On January 17th, I completed my VMware recertification. Just a few days later, VMware announced it’s new recertification policy, leaving out the mandatory two years recertification requirement. On March 1st, I received the following message from VMware; “As it’s been communicated with our recent changes to the VMware recertification policies, we have identified you as completing your Certification requirements by completing the Expired Recertification Path within the last six months. As a token of appreciation for the extra time and effort it involved, we are providing you a free one-year premium license to the VMware Learning Zone.”
For some reason that also reminded me of the past, after successfully passing a VMware VCP exam, you received an envelope with the certificate and a one-year license for VMware Workstation by mail.
So time to redeem my free one-year premium license and share my first experiences.
What is the VLZ?
The VMware Learning Zone is an online platform offering all kinds of training videos and eLearning courses. The “Premium learning Subscription” is one of four learning subscriptions which give you 24/7 access to the training materials. Most subscriptions go for one year! The four options are:
Basic: Offers over 720 technical videos and 58 short self-paced courses and VMware Certified Associate (VCA) training.
The Basic subscription comes free. You only need a VMware Mylearn account. Although free, this subscription has a lot to offer, for an overview see here.
Standard: Offers the Basic subscription plus an additional 200+ videos and 15 eLearning courses.
This overview shows what you can expect. The Standard subscription costs $ 515.00 (USD) or € 423.00 (EUR).
Premium (what I got): As Standard subscription plus access to 6 Certification prep courses (including more than 460 videos).
Prepares for VCP exams and access to all Exam prep courses. For a complete overview, see here.
At this time the Following VMware Exam Preps are offered:
- vSphere 6 Foundations v6.5 Exam (2V0-602)
- VCP6 – Data Center Virtualization Exam (for exam 2V0-621)
- VCP6 – Data Center Virtualization Delta Exam (for exam 2V0-621D)
- VCP6 – Data Center Virtualization v6.5 Exam (2V0-622/2V0-622D)
- VCP6 – Network Virtualization Exam v6.2 (for exam 2V0-642)
Note: No exam preps for the VCP-CMA and VCP-DTM tracks.
The Premium subscription costs $ 1025.00 (USD) or € 835.00 (EUR).
Enterprise: Targets on IT organizations, combines everything from the other levels plus additional On-Demand and Lab Connect courses.
Other subscription options include 180 days Certification Exam preps, on Demand courses and VMware Lab connect.
What do you get for real?
The big question, what does a subscription offer you?
After login, a heavily populated page is presented. From here, besides the “My VLZ” section, you can select by Product by Skill level or by Delivery type.
The “My VLZ” section contains “VMware Home”, here you can directly jump into VCA certification training, Learning plans, Fundamental courses and register for upcoming webinars (also known as Instructor Hours). On top of the page there is also an option for buying additional On Demand labs and courses!
The “Dashboard” keeps track of your recently viewed lessons, so you can easily continue or review your lessons. The VLZ also has a Community section. Here you can engage with other students and enter the General Room or the Exam Prep room.
In the “Products” section, VMware products are grouped by product family. E.g., after selecting “Data Center and Cloud Infrastructure”, you will see products like: ESXi, vCenter, Integrated Containers and vCloud Director. Selecting all products or one of the products brings you to a collection of documentation, screen casts, videos or Exam preps related to the selected product.
After selecting the product you can further refine by selecting the desired Skill level (ranging from Fundamentals to Expert) and/or Delivery type. The Delivery types are somewhat confusing. Options Video, Screencast, Webinar, Course have a lot in common. Better would be: Video, Live Lab and Document.
Let us try. My first choice is a vSphere Advanced Learning Plan about Datacenter and Cloud Infrastructure.
After selecting enroll, an overview of the lessons is presented. The first 4 lessons discuss the concepts of the Managed Object Browser. However, instead of lessons 5 and 6, the learning plan switches to exam prep lessons discussing topics like basic VM troubleshooting, Storage multi-pathing and troubleshooting storage and networking. A rather strange combination.
Next, I had a look at the VCP6 Network Virtualization Exam prep. First you will be presented the Exam preparation guide (which can also be found here) followed by an impressive 110 videos exactly following the objectives in the Exam prep guide!
Videos take something between 5 and 10 minutes on average and will walk you thoroughly through the objectives!
From the Exam prep pages, with a button click you can directly schedule your exam!
Fundamental Courses also make a large part of the offering. Some courses like the “VCA – Digital Business Transformation (VCA-DBT)” include 73 lessons and cover many topics on Desktop and Mobility.
It is time for a summary of my first impressions of the VMware Learning Zone. Of course, the most important part is the quality of the content offered by VMware. One of the best parts seems to be the Exam Preps. Exactly following the objectives mentioned in the Exam Prep Guides, these extensive videos are a solid foundation for your exam. Although, I was browsing the content, quite often it was not easy to stop watching and continue. It should also be mentioned that some short presentations can also be found in the various VMware channels on YouTube.
This also raises the question how often will new content be added to the VLZ? I could not find an answer to that question. However I probably found some new content, an exam prep on VCAP level: the “VCAP6-NV Certification Exam Prep”.
On the other hand, some things could be improved. The user interface is not that intuitive and responds slow, especially the “VMware Home” page. In more then one occasion, selecting a product (vDS, VVOLs) returns no results!
The Dashboard is useful for keeping track, but there is no option to bookmark your favorite items. Compared to other learning platforms like Pluralsight, there is no option for a monthly subscription. There is also no option for offline learning, which I prefer while commuting to work.
As always, I thank you for reading and welcome your comments.