I recently took the exam at home for the AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate Certification (SAA-C02). I passed with a score of 775. The exam was harder than I anticipated and I had a very tough time with the exam’s check in process.
I used a few resources to prepare for the exam: A Cloud Guru’s course on Udemy, practice tests on WhizLabs, and AWS FAQs. The A Cloud Guru course was a good overview of most of the exam objectives, but not thorough enough. The practice tests were very easy that came with the course. WhizLabs’s tests were nearly as hard as the actual exam and good to learn from. I recommend to read the following AWS FAQs: EC2, EBS, S3, Aurora, RDS, DynamoDB, VPC, Auto Scaling, and ELB.
The system check used by Pearson VUE is almost worthless. It does not do comprehensive enough checks on your computer and network. It appears to only check your Internet speed, webcam, and microphone. I did it a few days before the exam, the day of the exam, and every time it said I was good to go. However, I had an issue that prevented me from completing the check-in process and I barely got it working in time.
I got through the cell phone steps where I had to take photos of my ID, my room, and myself. Then Pearson VUE’s OnVUE gave me the following error message.
You have lost your internet connection. OnVUE is disabled until your connection is restored
My computer was obviously still connected to the Internet. I did the process again and got stuck at the same spot again. I got a hold of Pearson VUE’s support after waiting 18 minutes. They were not helpful at all. I did some troubleshooting and googling. I found a lot of people with the same problem and no resolution. Then I finally figured out what was the problem for me. I use Sophos XG Firewall Home Edition. Very rarely, Sophos’s IPS and/or virus scanner can cause odd issues with websites not working. I disabled both of those services and then I was able to move to the next step of my check-in process with one minute to spare. Pearson VUE’s system check should be much more thorough and catch issues like this so that the exam taker can work out potential issues beforehand.
I recently passed the VMware Cloud on AWS Management Exam 2019 (5V0-31.19) with a score of 478. The exam is scored the same as every other VMware exam. There are actually no prerequisites to take the exam and the exam is taken online. I assume VMware has these two differences to appeal to a larger crowd that are not on the traditional VMware certification tracks. The exam is only 30 questions, but only 45 minutes to complete the exam. Definitely have to think quick and harder than I expected. The exam followed very close to the exam guide. I previously took the VMware Cloud on AWS: Deploy and Manage class, which I feel helped me prepare for the exam. However, the class only has lab simulations that are basically click through animations. I did have access to a real VMware Cloud on AWS account so that also greatly helped me to get ready for the exam.
I have two personal announcements that I am excited to share. I was selected as a VMware vExpert for 2018. One of my goals with this blog was it to assist in being recognized as a vExpert. I am happy I reached that my first year. There’s other contributions I made to the community that helped, such as the VMTN forums and VCAP Google+ community. Hopefully, I can be more active and achieve this status two years in a row.
I passed the AWS Certified SysOps Administrator – Associate exam. One challenging aspect of AWS exams is the passing score changes without warning and the passing score to reach. I took the exam the last day the specific version was available and fortunately passed with a 91%.
I attended the AWS Public Sector Summit in Washington, DC this week. I usually do not attend so many conferences. This should be my last one for a while. I just happen to live nearby so I didn’t want to pass on the opportunity to learn more about AWS.
The keynotes were not really what a typical keynote address is at a conference. They were only a few minutes of announcements and then a few customer stories each day. The biggest announcement was GovCloud East is coming in 2018. Though, a more specific time frame would have been better received.
There were a lot of break sessions to choose from. There was a session on VMware Cloud on AWS. I don’t think there was any big news and sadly still no date for GA. Here’s a few things I got out of the session. Customers will purchase this service from VMware. AWS services will be billed separate from VMware by Amazon. All AWS services can be accessed from a customer’s VMware cluster, which will be hosted at a AWS data center. ESXi will boot from a EBS volume and no root access to the host for customers. The underlying storage for the VMs will be vSAN, which is a minimum of 4 hosts. Elastic DRS will be able to bring up a new host fast. I think within minutes. However, removing a host will take more time as data needs to be moved from the disks on the host.
I attended a fascinating session hosted by Kevin Murphy, Program Executive Earth Science Data Systems at NASA. He talked about and showed some of the projects NASA has been working on and how they leverage AWS. Some of NASA’s projects pull in petabytes of data ever day from satellites. The data is available for free for every person and company in the world. Kevin demonstrated one of his projects called Worldview, which I provided a description below. I highly recommend everyone to check it out. You can add an assortment of layers with various information, such as all major fires around the world and by date.
This tool from NASA’s EOSDIS provides the capability to interactively browse global, full-resolution satellite imagery and then download the underlying data. Most of the 150+ available products are updated within three hours of observation, essentially showing the entire Earth as it looks “right now”. This supports time-critical application areas such as wildfire management, air quality measurements, and flood monitoring. Arctic and Antarctic views of several products are also available for a “full globe” perspective. Browsing on tablet and smartphone devices is generally supported for mobile access to the imagery.
I’m sure Amazon will be looking to expand the event next year. I heard the attendance was at least 7,500 before Tuesday afternoon, which seemed to catch Amazon by surprise. Despite the crowds, I had a good time and learned a lot during my two days at the event .
VMware has dominated on-premise virtualization for years, but has struggled in the cloud. Everyone knew vCloud Air was way behind AWS and Azure. I barely heard much about vCloud Air lately and not even a mention at the recent VMUG I attend.
First let me go over a couple sell offs in the past year. VMware sold its vCloud government service on August 31 to QTS. Then this month OVH announced it would like to buy vCloud air. Bye bye vCloud Air!
VMware has pivoted, which I think they have a better chance of being successful. That is with leveraging NSX in the cloud and piggybacking off of already large, established cloud providers. They made the announcement during VMware world last year about their partnership with Amazon. Seemed like a rushed announcement since they didn’t have anything to show for a while. However, more technical information has been shared this year. Also, VMware has already been working with IBM Cloud and I heard plans for them to do the same with Azure.
I’m very interested in seeing how VMware will do with offering cross cloud architecture. Perhaps the cloud will not be siloed between vendors in the future. Check out The Fluffy Admin’s article on VMware Cloud on AWS for more information.