I’m very happy to have passed the Nutanix Platform Professional certification yesterday. I’d like to share my thoughts on the exam, which is not per se a hard exam, but like any exam requires a blend of practical experience with the platform and a good knowledge of the various Nutanix educational materials.
In my case I have been working with Nutanix for nearly a year therefore I had at least the basic exposure to the technology and the prerequisites of how Nutanix works in conjunction with the VMware vSphere hypervisor.
In essence it comes down to:
- having practical experience with the platform
- Educate yourself
- Contact Nutanix University to enroll for the exam
- Pass the Nutanix Install, Configure and Manage course
- Pass the Nutanix NPP exam
Obtaining practical experience with Nutanix
This can be achieved in a variety of ways, the easiest one is to leverage Nutanix Community Edition. You can run it on your own hardware if it matches Nutanix CE specifications, or you can also run it on the cloud thanks to Ravello Systems. Another way is through a PoC, either by arranging one for your company or participating to a PoC already in progress. In any case, reaching out to the folks on Twitter or on the Nutanix NEXT portal should get you started. If you already have Nutanix in production then it’s probably the best way to learn at all.
In my opinion it’s very well worth looking behind the scenes, meaning that you shouldn’t stop yourself at the PRISM (Nutanix GUI) level but rather connect to the CVM and explore options, cluster commands, ncli, ncc etc.
This one is a broad topic. How can I educate myself? As with the VMware VCP certification, if you read carefully the official documentation you’re certainly going to help yourself. But the story doesn’t stops here.
Besides the official documentation, Nutanix maintains a very specific piece of documentation that is highly technical and accessible to everyone. This is called The Nutanix Bible and is created and maintained by Nutanix Principal Solutions Architect Steven Poitras. This document, although being hosted outside of Nutanix servers, is defined by Nutanix CEO himself as authoritative.
Finally, Nutanix creates a lot of education videos on Youtube, those are either referenced under nu.school or under Tech TopX and can be found here. Watching them is greatly recommended. It should be worth mentioning that some of these videos are actually a part of the Nutanix ICM course as well.
Here’s a sample Tech TopX video:
If you feel you have reached a sufficient level of confidence you can now contact Nutanix Education to enroll in the Nutanix ICM course and Nutanix NPP certification. This course and certification can be passed in self-paced mode but regardless of this, you will need experience and learning to pass. The course is also offered in two other modes, either by in-person class or online class. Options are available at Nutanix Education Services.
The first step is to pass the ICM course, then you can enroll in the exam itself. During the course you have quizzes that you are required to pass before you can earn “credit” for the next chapter. It seems the modules can be taken independently but you need to pass the quizzes for the module to be marked as completed. The ICM course is well designed and interactive, I found it to be an enjoyable experience.
The exam is made of 50 questions and allows for three attempts. You have 120 minutes to pass the exam, and the pass score is 80%. If after three attempts you do not pass, you will have to contact Nutanix Education for further options.
Having thought that my experience and knowledge is sufficient, I went through the ICM course without much trouble. I then went on immediately for the exam. I did two attempts in a row, failing at 78% and 74% respectively. I then took a step back to take a self-assessment of my knowledge in regard with questions I wasn’t really sure about. Although being comfortable with the technology on a day-to-day basis, there were some gaps that needed to be addressed, especially in the DR space which is a part we haven’t implemented in production yet.
I took 10-15 days to review all the materials listed above until I felt confident to go for the third try. I passed it unexpectedly at night on 1st december, a while after putting the kids asleep I thought I’d risk a third try. Passed with 88%, so I was quite happy about this.
I hope this experience will help you and will allow you to expand your knowledge to yet another interesting platform!