A coworker and I are spending the week out of town attending a NetScaler administration class. We typically try to stagger training like this, but NetScaler classes seem to pop up with much less frequency than XenDesktop or XenApp classes, and the NetScalers are so far outside our day-to-day experience, that we decided to both get it under our belts before launching our virtual desktop system in January.
The XenDesktop class I did earlier this year was good, although I would describe it as a fine-tuning of all the hands-on experience I’d built up over the last couple of years, as well as some good “what if” scenarios fielded by trainer. This NetScaler class is different, as my hands-on experience with the NetScaler to date consisted of a few minutes spent riding shotgun with our consultant as he configured the devices, along with a quick and dirty troubleshooting walk-through. All of the material in this class is new to us, and I find myself dusting off concepts I haven’t had to work with in theory for more than ten years, and in practice never.
One thing I like about the class so far is the trainer. The main reason I gave up on vendor/certification training after getting my MCSE back in the NT4 days was because I went from attending classes taught by a moonlighting tier 3 support engineer to attending classes taught by professional trainers whose primary skill set seemed to be the ability to read the course material while standing. I was pleasantly surprised that my XenDesktop trainer seemed to be equal parts consultant & trainer, and it looks like my NetScaler trainer is an even better mix of the two. A quick example – coming back from lunch I described an issue we were seeing and he immediately identified the problem and told us he would incorporate the issue and the fix into a lesson coming up on Wednesday.
Another thing I like about the class is that all of the labs (so far anyway) are written with instructions for both the GUI configuration utility and the command line. You might think that as a Mac guy, I’d prefer the GUI tool, but you’d be wrong. Maybe it’s all the time I spend in the Terminal on my Mac, or maybe it’s all the playing I’ve been doing with a Linux VPS from Linode, but I’m having a blast living and working in a tool that I know I can use whether I’m on my Mac, my iPad, or, in a pinch, my iPhone.
Day one of the class is done. I’m looking forward to the rest.