Friday, August 22, 2008

IBM Exam 704 - Advanced DB2 DBA Certification

Taking advantage of IBM certification promotion offered to their business partners in Malaysia, I enrolled into the test 000-704 advanced DB2 DBA about less than one month ago. The test only costs me USD30. Primary study material is the "Advanced DBA Certification Guide and Reference for DB2(R) Universal Database v8 for Linux, UNIX, and Windows", ISBN #0130463884. Overall the study experience was a pleasant one because you get to dive into the rich technical details of IBM DB2 database engine and start to be amazed by this world class RDBMS.

Anyway I think that it is too naive to declare someone as certified Advanced DB2 DBA just for the sake of passing 56% out of 57 questions. Yes, the questions are breadth and tricky but it would be better if the number of questions in the test increased to let say 300, :), testing every nuances of DB2.

For me, even passing the exam with flying colors as usual, I think I'm only conquered maybe 35% to 50% of the total universe of DB2 version 8 LUW, not to mention my lack of exposures in DB2 for i5/zOS and version 9 universes.

I will work harder. :-)

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Passed IBM DB2 Certification Exam 701

Officially I didn't hold a full time job as DBA in any of my previous employments, however this doesn't stop me from getting one or two DBA certifications, because my hunger for knowledge and piss off with some moments where intricacy of DB technical details hinder my architecting and design process.

Besides all the formal knowledge and information I acquainted, one of the most important experience is to further understand the scope, responsibility and difficulties that real DBA faced in their daily operational routines and when application development needs conflicted with the interest of maintaining corporate data policy and security auditing.

In the enterprise application paradigm, the only way a solution architect can architect a better solution is to completely understood and blend every piece of the jigsaw puzzle together into a coherent whole, in the right way.

That's my motivation. Now let me share my preparation process.

1.) Read up the IBM DB2 701 Preparation Materials from IBM

Nothing much to say here.

2.) Read up DB2® Universal Database™ v8 for Linux®, UNIX®, and Windows® Database Administration Certification Guide, by George Baklarz, Bill Wong

You can opt to skip the last part regarding Application Development, even though no harm for you to take a look into it. That part is more relevant when you were taking exam 703.

3.) Do at least one project dealing with DB2 DBMS

4.) Do your own exploration and experiments with some of the concepts in the materials like HADR, Roll Forward and etc.

5.) Get enough coffee and sleeps. Trade off between these 2 important constraints :-)

Lastly, I'd like you to know that DB2 V9 series of examination is already available and you should jump on the bandwagon of V9 if your company or projects are using it or potentially will. I sticked to V8 because that's the one bundled together with IBM DBW DWE V9.1 and I dealt with that version of DB2 the most.

P/S: I got a 100% score in this exam. Cheers. I finally revenged on my 98% score in exam 700. :EVIL:

IBM DB2 Exam 000-700

I did it in the reverse way. I took the exam 000-705, yet I still haven't take 000-700. It's time now to bridge the gap and to obtain the official title of BI Designer.

Following are the steps I took for the preparation:

1. Read DB2 Family Fundamental Guide from IBM

6 chapters guide. Clear and concise to help you pass above 75%.

2. Read eLearning Crammer Course Material from colleague

Consists some sample questions and added notes for task 1. If you read this, 80% and above shouldn't difficult.

6 chapters guide. Clear and concise to help you pass above 75%.

3. Read a 400 pages book

DB2® Universal Database™ V8.1 Certification Exam 700 Study Guide
By Roger E. Sanders

Must read if you plan to get 85% and above.

4. Use DB2 whenever possible

SQL section constitutes 31% of exam. Practice makes perfect. I wouldn't need to do this step since I'm already quite good in it. :p

Must do if 90% and above is your target

Note: No. No advanced SQL covered in the exam. No recursive SQL you bet!

My result sheet

Some of the questions are pretty tricky. I shall not put the real questions here, but just to give you some clues, here is a similar one:

(Not REAL questions)

1.) If you gotta build DB2 application on XXX OS and it need to access YYYY OS DB2 Server when deployed, which of the following DB2 product is the minimal you need?

a. DB2 UDB Personal Edition
b. DB2 UDB Personal Edition with DB2 Connect Enterprise Edition
c. DB2 Personal Developer Edition
d. DB2 Universal Developer Edition

Answer is C. Because you need to build DB2 application, you need the SDK toolkit and at least a DB2 UDB PE for testing, therefore C is the minimal. D can be the answer is the question is not on MINIMAL because DB2 UDE includes every DB2 PDE components. A and B is definitely not the answer since it doesn't include SDK in the package.

and another typical kind of question.

2.) What should you catalog for a client to access a DB2 host database?

Answer: You need to catalog the remote server in the NODE directory, the remote database in the System DB directory AND remote database in the DCS directory since you need to use DB2 Connect to access host database. You need to understand the parameter use in these CATALOG statements.

Good luck for you folks that taking this exam.

IBM DB2 Exam 000-705

To earn the title as IBM Certified Business Intelligence Designer, I got to get myself pass in two exams. 000-700 and 000-705. I already passed the 000-705 BI exam during IBM Malaysia sponsored workshop (It's free for IBM business partner).

Here is the summary of the 000-705 exam preparation and experience.

1. 3 days of IBM DWE V9 bootcamp

Hmmm, not that relevant to the 705 exam, more like IBM try to equip its' business partners presales skills on the new DB2 DWE. It covers topics like the new Design Studio, Intelligent Miner, Cube making and etc.

2. 1 day of 705 exam workshop

It is like a last minute top-up of the knowledge pertaining to the 705 exam objectives. The instructor covers the test objectives one by one, and goes through some sample questions.

3. Self study

Got myself the copy of study guide from IBM web site for BI Designer exam version 7, most of the concepts and theories are still applicable.

Found a few excerpts from the book
"Business Intelligence for the Enterprise",
ISBN: 0-13-141303-1

This book is only 240 pages and it tells you general "stories" of Business Intelligence. Personally, I found it not that useful for the exam, but still something interesting to read about.

Scored a 87.5% or answered 49 questions correct out of total 56 questions.
Hit major bumper in the section "Business Intelligence Data Sourcing/Movement", which mostly the questions on replication and types of data warehouse processing (full, incremental, snapshot, etc).

705 is not a technical paper. If you have decent experience in data warehousing and business intelligence, then questions in the terminology, requirements and architecture are piece of cake.

Again, it is easy to pass, but hard to score and excel.

CA Clarity Boot Camp '06 in Malaysia

After 3 weeks of intense boot camp training, finally the D day. Completed all exams with consistent scoring and time of completion, wonderful. *thumbs up*

A photoshooting session in the last day, and here is the Yahoo! photo album that contain pictures from one of my classmate's camera (Sony Cybershot W5).

Yahoo! photo album

And a souvenir from CA Malaysia as a token of appreciation for the completion of the course and certification. See below.

Name Card Holder

What most matter now is the prepareness into real world projects. Certification is one thing, implementation would be a totally different dimension. Good luck to every certified technical guys in my class.