Is this the Cheapest VCP Course available.

Over the last 6 weeks I have been completing the Stanly University, VMware 5.5 Install, Config and Manage course. This course is distance learning course covering the requirements of the VCP exam. Importantly this is a VMware sanctioned course as part of the VMware IT Academy, meaning that it qualifies you for the Attending the course part of the VCP. More information can be found on their web site here

vmware IT Academy

There is a wait list for the course as it basically runs in terms. I registered on the 1st of September and on the 6th of October received an offer to sign up for the October session starting on the 27th of October and ending on the 15th of December so a 7 week course. So if you are considering the Stanly course I would strongly recommend that you get on the wait list ASAP, it’s not a commitment you can skip the dates if you can’t do it and apply for the next session.

The Cost is the biggest attraction to this course as its basically cost $185.00 so for me £121.25

After that I received a logon to the Stanly Moodle site, and was able to start working through the course at the rate of 2 chapters a week. Each week taking between 5 to 10 hours to complete. The Moodle course was well structured with between 1 and 5 videos presentations to watch per chapter, with a companion web site running the Labs,

module1.1

module1.2

module1.3

To successfully complete the course you must complete all required quizzes, maintain active status in your course, and complete a minimum of 18 Labs (completing all 22 labs is highly recommended). Whilst there is no official timetable you could for instance work hard and complete it all in couple of weeks. There was a warning stating “Please do not wait until the last minute to do your labs for the VMware course!” so I would strongly advise not to put it off and try to keep to the official schedule.

Having already read most of the official VMpress VCP5-DCV Official Certification Guide by Bill Furguson I Personally think that the Stanly course left out a few of the exam objectives listed in the Latest Exam Blueprint, in particular Distributed Switches were not covered, but then I am expecting to complete further studies to pass this exam, and given the cost I will forgive this oversight.

vcp book

The Labs I will say were very good, whilst they weren’t VMware HOLs, they were run on a NDG NetLAB + platform. More information can be found on their web site here

The labs were built with 2 ESXi servers, some shared storage, a VCSA and a Ubunto desktop. As the client runs on a Ubuntu desktop it forces you to use the Web client for all tasks which has now greatly improved my confidence with this interface as it’s all too easy to drop back to the traditional vSphere C# client

vmware_icm_pod

Lab Topology

After successfully completing the VMware course through Stanly Community College, you are eligible to access the Stanly VMware Store which grants you the opportunity for free software and a 70% exam discount voucher code. This now brings the cost of the exam down for me from £162 to £48.60

Whilst we are talking about the exam it would appear that the exam discount for the VMware IT Academy is applied to a special exam, VCP550PSE which stands for Proctored Exam so if you have already taken VCP550 it won’t count towards your VCP for this course.

The store lets you download VMware software for free (with one year licenses) such as vSphere 5 and 6, VMware Workstation 12, and Fusion.

stanly vmware store

Additionally being a Stanly student gives you access to the Microsoft DreamSpark program. DreamSpark is all about giving students Microsoft professional-level developer and designer tools at no cost so that students can chase their dreams and create the next big breakthrough in technology or just get a head start on their career, More information can be found on their web site here So I can also access the latest Microsoft professional developer tools at no-cost, including:

  • Microsoft Azure cloud services (no credit card required)
  • Visual Studio Community 2015
  • Windows Server 2012 R2
  • SQL Server 2014 Enterprise Edition
  • DreamSpark also get me an access Key to Pluralsight for 90 days

So was it worth it, well yes lets just summarise what I got for my outlay of $185.00

  • A VCP qualifying course
  • Access to VMware software and Licenses from the VMware Academic Program
  • Access to the Microsoft DreamSpark program
  • Access to Pluralsight for 90 days
  • 70% of the VCP exam.

So my next few weeks will hopefully be spent studying for the VCP exam, I’ve already been building / upgrading my home lab and now its up and running so I now have no excuse to get my head down.

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