Tag Archives: certification

Exam prep & experience: Citrix NetScaler Advanced Topics: Security, Management, and Optimization (1Y0-340)

In May 2018, Citrix released their new Citrix Certified Expert – Networking certification, which completet the networking certification path at the upper end (blog post on training.citrix.com). The track starts with the Associate (CCA-N), the lower-level certification is a requirement for achieving the higher-level certification, continues with the Professional (CCP-N), and ends with the Expert (CCE-N) certification. This is pretty cool, and I’m very happy that Citrix now offers the CCE-N, because the expert-level certification was missing all the time.

kmicican/ pixabay.com/ Creative Commons CC0

Everything is cool… except you have passed exam 1Y0-351 to gain your CCP-N. In this case, you have to pass 1Y0-340 until Dec 31 2018. Otherwise you have to start with the CCA-N, after the validity period of your CCP-N is over (3y after passing the exam).

Bad move, Citrix, bad move. I’m really disappointed. I passed 1Y0-351 in Nov 2017, and now, 12 months later, I have to book, pay, and pass 1Y0-340 if I not want to start with a CCA-N in Nov 2020. Bad move, Citrix, bad move!

Exam 1Y0-340 is titled as “Citrix NetScaler Advanced Topics: Security, Management, and Optimization”, where as 1Y0-351 was titeld as “Citrix NetScaler 10.5 Essentials and Networking”. You can assume that more in-depth knowledge is needed to pass the exam, as it was necessary for 1Y0-351. Note the “Advanced Topics” in the exam title.

But what are these “advanced topics”?  According to the exam prep guide, the perfect candidate for the 1Y0-340 exam can deploy and/or manage

  • Citrix NetScaler Application Firewall (AppFirewall) to secure application access in a Citrix NetScaler 12 environment, as well as
  • NetScaler Management and Analytics System (NMAS) to administer a Citrix NetScaler environment, or
  • Optimize NetScaler-managed application delivery traffic

Citrix NetScaler Application Firewall (AppFirewall)

You should take an in-depth look at these topics:

  • Application Firewall Overview
  • Application Firewall Profiles and Policies
  • Regular Expression
  • Attacks and Protections
  • Monitoring and Troubleshooting
  • Security and Filtering

NetScaler Management and Analytics System (NMAS)

  • NetScaler MAS: Introduction and Configuration
  • Managing and Monitoring NetScaler Instances
  • Managing NetScaler Configurations
  • NetScaler Web Logging

Optimize NetScaler-managed application delivery traffic

  • Integrated Caching
  • Front-End Optimization
  • Tuning and Optimizations

How to prep?

The exam prep guide referres to the NetScaler documentation, as also to training material. Unfortunately I don’t have access to the newer training material, only to the training material from my CNS-220 course. But hey: At least we have tons of publically available NetScaler 12.0 documentation available!

The exam prep guide has a section in which Citrix outlines sections, objectives and references. You will find links to the NetScaler 12.0 documentation, as well as knowledge base articles, or blog posts. Go through it. Read it carefully!

The exam prep guide also outlines the section titles and weights. Two areas stand out:

  • Section 4: Attacks and Protections, and
  • Section 8: Managing and Monitoring NetScaler Instances

The section weights are directly map to the number of questions in the exam. If the exam has 60 questions, and section 4 has a weight of 21%, at least 12 questions will relate to “Attacks and Protections”.

How did it go?

First things first: I passed with a good score. The exam had 62 questions and I needed at least 62% to pass the exam. I passed with 82%. As a non-native English speaker that took the exam in a country where english is a foreign language, I got 30 minutes extra, resulting in 120 minutes for 62 questions. Plenty of time…

What should I say? It was a multiple choice test. Read the questions carefully. The exam guide did not lie to me. It came pretty close to the topics that were described in the guide. For most questions, my first “educated guess” was right. Sometimes, the least dumb answer seemed to be correct. ;)

It was a bit frustrating that Citrix has changed product names. NetScaler is no “Application Delivery Controller”, MAS is now known as “Citrix Application Delivery Management”. There was a button which showed a mapping table “old name – new name”.

If you are experienced with Citrix ADC deployments and configuration, I think the exam prep guide is enough to pass the exam.

Good luck!

Exam prep & experience: VMware Certified Advanced Professional 6 – Data Center Virtualization Deployment Exam (VCAP6-DCV Deploy)

TL;DR: I have passed the VCAP6-DCV Deploy exam today. :) I want to thank Fred, Dominik, Frank and Jens-Henrik for kicking my ass. Without you, I would have taken the VCP 6.5 delta exam. Thank you!

As often, the whole thing started with a tweet. A tweet about my expiring VMware Certified Professional (VCP) certification.

To my surprise, several of my followers recommended to go for the VCAP6-DCV Deployment instead. Okay, so many smart people can’t be wrong.

I booked the exam, prepared for the exam, took the exam today – and passed!

27 questions in 205 minutes (25 minutes extension for non-native speaker) is a pretty challenging task. I was able to answer all questions in the given time. I left the test center with a good feeling, and after an hour I got the mail that I have passed the exam! Woohoo!

Preparation is everything

Preparation and time management. That’s all. Easier said than done. ;)

Make sure that you have read the exam guide. This document is intended to provide detailed information about the objectives covered by the exam. It was crucial for me to get a feeling about what I have to learn. I have been working with VMware vSphere since ESX 2.5, that’s a pretty long time, yet I do not know everything. Especially things like vSphere Data Protection, Auto Deploy or some certificate-related tasks are not day-to-day tasks.

I premillary worked with Kyle Jenners VCAP6-DCV Deployment Study Guide and and the VMware Hands-on-Lab. The VCAP6-DCV Deployment is not a MC test, like the VCP exams. You have to do real tasks. So experience is crucial to pass the exam.

Because I don’t have a lab, I used the VMware Hands-on Lab instead. I can recommend these three courses:

  • HOL-1911-01-SDC (What’s New in VMware vSphere 6.7)
  • HOL-1808-01-HCI (vSAN v6.6.1 – Getting Started), and
  • HOL-1827-01-HCI (VMware Storage – Virtual Volumes and Storage Policy Based Management)

Unfortunately, there is no course available that covers vSphere Data Protection and vSphere Replication.

But there was also another reason, why I have used the HOL: The VCAP exam environment is based on the interface of the VMware HOL. This was pretty helpful, because I was able to get in touch with the interface prior the exam.

Due to security restrictions, the exam environment does not support some keys and shortcuts, e.g. CRTL and ALT. To my surprise, the Backspace key worked in my enviornment. Many people stated, that the Backspace key isn’t working. Because of this, VMware has published an Interface Guide. Make sure to read it! And learn how to get around these limitations. There is also a pretty handy YouTube video with tips and tricks:

To test yourself, you can use this free VCAP-DCV simulator. The simulation provides scenarios that are equal to the scenarios from the exam. This is pretty handy to get a feeling of how good you are prepared for the exam.

VCAP6-DCV Deploy Exam Simulator – FREE

You have ~ 7 minutes per questions. If you don’t have an idea how to answer a question, move on! Write down the number and some keywords, then move onto the next question. Instead of waiting for tasks to finish, move onto the next question and come back later to check the task result.

I took the exam at Blue Consult in Krefeld (Germany). This was a recommendation of one of my followers (Thanks Dominik!). Fortunately, Blue Consult has keyboards with US layout in their test center, which makes it much easier for me. The performance of the exam environment was quite good. No lags or hanging sessions.

What’s next?

I will book the VMware Certified Advanced Professional 6.5 – Data Center Virtualization Design exam as soon as I passed the NetScaler CCP-N exam, which I have to take until end of December 2018 (Thank you Citrix… NOT!).

VCIX6.5-DCV FTW! :)

HPE Networking expert level certifications

A couple of days ago, I took the HP0-Y47 exam “Deploying HP FlexNetwork Core Technologies”. It was one of two required exams to achive the HPE ASE – Data Center Network Integrator V1, and the HP ASE – FlexNetwork Integrator V1 certification. It was a long planned upgrade to my HP ATP certification, and it is a necessary certification for the HPE partner status of my employer.

You might find it confusing that I’m talking about an HP ASE and a HPE ASE. That is not a typo. The HP ASE was released prior the HP/ HPE split. The HPE ASE was released after the split in HP and HPE.

The HP/ HPE ATP is a professional level certification, comparable to the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA). The HP/ HPE ASE is an expert level certification, so the typical candidate for a HP/ HPE ASE certification is a professional with three to five years experience in designing and architecting complex enterprise-level networks.

Requirements

There are different ways to achieve this certification. Regardless of the way you chose, you need a certification from which you can upgrade. This does not have to be a HP/ HPE certification! If you hold a valid CCNA/ CCNP or JNCIP-ENT, you can upgrade from this certification without the need of a valid HP/ HPE ATP Networking certification.

If you want to earn the HPE ASE – Data Center Network Integrator V1, and the HP ASE – FlexNetwork Integrator V1 certification in a single step, you need at least one of these certifications:

  • HP ATP – FlexNetwork Solutions V3
  • HPE ATP – Data Center Solutions V1

Or if you want to upgrade from a non-HP/ HPE certification:

  • Cisco – CCNP (any CCNP regardless of technology)
  • Cisco – Certified Design Professional (CCDP)
  • Juniper – JNCIP-ENT

Now you need to pass two exams:

HP2-Z34 (Building HP FlexFabric Data Centers)

The HP2-Z34 exam focuses on deployment and implementation of HPE FlexFabric Data Center solutions. Therefore, the exams covers topics like

  • Multitenant Device Context (MDC)
  • Datacenter Bridging (DCB)
  • Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS)
  • Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE)
  • Ethernet Virtual Interconnect (EVI),
  • Multi-Customer Edge (MCE),
  • Transparent Interconnection of Lots of Links (TRILL), and
  • Shortest Path Bridging Mac-in-Mac mode (SPBM).

HPE offers a study guide to prepare for this exam: Building HP FlexFabric Data Centers (HP2-Z34 and HP0-Y51). I used this guide to prepare for the exam (eBook). The guide was of an average quality. Its sufficient to prepare for the exam, but I used other materials to get a better understanding of some topics.

HP2 exams are web-based exams. To pass the HP2-Z34 exam, I had to answer 60 questions in 105 minutes, with a passing score of 70%. The exam was quite demanding, especially if you don’t have much real-world experience with some of the covered topics.

HP0-Y47 (Deploying HP FlexNetwork Core Technologies)

The HP0-Y47 exam covers the configuration, implementation, and the troubleshoot enterprise level HPE FlexNetwork solutions. The exam covers different topics, e.g.

  • Quality of Service (QoS)
  • redundancy (VRRP, Stacking)
  • multicast routing (IGMP, PIM)
  • dynamic routing (OSPF, BGP)
  • ACLs, and
  • port authentication/ port security (Mac-auth, Web-auth, 802.1x)

I used the HP ASE FlexNetwork Solutions Integrator (HP0-Y47) study guide to prepre myself for the exam. Unfortunately, it had the same average quality as the HP2 Z34 guide: Good enough to pass the exam, but don’t expect to much.

HP0-Y47 is a proctored exam. I had to answer 55 questions in 150 minutes, with a passing score of 65%. The exam is not very hard, if you were familiar with the covered topics. Experience with ProVision and Comware is absolutely necessary, because both platforms have their peculiarities, e.g. processing of ACLs, differences in Stacking technologies, commands, STP support etc.

It took me some time to prepare for both exams, despite the fact that I work with ProVision and Comware Switches every day. So I’m pretty happy that I passed both exams on the first try.

Citrix Certified Professional – Networking (CCP-N) exam experience

Last friday I passed the 1Y0-351 (Citrix NetScaler 10.5 Essentails and Networking) exam with a pretty good score. The exam was necessary, not only because I will do much more NetScaler projects in the future, but also because Citrix has made it mandatory to have a CCP-N in your company to to sell Citrix NetScaler.

Preparation

My employer booked me a 5-day course (CNS-220 Citrix NetScaler Essentials and Traffic Management). Very nice, although I already had experience with NetScaler deployments. This training was designed for NetScaler 12.0, not for 10.5.

A training might be recommended to prepare for an exam, but usually it is not sufficient to pass it. But I want to pass the exam in the first try, so I took a closer look into the Citrix NetScaler 10.5 Essentials and Networking Preparation Guide.

In addition to the student and lab material, I deployed three NetScaler VPX (10.5,11.1 and 12.0) in my lab. I really recommend this! Especially to learn the CLI and how to read the log files.

The exam

S. Hofschlaeger / pixelio.de

The exam 1Y0-351 is focused on NetScaler 10.5, and will be not available after January 19, 2018. The sucessor of this exam is 1Y0-340, which is based on NetScaler 12.0. It is available since October 20, 2017. You might have noticed that my course was designed for 12.0, but I took the 10.5 exam. Well, I could not identify a question that would have had to be answered differently for NetScaler 12.0. But I really recommend to take the exam matching your course.

You have to answer 72 questions in 120 minutes. I got 30 minutes extra, because I’m a non-native english speaker. I had to answer two survey before the exam. One of them was a self-assessment about my NetScaler skills.

The questions were pretty fair, no trick questions, or questions were multiple answers seemed to be correct. The exam met the exam objectives from the prep guide. And because I already wrote it: You really should work with the CLI, and you really should know the important logs.

In sum: A challenging, but pretty fair exam. No marketing, no factual knowledge from spec sheets etc. When you are quite familiar with NetScalers, there is a good chance to pass the exam in the first attempt.

VCP7-DTM certification beta exam experience

Nearly a month ago, a tweet caught my attention:

These beta exams are a cost-effective way to achieve certifications. The last beta exam I took, was the VCP6-DCV beta. Because I already had the VCP6-DTM on my to-do list, the new VCP7-DTM beta exam was released just in the right moment.

As already mentioned in the blog post of the VMware Education and Certification Blog, there are primarly three reasons to take this beta exam:

  • get certified
  • low costs (only 50 USD)
  • identify strengths and weaknesses

Beside of this, VMware can test the questions and is getting feedback to increase the quality of their exams.

Exam preparation

The beta exam preparation guide is quite comprehensive.  Desktop and Mobility (DTM) is not only about VMWare Horizon View. VMware Horizon Mirage, App Volumes, User Environment Manager, Thin App, IDM/ Workspace are also part of the exam.

Section 1 – Install and Configure Horizon Server Components

  • Objective 1.1 – Describe techniques to prepare environment for Horizon
  • Objective 1.2 Determine procedures to install Horizon Components
  • Objective 1.3 – Determine steps to configure Horizon Components
  • Objective 1.4 – Analyze End User Requirements for Display Protocol Performance Knowledge
  • Objective 1.5 – Diagnose and solve issues related to connectivity between Horizon Server Components

Section 2 – Create and Configure Pools

  • Objective 2.1 – Configure and Manage Horizon Pools
  • Objective 2.2 – Build and Customize RDSH Server and Desktop Images

Section 3 – Configure and Administer VMware Mirage

  • Objective 3.1 – Install and Configure Mirage Components
  • Objective 3.2 – Configure and Manage Mirage layers
  • Objective 3.3 – Configure and Manage Mirage Endpoints

Section 4 – Configure and Manage Identity Manager

  • Objective 4.1 – Install and Configure VMware Identity Manager
  • Objective 4.2 – Manage VMware Identity Manager

Section 5 – Configure and Manage User Environment Manager

  • Objective 5.1 – Install and Configure VMware User Environment Manager
  • Objective 5.2 – Manage VMware User Environment Manager

Section 6 – Configure and Manager App Volumes

  • Objective 6.1 – Install and Configure VMware App Volumes
  • Objective 6.2 – Manage VMware AppStacks and writeable Volumes

Section 7 – Configure vRealize Operations for Horizon

  • Objective 7.1 – Manage VMware Workspace Portal

The preparation guide outlines some documents, which can be used to preapre for the exam. Although I’m working with Horizon View on a regular base, I had some “blind spots”. I used the official documentation and my lab to prepare for the exam.

The exam

The exam contained 175 questions, and I had 245 minutes to answer all the questions. I arrived early at the test center, because I had booked the first available slot for that day. I did not expect to be able to answer all the questions. View, Mirage, App Volumes, Workspace and IDM were the main topics, only a few questions about ThinApp and vROps for Horizon. Many questions were about administrative topics, where to click to achieve something, or where a specific option is located. There were also some questions about requirements, supported databases etc. As far as I can judge, these were all fair questions. If you have intensivly studied the documentation, you have do not have to fear this exam. Experience in administration is a great plus.

I really do not know if I have passed it. It will take some time. The results will be available after the beta phase. If I don not passed, I have at least gained experience.

Juniper launches Design Certification Track

This tweet from @JuniperCertify has caught my attention:

Later that day, I got an e-mail from Juniper with the same announcement. Juniper has launched its Design Certification Track inside the Juniper Networks Certification Program (JNCP) and the Juniper Networks Certified Design Associate (JNCDA) is the first available certification.

The new Design Certification Track

A picture says more than a thousands words (… I found this in the blog post “Juniper Networks New Network Design Curriculum and Certifications” on the Juniper “My Certification Journey” blog):

juniper-plan-build-operate

Juniper/ juniper.net

Juniper addresses the “Plan” phase of the network life cycle and many of the talented folks from Juniper contributed to this new certification track. This certification is not addressed directly to network architects, pre-sales consulting and the other people who are involved in the planning. It’s aimed more at network professionals and designers with beginner knowledge.

Currently there is only an associate-level certification, but this will be the prerequisite certification for specialist-level certifications on the Design Track, that are currently in development.

First stop: Associate certification

The Juniper Networks Certified Design Associate (JNCDA) certification is the first available certification and Juniper starts, similar to the other certification tracks, with an associate-level certification. On a higher level, the written exam covers the following objectives:

  • Customer Design Requirements
  • Customer Organizational Structure
  • Physical Design Considerations
  • Logical Design Considerations
  • Industry Alternatives

A more detailed objective list can be found on the Training & Certification website. You can schedule the exam (JN0-1100) at any Pearson VUE test center. You have 90 minutes to answer 65 multiple-choice questions. Unfortunately, Juniper doesn’t release any information about the needed passing score. The exam fee is 100 US-$.

To prepare yourself for the exam, you can book a 3 day Juniper Networks Design Fundamentals (JNDF) course. This course covers all necessary topics. If you think you’re experienced enough, try the practice test. For the moment, there is no self-study material available.

VCP6-DCV Delta Beta exam experience

Today, I took my very first VMware beta exam. I took the 2V0-621D exam, known as the VMware Certified Professional 6 – Data Center Virtualization Delta Beta Exam, at a local Pearson VUE test center. This exam is a possible migration paths from a valid VCP5-DCV, or any valid solution track VCP, to the VCP6-DCV certification.

The benefit of a beta exam is the low price (currently 50 US-$) and a chance to upgrade the associated certification, in this case the VCP6-DCV. This was the main reason for me to request the authorization and schedule an appointment at a local Pearson VUE testcenter. When I pass the exams, that would be a very effective and simple upgrade.

Exam topics

The blueprint for the delta beta exam consists of 10 sections and it covers a bit more then only VMware vSphere 6.

  • Section 1: Configure and Administer vSphere 6.x Security
  • Section 2: Configure and Administer Advanced vSphere 6.x Networking
  • Section 3: Configure and Administer Advanced vSphere 6.x Storage
  • Section 4: Upgrade a vSphere Deployment to 6.x
  • Section 5: Administer and Manage vSphere 6.x Resources
  • Section 6: Backup and Recover a vSphere Deployment
  • Section 7: Troubleshoot a vSphere Deployment
  • Section 8: Deploy and Consolidate vSphere Data Center
  • Section 9: Configure and Administer vSphere Availability Solutions
  • Section 10: Administer and Manage vSphere Virtual Machines

Each section includes one or more objectives. In opposite to exam 2V0-621, the VMware Certified Professional 6 – Data Center Virtualization Beta Exam, the delta exam doesn’t include the objectives

  • 7.4: Troubleshoot and Monitor vSphere Performance
  • 7.5: Troubleshoot HA and DRS Configurations and Fault Tolerance
  • 8.3: Consolidate Physical Workloads using VMware Converter
  • 10.3: Configure and Maintain a vCloud Air Connection

Manfred Hofer highlightes this already in a blog post about his exam experience. But instead, the delta exam includes the objective

  • 9.3: Setup and Configure AppHA

So if you take the delta beta exam, you better take a closer look at VMware AppHA.

The exam

The exam consists of 75 single and multiple choice questions. You have 90 Minutes time to answer all questions. If you are a non-native english speaker, you will get 30 minutes extra. The questions are not always related to VMware vSphere 6! There are also questions about vSphere in gerneral, or prodcuts around vSphere, like Replication or AppHA. In my case, the questions were very unevenly distributed over the blueprint sections. I got a relatively high number of questions involving HA, DRS, Resource Pools and troubleshooting in general. Carefully reading the question and answers was very helpful. In most cases, I was able to eliminate wrong or unlikely answers. Answers must not be correct, sometimes answers were “best fit” answers.

With 75 questions in 120 minutes, I had more than one minute per question. That’s much more time as you get in the VCP5-DCV (vSphere 5.5) exam. There you have to answer 135 questions in 120 minutes. After 60 minutes I clicked the “End Exam” button. Now I have to wait. The results will be published after the end of the beta phase. This may take 6 to 8 weeks.

I don’t know if I passed the exam. In fact, I did not really prepare for the exam. I have the documents just flown over. But it was a very nice experience.

VCP5-DCV Delta recertification exam extended

Originally the VCP5-DCV Delta exam (VCP550D) was available until 30. November. I passed it on 22. November, about one week before the planned ending of availability. Yesterday, VMware announced the extended availability of the delta exam. You can find the announcement on the VMware Education and Certification Blog. The exam will be available through 10. March 2015. Previously requested authorizations are still valid.

This delta exam is focused on the differences between VMware vSphere 5.1 an vSphere 5.5, and it is available to existing VCP5-DCVs who took the VCP510 exam and need to recertify on or before 15. March 2015. The exam consists of 65 questions. You have 75 minutes time to answer them. If you’re a non-native english or japanese speaker, you will granted 30 minutes extra time.

VCP5-DCV Delta recertification exam

The clock is ticking… Current VCP5-DCVs who need to recertify their VCP can do this until 30. November 2014 by passing the VCP5-DCV Delta exam (VCP550D). The exam can booked online via Pearson VUE and it’s delivered as an online exam. This means, that you don’t have to visit a Pearson VUE test center to take the exam. The costs for the exam are 90,- € plus taxes (in my case ~ 107 €).

vcp550_delta

VMware/ vmware.com

This delta exam is focused on the differences between VMware vSphere 5.1 an vSphere 5.5, and it is available to existing VCP5-DCVs who took the VCP510 exam and need to recertify on or before 15. March 2015. The exam consists of 65 questions. You have 75 minutes time to answer them. If you’re a non-native english or japanese speaker, you will granted 30 minutes extra time.

I recommend to take the chance and take the exam. You have the choice: Answer 65 questions about vSphere 5.5, or pass a complete VCP5 (DCV, Cloud, EUC, NV) or VCAP exam. I would choose the lesser evil. ;) When you’re an experienced VCP, then you will pass the delta exam without much prep. Check the blueprint and you will see: No nasty stuff, IMHO quite simple stuff. I passed the exam in the first attempt between breakfast and lunch. ;) Go, go, go!

EDIT

The VCP550D availability was extended until 10. March 2015.

Exam experience JNCIA-Junos

The Juniper Networks Certification Program (JNCP) consists of different tracks, which enable you to demonstrate your skills with Juniper products and technologies in the areas most pertinent to your job function and experience. There are three main areas:

  • Junos
  • Support
  • Product and Technology

The Junos area consists of three tracks:

  • Service Provider Routing and Switching
  • Enterprise Routing and Switching
  • Junos Security

The “Service Provider Routing and Switching” track focuses on service provider and telecommunication (M-, MX-Series, Routing with OSPF, BGP, MPLS etc.), the “Enterprise Routing and Switching” on enterprise routing and switching in LAN and WAN (EX-Series, MX-Series, Spanning-Tree, VLANs, Routing etc.) and the “Junos Security” track is focused on the Juniper Security products (SRX-Series, Routing, Firewall, VPN etc.). All three tracks have the Juniper Networks Certified Associate – Junos (JNCIA-Junos) as a prerequisite. This is an entry-level certification and it covers the following objectives:

  • Networking Fundamentals
  • Junos OS Fundamentals
  • User Interfaces
  • Junos Configuration Basics
  • Operational Monitoring and Maintenance
  • Routing Fundamentals
  • Routing Policy and Firewall Filters

The certification is compareable to Cisco CCNA (Routing & Switching, Security) or HP ATP (FlexNetworks or TippingPoint Security). The certification can be achieved by passing the JN0-102 exam, that can be booked at Pearson VUE and which is delivered as an proctored exam. The exam costs ~100 € (depending on taxes). A Fast Track program for different certifications is available, so also for the JNCIA-Junos. If you pass a pre-assessment exam, you can get a 50% discount exam voucher for Pearson VUE. I strongly recommend to take the pre-assessment exam and save 50% costs. The voucher can only be used one time. So if you fail the first attempted, you have to pay the full price for the second attempt. It’s strongly recommended to get a CertManager ID before you schedule the exam. Otherwise you can’t get your eCertificate. You can get a CertManager ID later and connect it with your Juniper accounts. You can get a CertManager ID here.

To pass the exam you have to answer 70 multiple-choice questions in 90 minutes. I can’t tell you the passing score, because it’s not officially published by Juniper. But it’s compareable to other entry-level exams I passed in the last years. Nothing special. You get the result (if you passed or failed) immediately after the exam. But, and this was new to me, you get only a provisional score report! Juniper states on its homepage:

Juniper Networks then performs industry standard statistical analyses on all exam results to ensure compliance with the Juniper Networks Candidate Agreement and JNCP exam security policies.

It seems that Juniper tries to avoid that people pass the exam that have used braindumps or that have thrown a coin at each question. You get the final score report within three business days. I passed the exam on friday (based on the provisional score report) and today I had the exam listed as “passed” in my CertManager account.

Exam preparation

You can prepare for the exam in many ways. Juniper offers three different trainings that cover some of the exam objectives:

You don’t have to take a classroom or virtual training, you can prepare yourself for the exam. Juniper offers an excellent free software documentation, the Fast Track Self-study Guides and different Day One Guides (e.g. Day One: Exploring the Junos CLI). If you like CBT, try the course on Pluralsight: Juniper JNCIA-Junos – Introduction to Junos OS (thanks to Chris Frisch for developing the course!). Hands-on experience is strongly recommended! You can get cheap SRX 100 or 110 on eBay. Or try Juniper Firefly Perimeter, a virtual SRX. You can use it for 30 days without a license. Don’t make the mistake and buy Juniper 5GT or SSG series! They are running ScreenOS, not Junos! If you think you are well prepared, try the practice test that is offered by Juniper. If you pass the practice test schedule your exam at Pearson VUE.

The exam

I passed the Fast Track pre-assessment exam some weeks ago and scheduled an appointment for last friday (24. October). I had not much time to prepare for the exam. I used the Fast Track Self-study Guides (two PDF with ~ 160 pages) and a Juniper Firefly Perimeter to prepare for the exam. Since I’m quite familar with the SSG and SRX, I know how firewalls policies, routing and routing protocols work. As above mentioned the exam consists of 70 questions that have to be answered in 90 minutes. There is no bonus time for non-native speaker. Some questions can be answered really quick, but some questions, especially question with an exhibit, need more time. As far as I’ve seen all exam objectives were covered. I can’t reveal any details, but reading the study guides is not enough to pass the exam! You should be familiar with converting decimal to binary and IPv6. You should also be familiar with IP routing, subnetting, longest route match etc. Know the Junos CLI and the syntax for the important commands. You should also know how Junos routing engine and packet forwarding engine act together. Don’t waste to much time with basic questions. And very important: READ CAREFULLY! Some questions are nasty if you haven’t read the question, the exhibit and the answers…

I finished the exam after round about 60 minutes and passed it. I felt the exam as challenging, compared to other entry-level exams.

What’s next? I think I will start prepare for JNCIS-SEC and maybe JNCIS-ENT. The latter is more of a hobby because my employer does not sell Juniper EX. But in any case: It opens future options and learning new things is always a good thing.