#CCNADC CCNA Data Center (my short journey)
November 24, 2012 7 Comments
On Monday I think it was, Cisco announced the completion of the Data Center track: The CCNA Data Center and CCNP Data Center certifications, and tests are available immediately. And you know me, I live in PearsonVUE test centers, and I’m a data center nut, so I signed that shit right up.
I’m now CCNA Data Center certified.
CCNA Data Center in less than a week of it coming out
Took the first test (640-911) on Wednesday 11/21/12 (first day I could schedule) and passed with an 830. I booked the next available date (today 11/24/12) for the 640-916 test and passed, squeaking by with a 798 (797 required).
How I felt when I saw that I passed by one point
I found 640-911 tougher, and thought I got more answers wrong. 640-916 seemed easier, since it’s more of the topics I teach on a regular basis (UCS, ACE, Fibre Channel). But for some reason I scored higher on the 640-911. Go figure.
I took them both blind, without studying or reading up (and no, no “study guides”). I didn’t even look at the exam topics for 640-911, and I barely glanced at them for 640-916. Generally, the questions were all data center specific, and covered topics you’d find in the various non-track (specialization) data center certs from Cisco. Also, I’ve gotten the question “Is there WAAS on the CCNA Data Center?” It’s not in the exam topics, and I don’t think I’m violating the confidentiality agreement by confirming the exam topics list by saying no, there’s no WAAS. Thankfully, because ugh WAAS.
So why take the trouble for a CCNA Data Center when I’m working on the CCIE Data Center? The reason is the CCNP Data Center. To get the CCNP Data Center, I need the CCNA Data Center. My goal is CCIE Data Center, but I’m impatient. There are very limited seats for the CCIE Data Center because right now, I think there’s only a single pod for the entire world (I think CCIE Wireless is like that too, or at least it was when it started out). Thus it’ll be a while before I get it (I’m guessing Summer 2013), even assuming I make it on the first try (which, odds are, I won’t). My highest Cisco certification is a CCSI, which is the teaching certification. I don’t have an NP-level at all, having dropped pursuit of my CCNP R&S a while ago in pursuit of other certs.
So by January I hope to have the CCNP Data Center hammered out. I’ve already got one of the tests done (DCUCI from like, ages ago), and I can’t recall if I did DCUCD or not. I need DCUFI and DCUFD, both of which I need to get anyway. Plus one of the troubleshooting (DCUFTS/DCUCTS) and I’ll be a CCNP Data Center.
Edit (11/25/12): Turns out my DCUCI pass won’t cut it. It’s an older version of the test, and they need either the V4 or the V5. So I’m back to square zero. Also, I got the required tests wrong:
You need to pass only four exams.
You have to pass DCUCI and DCUFI (V4 or V5), and you can either do the two design exams (DCUCD and DCUFD) or do the two troubleshooting exams (DCUCT and DCUFT). In all likelihood, I’ll end up doing all 6 tests because I’m a Cisco instructor and I need certs like woah, but I think I’ll go design first.
Overall, I’m very pleased that Cisco now has a full data center track. They’ve had several specializations, but unless you’re an instructor like me or have a partner-level requirement, those certs are pretty much worthless career wise. They have zero brand recognition. For example, if I told you I’m a Cisco Data Center Application Services Support Specialist, would you care? Probably not. You’ve never heard of it, so you have no idea how difficult/easy it is. That’s the benefit of a CCIE, since it has probably the best brand recognition of any certification in any genre of IT. Whether you’re a Linux admin, Microsoft developer, or Juniper router jockey, you likely are aware of the CCIE (and the difficulty associated with it). CCNP is not too far down that list either.
So, onward to the CCNP Data Center.