In this first article of a two-part series, I cover a few of my thoughts and experiences which helped me to pass the VCAP-NV Design Exam. Back in 2022, I began the journey towards the VMware Certified Implementation Expert – Network Virtualization 2023 milestone, the prerequisites for which were the completion of both the VCAP-NV Design and VCAP-NV Deploy accreditations. Last month (July 2023), I passed the second prerequisite exam resulting in the VMware Certified Implementation Expert – Network Virtualization 2023 milestone.
I chose to sit the VCAP-NV Design first. As a Technical Architect, my daily activities focus primarily on discovery, design and architectural governance, but I’m still pretty close to the coal face when it comes to hands-on. There is no requirement here; you can sit whichever exam you want first.
The VCAP-NV Design requires a good understanding of VMware NSX, its configuration maximums and requirements, and a good grasp on the architecture elements (e.g., physical, conceptual and logical design, and requirements, constraints, assumptions and risks).
The VCAP-NV Design 2022 certification validates an earner’s ability to design VMware NSX solutions, as well as position supporting products and components. Badge earners are knowledgeable in documenting requirements, constraints, assumptions, and risks and making design recommendations.VMware
For example, you’ll still need to know your NSX config max’s and will need to understand elements which might lead you to suggest the utilisation of bare-metal edges over edge VMs; what NSX feature could be used to ensure bandwidth to business-critical workloads in times of network contention; and, for example, where might Federation or Multisite be the best fit for a customer with certain limitations within their physical fabric or between locations? That said, you will still need to understand the differences between physical, conceptual and logical designs and will need to be able to identify the differences between a requirement and an assumption.
If you choose to focus on the VCAP-NV Deploy exam first, you’ll be interested in my second article, which is coming soon.
More in the VCIX-NV Series
- Part 1 – This Article – VMware Certified Advanced Professional – Network Virtualization Design (VCAP-NV Design 3V0-42.20)
- Part 2 – Coming Soon – VMware Certified Advanced Professional – Network Virtualization Deploy (VCAP-NV Deploy 3V0-41.22)
To obtain either VCAP-NV Design or VCAP-NV Deploy accreditations, you must hold a valid VMware Certified Professional – Network Virtualization 2023 (VCP-NV 2023) certificate. This will require you to sit one of the required courses and pass the exam.
Secondly, in readiness for the VCAP-NV Design exam, VMware recommended you attend the VMware NSX-T Data Center: Design [V3.2] course; however, this is a recommendation and not a requirement. As a Technical Architect, I work with customers daily on discovery and design activities, so I felt confident in not attending the recommended course. If you rarely run discovery and design workshops or are new to conceptual, physical and logical design principles, it is recommended to attend this course.
The Exam Guide/Blueprint
As always, learn the Exam guide, and learn it well! The Exam Guide clearly outlines WHAT IS and WHAT ISN’T included in the exam. For example, if you plan to sit the Design exam, you don’t need to focus on the specifics of installation and setup tasks. You will, however, need to focus on those areas when sitting the VCAP-NV Deploy, So read the Exam Guide and read it carefully. Write down the areas and highlight those that might need additional focus.
Download the VMware Certified Advanced Professional – Network Virtualization Design Exam Guide, and learn it well.
As you will note from the below exam sections, only Section 3 (Planning and Designing) is relevant to the VCAP-NV Design exam.
- Section 1 – Architectures and Technologies – There are no testable objectives for this section
- Section 2 – VMware Products and Solutions – There are no testable objectives for this section
- Section 3 – Planning and Designing
- Objective 3.1 – Create a Conceptual Design for NSX-T Data Center
- Objective 3.1.1 – Gather Customer Requirements
- Objective 3.1.2 – Analyze and Differentiate Requirements, Risks, Constraints, Assumptions and Use Cases Based on Current Customer Environment.
- Objective 3.2 – Create a Logical Design for NSX-T Data Center
- Objective 3.2.1 – Map Business Requirements to the Logical Design
- Objective 3.2.2 – Map NSX-T Data Center Solution Dependencies
- Objective 3.2.3 – Analyze Availability Requirements
- Objective 3.2.4 – Analyze Manageability Requirements
- Objective 3.2.5 – Analyze Performance Requirements
- Objective 3.2.6 – Analyze Recoverability Requirements
- Objective 3.2.7 – Analyze Security Requirements
- Objective 3.2.8 – Analyze Scalability Requirements
- Objective 3.3 – Create a Physical Design for NSX-T Data Center
- Objective 3.3.1 – Create a Physical Design for NSX-T Data Center Compute
- Objective 3.3.2 – Create a Physical Design for NSX-T Data Center Storage
- Objective 3.3.3 – Create a Physical Design for NSX-T Data Center Networking
- Objective 3.1 – Create a Conceptual Design for NSX-T Data Center
- Section 4 – Installing, Configuring, and Setup – There are no testable objectives for this section
- Section 5 – Performance-tuning, Optimization, Upgrades – There are no testable objectives for this section
- Section 6 – Troubleshooting and Repairing – There are no testable objectives for this section
- Section 7 – Administrative and Operational Tasks – There are no testable objectives for this section
Requirements, Constraints, Assumptions and Risks (RCAR)
You can see the word ‘requirement’ mentioned a lot in Section 3, so it’s worth running through what these are and the ‘other’ items that might also be identified during the discovery and design phases of an engagement or project.
Requirements can, essentially, be broken down into two areas:
- Functional Requirements – What the solution will/should deliver. For example:
- The solution will enable workloads to traverse between locations A and B while allowing them to retain their IP addressing.
- Non-Functional Requirements – How a solution will/should act. For example:
- The solution must provide a single pane of glass, enabling centralised management of both physical locations.
Non-Functional Requirements can be broken down further using the AMPRSS methodology.
- Availability – How a solution will remain highly available. For example:
- The solution should be designed to eliminate any single points of failure.
- Manageability – How a solution will be managed. For example:
- The solution must provide a single, centralised, unified management console to manage security policies and reduce operational complexity.
- Performance – How a solution will perform. For example:
- The solution configuration must be standardised across both sites, on all edge and transport nodes, NICs and ports to ensure they are optimally utilised.
- Recoverability – Requirements relating to recoverability, often RPO, RTO, etc. For example:
- The solution should support an RPO of one (1) hour and an RTO of fifteen (15) minutes.
- Security – Requirements relating to security. For example:
- Role-based access control must be utilised to ensure the separation of duties and appropriate levels of security between each operational team within the NSX environment.
- Scalability – Requirements relating to scalability. For example:
- The solution must enable the Customer to automate the creation of network routing constructs and software-defined networks using Terraform.
Constraints, Assumptions and Risks
When is a requirement not a requirement? Discovery and design workshops will likely uncover several items that can be classified as constraints, assumptions and risks. All must be communicated back to the Customer and, where appropriate, actions allocated.
- Constraints – Can be related to a product or other limitation. For example:
- A third-party contractor manages network changes, and as a result, any change requests to the physical fabric may result in a timebound SLA.
- Assumptions – Any assumption should be validated with the Customer. For example, the below assumption (if not validated) could quickly become a risk:
- Appropriate licensing has been purchased and acquired in readiness for deployment activities.
- Risks – Any item identified as a risk should be recorded and communicated back to the Customer.
- The physical fabric is unable to facilitate an MTU byte size greater than 1,500 bytes.
The VCAP-NV Design requires a good understanding of VMware NSX, its configuration maximums and requirements whilst also having a good grasp on the discovery side of architecture (i.e., requirements, constraints, assumptions and risks) and design fundamentals (physical, conceptual and logical designs).
This was a great exam, and strengthened how I run discovery and design workshops with customers and internally with colleagues and technical working groups. The skills explored and validated within this exam not only tested what I day to day, but also pushed me to brush up on my config maximums, and helped to fine tune my lower-level knowledge.
If you have any queries around the exam, or if you feel I can help, please don’t hesitate to reach out. I’m always happy to chat. More importantly, good luck!
- VMware Certified Advanced Professional – Network Virtualization Design Exam Guide
- VMware NSX-T Data Center 3.0 Release Notes
- VMware Configuration Maximum tool
- NSX-T Multi-Location Design Guide (Federation + Mu… – VMware Technology Network VMTN
- Breaking down the conceptual design, RCARs and AMPRS …. VCDX style – jeffreykusters.nl
- vBrownBag – NSX-T Design – VCAP-NV Exam Prep
- Visualizing the Conceptual Model for Technical Architecture – TECHNICLOUD
- Video Archive | VMworld | NSX Federation: Everything About Network and Security