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CCNP Data Center Study Plan

I have set a lofty goal for the first part of 2015 - obtain CCNP Data Center before Cisco Live 2015. The certification requires that I pass four exams out of a possible six. I will be taking the following exams -

  • 642-999 DCUCI
  • 642-035 DCUCT
  • 642-997 DCUFI
  • 642-980 DCUFT

The other option would be to take one or both of the design exams, however I am going to stick with troubleshooting for two reasons - 1) It relates to what I do on a daily basis and 2) CBTNuggets has the DCUCT and DCUFT series available already. Because training material for the Data Center track is so limited right now, it is best for me to use what resources are available.

You may have noticed that I’ll be starting with the UCS side of the exams. With the Cisco UCS Platform Emulator available for free, this again comes down to making use of what I have. I should have plenty of Nexus gear or a copy of VIRL by the time I get to the Unified Fabric exams so, for now, I will let those rest.

Based on some threads over at and the CCIE Data Center reading list, I have obtained the following books to fill in any gaps in the CBT Nugget videos -

As for a test schedule, the current plan is something like this:

  • 642-999 DCUCI - 2/6/15
  • 642-035 DCUCT - 3/6/15
  • 642-997 DCUFI - 4/10/15
  • 642-980 DCUFT - 5/8/15

That will leave about four weeks of play before Cisco Live. I find it best to alway leave a little bit of wiggle room, but setting these dates (and posting them online!) will hold me accountable.

So, not a ton of meat in this post, but you can at least get a feel for how I lay out my certification studies. As my studies progress, I will have a series of posts summarizing topics from the exam outline. Are you studying for the CCNP Data Center? Leave a comment below and share how it is going!


  1. Good luck, I’m starting down this path on my own as well with DCUCI end of the month. Need to do it for partner status (skipping CCNA DC altogether for now). Good to know CBTNuggets has the DCUCT and DCUFT courseware! I’m using Stormwinds which is nice but DCUCI and DCUFI only at this point.



    1. Both troubleshooting courses look pretty short (about 4 hours of content each). I haven’t watched either, but I’m sure they cover most of the material. Good luck to you as well!


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