Thursday, 28 July 2011

July 28th updates to exam blueprints

A number of VMware certification exam blueprints have been updated to new versions.

VCP4 v1.9.2:
VCP5 beta v1.4:

VCA4-DT v1.2:
VCP4-DT v1.1:

It looks like the changes in all the blueprints are minor, but as always it is advisable to use the latest blueprint available to help prepare you for the certification exams.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

I'm a VCAP4-DCA :-)

I was just heading deep underground to get the Waterloo & City line train last night when my Blackberry buzzed to tell me I had a new email, I waited til I was on the platform waiting for the train to come and thought I'd check to see what my email was - it was from VMware Certification thanking me for my participation in the VCAP-DCA exam, my score report was attached in a PDF...

All I had to do now was view the attachment, which due to a complete lack of signal my Blackberry couldn't open!!! Now it's only a 4 minute journey to Waterloo, but it felt like it took 20! I couldn't wait to get off the train, up the escalator, and on to the station concourse - finally the signal returned and I could open the PDF - I passed!

I'm delighted to now be a VCAP4-DCA, I posted my review of the exam recently and it was tough - it was a great relief to know that the preparation work was worth doing!

Now I've just got to wait to find out my VCAP4-DCA number...

UPDATE: I'm VCAP4-DCA number 319 :-)

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Blog posts related to vSphere 5 release

I've added NINE new posts to this blog related to the vSphere 5 release:

1. How does a VCP3 holder update to VCP5?
2. Is it worth doing vSphere 4 certifications?
3. New certification - VCP5
4. New vSphere 5 training courses
5. New vCloud Director 1.5 courses
6. New VMware official curriculum
7. Update your VCP4 to VCP5
8. Gaining VCP4 and VCP5

Feel free to email me if you have any questions:


How does a VCP3 holder update to VCP5?

When VMware launched the VCP5 certification back in August 2011 they offered those who already held the VCP3 a shortcut path to gaining VCP5, but as of March 1st 2012 those shortcut paths are no longer available.

The path to VCP5 that a VCP3 has to take is the same as it is for those who are new to VMware training/certification:

I would personally recommend the Fast Track out of the two course options above, it will prepare you more fully for the VCP5 exam and teach you many things that have changed since VI3.

Is it worth doing vSphere 4 certifications?

Now VMware have launched vSphere 5, one of the big decisions that people have to make is whether to continue with the vSphere 4 certifications or wait for the equivalent vSphere 5 certifications to be released. I think it's a very individual choice, it depends on a number of things:

- Have you already started preparing, and if so how close are you to being ready for the exam?
- Do you think it's worth you having the vSphere 4 as well as the vSphere 5 certification?
- Have you already attended one of the vSphere 4 qualifying courses for VCP4?

The VCP5 certification has already been announced, there's more about that on my blog post here. The final exam will be available after August 29th 2011, that's only 6 weeks from now...

If you've attended a vSphere 4 course and are debating whether or not to take the VCP4 exam I'd probably suggest that you should - I would! Why? Well, at the time of writing vSphere 4 is the only version you can download and deploy, it will take time for customers to choose to deploy vSphere 5 or upgrade to vSphere 5, and one other bonus of getting VCP4 is that until February 29th 2012 VCP4 holders can also gain VCP5 certification by passing the VCP5 exam with no mandatory training required. If you choose today not to gain VCP4 you will have to attend a vSphere 5 course in order to qualify for VCP5 either before or after that February date.

If you've yet to train on vSphere 4 then you have a tougher decision to make as your decision is probably not just about what version you want to get your VCP on but also what version are you going to deploy/manage/support. vSphere 5 courses will be available within the coming weeks, more about those on this blog post.

New certfication: VCP5

July 12th saw the launch of vSphere 5, the next generation virtualisation/cloud infrastructure suite from VMware. VCP is widely accepted as being the "industry standard" certification in virtualisation, and VCP5 has also been launched today!

The VMware Certification portal has already been updated with the VCP5 exam blueprint and even a VCP5 mock exam, and there is a substantial amount of information about the training requirements on the VCP5 homepage.

The final exam will be available to take after August 29th 2011, but there will also be the usual beta exam process which begins imminently - check your inbox to see if your invitation has arrived yet!

New vSphere 5 training courses

July 12th saw the announcement of vSphere 5, and the Education Services team at VMware have been busy for some time developing the new vSphere curriculum. In this blog post, I'm going to share with you as much as VMware will allow me to about the new official training options for vSphere, coming later in 2011. The exact names of some of these courses are subject to change, and I'm not able to divulge the target release date of all the courses.

For those of you that have vSphere 4 skills and knowledge to VCP4-level, VMware will be launching a vSphere 5: What's New course. This course will focus purely on new features in vSphere 5, enhancements to features inherited from vSphere 4, and the upgrade process. This course will benefit those wishing to update their VCP certification from VCP4 to VCP5, in fact it will become compulsory for VCP4 holders to attend this or another vSphere 5 course after February 29th 2012.

If you don't have VCP4-level skills and knowledge, there is still a foundation-level vSphere 5: Install Configure Manage (ICM) course, it will remain as a 5-day course, be closely aligned with the up-and-coming VCP5 certification, and content-wise little changes from the vSphere 4 version of the course. There is some re-ordering of content, some new content, and some content has been "moved up" to the higher-level courses. Some of the new vSphere 5 features will be included such as the vCenter Server Appliance, the ESXi firewall, the vSphere Web Client, and the rest of the content is all being updated for vSphere 5 as you would expect.

Following on from ICM will be two new courses, ICM2 and ICM3 - they are designed to offer an intermediate and advanced-level of vSphere training, and are aligned with the VCAP5-DCA certification. ICM2 will cover advanced configuration of vSphere networking and storage, and performance management. ICM3 will cover troubleshooting and command-line administration using the vSphere Management Assistant.

VMware will also be releasing updated versions of the Automation with PowerCLI, Manage and Design for Security, and Design Workshop courses.

As mentioned in other posts on this blog, there will also be new courses available on vCloud Director 1.5 (Deploy and Manage, and Architecting the VMware Cloud), and on Site Recovery Manager 5 (Install Configure and Manage).

Global Knowledge will be offering a full schedule for all new VMware courses in the UK and beyond as soon as each course becomes available, we will update our site as soon as we can:

New vCloud Director 1.5 courses

In addition to the vSphere 5 launch announcement on July 12th, vCloud Director is also being updated to version 1.5, and the Education Services team at VMware are expanding the training offerings for this new version. This post gives you as much information as VMware will allow me to share at this time - the final course titles and content are subject to change, and the release dates for the courses are yet to be finalised.

For the first time we will have available a Deploy and Manage course for vCloud Director 1.5, which will help those responsible for deploying a cloud infrastructure based on vCloud Director and vSphere to put all the various pieces in place.

The design course Architecting the VMware Cloud is also being updated for the 1.5 release.

We also have a new set of vSphere 5 courses available which you'll see mentioned in other blog posts here, and a new Site Recovery Manager 5 course too!

All courses will be available in the UK and worldwide through Global Knowledge of course, we will update our site with the final course overviews and dates as soon as we can:

New VMware official curriculum

Following on from the July 12th launch of vSphere 5, vCloud Director 1.5 and Site Recovery Manager 5, the Education Services team at VMware have revamped the official curriculum offerings for these products. These new courses will become available in the coming months, the final course titles and content are subject to change, and I'm not permitted to divulge the expected release dates.

So, the new instructor-led official curriculum looks like this:

All the vSphere courses shown will be new or updated for vSphere 5, and the vCloud Director and Site Recovery Manager courses are new too!

Global Knowledge will offer these courses as and when they become available, for further information take a look at

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Update your VCP4 to VCP5

Following the launch of vSphere 5 on July 12th, VMware have started to release information about how invididuals can update their certification to VCP5. If you're already a VCP4 holder, you can update your certification to VCP5 by passing the VCP5 exam once it becomes available.

Until February 29th 2012, VCP4 holders were not required to attend any vSphere 5 training course in order to qualify for updating their certification, but from March 1st 2012 attendance of the vSphere 5: What's New course is compulsory for those wanting to update their certification to VCP5.

VMware have already added a VCP5 page to their site, complete with the exam blueprint and mock exam, more about that on this blog post: New certification: VCP5

Gaining VCP4 and VCP5

VCP4 has essentially been the "industry standard" virtualisation certification since it was first released back in 2009, and there are thousands of individuals who already hold the certification. I train people all the time who want to gain VCP4, but now VMware have launched vSphere 5 it won't be too long til VCP5 certification becomes available.

If you've yet to train on vSphere 4 and want to gain both VCP4 and VCP5 certifications, here's the path that you need to follow:

Note that from March 1st 2012, attendance of the vSphere 5: What's New course is no longer optional for a VCP4 to achieve VCP5.

VMware have already added a number of VCP5-related resources to their site, more information on that can be found on this blog post: New certification: VCP5

Monday, 11 July 2011

AppSense training in the UK

Global Knowledge has now started offering official AppSense training worldwide, and is the ONLY training provider in the UK that can offer both the Professional and Specialist courses.

AppSense is the leading provider of user virtualisation solutions for the enterprise, with over ten years proven track record in the virtualisation space. They make physical and virtual deployment possible by ensuring a seamless user experience across all delivery platforms. Much more than traditional profile management, user virtualisation represents a fundamental change in the way the corporate desktop is constructed, delivered and managed - encompassing the whole user-centric aspect of the desktop, including personal settings, user-centric corporate policy, as well as user applications and data.

Friday, 8 July 2011

VCAP4-DCA exam review

Today was a big day for me, I finally got to take the VCAP4-DCA exam for vSphere 4 - this was the third time I had been scheduled to take the exam and this time I didn't have to re-schedule it - ahh, the joys of being a busy man! It goes without saying that I can only give out so much information on the exam, I definitely don't want to violate any non-disclosure agreement after going through 3.5 hours of work and a lot of preparation!

So, on to what I can say... It's a tough exam, fair, but tough. You get given a really wide variety of tasks to carry out, some of them relatively straightforward things that any VCP would know how to do, other tasks were very in-depth and quite complex. I used a variety of different administrative interfaces - this is not an exam that you can do with the vSphere Client alone - you WILL need to know how to use the Service Console and vSphere Management Assistant, and you WILL need to do some work in vSphere PowerCLI too.

There were a number of tasks that I was asked to carry out that are things I've never had to do before in 5 years of working in-depth with ESX/ESXi and vCenter Server, things that I've never been asked in class or in discussions with customers. I did have a good read through the VCAP-DCA exam blueprint when I came out of the exam just to make sure VMware were justified in asking me to carry out some of these tasks, and I can confirm that they WERE!! You won't get asked to do literally everything in the blueprint document, you get roughly 40 tasks to perform on the day, but the tasks in your exam will be a subset of what's in the blueprint so be prepared to do anything that's in the document.

In terms of preparation, get the blueprint, build a lab, and practice. And just when you think you're ready, practice some more!! I'm sure you're waiting for a list of what resources I used to prepare, or would recommend you take a look at - you really need to focus on troubleshooting, performance, automation and security:

Official advanced-level vSphere courses
Video-based training from TrainSignal
Study guides from people such as Ed Grigson and Sean Crookston

This is definitely a certification that sorts out the men from the boys, puts hairs on your chest, helps you to earn your stripes as a vSphere administrator, and plenty of other cliches. I'm now waiting to get my results in about 2 weeks time, best of luck to you if you're taking yours any time soon...

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Global Knowledge awards

Global Knowledge have been picking up a number of awards over the last few months, the one I'm the most proud of personally is the UK organization winning the VMware EMEA Education Partner of the Year - I've been there right from the start as I joined the company the day that we achieved VATC status in the UK.

But, we've also recently been given awards by both Cisco and Microsoft:
2011 Microsoft Learning Competency Marketing Acceleration Partner of the Year Award
Cisco Worldwide Learning Partner Award of Excellence for Excellence in Collaboration – Europe

We are not the kind of organization that rests on it's laurels though, we've produced a massive amount of online content to broaden our "Xtra" series from VMware into Cisco (CCNA and CCNP) and Prince2, we have a free ITIL learning portal for public sector customers, a number of new vendors joining our learning portfolio, and some very exciting developments coming in terms of delivery methods - the rest of 2011 is going to be busy!

What's a BrownBag? Find out this week!

There are only a couple of things in life that I would buy and expect the contents to be given to me wrapped in a brown paper bag, and lunch isn't one of them! However, over in the US the term Brown Bag (or "brown bag seminar" according to Wikipedia) is designed to be an hour-long seminar that can be consumed by attendees whilst they also consume their lunch!

Well-known blogger Cody Bunch started his VCP BrownBag series over a year ago, extended the coverage to incorporate VCDX, and now has an impressive list of guests and topics similar to the VMware Communities Podcast! The problem for us Europeans is that we have to stay up very late if we want to join Cody's BrownBags live, so Tom Howarth of PlanetVM fame has agreed to start a BrownBag series that will run during evening hours in the UK and Europe.

So, the first European BrownBag takes place this Thursday, July 7th, and it starts at 7pm UK time. Tom has kindly asked me to be a guest speaker/presenter on the session, and we plan on discussing the current state of play with VMware certifications and curriculum.

Register for the first European BrownBag here:

Don't phone, it's just for fun!

I'm still stunned at how the world of online media and social networking has changed the way in which we communicate, so from time to time I collate some statistics about my online presence - I just wanted to share some of those numbers with you:

I'd love to say I have some amazing prize for the first person to correctly identify what each of the numbers above relates to, but I don't! I'll leave this up as it is for a while, and think about posting the "answers" at some point...

Monday, 4 July 2011

Lightning DOES strike twice - I'm a vExpert again!

VMware have been sending out notification emails over the last few days to those lucky enough to be designated as vExpert 2011, and on Friday I got mine! I was also the proud recipient of vExpert 2010 status, so lightning really can strike twice!

"We're pleased to designate you as a vExpert 2011 as recognition of your contributions to the VMware, virtualization, and cloud computing communities. You’ve done work above and beyond, and we’re delighted to communicate more closely, to share resources, and to offer other opportunities for greater interaction throughout the year as we continue to grow knowledge and success in the community of IT professionals. Welcome to the vExpert 2011 Program!"

It's a great honour to be selected again and sit amongst such big-hitters in the virtualization community. I know a huge amount of work goes into running the program and there are many VMware employees involved in the selection process - so a big thanks to all! There is one man who gets a mention on every blog post I've read from other vExperts, John Troyer deserves all the credit he gets for the work he does to keep the VMware community alive and kicking!

I love being part of the VMware community, it does take time out of one's business and personal life to contribute in the ways that all vExperts do, but it's definitely a case of "you get out what you put in" and I've made some great contacts who've become good friends along the way.

Well done to all the other vExperts!