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:
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.
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