All posts by vThinkBeyondVM

About vThinkBeyondVM

Vikas Shitole is currently working at VMware as Senior Member of Technical Staff (MTS) where he primarily contribute to the VMware vCenter server team which is part of VMware’s R&D organisation. He has been vExpert since last 6 years in row (2014-2019)-title awarded by VMware for significant contribution to VMware community.

My learning journey: VMware Cloud Foundation & tips for VCF specialist exam

VMware Cloud Foundation (VCF) architecture is the backbone of VMware Cloud. I had worked on VMC on AWS, which is VMware’s hybrid cloud offering but I never had an opportunity to deep dive into VCF as a product, the platform for Multi-cloud and Modern apps. Recently I started exploring more on VCF and I thought to start my learning journey with VMware Cloud Foundation specialist exam as one of the milestones. Learning on why/how customers plan, design, deploy VCF (a SDDC stack)  & perform day1, day2 ops really helped me appreciate what VCF brings to the table. I loved how VCF orchestrates and simplifies SDDC stack deployment and its management. In this post, I am sharing super cool learning resources I went through so far, why I chose to write VCF specialist exam and tips to pass it.

Learning resources

Sr noDescriptionLink/URLsNumber of videosTotal time taken Comment
1VCF overview short videosVCF short videos1250 minIf you already know vSphere with Tanzu, skip 3 videos
2VCF technical deep dive with simulated UI hands onVCF deep dive880 minHCX and vRealize related videos you may skip as below we have detailed ones
3VCF life cycle workflows with simulated UI hands onVCF LCM workflows635 min
4VCF FAQsFAQsNA60 minThis is great read
5VCF solutions: HCX, vRA : simulated labs
vSphere with Tanzu session
vRA
HCX
Tanzu
130 minNote that HCX and vRA are simulated labs (UI hands on), kind of UI walkthrough. I really loved and only Tanzu is session
6VMworld 2020 and 2021 sessions VMworld 2020
VCF networking
VCF storage
Operational processes for VCF
VCF remote/edge clusters
VCF and vSAN stretched cluster
VCF and vVols
VMworld 2021
NSX design and operational recommendations for VCF with Tanzu
HCX with VCF
VCF tips and tricks from the trenches
9each video approx. 40 min 1. You will have to login with your free VMworld account
2. VMworld sessions definitely provide that real time best practices, challenges, customer perspective/view

7VCF official courses VCF plan and deploy : 2 days
VCF management and operations: 3 days
NA2-3 full days with labsThese courses will provide you comprehensive view of the VCF, super cool
8Setting up VCF yourself on a ESXi hostAutomated VCF Lab Constructor (VLC)
Part-1
Part-2
VLC session
NA1 dayTime taken is 1 day for entire preparation and then automatic VCF deployment
Download link: http://tiny.cc/getVLC and VLC slack channel: https://tiny.cc/getVLCSlack
9VMware official HOLVCF hands on LabNA3-4 hrsIf you can not setup your own lab as posted in #8, you can manage with HOL

Tips on passing this exam : my experience

  1. First thing you must be clear in your mind is that why do you want to write this exam. For me, getting comprehensive view of the VCF & hands on experience were aligned with my recent day to day focus in office. Also, VCF is one of the key focus areas for VMware as its the foundation for Multi-cloud, hence I thought let me target this exam to motivate & streamline my learning journey. I had written about Why I choose to target exams. I highly recommend you read that 7 line section.
  2. As mentioned in 1st point, idea is not only to get cool badge or get certified but also acquire VCF as a skill, hence I first started with top 5 sections/rows listed under Learning resources above. Overall it would take just somewhere around 200 min to 300 min of your time. Few things would be little repeated but it is worth to have that repetition.
  3. then I started with VMworld sessions listed in row #6. There are 9 sessions including 3 sessions from VMworld 2021 as well. You can choose to set the speed 1.25x or more as per your comfort
  4. At this stage, I was looking for getting more hands on experience deploying VCF on my own ESXi host and this is where VLC (VCF Lab Constructor) helped me immensely. I must say VLC team (specially Ben , Heath & SDDC commander) has done great work not only with building this automation tool but also building thriving VLC community. Beauty is VLC bits get updated with every new VCF release. Refer section #8 above for more articles around it.
  5. In each of the videos, you might see some VCF basic concepts are repeated but it is worth. You can always speed up the video or skip as needed.
  6. If you can not have your own lab, you can manage with VMware official HOL as listed in row #9. Some of this is already covered in simulated UI walkthroughs. However, playing around your own lab as usual gives you better learning experience.
  7. At this stage, I really started thinking about VCF exam and scheduled it around 2 weeks before . Please make sure you go through exam official pages here and here to clearly understand the certification requirements and exam objective/syllabus. You will be scheduling this exam from mylearn portal and then it will re-direct to “pearsonVUE” portal.
  8. There are 2 things: One is passing VCF specialist exam directly and another is completing all certification requirements to be “VMware Certified specialist : Cloud Foundation 2021“. You can decide how do you want to go about. In my case, I tried registering for VCF plan and deploy official 2 days course and I was lucky to get a seat being at VMware. Completing this course including labs made me ready for the exam and my confidence was high at this stage. There is another 3 days course as listed in row #7 but I did not register for it.
  9. I need not revise anything specifically before 2-3 days of scheduled date, it was all about the learning journey over 6-8 weeks made things fall in place. On 1st June, 2021 morning 7 AM IST, I had passed this exam. Of course, learning does not end with passing this cool exam but its continuous.
  10. Further, passing this exam did not award the VCF specialist badge as VCP 2021 was another requirement that I had to complete as my existing VCP certification was expired. I eventually passed VCP 2021 last week as well and earned this badge

Note that learning resources shared here are based on my own experience. There could be some other useful resources but I strongly believe these are gold resources for anybody who is just starting with VCF. In future I will update this blog post with VCF focused cool blogs & hands on lab resources as I experience them.

I hope this post was helpful. If it helped you, please make sure you share it with others. Also, please stay tuned for similar articles on VCP 2021 and vSphere with Tanzu exam/certifications.

Happy learning ! If you want to get updates on future posts, follow me on Twitter.