

And the official name is now confirmed as "VMware vSphere 4":

Is it worth doing the VI3 VCP when vSphere will be here soon?

Good question eh? The answer is yes, if you've either already attended a VI3 course, or will be attending a VI3 course soon.

The reason why? In my earlier post on the VCP on vSphere, I hinted that there would be a number of upgrade paths. Whilst nothing has been announced officially by VMware (yet), I can say that the path for an existing VCP on VI3 will be simpler than the path for those that have been trained on an official VI3 course but never took the VCP on VI3 exam.

Keep checking back here, or on the main Global Knowledge site, and all will be revealed as soon as we're allowed to say....


VCP on VI3

Something that comes up in conversation an awful lot is the current VCP exam, so here's a list of some important points about the exam that may help any potential takers:

  • You get asked 75 questions
  • You have 90 minutes to answer the questions
  • You have to get a score of 70 or better to pass
  • The questions are weighted, so some score more points than others
  • You have to go to a Pearson Vue testing centre to take the exam (such as all the Global Knowledge UK training centres!!)
  • The Install & Configure course is the best match to the exam
  • You do have to attend an official course to be a VCP
  • You can take the exam without attending an official course, but you won't be a VCP
  • Roughly 85% of takers pass first time

Here's a few other nuggets of information I've picked up from VMware:

  • The UK has more VCPs than any other country in EMEA
  • EMEA has more VCPs that any other region (including North America!!)
  • There are more than 25000 VCPs worldwide

If you want some exam coaching, there is an Exam Preparation Workshop, delivered by one of the Global Knowledge VMware instructors - the biggest selling point is that we have to pass the exam with a score of at least 85!

If you want to know more, here's the link: