Friday, 3 March 2017

VCP7-CMA Exam passed!

A quick write up on my experience on the VCP7-CMA exam which is one of the first v7 VCP exams and focuses on vRealize Automation 7 & to a lesser extent vRealize Orchestrator.  What to expect...

The usual applies...  85 multiple choice questions, 110 minutes, passing score is 300 (out of...? - usual VCP standard) and in my opinion, it is a tough exam...!  I studied for quite a long time & went through the blueprint with a fine tooth-comb to make sure I was as prepared as possible.  I still feel like I could have spent another 20 hours studying and practice the extensibility stuff, but nonetheless I passed.

So what do you need to study?
The Blueprint - as always, this is a given...  Make sure you read through it thoroughly...  Every question I had was on here somewhere!
- The HOLs - namely HOL-1706-SDC-1, HOL-1721-USE-1,2,3.  If you are looking at deploying any of the ancillary products (NSX, vROps, vRLI, vRB, etc), you are going to struggle with RAM in your homelab, so HOLs are a good place to identify what you need
- The ICM course - You can do it without the course if you've got a great deal of experience working with vRA7, but the documentation that came from the ICM is really good.
- Eric Shanks Pluralsight course - Extending the Capabilities of vRealize Automation 7...  Very good course and the way Eric explains concepts is brilliant.
- The mock exam - This is a given...   25 questions...  Know them.
- All the Official Documentation and the additional documents associated with the blueprint.
- Lab time!!!  Get the appliance, yes vRA is a beast, particularly if you challenge your lab hardware with a distributed install as I have done, but deploying a standalone instance is worth the effort...  There are guides on installing in both standalone and distributed - I will share these shortly...  

What came up?
I can't say what came up without breaching the NDA!!  But I can tell you to study the following:
  • Roles... Know who can do what, know what the difference between an IaaS and Fabic admin are...  When you log on as an application architect (or any other architect, or administrator for that matter) what is it that you can see (in terms of tabs - 'Design, Administration, Infrastructure').
  • How does a tenant, fabric group, reservation, business group, etc. all impact each other?  I probably under-did this part of the study, focussing far too much on a single tenant, single fabric group, single reservation.
  • XaaS...  Can't stress this enough, know how you pass parameters between vRA and vRO...  This for me was fun to study as there are many ways of doing 'extensibility', but the XaaS and all that goes along with it (custom resources, resource mappings, resource actions, XaaS blueprints).
  • New to vRA 7, so anything Event Broker, vCloud Air, design canvas for machines, networks, apps, etc, vRB (aware it was in 6, but not as well integrated), NSX (same as vRB, integrated now), etc...  Read this!

Finally, I have done a write up on the blueprint which in the coming weeks I will be typing up and sharing...   For now, buy some more RAM for your labs and get downloading the OVAs!

Update July '17: 
I have eventually formatted and uploaded all notes I took while doing the blueprint dissection...  Links below:

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