I have been lucky enough to been able to attend the VMware vSphere Fasttrack 5.1 course at VMware Melbourne Headquarters. We are the 6th class to do the new version of this course. I have heard great reviews of the Install, Configure, and Manage course that is offered so when training requests were sent out, I applied. My boss bumped my training up to the next level and booked me into the Fasttack. This course is designed for those with a little more than basic VMware knowledge but willing to tackle 10-12 hour days with deep diving on all sorts of technologies. It included all topics in the Install, Configure, and Manage and included more advanced networking and storage concepts.


The course itself is being offered at VMware Melbourne office. This fresh office is bright and comfortable and includes a fully stocked, help yourself kitchen. Initially on arrival, I was greeted by a lovely receptionist who was very bubbly and set the tone for the start of the week. She signed me in and showed me to the training room. Funnily enough they are named after Victorian surf beaches.


VMware provide half-a4 sized bound printed booklets which cover the course. This course material are the standard partner format. This is a corresponding Powerpoint with additional information. The goal of the course isn’t to read all the information but to absorb what the instructor is discussing and use this to reference at a later time. The delivery and format in this way allows for full immersion. The whitespace here and there fills very quickly with design tips, references, more information, and war stories that yield superb gotchas.


Our instructor is absolutely amazing. Her name is Frances Grunberg. I have never experienced such a knowledgable person. Her delivery of the course material thus far has been nothing but exceptional. She teaches with such wisdom and knowledge of the outside world. Every topic has a great reference to why and how but also includes design advice. One of the best parts about this is the fact that I have not heard her stutter once or even hit at saying ‘um’. She can answer all types of tricky questions with quick responses that speak of many years experience. Frances teaches the VCP5-DV, VCAP certifications, vCloud courses, and many more throughout Asia-Pacific.

The Experience

As we shuffled in at 0730 with our coffees we were greeted by a very cheery instructor who ushered us into our class. Holding 12 people at comfortable capacity our class of eight spread out and got read. A shrink wrapped pile of books were placed on each desk. Four large bound books awaited us. These were to be our course materials for the week. They weighed in around 300 pages each with a 30 + lab manual. This was going to be big.

We started with a what is virtualization and how VMware actually achieve this. We went through hardware and abstraction and the VMware licensing system. Surprisingly this is an easy concept unlike the networking industry. We moved through and discussed topics like private and hybrid cloud and as the days in the classroom we rounded off on dozens of very cool technologies. vCenter, High Availability, vMotion, Storage vMotion, Distributed Resource Management, vSwitch, and Distributed vSwitch. Those are the tip of the iceberg. We deep dove on all topics. If it wasn’t for the style of delivery it would have been information overload. Our books contained the matching Powerpoint slide on-screen with extended information and notes. This itself is very informative but the gold was delivered in what Frances said. The industry experience and caveats to the extra information delivered in another way all combined to be a great method of learning.


After pass the course I am now eligible to sit and test for my VMware Certified Professional 5 – Data-Center virtualization certification. I will attempt this course around March spending most of the time from now until then studying. Expect a lot of blogs.


I cannot state enough how detailed I found this course. Other courses on single topics have never dug this deep until now. Crazy thing is that this topic was the breadth of some core VM offerings. The money that courses cost are a lot these days but this course I felt like I got tonnes out of. I didn’t walk away feeling drained. I walked away feeling energised  Now when a new service or cluster is deployed, I can comment and add value to conversations regarding requirements of a customer or project. Superb course for engineers in the Data Center and a great course to provide knowledge of what will be used in your Data Center.



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