Automating and Programming Cisco Data Center Solutions DCAUTO 300-635: Everything You Need to Know to Prepare and Pass the Exam
- August 24, 2020
- Posted by: Muhammad Afaq Khan, CCIE
- Category: Automating and Programming Cisco Data Center Solutions (DCAUTO 300-635 V1.0) Cisco DevNet Professional
In this article, I am going to cover every bit of detail that you need to get started, to prepare and pass the Automating and Programming Cisco Data Center Solutions or the DCAUTO 300-635 exam. You can take the DCAUTO exam and the DEVCOR 350-901 exam to earn your DevNet Professional certification. Likewise, Automating and Programming Cisco DC Solutions Exam is one of the many concentration exams that you can take along with the DCCOR 350-601 core exam to earn your CCNP Enterprise certification. If you are already up to speed on what this exam is all about, you can go ahead and download my 75-hour DCAUTO learning plan by submitting the form shown below.
The Automating and Programming Cisco DC Solutions or the DCAUTO 300-635 exam is one of the many new exams that Cisco announced in June 2019 as part of their most sweeping career certification program update since inception (all the way back to 1993!). Not only did Cisco announce newer exams, they also revised rules for recertification as well as introduced the brand new Cisco DevNet certification. All exam and rule changes went into effect on February 24 2020.
The Automating and Programming Cisco Data Center Solutions or DCAUTO 300-635 is one of the DevNet Professional concentration exams. As we discussed, to become a DevNet Professional, you need to pass the Cisco DEVCOR 350-901 exam and one of the eight DevNet Professional concentration exams.
DCAUTO Exam Topics or Objectives
The Cisco DCAUTO 300-635 exam topics includes four sections. Based on my analysis of the official DCAUTO exam blueprint, 45% of the exam topics covered within the official DCAUTO exam blueprint contain theoretical topics and the other 55% of the topics necessitate some level of hands-on activity.
- Network Programmability Foundation
- Controller Based DC Networking
- DC Device-Centric Networking
- DC Compute
Let’s now cover each of the exam sections as defined in the official Cisco DCAUTO exam blueprint.
Network Programmability Foundation
This section includes topics such as the common git operations, API styles, synchronous and asynchronous APIs, Python 101, Python virtual environments, and configuration management platforms such as the Ansible and Puppet. About 66% of the content in this section is about theory, whereas 33% requires hands-on.
Controller Based Data Center Networking
This section comprises of topics such as the ACI API Inspector, Python script to create a policy using the ACI REST API or Cobra SDK, Ansible playbook for an application policy and Kubernetes integration with the Cisco ACI CNI plugin. About 33% of the content in this section is about theory, whereas 66% requires hands-on.
Data Center Device-centric Networking
This section consists of network core related topics such as the Day zero provisioning with Cisco POAP and NX-OS iPXE, on-box programmability and automation using Bash Linux containers (LXCs), Guest shell, EEM, etc. It also includes mode-driven telemetry, SNMP, NetFlow and Syslog, and performing on-box automation using NX-API, NETCONF/OpenConfig and Ansible with NX-OS. About 40% of the content in this section is about theory, whereas the other 60% requires hands-on.
Data Center Compute
This section comprises of topics such as the configuring Cisco UCS with developer tools for example UCS PowerTool, Python SDK, and Ansible, Cisco Intersight API, and implementing workflows for physical and virtual infrastructure using Cisco UCS Director. About 33% of the content in this section is about theory, whereas 66% requires hands-on.
Cisco DevNet Professional Concentration Exams
To become Cisco DevNet Professional certified, you need to pass DEVCOR 350-901 as well as one of the following eight DevNet concentration exams. All concentration exams carry 300 series, i.e. DCAUTO exam is numbered as the 300-635.
DCAUTO Exam and Job Task Analysis (JTA)
JTA is about the exam alignment with the actual role that you’re required to perform as a network and data center automation engineer. So, what are the actual roles that are out there that you can work in network or DC automation space today.
- Network Automation Engineer
- Enterprise/SP focused
- DC focused
- Security focused
- Network DevOps
- Network Reliability Engineering (NRE)
Now, based on those three roles, we can easily see that the DCAUTO exam maps nicely to the Data Center focused automation engineer expert role, but not so much with to the NetDevOps and NRE. It obviously only scratches the surface for each of those roles and mastery requires not just passing more of the concentration exams but actually coding, configuring and troubleshooting the Cisco DC infrastructure and solutions using the platform APIs.
DCAUTO and Concentration Exam Costs or Fees
Each attempt at DCAUTO exam costs $300, like it is for all 300 series CCNP and DevNet Professional concentration exams.
Cisco DevNet Certification and Recertification Costs or Fees
Given that you need to pass DCAUTO and the DEVCOR 350-901 exam, DevNet Professional certification would cost you $700.
For recertification, things get more interesting, since you’ve multiple options.
Cisco DevNet Professional
- Pass the DEVCOR exam again ($400)
- Pass any 2x professional concentration exams ($600)
- Pass the Cisco DevNet lab exam (not available today)
- Use Cisco Learning Credits >=80
It is worth noting that in the newer Cisco certification program format, all certification cycles last three years.
DCAUTO Exam Preparation
It is a tough exam, and your background matters a lot.
So, if you are a Cisco DevNet Associate, you will find some of the topics familiar but at a higher difficulty level. During my analysis, I found out that the amount of exam topics overlap with the Associate and DEVCOR exams is about 20% and 23% respectively. What does that mean for you? Well, it makes sense to complete your DevNet Professional certification by passing the exam in the following order.
- DevNet Associate (DEVASC 200-901)
- DevNet Core (DEVCOR 350-901)
- DevNet Automating Data Center solutions (DCAUTO 300-635)
DCAUTO 75-Hour Learning and Study Plan
Now, to help you get started, I have put together a comprehensive 75-hour learning plan that you can follow to guide your DCAUTO exam prep. Watch the video below where I cover the DCAUTO learning plan in detail.
DCAUTO Practice Test
Cisco Data Center Sandboxes
Currently Cisco offers Cisco Intersight, UCS, UCSM, and Open NX-OS related learning labs. You can get started by checking out the Cisco’s DC sandboxes.
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Author:Muhammad Afaq Khan, CCIE #9070
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