The Cisco Data Center track has been around since November 2012, and when they announced it I knew that I’d have to get it at some point. I’m pleased to say that it’s now done, and I can start making my way to other things… like a CCNP Data Center.

And my VCAP-DCA.

My goal (and my employers) for 2013 was to finally get my Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) done, and I completed the first exam (ICND1) and received my Cisco Certfied Entry Network Technician (CCENT) back in July. The CCNA was something I’ve wanted to do since I got into IT. However I got side tracked by other things and never completed the second test.

I did however complete the EMC Implementation Engineer certfification for Isilon, and passed the VMware Certified Associate in Cloud exam. So 2013 wasn’t a total loss.

Sometime in late December after evaluating my status on the R/S CCNA exam, I decided to just bypass it and go straight into the Data Center specific version. Over my two week winter vacation I crammed for both exams and tested for both of them this week.

A few thoughts about each exam:

  • 640–911: This exam was very similar to the CCENT exam, covering the basics of networking however with less of an emphasis on subnetting (may have been one or two easy questions on the test vs a half dozen brain crunchers on the R/S version) — you are expected to do hex to binary to decimal and back, but that’s about it. There is a very Nexus flavor to this but nothing too heavy.
  • 640–916: I stressed over this exam but in the end found it easier than the first. It’s basically a knowledge test of the Nexus, MDS and UCS product lines. Not deeply technical, but enough that you have to know the products. The simulator portion was almost too easy compared to what I’d have expected from a Cisco exam.

Either way, it’s done!

So, for 2014, the goal is VCAP-DCA. No excuses. I’m also thinking a lot about exploring the Cisco Data Center track and going for my CCNP. I need to get more hands on expertise and a few UCS B-series deployments under my belt first. Between these two I will probably be very busy, and I’m sure work will require something else on top of those. It seems like there is always another EMC product that I’m having to catch up with.

Never stop learning.