Last week I completed the VMware NSX: Install, Configure, Manage [V6.0] course, so I wanted to share my thoughts on the training. This is not an official VMware perspective, but my own personal thoughts on the class, the venue, and the instructors.
I have taken a number of technical trainings both live in person, live online, and on demand recorded. I have to say, the live online is my favorite for this type of trainings to attend since I can be in my own home office, and work on my own equipment which is always nice. This time I was able to interact with a number of customers and fellow VMware employees not just in the U.S. but also in South America which was exciting. The interaction was priceless, although I was a little outgunned. I took the course to get myself up to speed on not just NSX but also on more advanced networking concepts, more on that later, but it turned out almost half the class were CCIE or close to that level. Coming from a storage and virtualization background this was a little intimidating, but it gave us lots of good discussions and questions.
The labs were great, there were a few hiccups, but it seems like the lab team has really gone all out to fix the bugs, and this was one of the better lab environments I have seen for an online training. It helped to demystify the product, much more so than simply going through the hands on labs, http://hol.vmware.com, which are great, but not always enough to get you to the point of being comfortable working on the product.
I won’t call out the instructors by name, but they were great. A little cheesy sometimes as instructors tend to be, but very knowledgable. I have noticed technical instructors can be hit or miss, but this time our instructors made it interesting. One big bonus was the reviews. Every segment we had to go back over what we had discussed, and they pushed us pretty hard to interact. Not easy to do online, but they handled it well.
Not having a networking background, I wasn’t sure what to expect here. I was not 100% sold on the NSX concept. It was cool, but I didn’t have enough data to make an informed decision. Going through the course really showed the value of software defined networking. My take is that there is no desire to replace hardware networking and firewall vendors, just augment them. There are some use cases that make sense, distributed firewalls, giving the networking team more insight into the virtual network, and even another perimeter to prevent attacks, but overall it was pretty clear, this is not going to replace the physical infrastructure.
Overall, this was a great course, and I recommend it even if you’re not interested in the certification. The feedback from the CCIE levels in the class was that it was very helpful, and I think everyone was able to take something away.