I successfully ended 2023 by passing the VMware advanced exam based on NSX-T 3.x, which made me become a new VCAP-NV Deploy certified, but also a VCIX-NV as I previously passed the advanced design exam.
It’s actually been a while since I thought of taking that exam and I’m glad I finally did it 😃.
As I usually publish exam review posts after passing an exam, this time is no exception and I’m happy to share with you my experience.
Getting ready for the exam
First Step First
Well, as usual, the first thing to do is to review the exam guide or blueprint. You’ll find there some exam details you need to know as well as all the different sections that will be covered during the exam.
It is important to mention that it is highly recommended to have at least 1 year of experience with NSX-T to succeed. The candidate must also be a current VCP-NV, have already good knowledge of the product, and be capable of administering, optimizing, and troubleshooting an NSX-T environment.
Be careful while reading the exam guide as some sections are not included. You’ll find a “Not Applicable” note next to sections not covered in this exam.
- Section 1 – Architecture and Technologies – “Not Applicable“
- Section 2 – Products and Solutions – “Not Applicable“
- Section 4 – Installing, Configuring, and Setup
- Section 5 – Performance-tuning, Optimization, and Upgrades
- Section 6 – Troubleshooting and Repairing
- Section 7 – Administrative and Operational Tasks
You might have noticed that there is no “Section 3” here, this is a small mistake in the blueprint but no need to worry.
Now that you know what to expect, let’s move forward and see how to get fully prepared for the exam.
What To Do Next?
My first recommendation would be to attend either live or on-demand the following course “VMware NSX-T Data Center: Troubleshooting and Operations [V3.2]”.
It is a must to help you succeed, as this course will take you to the next level by providing advanced knowledge and skills to properly operate and troubleshoot an NSX-T environment.
Note also that this course was used to develop the exam. So again, I highly recommend attending it.
My next advice is to simply practice as much as you can through your home lab if you have one. If not, you can use the VMware Hands-On Labs platform by simply registering a new account free of charge and then starting any lab you want.
For those of you not familiar with that platform, note that you can use it not just for NSX, but pretty much for any other VMware products.
That being said, make good use of the HOLs (Hands-On Labs) to test any feature covered in the blueprint until you feel comfortable enough.
Another good way to practice is to test your skills by taking an Odyssey lab.
There is currently one Odyssey lab for NSX, where you’ll be asked to complete some tasks within a specific amount of time.
You’ll find below some resources to help you study for the exam.
VMware NSX-T Data Center Documentation:
NSX-T Command-Line Interface Reference:
VMware NSX-T Data Center 3.0 Release Notes:
NSX-T Data Center Blog:
NSX-T Data Center Hands-on Labs (HOLs):
VMware Configuration Maximums:
About the exam
I found the exam challenging but not difficult, with good questions on many topics included in the blueprint. However, I felt that my skills hadn’t been pushed to their limit to be honest.
You’ll be tested on how to prepare and deploy an NSX infrastructure, how to properly implement networking and security features, and of course you’ll be asked to perform some troubleshooting tasks.
Again, do not neglect any section mentioned in the exam guide, as you’ll also probably be asked to do some general operational tasks, such as adding an identity source, performing a backup of NSX, or generating support bundles for example.
Tips and Tricks for the Exam
- This exam is lab-based. This means that this is a practical exam where you’ll have to perform each task by interacting with the different consoles available to you such as the NSX Manager, vCenter, CLI etc… I highly recommend trying out VMware Hands-on Labs (HOLs) as the environment is very similar to what you can expect from the exam. Once you feel confident enough to navigate through HOLS, you’ll be just fine during the exam.
- You’ll have plenty of time to answer each single question of the exam (220 minutes total), so do not worry about timing. I finished the exam with about 1 hour left and took that l last hour to review every question to make sure of my answers.
- A few days before the exam, I had the idea of quickly going through all the questions at once to find out if there were any time-consuming tasks, such as deploying a new NSX manager appliance, or new Edge nodes. And that’s what I did, and it helped 😃! Anyway, if that happens, I suggest that you perform these tasks in advance.
- Read each question carefully once, and I’d recommend reading it a second time while paying attention to details. Note also that there might be some dependencies for some questions.
- One more thing, know well NSX-T command lines (NSXCLI), at least basic commands. That will be very useful during the exam.
- You should also know how to interact with NSX through APIs and tools like Postman. Do not worry too much about memorizing API commands as you’ll be able to launch the API guide from the NSX Manager if needed.
My Last Advice
There is no secret sauce to succeed and pass the exam. Practice is key, know well the product and each single feature covered in the blueprint.
I hope that you enjoyed that blog post and wish you good luck with the exam 😉.