CCNA Datacenter

December 7, 2012 in Systems3 minutes

I passed 640-916 - Introducing Cisco Data Center Technologies earlier this week. I was going to publish this post on they day of or after the pass, but unfortunately I was put out of commission by the winter bug that’s going around and did not get to give this post the attention it deserved.

The first test in the CCNA Datacenter track, which is 640-911 - Introducing Cisco Data Center Networking, was a pretty straightforward test for someone with my background. This exam focused on network-specific topics, but obviously with an emphasis on data center.

I want to briefly address a group of folks that are complaining that their CCNA R/S does not count for this exam. I agree, it would be easier for those that have their CCNA already to simply pass over this - believe me, I have a CCNP and will be taking the IE written soon (hopefully) so I feel your pain. However, look more closely at the blueprint and the larger context of the exam and you’ll realize it’s not the same exam, nor is it meant to be. Just because it covers basic networking does not mean that it is equivalent to the ENT/NA track. Please keep that in mind, as well as the platform being talked about here (NX-OS vs. IOS).

That said, the ICDCN exam was pretty straightforward and I was able to pass with my existing knowledge. It still proved challenging, though, so I would encourage all to not underestimate the exam.

The second exam, which I passed this recent Monday, was ICDCT and focused on the other aspects of datacenter that were not network-specific. I felt that the blueprint for this exam was very accurately stated, so my best advice would be to adhere to the exam blueprint (original, I know) for this one. Aside from simply not wanting to break the NDA, I think Cisco did a fairly good job accurately representing the test material for this exam. I usually import the blueprint for an exam into OneNote ahead of time and build myself a little study guide - helps me tremendously for big exams like the CCIE Written:

OneNote also includes the ability to link to other pages, so if I want to study a topic, I do a big writeup about it, and link it in my blueprint, which turns into a sort of Table of Contents. Anyways, that’s my method, maybe it works for you.

By the way, I also attempted the newest (v5) version of the DCUCI exam for implementing Cisco UCS and unfortunately did not pass. I didn’t do too badly - I’ve been actively implementing UCS for various customers for over a year now as my primary role, so I have quite a bit of field experience. However, at least my exam was aimed specifically at one area of UCS, and it was an area where I didn’t have much experience, and although I’m ashamed to admit it, I only glanced over it when looking at the blueprint. I could complain that the exam was too heavily focused, but I was soundly beaten and will hit it again. That said, do not underestimate the version 5 alternative to any of the CCNP Datacenter exams,  as they are pretty tough.