7 thoughts on “BCFD – Brocade Certified Fabric Designer

  1. Paolo

    Congratulations for the BCFD!

    I was collecting some information about BCFA-BCFP-BCFD on the web and I accidentally bumped into this great blog. Thank you for sharing some valuable tips … they will be my study guidelines during next few months ;)

    I was wondering how you’ve practiced tests. I mean, did you buy any online exams (e.g. testkings Q&A)?

    Could you recommend any book in addition to PDFs/Web based training (free ones) provided by Brocade? I have a couple of books at the moment:
    – Principles of SAN Design (Josh Judd);
    – Multiprotocol Routing for SANs (Josh Judd).

    Others recommended books by Josh Judd are:
    – Building SANs with Brocade Fabric Switch (Josh Judd);
    – Practical Storage Area Networking (Dan Pollack).

    These are all old books, but it seems they contain very useful information (the basic one) for passing the exams.

    I would be very grateful if you could give your opinion about this.

    1. guldmyr Post author

      Thanks Paolo! BCFD was quite difficult, and it was also the 16Gbps Beta so it was a 4 hour long test! At the same time I was designing a SAN at work so reading through the course material while thinking of ways to improve and design a SAN really made me think about what I was doing and reading.

      I did not buy any testking or dumps or anything like that, I only used the materials provided. I’m fairly sure it’s against the rules to use these dumps and could very likely invalidate your results.

      I presume you’re starting with the BCFA?

      The only real book I’ve read about SAN is one by HP for the HP0-J16 exam and frankly it did what it said on the cover – an introduction. But nothing more, I would not recommend it.

      Most of my preparation from the BCFA I got from experience while working at HP’s storage support, this may however not be an option for you :)

      The BCFA course material is good. In the cheaper versions of the course material may have a recording of somebody presenting the material, which also is another way to learn it.

      There was even a virtual class room (that was free back then) that went through the ‘in a nutshell guide’ – where the participants could ask questions to the presenter. This was really great, I don’t know if they provide this anymore though.

      Perhaps just learning about the networking part of a SAN gives you an incomplete view? Do you know about the tape/storage side already?

      Here are some other material:

      * Brocade’s FC 101 – Introduction to Fibre Channel Concepts. # This is really good because it takes you through the theory.
      * HPs SAN Design Reference Guide # A pdf that goes through best practices for how to configure HP’s storage and san.
      * I read on a blog somewhere about a book that was used for training NetApp storage people, but sadly I cannot find it now.
      * Ah, I found it! http://www.amazon.com/Evolution-Storage-Brain-transformative-storage/dp/1451577648/

      Come to think of it, it might also be good to get an idea of how to _use_ a FC-based SAN as well.
      So how to actually configure an OS. This is not part of the course material and is OS and array-vendor specific.

      * http://www-03.ibm.com/support/techdocs/atsmastr.nsf/WebIndex/WP101914

      There are lots of commands in the CLI of a brocade-switch. I wouldn’t say you need to memorize all the commands, but some are obviously more important than others and to have a switch to log on to and run commands on really helps. I believe my posts on this blog goes through what other material I used, but I think the Fabric OS Administration Guide is useful for all exams.

      Got any more questions just fire away :)

  2. Paolo

    Thank you for your advices Johan!

    Yes, I’m gonna start with BCFA. I began with Brocade FC101 WBT (free), and it was very interesting, with a lot of useful information. The “HPs SAN Design Reference Guide” seems very good too … and very “generous” :-S

    I’ve read you had to wait a few weeks before knowing about your exam’s score. It was just because of the “beta” version or is there a “minimum” time you have to wait between each exam?

    I worked for about four years at HP as Unix & SAN Administrator, so I have some knowledge about OS and Disk Arrays.

    Will you go for “Data Center” Track? ;-)

    1. guldmyr Post author

      No problem Paolo, if you have any questions or something you want to discuss something just let me know :)

      I haven’t taken a ‘real’ Brocade exam, they’ve all been beta-exams. I do not think you have to wait in between the exams before you can take the next one though. I’ve read somewhere that the delay after taking the Beta exam until the results are posted are because they have to go through all the answers and decide which questions to keep and send the scoring back to the test organizer.

      Cool stuff! I quite recently started working as a storage administrator, it’s not so much SAN but still a lot of fun. Storage can be complicated sometimes ;)

      I believe I am going for the Data Center track. I could accomplish it by taking 4 or 5 of the “Accreditation” exams so that could be nice to have :)

      Ah, I take it you’re not with HP anymore? Just around the time when I left HP I believe they had improved the “HP – Introduction to SAN” course quite a bit.

  3. guldmyr Post author

    Hey, just found some more books you may want to check out. They are all listed in the notes in the FC 101 “Course Introduction” presentation.


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