— Andrew Roderos (@networkjutsu) March 1, 2013
I was really tempted to take this exam when it came out the latter part of the 2012. I figured I’ll be able to pass this exam without preparing for it – I was right. Then, I started looking at the DCICT exam topics and found out that I have limited or no experience with majority of the technologies and there isn’t any Cisco Press title available to help prepare for this exam – I am sure it is coming soon. That said, I was discouraged to pursue the certification and decided to just wait for the Cisco Press book(s) to come out and try to get more experience and knowledge with NX-OS and data center technologies.
Upon reviewing the DCICT exam topics further, I realized the majority of the topics are listed on DCUFI curriculum, which was the class that I just took earlier this week. When I saw that, I decided that I’ll pursue the CCNA Data Center certification sooner since I should be able to use the DCUFI book and supplement it with some access to NX-OS lab and real world experience, materials listed here, free Nexus 1000V download, and using UCS emulator available for free download with valid CCO account. Having said all that, I decided on Monday night to sign up to take the DCICN (Introducing Cisco Data Center Networking) exam after my DCUFI (Implementing Cisco Data Center Unified Fabric) class.
Having a few Cisco certifications and about six years real world networking experience under my belt, it would’ve been embarrassing if I didn’t pass this exam on a first try. One can tell that this exam is really easy by just reading the exam topics. The exam topics doesn’t really cover anything new other than implementing them under NX-OS. I’d say anybody with CCNA, heck, even CCENT should be able to pass this exam without preparation. This exam is probably even easier than the CCENT, but then I would never know since I never took it. I would assume that it is similar to the INTRO exam. For someone without CCENT, CCNA, and/or work experience, it may be tougher for them to pass the exam since they’ll have to study these topics. Yes, CCENT/CCNA is not a prerequisite on becoming CCNA Data Center.
While NX-OS and IOS are very similar, there are still differences between them. In order to answer some of the questions on the exam correctly, one should know the differences in the syntax. There were few questions that pertained to NX-OS syntax and if one is not familiar with it, then he/she might not be able to answer it correctly. I have a little bit of experience with Nexus with former and current gig, so I am familiar with the commands. On top of that, I just got out of the CCNP Data Center DCUFI v4.0 (Implementing Cisco Data Center Unified Fabric) 5-day class so I should be more familiar now than before.
Without trying to break the NDA, the exam is a typical Cisco exam. Please feel free to click here to review the type of questions they ask. Multiple choice, single answer and multiple choice, multiple answer type of questions are for sure included here. If you visit the link above then you know that Cisco may include router simulation and simlet as the type of question that can be in it, so make sure you’re familiar with NX-OS. Though, I’d say anyone who is comfortable with IOS should be able to do just fine with these type of questions.
How to prepare for the DCICN exam?
The most common way to prepare for the DCICN exam is to read the CCNA Data Center DCICN Official Cert Guide book. This very helpful for people who didn’t take the CCNA R&S route since this will cover basic networking concepts and be able to pass the DCICN exam.
As already mentioned, anyone can pass the DCICN exam without preparation if they’re CCENT/CCNA and/or with real world networking experience. Still hesitant to pursue CCNA Data Center since no access to Nexus switches? Well, if you know someone who is an Account Manager or Systems Engineer for Cisco then you’re in luck – any Cisco employee may be able to give out access to the site though. Cisco is providing a free virtual lab that employees, customers, and partners can use for training and demo which is called CloudLab. The lab is using Titanium (NX-OS emulator), which is similar to Cisco’s IOU (IOS On Unix), and it has fixed topologies with lab guides to play with select technologies. I haven’t really sat down and play with it properly but this should help someone who is preparing for the CCNA Data Center exams and possibly CCNP Data Center DCUFI exam. I am sure that it’ll become very helpful for my DCICT studies since I would need access to some sort of lab. Not a lot of organizations out there has a Nexus lab that employees can play with, so having access to CloudLab is better than not having it at all.
Good luck to all CCNA Data Center hopefuls out there! Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions!