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VMware unveiled its new network virtualization certification track at VMworld 2014. This track, which is tied to the NSX platform, builds on existing VMware Certified Professional certifications but has some key differences from other VMware tracks.
The complete track consists of three certification levels:
- VMware Certified Professional – Network Virtualization (VCP-NV)
- VMware Certified Implementation Expert – Network Virtualization (VCIX-NV)
- VMware Certified Design Expert – Network Virtualization (VCDX-NV)
Network virtualization certification track is unique
There are two items that make this track different from other VMware certification tracks. First, this track doesn't start with the VMware Certified Associate (VCA) level that was introduced last year; that means there is no certification to demonstrate users have a basic understanding of what network virtualization is and how it is used. The starting point for all candidates is the more technical VCP certification, which is more advanced and dives deep into the VMware NSX product.
Second, the other tracks have a VMware Certified Advanced Professional (VCAP) level that comes after the VCP level; this new track has a second level named Implementation Expert. VMware takes this approach because it believes the term Implementation Expert appeals to those certified in other fields in the networking world. It's just a matter of time before this change will roll out to other VMware certification tracks.
Let's look at the starting point for the new certification track: the VCP. To become a VCP-NV, there are three possible paths:
- Path 1: IT pros just starting with network virtualization technologies
When you hold no certification from VMware and are also not CCNA- or CCNP-certified by Cisco, attending a course is required. You must attend the five-day VMware NSX: Install, Configure Manage (ICM) training, then take and pass the VCP-NV exam to become a VCP-NV.
The other two paths are for users certified by VMware or by Cisco:
- Path 2: IT pros already VCP-certified
- Path 3: IT pros with valid CCNA or CCNP certification (Note: This path is available only until February 28, 2015.)
In both cases, VMware recommends attending VMware NSX ICM training, but it is not a requirement. If you have sufficient practical experience with NSX, you can register for the exam.
The exam is multiple choice with 120 questions to complete in 120 minutes. There is a 30-minute extension for countries where English is not the native language, as is standard in other certification tracks.
The course VMware NSX: Install, Configure, Manage V6.0 is already available, both as classroom training and in the online format.
The next level: VMware Certified Implementation Expert
The next step up from the VCP-NV level is the VCIX-NV; it has been introduced but is not yet available. Expect this exam to arrive in the first half of 2015. It will be a practical exam where candidates will work on a live system and demonstrate their ability to install, configure and manage an NSX environment. This exam is very much the same as the VCAP exams from other tracks.
Reaching the top: VMware Certified Design Expert
The highest level of certification in the network virtualization track is the VCDX-NV, which is meant for architects who design enterprise-level environments. It is similar to the three existing VCDX certifications where you defend your design to a panel at VMware. This track has been announced and is available, but because VCI-NX is a requirement, there's no way to advance to this level yet. Becoming certified as a VCDX requires a lot of time and effort; it's worth it to start working on your design and preparations as soon as possible.