Last week, I wrote a blog post on how to prepare for Aruba ACCX certification. I got some positive feedback and interest from many of my contacts who asked me to write a post on how to prepare for ACMX and ACDX. In this post, I will cover how to prepare for ACMX while ACDX will be covered in an upcoming post.
As you know, Aruba offers multiple certification tracks for different technologies like Mobility, Design, ClearPass and Switching. ACMX is the expert level certification in the mobility track that really confirms your technical expertise in implementing and troubleshooting large-scale WLANs based on Aruba technologies. It is a very tough exam but definitely worth it! To be very transparent, I didn’t sit for the latest lab exam but I did the exam when it was based on version 6 and I passed from the first attempt. Later on, I renewed my ACMXv8 by passing the written exam.
I am sharing my view on how I would tackle such exam. As always, I think about any certification as a journey and not a final destination. It is very important to focus on learning the associated technologies while preparing for the certification and not focus on just passing the exam.
ACMX EXAM – BRIEF OVERVIEW
To attain the ACMX certification, candidates must pass the Aruba Certified Mobility Expert (ACMX) written exam prior to attempting the ACMX practical exam. You can check the details for ACMX certification here. I will focus on the practical exam.
As shown below, the core of the exam (82%) is based on the overall Architecture, L2/L3 setup, redundancy and WLAN services. So this should be the main focus area while preparing & taking the exam. The dynamic segmentation (UBT) and Airwave only constitute 18% of the exam so these should be the “easy points” in the exam. So if at the end you are running out of time and something minor is not working as expected in other sections, make sure you secure some easy points by completing these parts before working on the pending issues.
RECOMMENDED TRAININGS & STUDY RESOURCES
For me, the most important part in preparing for ACMX is to have hands-on experience in deploying multiple Aruba controllers. In addition to this experience and to prepare for the exam, I built my lab from scratch with with Master/Standby and 2 Local Controllers. For now, since it is based on AOS 8, I would definitely build my lab based on MM/Standby MM and at least 2 VMCs with Clustering and 1 VMC for Multizone and Airwave if I were to prepare for the exam again.
The two critical resources for me were the official trainings from Aruba. Below are the links to the latest trainings. In particular, the Advanced Mobility Troubleshooting Course was very informative and eye-opening so I strongly recommend you attend this course and practice what you learn from it before sitting for the exam.
- Implementing Aruba Mobility, Rev. 20.11
- Aruba Advanced Mobility Troubleshooting and Solutions, Rev. 20.21 – This is a must- attend course. Also, the mini mock lab will be very helpful in your preparation
As part of preparing for the exam, you should check the below resources as well. In my opinion, you should be very confident with all of the below:
- AOS 8 Fundamentals Guide – The name says it all!
- Aruba AOS 8.2 Youtube Series by John Schaap – This an excellent resource where you start from scratch and build a complete setup with redundant MM, clustering, Multizone, PBT and UBT…etc.
- IAP VRD and RAP Solution Guide – Remember IAP and RAP are part of the exam and it is essential to understand how to configure them
- Airwave and Aruba Best Practice Guides – Remember Airwave part accounts for 9% and it is the easiest part in my opinion!
- Aruba Troubleshooting Cheat Sheet – Yes, this is old but gold!
Configuration & Troubleshooting Approach
Based on my experience, the exam was built around a real world scenario where you are required to both configure and troubleshoot the network to meet the customer requirements. Accordingly, when you prepare for the exam, it is very important not to focus only on how to configure things, but also learn how to troubleshoot things that are broken. For example, I would focus on
- How to configure MM redundancy? How to confirm it is working properly? What can cause it to fail? What are the needed licenses?
- How does AP discovery work? What is required for it to work? What can cause it to fail?
- How to configure clustering? How to confirm cluster is properly operational? What is the difference between L2 vs L3 connected? How to handle CoA in a cluster?
- How does the traffic path work in tunneled mode? bridge mode? Split-tunnel? Where can I use each of these options?
- How to configure Multizone? What is needed on Primary controller? Data zone controller?
- How to troubleshoot client connectivity? How does role derivation work? How to troubleshoot Role assignment? How to check firewall policies? How does Airgroup work?
- How to configure UBT? How does role assignment work? VLAN assignment?
- What is required for Airwave to work?
While taking the exam, try to be systematic and use your time wisely. The exam is very demanding but it is better if you read the whole booklet to have a clear understanding and plan on how you implement the needed requirements. Don’t panic but consider the exam itself as part of your learning journey.
Hopefully, you will pass the exam and attain your ACMX #. There is so much more to learn more and your learning journey will always continue. Feel free to share your feedback or provide your comments below.
(Note I will not discuss anything related to the exam itself due to NDA but I can help you if you need any technical clarification)