Whenever I study for a certification exam, I often find this type of post helpful, so I hope this one will help you too.
The VCIX-NV exam is the advanced level of certification for VMware NSX in the Network Virtualization track. If you plan on passing this exam, you'll need a good breadth of knowledge regarding not only the NSX-v product itself, but also some advanced networking concepts. Personally, I found this to be the most difficult VMware exam I've taken so far. The topics covered were fair, nothing was asked that was not clearly defined in the blueprint. I found the tasks to be fairly difficult, compared to what I had experienced in other VCAP exams. So this is one exam that you'll really need some hands on experience to pass (real life or a lot of labs), I believe it will make passing the exam very difficult otherwise.
The version of NSX used for the exam was 6.0.4, so you can expect some minor differences if you're used to the latest versions, 6.2.x. The exam environment was not as slow as I expected, there was lag, but it wasn't so slow that it crippled the entire experience. My Firefox browser did crash a few times though and I did have to restart it, but other than that, no major hiccups with the lab's performance. I guess living in Canada helps, since the nested labs that are used for the exam are supposedly in the US.
I got my result only a few hours after finishing the exam, luckily enough I passed! By no means am I a networking expert, but working towards and passing this exam made me much more comfortable with my networking skills in general.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
It goes without saying that you will need to know NSX in-and-out, you can use the resources below to help you get there. However, the VCIX-NV exam blueprint mentions that the intended audience needs not only experience with NSX, but also with "Windows desktop administration, including Active Directory, group policy, DNS, and DHCP". I would take that a step further and suggest you should at least be comfortable with most of the subjects covered in Cisco's CCNA exams, ICND1 and ICND2. Knowledge of VMware virtual switches and virtual distributed switches alone is not sufficient for this exam and you will need to make sure you are comfortable with most of these advanced networking concepts. So if you don't have a strong networking background, be prepared to step out of your comfort zone, because you're going to need to!
Here are the study materials I suggest you use for your preparation, keep in mind that some of these materials offer only entry level knowledge of NSX, while others are more advanced :
– The VMware NSX: Install, Configure, Manage course is always a great resource, if you can afford it.
– Pluralsight's 2 courses by Jason Nash, this is a great place to start.
– VMware NSX for vSphere Introduction and Installation
– VMware NSX for vSphere: Network Services
– All the documentation available through the VMware NSX Documentation Center website (You should read these documents almost end-to-end, especially the areas you are weak on)
– There is a NSX Architecture design guide in the vCloud Architecture Toolkit (vCAT-SP), which is full of great info. (Updated link 2016-10-12)
– The Youtube video series of vBrownbags for VCP6-NV by ProfessionalVMware
– The YouTube video series covering the ENTIRE VCIX-NV exam blueprint by Iwan of Network Brainz (this is an awesome resource for the exam!)
– The Unofficial VCIX-NV study guide by Martijn Smit. You have the option of downloading a PDF to read on the go, which is great. (Also a great resource and great reference as well!)
– Most importantly of all, a ton of hands on experience with the product. This can't be emphasized enough, especially since this type of VCAP/VCIX exam is entirely done in a real lab environment. So if you don't have an existing lab environment to test everything in the blueprint, give the VMware Hands On Labs a spin, that will take care of most of your needs. Labs HOL-SDC-1625 and HOL-SDC-1603 are a good fit for this. Keep in mind the version of the HOL environment might not match what you'll see in the exam.
MY TIPS AND TRICKS
– As you know, time management is a major challenge in this exam, like all VCAP exams. So try to save time by working on multiple questions at once, as much as you can. For example, if you're deploying an Edge Gateway, don't wait and stare at the progress bar, start working on the next question!
– Open as many tabs to your browser as possible to keep certain parts of the UI open and one click away. Others seem to indicate that the lab environment's latency limited their ability to do this, but I was lucky enough to be able to open everything I needed at once and made going from window to window a breeze.
– You do have access to some VMware documentation, you should only use it as a reference in case you forget a detail about how to configure a certain feature. If you spend more than a few moments reading it, you will lose precious minutes and you might not be as prepared as you need to be…
– The exam is 3 and a half hours long (+30 minutes for people in a country where English is not a first language), and jam packed with content. So many things can potentially go wrong and ruin your exam experience, so no matter what happens, you just need to make sure to stay cool and focused on the objective at all times. Make sure you have the energy to do so, have a good breakfast!
I hope this helps some of you!
Good luck on your preparation and exam!