VCIX-NV Experience

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I passed VCIX-NV a few weeks ago with a not-so-bad score. If we are to adopt a university grading scale, it would be equivalent to C+…or B-. Well, it was still safely above the minimum passing score.

The exam itself was not a pleasant experience, and as many of other bloggers have mentioned already, latency is terrible. What it used to take 10 minutes on your own lab environment, the same procedure would take 30~45 minutes. Latency will not just drag you, it will drag you and drag you….and drag you. I am really hoping that VMware would fix this problem. Maybe it is intentional, just to give us a feeling of working on a terribly managed DC and network, but the experience is overly real, and on the course of the exam, you would be wishing that this situation was surreal.

I have dedicated five lines just on latency. So I hope that I have warned you enough.

The exam covers most of the topics from the blueprint, and the trivial parts which could easily be overlooked. If you feel you are well-prepared for the main concept of logical switching and routing, I recommend your last days of preparation should be focused on getting the trival parts right.

The TRIVIAL PARTS!!!!! Read my lips, “Go back to the blueprint and find the things you overlooked.” Hope I have made myself clear on this. Many of the blogs have mentioned that the distribution of topics in the actual exam is somewhat skewed. It is TRUE. It is university all over again. Questions are likely to come from the sections of the book which you thought were not important.

Most importantly, the first few questions are the most important part of the whole exam, and the trickiest of all. First, the wording of the questions is not clear and straightforward. They are more like a bunch of riddles. And since these riddles are the first  questions you will see on the exam, it will make you more nervous. Try to stay calm. At least you know by now that you will face the worst  wording of questions in the history of exam. Second, don’t always practice the lab on a NSX-installed environment. Start building the lab from the very beginning, and repeat this process over and over again. VMware will only reward those who can build a lab from the ground up. These are the most imporant two tips to get through the first part of the exam.

Lastly, I would like to go back to the point of skewed distribution of topics in the exam. NSX is somewhat marketed with a major focus on the networking capability. However, the security features are equally powerful. In my personal view, NSX is a security solution with networking capability, rather than a pure networking solution. If NSX ever gets to dominate the market, it would be due to its security capability which makes it unique and powerfully convincing to the customers.

Having said this, it is still commonly perceived as simply a networking solution, and this makes people to feel that the distribution of questions are somewhat skewed. I repeat, NSX is equally powerful both in networking and security, and what makes it unique is its security capability.

Here are some other facts about VCIX-NV;

  • It is based on NSX 6.0. If you are used to 6.1 from VMware HOL, please expect to see some differences on the GUI. However, the differences are pretty negligible. Rather, don’t waste your time on studying 6.1 features such as ECMP.
  • VMs are all turned off.
  • Due to limited space on the monitor, the exam is devised with a button which will help you to switch from the question screen to NSX lab. There is no latency on switching between the screens.

Here is the list of VMware HOL Labs you must repeat over multiple times;

  • HOL-SDC-1403. This is a very powerful lab that will allow you to test almost anything.  The best lab to pratice installation, logical switching, and logical routing.
  • HOL-SDC-1415. It will help you to learn more about the security features of NSX, which couldn’t be emphasized enough.

Apart from this, I highly recommend to go through NSX: Install, Configure, Manage [V6.0] from VMware Education. This will be a great reference to know what to study and prepare for the actual exam. Still, everything on the exam can be practised on HOL-SDC-1403, but the lab guide given for HOL-SDC-1403 doesn’t cover much. NSX: Install, Configure, Manage [V6.0] will give you a lab guide that incorporates most of the topics in the blueprint. On top of this, please read the unofficial VCIX-NV guide from Lostdomain.org. This will be the best resource you can get, if you have no access to NSX:Install, Configure, Manage[V6.0]

Please share your questions and thoughts on the comment. I will be happy to answer them as long as it does not breach the code of integrity.

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