I’m working to get deep on some of our networking technologies and was recently faced with a decision on whether I should take our ICM offering or go for the expert track. The ICM offering, like our vSphere ICM course is meant to show the basics of installing, configuring, and manage VMware NSX. The Internetworking Experts offering is geared specifically towards advanced networking administrators, specifically those that are Cisco based. As an expired CCNA who has spent a lot of time linking up virtualized infrastructures I have a lot of exposure on the basics. I even used to own almost 10 Cisco routers that I labbed up in preparation for the CCNP exams, but never quite got that far. When I looked at the two different blueprints I noticed a lot of similarity between the two and couldn’t decide which one would be the best fit right now so I did what any logical person would do, I enrolled in both.
Now I understand this is not a realistic thing for anyone to do, so I’m hoping to shed some light on the differences in this and a future blog post. As a VMware employee I can take these course pretty easily so I’m hoping to provide some perspective in that regards. The following is based on taking the ICM only at this time.
I am just about to wrap up the ICM course which I took as an on-demand offering (http://vmw.re/1AYPpdt). If you like not having to wait for everyone to join each morning for the course, flexibility to move at your own pace, and access to all lectures, labs, materials for 45 days then this is the way to go. To put it in perspective I’ve spent about 13 hours and gone through all the lectures for the course, and will be revisiting the labs next week. Later this month I’ll be taking the Internetworking Expert offering and will provide further opinions on that thereafter.
So back to what I know so far. From the course descriptions we can see the following sections are exclusive to each offering, otherwise everything appears pretty much the same.
- Routing Protocol Primer
- Nexus and UCS Architecture
- Cisco Nexus switching architecture
- Cisco UCS connectivity architecture
- Cisco UCS profiles
- Extensibility and Design
- NSX API
- NSX and Cisco design options
Having access to both course manuals I can get a better idea on the depth of content involved. Basically the ICM course not only spends additional time on routing protocols but also assumes the student does not have the prior exposure to some basic networking fundamentals. Where all that extra time that the Internetwork expert course focuses on Nexus and design options, the ICM will spend it focusing on the pure basics of networking, including coverage of MAC addresses, ARP tables, VLAN Tagging,etc.
I can tell you that for me I actually needed this exposure again, so there was a lot of value in running through those materials. Now with that said, I really want to understand the architecture and how I can use it with Nexus and UCS. Additionally I find the last section regarding extensibility and design of great use, which the ICM course does not cover. If you need those two pieces you can only get them in the Internetworking Experts offering and my recommendation would be to reference the course data sheet and make sure you have a firm understanding of all the basics of networking protocols and some basic routing as well prior to the course. If you are very new to anything beyond the basic levels of networking than the ICM course may be a better fit.
I hope to have a better opinion on the two once I take the Internetworking Experts offer later this month. I will update this post or post a part two at that time.