1 2 Previous Next 15 Replies Latest reply: Jan 11, 2017 12:05 PM by archernsx@gmail.com RSS

    My DC Certification Journey - exam 642-997 (DCUFI)

    Marc

      Hi all,

      Last Friday I passed the 642-997 (DCUFI) exam. It was the first exam in my CCNA/CCNP DC journey.  Why I started with this exam, and not with the CCNA DC exams (which, I agree, sounds like a more logical approach)?  The answer is simple, recertification! It was that time again to renew my CCNP R&S and CCDP certifications. And since I had the opportunity over the last few years to get some really good in-depth hands-on experience with the Cisco Nexus platforms N7K, N5K/N2K, vPC etc., etc. I thought “well if it’s ever the moment to step out of my routing and switching comfort zone, it’s now”. And since you can use any 642-xxx exam to recertify I went for 642-997.

       

      For the exam preparation I used the DCUFI VOD training from iPexpert. I have subscriptions to both INE and iPexpert and although I Iike them both, for this track I decided to choose solely for iPexpert. This is just a personal thing. On top of this I used a booklist advised by Mike Lossmann. Mike wrote a great article about his CCNP DC study plan on the Cisco Learning Network and his feedback was and still is very helpful to me. Some of the books he recommends I had already, the ones on I/O and storage I purchased after reading his post (….no I did not finish them all yet ). You can find the post here:

       

        My CCNP Data Center Study Plan again, a great read!

       

      Another great resource on the Cisco Learning Network to prepare for this exam are the “Under the Hood” articles by Sean Evershed. Sean created a few posts on multiple DC topics in which he consolidated numerous links to useful information about various topics (OTV, VDC, vPC and storage networking). These articles saved me a lot of time in my search to find the right stuff to learn. Go check them out @ https://learningnetwork.cisco.com/groups/ccnp-data-center-study-group/content?filterID=contentstatus%5Bpublished%5D~objecttype~objecttype%5Bdocument%5D

       

      And then there is of course the learning material available one DCUFI site on the learning network:

       

      https://learningnetwork.cisco.com/community/certifications/ccnp_data_center/dcufi/study-material.

       

      All with all the Cisco Learning Network environment has played quite an important role during my study for this course. To my surprise I have to confess. In the begin I was a bit reluctant to use the learning network without having a clear reason for it. Maybe because in the past I used to work with class based trainings and study libraries from Cisco Press. Though since there is no study library available for the CCNP DC track I searched on the internet for information about how to best approach this certification track in terms of study plans and resources. It turned out that the Cisco Learning Network is actually a fantastic place with, tons of study resources, to hang around, learn and meet people. I certainly expect to be around a lot for the upcoming months.

       

      So, then the exam itself. Without going into details I personal think the exam is fair. The learning materials I used matched for the greatest part with the level of questioning in the exam (…. although I still wonder what that Telepresence question was doing there ). For most of the questions that I wasn’t sure 100% about the answer, or did not know the answer at all I think I managed well by using the elimination strategy. Also my hands-on experience added a lot during this exam.  The overall score results per questioned field matched my expectations with regards to strong and weak points (yup, I need to study storage and virtualization a bit harder ). All with all I don’t think I will change my study strategy for the next course which will be DCUFD as I think it’s the next closed exam to DCUFI.

       

      To be continued.

       

      Best regards,

      Marc

       

      If you are still reading, then thank you for that! Please be patience with this non-native English speaker if it comes to spelling and grammar

        • 1. Re: My DC Certification Journey - exam 642-997 (DCUFI)
          Eddie

          Congrats Marc!

           

           

          It took me 4 attempts to finally pass DCUFI (glad I wasn't the only one to get a Telepresence question in there!).

           

          There is quite a bit of overlap with the implementation and design courses, so for DCUFI as long as you are down the design methodology (Assesment, Plan, Verify and PPDIOO) you shouldn't have too much trouble.

           

          I have to disagree with you about the questions being fair, I think on the whole this entire track is extremely poorly looked after by Cisco.

           

          I have now passed DCUFI, DCUCI and DCUFD. I have just done both DCUFD and DCUCD official training courses before taking the exams, I passed DCUFD but unfortunately failed DCUCD by 2%!

           

          I have to say that it's extremely annoying to fail due to topics not covered by the official training courses (especially considering the cost of the courses!), the questions vary from out of date to latest tech. If I get a question on disjoint layer 2 domains, do I answer it in regards to the official course material or what is actually true today?

          Not once is anything mentioned about Nexus 5600 and 7700 series switches or I/O accelerator cards etc but there were questions on them.

           

          Software is a significant part of UCD yet the questions are out of date, from the 3rd party names and products talked about to the official Cisco DCNM software.

           

          I spoke with someone that works in the test centre and they told me that Cisco exams are the most complained about, and Red Hat being praised. Maybe Cisco should actually put some effort into their testing procedures, official training materials and exams.

           

          Anyway I will cover the areas that I felt I did poorly on for DCUFD again (was not expecting IPv6 multicast addressing questions!) and hopefully pass next time. After that I plan on never touching this track again, in future I will stick with the main tracks like R+S that have better study material out there for.

           

          Eddie

          • 2. Re: My DC Certification Journey - exam 642-997 (DCUFI)
            mlossmann

            Marc,

                Thanks and congrats on the pass!  I am glad my journey helped you in yours!

             

            -Mike

            • 3. Re: My DC Certification Journey - exam 642-997 (DCUFI)
              sean evershed

              Thanks for the kind words Marc

              • 4. Re: My DC Certification Journey - exam 642-997 (DCUFI)
                Matt Saunders - Community Manager

                What a great thread to read as I gear up for the week, so happy the community was of such help for you!


                Tremendous congratulations on your success!! Keep up the great work!

                • 5. Re: My DC Certification Journey - exam 642-997 (DCUFI)
                  Karen L

                  Marc - congratulations on recertification!!!  Agree with your thoughts to broaden horizon, seems that IT management wants both depth and breadth these days.  Yes, CLN has fantastic resources, both for self-study content and to get ideas from community members.

                  • 6. Re: My DC Certification Journey - exam 642-997 (DCUFI)
                    Marc

                    Hi Eddie,

                     

                    Thanks a lot for your feedback, very welcome! Sorry to hear about the frustrations you’re facing.  I know what it feels to miss an exam on just  a  few percentage….been there . These days, budget and time wise, I always calculate in that I need more than one attempt for an exam.  For the DCUFI exam I think I was in a somewhat luxury position. During the last few years I worked in a team who designed, implemented and tested a large data center design for a  ISP.  During the design and the test phases we worked closely with the selected vendors, Cisco being one of them. We did extreme testing on both device level as well on the level of the end-2-end solution. Especially during the test period, having the ability to work closely with experts from Cisco Advanced Services, my learning curve about Nexus and DC technology in general was real steep. And as I wrote in my thread, this helped me a lot during the exam. Still I think the exam was fair. Sure, there were some questions for which I was pretty sure that they weren’t covered by the materials I’ve used. Some vCenter related questions for example. But I think that if you’re stepping  into this track you must be prepared to also know a bit of other data center technologies. After all, we’re moving more and more to converged environments. …………but it would be nice if these requirements would be part of the learning blue-print. After-all taking Cisco exams can become very costly.   Meanwhile I moved away from the DC project and currently don’t have access any more on a daily basis to Nexus equipment. For the upcoming modules I plan to work with the available simulators (UCS simulator, GNS, VIRL (if I can get it running ) or simply rent lab time at iPexpert or INE……or whoever has a great deal. After the DCUFD exam I plan to do my CCNA DC fist before I continue with DCUCI and DCUCD. If it comes to UCS I have hardly any experience and I want to start from the very bottom and just take my time before I take an exam attempt. Although I strive for the certification, It’s the learning experience that matters, so no hurry.


                    Hope you pass the DCUCD exam soon……..you’re nearly at the finish line. Let us know!

                     

                    Thanks again for your feedback!

                     

                    Marc

                    • 7. Re: My DC Certification Journey - exam 642-997 (DCUFI)
                      Ismael da Silva Mariano

                          Congratulations!!!!

                      • 8. Re: My DC Certification Journey - exam 642-997 (DCUFI)
                        Edwin Dijkstra

                        Hi Marc,

                         

                        Congratulations! What a coincidence: Working at the same ISP on this equipment and at the moment I'm studying for 642-997. Also primarily to recertify my Professional level.

                         

                        Thanks for sharing your experiences!

                         

                        Regards,

                         

                        Edwin

                        • 9. Re: My DC Certification Journey - exam 642-997 (DCUFI)
                          Marc

                          LOL Edwin , what a coincident indeed. That means that you have still good practice facilities .

                           

                          Good luck with the exam and just let me know if I can help you out during your preparation!

                           

                          Brgds,

                          Marc

                          • 10. Re: My DC Certification Journey - exam 642-997 (DCUFI)
                            Edwin Dijkstra

                            Hi all,

                             

                            Last week I took the 642-997 exam and failed with just a few points...:(

                            Now I was wondering: Does anyone know on which NX-OS version the current exam is based?

                             

                            Best regards,

                             

                            Edwin

                            • 11. Re: My DC Certification Journey - exam 642-997 (DCUFI)
                              Marc

                              Hi Edwin,

                               

                              I don't think (unfortunately) that the exam specifies a specific NX OS version. At least, I searched for it and the only thing I found on CLN were similar questions, no fulfilling answers. However, if I recall correctly I had a question in the exam which mentioned a N7K F2E line card. To support that line card you need at least NX OS 6.1(2). Regarding the N5K's, what you see is that multiple big course vendors advertise with NX OS version 5.1(2) (and the already mentioned 6.1(2) for the N7K) for the DCUFI course. 

                               

                              Hope this helps a bit.

                              Brgds,

                              Marc

                              • 12. Re: My DC Certification Journey - exam 642-997 (DCUFI)
                                Edwin Dijkstra

                                Hi Marc,

                                 

                                Thanks for your response!

                                 

                                What I can recall is a question about SPAN. According to the System Management Configuration Guides (5.x and 6.x), there are many differences in functionality between the versions.

                                 

                                Anyway, I also logged a call at Certification Online Support.

                                 

                                Regards,

                                 

                                Edwin

                                • 13. Re: My DC Certification Journey - exam 642-997 (DCUFI)
                                  Eddie

                                  Hi Edwin,

                                   

                                  Unfortunately Marc is correct, there are different questions that are based off different version of NX-OS on both switches and the UCS FIs.

                                  You may just need to know the answer based on both versions and then work out which answer they are looking for when the question comes up.

                                   

                                  I would love to hear what the support say about this though so please do let us know!

                                   

                                  Cheers,

                                  Eddie

                                  • 14. Re: My DC Certification Journey - exam 642-997 (DCUFI)
                                    Edwin Dijkstra

                                    Hi Eddie,

                                     

                                    Support responded rather quickly, but without an answer.........................................................:

                                     

                                    Dear E.R.,

                                     

                                    Thank you for contacting the Cisco Certification and Communities Support Team. My name is Jay, and I am the owner of your case 01626691.

                                     

                                    I was able to get that it focuses on Cisco Nexus 7000 switch chassis and components, the Cisco Nexus 5000 switch, and the Cisco Nexus 2000 Fabric Extender and the exam 642-997 DCUFI is version 5.0. Aside from that we don't have any other details about the exam.

                                     

                                    Regards,

                                     

                                    Edwin

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