NSX Ninjas course, week 1

After just over a year of trying, I finally managed to get on the VMware NSX Ninjas course. I was first offered it last April (2015) in Palo Alto, but with a small baby at home, and the fact that it was straight after our company conference in Orlando, I had to decline.
I then missed out on it a number of times, due to only finding out about sessions while they were happening.

Anyway, our UK TAM, Liam Farrell, managed to get places for 3 of us (me, @MrCNeale and @BlobbieH) on a course running from VMware’s UK HQ in Staines, which is slightly more travel friendly than Palo Alto. Our instructor for the week was Red1 Bali (@tredwitter), who is actually a freelance consultant, rather than a VMware employee.

For those who haven’t come across the NSX Ninjas course before, my understanding is, that it is provided to VMware Partners (at zero cost other than their own travel and accommodation), and the aim of it is to get people who’ve done the NSX ICM course up through VCIX-NV (week 1) and prepare them for VCDX-NV (week 2).

The course ran from Monday lunchtime, to Friday lunchtime, with days 1-3 billed as NSX 401 Troubleshooting, day 4 NSX Operations, and day 5 NSX Automation.

Maybe because we’d been trying to get on this course for so long, I suspect we had insanely high expectations, and the first day or so felt a little disappointing – a little slow going and not very “deep”. Possibly this was because some people on the course had failed to do the *mandatory* prerequisites of taking the NSX ICM course and passing the VCP-NV, so Red1 was having to take things a little slower. I know people have busy working lives, but attending a deeply technical course without having completed the prereqs just isn’t on in my opinion.

Anyway, the pace soon ramped up, and we were working through the labs, including fixing all the problems caused by them starting with expired licenses. As we progressed through the course presentations, Red1 started introducing faults into our lab environments for us to fix. Some of these were straightforward to find, but some were definitely not so easy, and were an excellent way of getting you into the command lines, debug tools, and logs, to find what had gone wrong.

The course ended with content on Operationalizing NSX, based on the use of LogInsight and vROPS, the latter being of less interest to us at the moment, as it’s not part of the product suite that we use. However, the breaking of the lab environments and subsequent troubleshooting, continued, with Red1 delivering a seemingly inexhaustible supply of failure scenarios. These were what I enjoyed most about the week, as digging into a gnarly technical fault is something I relish (maybe less so if there’s a production outage on the back of it though!).

All in all, I definitely recommend the course if you can get on it, and a big thanks to VMware for providing it, our UK TAM Liam Farrell for getting us the places, and Red1 for being an excellent instructor.

Stay tuned for week 2, scheduled for the middle of June.

 

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