Since I had made the decision to go to class, I wanted to be as ready as possible to get the most out of class. I started looking for sources of study material that would get me up to speed as quickly as possible and fill in the gaps in knowledge that I had on ESXi and vCenter before class started. After looking for several weeks, I found the first study guide option that ended up being the best resource that I found in several weeks of searching. By a slight change in keywords used in searching on Google, I found ESXLAB.com. After looking at the sample chapter you can download from the ESXi site, and exchange a few emails with the author, I went to eBay and purchased the study and lab guide combo.
While I had purchase several books on VMware, a common thread that I found was that they all assumed you had some level of knowledge of the workings of ESXi and assumed a certain level of experience. While I had worked with server virtualization technology in various forms over the years, I wanted to start with something that didn’t assume I had much experience. The ESXLab materials was just what I was looking for. It began with a good study guide that got you in at the ground level and slowly built up the foundation from there. A companion Lab Guide allowed you to take the chapters from the study guide and put that information to practical use.
Depending on how tight your budget is, with the folks at ESXLab, you have an option of getting renting remote rack time on gear that you might not be able to purchase to build your own lab. This is certainly an option worth considering if you don’t want to make the investment, at least at this point in time. If you run into a problem while using your rented rack time, help is only an email away.
I started using this material while my search continued for a training option that would fit within my budget and availability. I spent several hours a night going through the study guide and the better part of a saturday and sunday going through the lab guide. Going through the materials several times increased my level of knowledge and familiarity with vSphere and vCenter.
It was during this time that I found VMUG (VMware Users Group). Finding this group couldn’t have come at a better time. This would help put me in touch with a local group of individuals. There was another benefit that I soon found. It is called VMUG Advantage. While it is an option that is purchased, the benefits for me far outweighed the cost. The first thing was a 20% discount that you got on VMware Training through an authorized provider. Since I was going to be paying for class out of my own pocket, getting the best price was very important. A special offer for those who joined prior to July 15 was a free attempt at whatever VMware exam that I went for. With the cost of the exam at $225, the cost of VMUG Advantage saved me $25 over paying for the exam directly. When you could that with the savings of several hundred dollars for the cost of the required VMware class, I had to look at all options.
In my next post, I will talk about the VMware Training partner that I chose for my class.
To read the rest of my posts in the VMware Series – Click on this link