With one of the requirements to get VCP5-DCV certification being that you had to go to class, my next step was to find a class that I could attend at a reasonable price given that I would have to factor in the cost of travel, hotel, meals, etc. Since I was going to have to foot the bill for this myself, I wanted to get the best package I could find. VMUG came to the rescue again – since I had purchased VMUG Advantage, this now helped me out with a 20% discount on the training that I was now in search of.
After several weeks of looking, I found a company by the name of StormWind. The way that StormWind presented the training was something that I hadn’t tried before but with the tradeoff being the reduced travel expenses, it was worth a look see. StormWind uses Adobe Connect to let you see and hear the instructor. You communicate with the instructor and the other students via a chat window. To make it a bit easier on the eyes, I took one of the Mac Mini’s that I was using for my home ESXi lab and connected to my large screen TV so that I could use my laptop and other materials to supplement what was going on in the class.
Several days before class, you should get several emails giving you the information on getting access to the student materials and how to access the class sessions via Adobe Connect. Don’t wait until the last minute to get the student materials and especially won’t wait until class starts to check your internet connection. I would suggest checking your internet connection using the test procedure at different times during the day as you may find something that needs to be looked at before class starts.
One thing that surprised me a little bit was the student kit was in electronic form only. I found this out a few days before class when I hadn’t received the normal printed materials that I had received with other classes. For some, materials in electronic form isn’t a problem. For me, I was looking for ways to avoid eye strain. Fortunately, there is an option that you can print out the materials, even if it is limited to a few pages at a time. I wanted to have a bit of time to go over the materials before class started. By printing out the materials, I could make notes and highlight things I wanted to remember and go over before taking the exam.
The labs we did several times during each class day were done on a remote system managed by VMware. Doing a double RDP session (RDP to the initial system we would use for class and then a second RDP session to the actual lab cluster we would use) took a little getting used to. While I use a Mac most of the time, I had some initial problems with keeping the connection up from my Mac and had to switch to a XP laptop that I use occasionally. Finally found the problem and that leads me to my next tip – have a backup internet connection. For some reason, my usual provider was having problems keeping an RDP session up. I tried a different firewall and still had the same problem which led me to think i was a provider issue that I didn’t want to waste precious class time on the phone with the provider to resolve. I have a backup wireless internet connection that I normally use when traveling to avoid paying exorbitant hotel internet charges. I have used the service from the folks at FreedomPop (http://www.freedompop.com) in the past and this time it was a lifesaver.
The quality of the video session was better than I had expected. Having spent a couple of months going through the lab using the study/lab material that I talked about in a previous post, I was better prepared for the class and stood to get more out of it. This is a training option I would look at for further VMware certifications. Here is a link to Stormwind Studios where I got my training from. If you decide you want to go with this to, call Tom Margie at 480-850-9214 and tell him you read this blog post. You will get a good deal and I will get a referral credit that I will use for additional VMware training that I am planning to get sometime next year.
To read the rest of my posts in the VMware Series – Click on this link