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From the author of Preparation Hints and Trouble Spots

Preparation Hints and Trouble Spots

Coming into the Cisco Data Center certification track, each candidate may be stronger in one of the primary disciplines: server, storage, or network. The Cisco Data Center track helps you learn all three areas. As a result, you may have an easier time with some topics, but a more difficult time with those for which you have less background. Know your strengths and weaknesses, and be ready to do extra reading, take your time, and fill in the gaps in your knowledge.

Many of the DCICT networking topics revolve around options other than the Spanning Tree Protocol (STP) for dealing with how the network uses redundant links. Make sure that you have a good foundation on STP from your DCICN study (STP is a big topic in the DCICN exam). To understand the competing options, remember the fundamentals of why loops would occur with Layer 2 switching without STP, how STP prevents the loops, and the drawbacks of STP. vPC, Fabric Path, FEX, and other options all provide different solutions for using redundant links—sometimes removing the need for STP, and sometimes improving the function of STP.

The combination of the Cisco UCS and server virtualization concepts requires you to think about servers as pools of resources: CPUs, RAM, Ethernet NICs, and so on. Take the time to download trial versions of at least one popular hypervisor, such as VMware vSphere, and experiment. Also download Cisco's UCS Platform Emulator, a free tool for learning about Cisco UCS.

Given the breadth of topics in this single exam, make it a point to stop after studying each major area (compute, networking, and storage), and review what you have learned already before moving on to the next topic. Because the sheer number of new terms and competing ideas can be a challenge to learn, taking time to review each major area can help you with your exam preparation.

Finally, connect with the best Cisco exam preparation community: the Cisco Learning Network (CLN). The Cisco Learning Network provides forums for each certification, where you can look for good discussion and answers to your questions.

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