Microsoft Certification Booster Packs are sold for $200-$225 depending on the package and your country. This basically means that:
For $200 you can choose between “1 Exam + 30 days access to online practice test” or “1 exam and up to 4 free retakes of that same exam”
For $225 you get “1 exam and up to 4 free retakes of that same exam AND 30 days access to online practice test”.
It seemed like the Microsoft Certification Booster Packs promotion would end 31-08-2016, but they extended it to 30-09-2016, making this week the last week you’ll be able to purchase it.
After purchase, you’ll have 6 months to use your booster pack(s).
For more information, see my previous blogpost https://blog.bjornhouben.com/2016/04/19/certification-my-thoughts-on-microsoft-certification-booster-packs/ or the Microsoft website https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/learning/offers.aspx
Tags: Booster Pack, certification, Microsoft, Microsoft Certification Booster Pack
Since March 7th, Microsoft is selling booster packs which can be bought until August 31. The exams can be taken up until six months after your purchase.
The following boosters packs are available:
- Practice Test + exam for $200
- Exam + 4 free retakes for $200
- Practice Test + exam + 4 free retakes for $225
As always there are pros and cons to this offering. These are things that have gone through my mind about these booster packs:
- First of all, the retakes are not free because a regular exam costs $150 if you book it at Pearson Vue. Even though it is not free, it’s still a very good deal. If you would fail only once, you have saved money.
- I would never choose option 1, I would always go for either option 2 or 3.
- It can be good that people can get an exam with cheap retakes.
- It might prevent (some) people from using exam dumps, because additional certification costs for a failure are not an issue anymore. This is especially true for people who have to pay for their own certification or for small companies with limited budgets.
- It might help people that have the knowledge, but fail because their not used to the way it is tested with Microsoft Certification Exams.
- It might lower the value of certification
- With that many cheap retakes the chance that you’ll pass (by chance) increases.
- Especially since the number of exam questions is very limited, after a few retakes you could know most of the questions.
- Which makes it easier for people to create exam dumps.
- Without booster packs, the certification costs could become an issue.
- This only affects people/companies where certification is an issue.
- This could lead to people using exam dumps.
As with most things, when used for good it is a good thing. It will however be abused by some. Still this has always been the case and I feel it does not really matter. What I do believe however is that this large number of almost free retakes stresses again the need for a larger pool of Microsoft exam questions. But this has been a problem for a long time already and I doubt Microsoft will change this anytime soon unfortunately.
I wonder what other people think about this, so please leave a comment.
For more information on the booster packs see:
Tags: Booster Pack, Booster Packs, certification, exam dump, Microsoft, Microsoft Certification Booster Pack, Microsoft Certification Booster Packs
Recently I had to get recertified for VCP and even though I didn’t really want to …. I did so anyways as you can read in my previous blog post: VMware VCP5-DCV Delta Recertification Exam (VCP550D) available until March 10th + resources to prepare for it
Apparently there were some technical issues and VMware decided to extend the VCP recertification deadline until May 8, 2015. VMware understood this might frustrate people who worked hard to meet the original deadline on time (before March 10th 2015), so they decided to give those people 65% off the VCP6 migration exam.
Even though I still don’t really agree with the recertification, this is a step in the good direction VMware. Keep it up.
For more information, you can read the original blog post: Short Extension For VCP Recertification Deadline (and a Reward for Those Who Met the Original Deadline)
Tags: certification, Recertification, VCP-DCV, VCP5-DCV, VCP5-DCV Delta Recertification Exam, VCP550D, VMware, vSphere
Again I want to stress that I don’t agree with the way VMware is enforcing the recertification in this case as I’ve described in more detail here. Nevertheless I had to take the exam to keep my certification status, contribute to my company’s partner status and to prevent having to take another expensive course in the future to get certified. I have to admit I did learn about a couple of new things though.
But enough about that. Until March 10th it is possible to take the VCP5-DCV Delta Recertification Exam (VCP550D) that is based on new material between the vSphere 5.0/5.1 and vSphere 5.5 exams. Another benefit is that it is cheaper (90 euros) and that it can be taken online from any location.
I took the exam and passed, so I’m good for the near future. I am thinking about postponing vSphere 6.0 certification due to this re-certification policy though.
Here are the resources I used to prepare for the exam:
I know Veeam also provides VCAP5-DCA and VCP5-DCV study guides, but I haven’t used these yet.
I hope it’s useful to you. If you have any other useful resources or feedback, please leave a comment
Tags: certification, Recertification, VCP-DCV, VCP5-DCV, VCP5-DCV Delta Recertification Exam, VCP550D, VMware, vSphere
As I mentioned in a previous blog post, Brocade is offering free courses and exams.
Even though I’m not actually working in networking, I decided to brush up my networking knowledge by taking the 170-010 Brocade Certified vRouter Engineer Exam. I haven’t really done much with networking and CLI configuration in the last 7 years, but I still know the concepts from school where we did CCNA, CCNP, CCDA, CCDP. It took me about 2 days to study and I passed with 76% (passing score = 62%). In hindsight I should have played around a bit more in the vRouter itself 🙂
The exam wasn’t that hard, but a little knowledge about networking is expected, because the information provided by Brocade does not cover everything (or I missed something). For people who want to take the exam, you can use the resources described below. Make sure you’re very familiar with routing, OSPF, NAT and firewalling.
Brocade Certified vRouter Engineer Exam 170-010 Exam Objectives
Brocade Vyatta vRouter System Operations
- Describe show command system usage
- Identify key CLI operations
- Describe the commit and save processes
- Identify Ethernet operations
- Identify VLAN operations and settings
- Identify bonded interface operations
- Demonstrate knowledge of configuration and operation using show commands
- Demonstrate knowledge of the relationship between Layer 2, IP and TCP/IP
- Identify TCP and UDP differences
- Identify address subnets
DHCP and DNS Troubleshooting
- Describe troubleshooting of DHCP operations
- Describe troubleshooting of DNS forwarding
- Identify uses for routing
- Identify show commands for use with routing
- Identify configuration of different types of static routes
- Describe firewall operations and troubleshooting using show commands
- Describe firewall rulebase operations
- Describe the Brocade Vyatta upgrade process
Logging and Packet Captures
- Identify logging options for firewall and NAT operations
- Identify methods to verify operations and troubleshooting
- Describe OSPF show command output
Collision & broadcast domain
Generic Brocade Certification information
Brocade Certification FAQ
Brocade Certification Exam information including number of questions, time and passing Scores
Brocade Certified vRouter Engineer Exam 170-010 resources
Free course and exam offer page
Brocade Certified vRouter Engineer 2013 (BCVRE) Exam : Objectives, Prerequisites, Curriculum, Study Tools & Testing
BCVRE in a Nutshell Study Guide
Vyatta 5400 vRouter product page , data sheet, trial download, licensing
Vyatta 5400 Manual Software Documentation
Firewall Basics Command Quick Reference
List of Useful MIBS
Management and Logging Command Reference
- Describe how to configure OSPF
Tags: 170-010, BCVRE, brocade, Brocade Certified vRouter Engineer, certification, course, Exam, Free, vRouter, Vyatta
A student of mine informed me that Brocade is providing a free course and exam again. This time it is for Brocade Network Function Virtualization”
A while ago they also provided a similar offer for “Brocade Ethernet Fabric” which is also still valid apparently.
Take advantage of these offers if they are useful to you 🙂
Tags: brocade, certification, course, Exam, Free, network function virtualization, NFV
For quite some time, I was planning to get certified for the latest version of ITIL Foundation since I was “only” ITIL v2 certified. A couple of years ago I bought the v3 book and started reading, but for some reason I found it very boring and just couldn’t motivate myself enough to complete the book and get certified.
In the next couple of years I mainly focused on other certifications and ignored ITIL v3 until last week. I took my old book and started reading again. To my surprise everything seemed to be far more logical than back then and I went through the book very easily. Maybe it’s because of the added experience or maybe I just wasn’t motivated enough back then, but I even liked the content in the book.
After reading the book I tried some sample exams and these went great even though apparently my book was outdated since the ITIL Foundation book had been updated in 2011. Just to be sure I bought a new version of the book, but in my opinion there weren’t any big changes.
The exam itself was also very easy. So now I’m going back to focusing on cloud computing again 🙂
Tags: certification, certified, Exam, Exin, foundation, ITIL, ITIL Foundation
For those who haven’t read my previous blog posts, here’s a short summary. About 1,5 – 2 years ago I decided that I wanted to know more about cloud computing and get certified as well. I used freely available resources to attain these certifications:
In short, my conclusion was that the quality of the freely available resources were not sufficient. ITpreneurs were kind enough to provide me with access to their e-learning course and Train Signal (now Pluralsight) provided me with their video training. Reviews for both can be found here:
Even though both resources are good, I personally prefer a book over eLearning and video training. As such I picked up a copy of “Cloud Essentials : CompTIA Authorized Courseware for Exam CLO-001”
Number of pages: 268
Released: June 2013
The book is well written and knows to provide a very good basis of cloud computing both technical and non-technical. Even though the number of pages is limited, the most important aspects are covered in my opinion, which should be enough to provide insight and to pass the Exin and Comptia cloud exams.
What I disliked are some of the questions at the end of the book, because they are sometimes a bit strange. But as far as I can remember, this was also the case in the official exams … so better get used to it if you are going to get certified.
All in all, this is a very good book to get started with cloud computing.
Tags: Book, certification, certify, CLO-001, Cloud, cloud computing, Cloud Computing foundation, Cloud Essentials, CLOUDF, CompTIA, CompTIA Cloud Essentials, Exin, Exin Cloud Computing Foundation, foundation, ICT, Learning, PluralSight, review, study, sybex, train signal, trainsignal
Unfortunately I’ve received numerous requests for an exam dump of 74-409 which really upsets me.
For those that are not aware of it, you are not allowed to share or use exam dumps. “If Microsoft learns that a candidate used a “brain dump” site to prepare for an exam, this candidate will be permanently banned or prohibited from taking any future Microsoft Certification exams and may be decertified from the Microsoft Certification Program. In addition, test scores and certifications, if applicable, may be revoked. These actions may be taken even if the candidate did not intend to defraud the Microsoft Certification Program.”
For more information, see:
Preparing to take the exam
This is generally what I do for preparing to take the exam:
- Determine the skills that are measured in the exam 74-409
- View the online course Server Virtualization with Windows Hyper-V and System Center at Microsoft Virtual Academy (MVA)
- Reflect how confident you are that the online course has provided you with sufficient skills to take the exam.
- Optionally enhance your knowledge using:
- If you (know someone who) attended the course for this exam (20409A-ENU), then be sure to take a look at the book. It contains a lot of details that are missing from the jump start videos.
- Windows Server 2012 R2 Private Cloud Virtualization and Storage Poster and Mini-Posters
- Community/user created content for taking the exam
–Study resources 74-409 Server Virtualization with Windows Server Hyper-V and System Center
–Born To Learn wiki
–Veeam Study guide
–Free MCP Training study guide (in progress)
- Blogs by people that already took the exam, to see how they prepared.
- Recordings and slides of the Virtualization IT Camp
- Additional Hyper-V and Server 2012 R2 related courses on Microsoft Virtual Academy (MVA)
- Real life or virtual meetings, presentations and user groups. Microsoft has started a Microsoft User Group Portal wiki, but unfortunately it’s not widely being used yet. Therefore I suggest searching the internet or taking a look at the Microsoft Events website.
- Your own lab to work with the products. You can use the existing Microsoft Test Lab Guides (TLG) or if you don’t have the hardware for your lab, just browse the document.
- Technet library documentation about Hyper-V. This can also be downloaded here for offline use.
- Technet TechCenter
- Training videos. By example on YouTube, or from commercial companies like CBT Nuggets and PluralSight. Nowadays you can get monthly subscriptions or just get trials for a couple of days to help you get a good start.
- Great TechNet Blogs.
- Guided labs / guided experiences like by example the Microsoft Private Cloud Guided Labs. Note: these might not be updated to 2012 R2 yet, but they should provide you with a better understanding.
- Virtual labs (search for hyper or virtual machine manager)
- Twitter by following people with interesting information on Hyper-V, by searching for tweets containing hyperv or hyper-v or by connecting with the community.
- Forums to discuss and share information. Since I’m from the Netherlands I use Tweakers.net a lot and can be found discussing Microsoft Certification related stuff in the topic “[Microsoft Certified] Ervaringen en discussies”.
- Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V Best Practices (In Easy Checklist Form)
- Free e-books:
–Introducing Windows Server 2012 R2
–Microsoft System Center Microsoft System Center
–Windows Server 2012 R2 Overview White Paper
–Windows Server 2012 R2 Server Virtualization White Paper
- Printed books, but as far as I know there are no specific books yet for 74-409 and most books covering Windows Server 2012, Hyper-V or System Center 2012 have not yet been updated to the R2 release.
- Channel 9 to search for relevant content.
- Technet Video to search for relevant content.
- Server Posterpedia Windows store app or component architecture posters.
- Infrastructure Planning and Design (IPD) Guides
- Survival guides
Specific topics and resources I used while studying:
Read the rest of this entry »
Tags: 074-409 Server Virtualization with Windows Server Hyper-V and System Center, 70-409, 74-409, blog, Born To Learn, brain dump, brain dumps, braindump, braindumps, CBT, CBT Nuggets, certification, certified, certify, Channel 9, channel9, cheat, component architecture poster, component architecture posters, dump, dumps, Exam, exam dump, exam dumps, Free, guided experience, guided experiences, guided lab, guided labs, Hyper-V, hyperv, Infrastructure Planning Design, Infrastructure planning design guide, infrastructure planning design guides, IPD, meeting, Microsoft, Microsoft Events, Microsoft Virtual Academy, MVA, PluralSight, presentation, Server 2012 R2 Virtual Labs, Server 2012 Virtual Labs, survival guide, survival guides, Technet, Technet Blogs, Technet Library, Technet Library Documentation, Technet TechCenter, Technet Video, Test Lab Guide, Test Lab Guides, TestLab Guide, Testlab Guides, TLG, Tweakers, Tweakers.net, Twitter, User Group, usergroup, Veeam, virtual lab, virtual labs, virtualization IT camp, Youtube
Free certification information
For a limited time only, you will be able to get free VMware Certified Associate (VCA) exam vouchers and get certified by taking the exams from the comfort of your own home.
Update 06-12-2012 : Rasmus Haslund added a new method: http://www.perfectcloud.org/certification/vmware-vca-exam-experience-plus-free-exam-voucher/
Update 24-11-2013 : Rasmus Haslund provided a new code on his site : http://www.perfectcloud.org/certification/vmware-vca-exam-experience-plus-free-exam-voucher/
Give code VMRT9B503121 a try.
Update 22-11-2013 : Apparently the codes are not working anymore, see the comments. You could give code VMRT1B01791B a try.
Update 19-10-2013 : Apparently Global Knowledge provides a code as well. Can be used until January 31st: http://www.globalknowledge.com/training/generic.asp?pageid=3596
Update 09-11-2013 : Eric Sloof from ntpro.nl provides a code as well. Can be used until January 31st: http://www.ntpro.nl/blog/archives/2471-Free-VMware-Certified-Associate-Certification-Extended.html
The currently available tracks which you can do for free are:
VMware Certified Associate – Datacenter Virtualization (VCA-DCV) – Exam blueprint
VMware Certified Associate – Cloud (VCA-Cloud) – Exam blueprint
VMware Certified Associate – Workforce Mobility (VCA-WM) – Exam blueprint
Free online e-learning modules are available that take about 4-5 hours to complete and that are sufficient to pass the exam. The registration process is a bit cumbersome in my opinion, but this blog post contains some instructions to help you with that.
From what I can see, this offer is valid until the end of October, but I might be wrong so it’s best to take the exams as soon as possible. I also think you’ll also be able to use the same voucher code to re-take the exam should you fail, but again I’m not really sure. Once I have more information, I will update this blog post.
In the future a new track VMware Certified Associate – Network Virtualization (VCA-NV) will become available. It is not clear when it will arrive and if you’ll be able to use the voucher on this exam as well, but using the link you can at least have VMware notify you when it becomes available.
I think these free e-learnings are a good way to become familiar on a high level with VMware products, terminology and use cases. The VCA certification is proof you have this knowledge and might give you an advantage.
Being able to certify for free now can come in handy for:
- People that are still studying.
- People that are in between jobs.
- People that are working in other parts of the ICT that are interested in VMware, but cannot get their employer to pay for VMware training/certification.
- People and companies that want to stimulate certification, but also have to save costs.
- People that are interested in virtualization and are considering doing more with it, but don’t know yet if it’s something for them.
There are of course more possible situations, but I think these are very common.
Thanks to VMware for making this possible and Rasmus Haslund (@Haslund) for sharing the information and the voucher on his website http://www.perfectcloud.org, If you decide to use this offer, please also leave a comment at his website.
Also, as always … sharing is caring, so share this with others.
Tags: certification, Cloud, Datacenter Virtualization, e-learning, Exam, Free, Network Virtualization, VCA, VCA-Cloud, VCA-DCV, VCA-NV, VCA-WM, virtualization, VMware, VMware Certified Associate, VMware Certified Associate - Network Virtualization, VMware Certified Associate – Cloud, VMware Certified Associate – Datacenter Virtualization, VMware Certified Associate – Workforce Mobility, Workforce Mobility