This week I had to the opportunity to attend the VMware vSphere Design Workshop V5. I don’t get the opportunity to attend training very often, so I was grateful for the opportunity. There is usually no travel budget when training is offered, so I had to take this class online.
The instructor for the class was Brett Guarino. Besides being a VCI he is also a consultant. Having an instructor with current operational experience is very helpful. This was his first time teaching the class online. I thought he did a good job of presenting the material and answering questions. I felt he even went above and beyond and helped students fix audio & microphone issues they were having with Adobe connect. Brett had taken and passed the VCAP5-DCD, so he was able to give us some good insight into the exam. It is always a crap shoot on what instructor you are going to get, but I would have no problem taking a class again with Brett as an instructor.
Online Classroom Environment
The online class uses Adobe Connect to present the class to everyone. If you have never seen or used Adobe Connect before, there is a good demo on YouTube. I feel it is a good online collaboration tool for online class presentation and group discussion. Days before you attend the class you are sent an email so you can connect the environment and make sure your audio & speakers are working. For some reason many students still were not ready the first day and some students could never get their microphone working. I wondered if they were intimidated and used that as an excuse.
The class is 5.x so it is supposed to cover all versions of vSphere 5, but I felt there was some material that could have been updated. Most of the information in the class is a few years old, but most of the concepts are still relevant. Everything that is talked about in the class is pre 5.5. Nothing has been updated with 5.5 material.
In each lab after we presented our designs and discussed them, we would go over the VMware answer. In some cases it was unclear and ambiguous why VMware chose the design/answer they did. There were no requirements that justified the design/answer they chose.
I felt there was too much discussion about features and should have been more discussion about how features should be used in a design. I also wished there was more discussion on design scenarios.
If I had to pay for this class on my own, I would have been a little disappointed. I really thought some of the material could have been updated with new more relevant material.
When the instructor puts you into groups to work on a labs, there was not as much discussion going on as I thought there should be. Usually 1 or two people talked the most and did most of the design work. I wish the instructor would have asked us to complete the labs on our own and then everyone could present their own design. I think this would have fueled more discussion.
Not sure it if would have been the same in a physical class room, but it would be easier too see what there body language is. I feel that it would be easier to collaborate and generate more discussion than the online class.
One objective for this class was to validate many things I learned while studying for the VCAP5-DCD. I think I accomplished that goal, but I am not sure if I can say that I am a lot more ready to take the exam after taking this class.
I would wait for this class to be updated or wait for V6 if you are thinking about taking this class.