Took the Oracle VM essentials beta exam

Wow, that was hard!
without the prior 5-day training the questions made the RHCE feel like a breeze now.
(I also tried a RHCE with self-training back in 2006 and just so failed to end up with RHCT. Mostly because I didn’t get night sleep back then and spent the afternoon fighting to not fall asleep)

Firstofall I wanna say that the RHCE prep material by RedHat feels a lot more useful. They give you an outline of topics, and if you know all those services in and out, you’ll do fine.

For Oracle VM my girlfriend and I had trained by setting up a Wiki in Confluence, and there dissassembled all the exam topics listed on the website, writing a short essay on each.

With the Oracle VM beta exam I really felt pushed for my (lack of) knowledge, but also the topic descriptions were more vague _and_ it is not a hands-on test like RHCE, so you will see a lot of “tricky” questions where you just need to identify which answer is the least stupid. Being a beta exam there was still quite some that I felt uncomfortable with, like “but if you look at it like this then answer B is far more correct that the A they want”.
I _hate_ that.

Sometimes it was hard to conclude what the questions were going at, sometimes they asked things that I never, ever thought about in 5 or 6 years of using Xen. I’m sure they were covered in the original art of virtualisation paper, but I just never needed to know the technical details this well.

A lot of questions also concerned the special features that you only see in Oracle VM, some also of course were just standard product stuff that basically tests how well you know the GUI (hard for me as I ditched the Oracle VM manager after doing a short eval back in ’09). Some stuff concerned the JeOS or templates and I was quite blank there, too. In the real world I just didn’t use JeOS at all, sticking to minimal images from

I still feel a bit shaken, now 11 weeks of wait to find out if I passed.

Overall it was a damn interesting experience, I also like the beta bit of it. Opposing to the beta exams at brainbench you could actually provide feedback on every question.

If you wanna see if you know a bit about Xen, go try it. In my opinion it is definitely far more valuable than the Citrix exams.


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