VMware Advanced Design NSX-T Data Center 2.4 Exam Review

On August 30th 2019 I passed the brand new VMware Advanced Design NSX-T Data Center 2.4 exam.

Let me tell you a little more about this exam and how I prepared for it.

About the exam

As far as I know 3V0-41.19 is the first ever design exam within the network virtualization certification track. A deploy exam based on NSX for vSphere has been around for a while (which I reviewed a while back). As the name implies the design exam is based entirely on NSX-T 2.4.

Let’s look at a couple of things from the all important exam guide:

  • 50 questions
  • 105 minutes (plus additional time for non-native English speakers)
  • Passing score 300

So on average you have a couple of minutes for each question.
In my experience most of the questions took less than a minute to answer so that left me with some more time for the trickier ones.

  • 1 year of experience designing NSX-T Data Center solutions
  • 2 or more years designing physical and virtual data centers/networks

The above aren’t strict requirements of course. I can imagine that candidates having this experience will have an easier time preparing for the exam and are also more likely to pass it.
Experience with (VMware) design and the fact that I had worked extensively with NSX-T for the last 8 months certainly helped me.

Preparing for the exam

How do you prepare for an exam like this? The following are my personal recommendations partly based on my own experience.

Know your NSX-T [V2.4]

You might think this exam is all about high-level architecture and designs, but you would be wrong.

You will need a very good technical understanding of the NSX-T solutions. Preferably your are on VCP-NV 2019 (NSX-T 2.4) level before going for this exam. Read the previous post to learn a little more about what it takes to get to that level.

Know your NSX-T design [V2.4]

Naturally. You should also have good knowledge about the different NSX-T designs and design decisions within areas like:

  • Physical infrastructure design
  • Compute host cluster design
  • Edge design
  • Logical networking design

The Architecture and Design for VMware NSX-T Workload Domains document (part of VMware Validated Design 5.1) is a really good read and covers a lot of the designs and design decisions.

Then there is another piece of documentation that I recommend you study: The VMware NSX-T Reference Design Guide. Outdated as it is (based on NSX-T 2.0) it still is a great resource if you want to learn about NSX-T design.

Identify requirements, risks, constraints, and assumptions

You might have seen these before. As a VMware architect working on a design, you are expected to be able to categorize the information collected during interviews and workshops with project stakeholders as either being a requirement, a risk, a constraint, or an assumption.

It’s not all that hard really, but you really need to understand this. When I was studying this for the VCAP-DCV Design exam I found this site to have a pretty good explanation of it all.

Attend the VMware NSX-T Data Center: Design [V2.4] course

This is the recommended course as preparation for the exam. Full disclosure, I did not attend this course (yet) so I can’t say much about it, but it’s supposed to be really good.

Watch the VMworld sessions about NSX-T design

Every year William Lam puts together a nice list with links to all the recorded VMworld sessions. As a matter of fact he just did this for the VMworld 2019 US recordings.

At a minimum you should watch the following sessions:

  • CNET1072BU – NSX-T Design for Small to Mid-Sized Data Centers
  • CNET1334BU – NSX-T Design for Multi-Site Networking and Disaster Recovery

There are many other recorded sessions on NSX-T that you might want to check out as well.

Summary

I really enjoyed this exam. The scenarios in the questions were realistic and easy to relate to. Some of the questions were challenging while others were pretty easy.

I felt pretty well prepared ahead of the exam. And it turned out well for me so there’s really no reason it shouldn’t for you.

Good luck!

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