Nutanix Certified Professional – Multi Cloud Infrastructure (NCP-MCI) 5.15 Exam Experience
I first heard about Nutanix when I was doing a project for an automotive manufacturer in the USA back in September 2017. The customer had a few hundred nodes of it, the main reason for using it was they needed to support mission critical classical workloads across multiple hypervisors (Hyper-V, VMware, Linux) while providing a foundation for application modernization that would enable them to get some of these workloads into AWS, thus enabling a MultiCloud strategy for the organization.
Nutanix is an interesting platform that has gained worldwide recognition mainly due to their high performance hyper-converged storage platform and their easy to use hypervisor. Nutanix is currently a market leader in the HCI space, alongside VMware with their vSAN offering.
Here is the Gartner HCI diagram for 2020:
Each HCI solution listed here on this chart have their own use cases and some do things better than others based on those needs.
A true datacenter architect in the modern era should look at technology from a logical perspective, as in what are the customer requirements and what mechanisms are used to satisfy those requirements and try not to "chain yourself" to a certain vendor as each technology has its purpose in this domain.
My approach to being the best architect that I can possibly be is to not subject my learning and education to "vendor lock in" and to go out and get certified and trained on all the major platforms.
I have done this for DellEMC, AWS, Microsoft, & VMware over the last two years. I thought it was only appropriate to add Nutanix to that list. And as of today I did just that, by taking and passing the Nutanix Certified Professional – Multi Cloud Infrastructure (NCP-MCI) 5.15 Exam.
And overview of the Nutanix Certification Program can be found here: https://www.nutanix.com/support-services/training-certification/certifications
They offer Associate, Professional, Master and Expert level certifications with the Associate, Professional, Master exams being able to be taken online at your home.
I was also lucky that they has a special offer available where you can take up to two exams for just $50 each for the next three months.
The Associate, Professional, Master and Expert tracks are for the Nutanix "Core" platform, or MultiCloud Infrastructure tracks. You can also go down the Nutanix Services track after you passed your NCP exam.
When it comes to training, having a solid background with other virtualization technologies such as vSphere or RHEL will definitely help you in your certification path with Nutanix. The core fundamentals are very similar, but Nutanix has a very different way of doing things.
The platform combines concepts you would see in the vSphere / Linux world with the Application Developer and Public Cloud worlds. So it is important to get official training from Nutanix when it comes to taking their exams.
Luckily, Nutanix offers all of their training courses for FREE to customers and partners and can be found in their Nutanix University site https://www.nutanixuniversity.com/. I was able to get access to their training as a Nutanix Partner.
The training courses are excellent, and they have hand on labs as well in order to demo and check out the platform in real time. I think that Nutanix definitely has an advantage when it comes to training, because they make their courses available for free, instead of having to pay upwards of $3,000 to $5,000 USD for a course like you see from some other vendors.
In the market today we see companies like Amazon, Microsoft and Google giving away high quality, free training. Some of these on-premise companies should do the same (in my humble opinion). Low cost training = broader technology adoption.
They even offer their Nutanix Platform Expert certification (their version of the VMware VCDX) for free as well. Compare that to the VCDX program, which is $1000 to submit your design and $3000 for the design defence process. Expensive if you are paying for this out of your own pocket (like I am).
In all, I was able to successfully pass the exam today from the comfort of my own home.
My advice for the exam is to read the exam blueprint, complete the official training courses once or twice and then sit for the exam.
I would also include these points in my studies:
Cross-hypervisor migrations and options
Storage Container settings and options
Nutanix network port configurations
Understand where to configure things in the Prism Element / Central GUI
Understand what things you cannot do in the GUI, that must be configured in the CLI
The official exam blueprint can be found here:
Make sure you have a clean desk / office setup prior to taking the online exams (provided by PSI) as they may make you clear off all of your desk items and take multiple room sweeps with your laptop camera prior to taking the exam.
The next step on this educational journey will be to take the Nutanix Certified Master - MultiCloud Infrastructure exam, which I am hoping to do next week.