Achieving the MASE Server/Storage certification, a tale of perseverance.

How I ended up being a MASE certified expert. 

Server storage-related certifications are difficult to achieve as the learning is vast and rigorous, and it needs a lot of perseverance and discipline, I am sharing my journey of achieving these certifications with the hope that it might inspire, clarify or warn professionals considering formalising their skills in this area.
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For most IT professionals acquiring technical certification helps them map and pursue new skills and acquire new knowledge that is relevant to their position. It also helps us stay up-to-date regarding the latest industry practices and methods.

Server storage-related certifications are difficult to achieve as the learning is vast and rigorous and needs a lot of perseverance and discipline, I am sharing my journey of achieving these certifications with the hope that it might inspire, clarify or warn professionals considering formalising their skills in this area. Many of these certifications were a need for the organisations I worked for.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise ATP Storage Version 1

After joining Misco (previously I was at Techdata) I was asked to have a look at a Storage certification that Misco want to get for ‘Silver’ Status. In this case, it was a single exam at a test centre. At that time I knew nothing about HPE having been mainly an IBM Server/Storage specialist beforehand.

For this one, I got sent on a training course which was done in Watford (should have been London but they moved it). Interesting bits were around the way the MSA storage worked and how it replicated. Even though it’s a tad old now. I could not make it the first time, and missed by a mere 2%, but passed the exam on my second attempt and was thrilled at having achieved that.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise ASE Storage Version 2

Around 2015 I was asked to look at the next certification up as Misco were looking to achieve ‘Gold’ Status for Storage and get the rebates that went along with this, again a business need propelled me on my second phase of the certification journey.

This particular exam was in three parts, so I had to take three different exams which were all from different pools of 120 questions, of those I had to answer 70 of them and get a 70% pass mark,

The first one was around Backup/Catalyst & Tape and StoreOnce, I found this one quite easy as it roughly matched my previous experience with IBM Tape backup along with the IBM backup devices.

The next one was around 3Par/MSA and XPR, found this one very difficult as 3Par wasn’t anything like any of the previous boxes I had looked at and had a completely different front end.

The third one was around One-View, Sims and management on both Storage and part of the server stack. This one wasn’t too difficult in my opinion, it felt the same as some of my previous experiences and I managed to pass all three exams in five tries, that took some effort! the main issues were around the storage exam if I remember correctly, so that is the one to watch out for.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise ATP Version 1

Having achieved two professional certifications around 2018 I started doing some initial reading for Hewlett Packard Enterprise ATP Version 1 along with looking through the Adobe Press Booklet on the certification.

Previously HPE had separate exams and certifications for the ATP on both Server & Storage, I could have divided and conquered, but they had released this one as a combined exam together with bits around One View.

In August 2018 I took and passed the ATP V1 first time! On the first attempt! I was quite surprised as my previous attempts at passing the server ATP in 2016/17 I had failed quite a few times, maybe I was getting a knack for this.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise Storage ASE V3

By the end of 2018, while working for PCM which was acquired by Insight, I got asked to look at the ASE Storage Certification as PCM were slowly increasing the revenue in the storage space and they were potentially going to have a gap in the certifications to get to Storage ‘Gold’ level.

So off I went to London to an Atrium Training centre, pretty sure there were 5 of us in the training & it wasn’t that much different from the ASE version 2 which I had done previously. In this case not only did it include Nimble (which HPE had recently purchased) it also included more questions around replication and how the Nimble Arrays replicate across sites.

It wasn’t a particularly difficult exam this time around and they cut it down to a single exam rather than three which was good.

Anyways passed it a second time.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise Server ASE V1

Beginning of 2019 I was asked to look at the server version of the above as again PCM’s HPE revenue was slowly ramping up and we didn’t want to be left out when we got to the 5 million dollar mark which would take us to HPE ‘Gold’ server status along with the increased rebates that it would offer.

I found this exam by far the hardest exam to date, I took it seven times and eventually had to appeal to PCM to go on a training course to eventually pass it.

The major issues I had weren’t around configuration or adding things to One View or the management platforms. It was the way that HPE put things in their books or how they ‘wanted’ things done on particular server configs which I found the most difficult. Anyways I hope they never update this certification.

I Passed it on the eighth try.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise Storage MASE v3 (Expires March 2022)

May 2019 PCM we’re on the verge of being sold to Insight but I was asked to ‘crack on’ and keep taking Certs for whatever reason. I did try and push back and ask what the point was as it was likely we were going to get bought out! But nope, our Storage numbers were going up so I was asked to look into taking the Storage Master Architect Storage Enterprise Exam, quite a mouthful! I had to go on the training that goes with it. During this time they got purchased by Insight & even though I had taken the training but not passed the exam yet, I got told to ‘stand down’.

Got made redundant by Insight, well wasn’t all bad. Was going to leave anyways, so took the money and ran! I joined Paragon Micro in August 2019 & took the exam, passed the first time.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise ATP Version 2

By October 2019, I got told my ATP version 1 was going to expire so I started looking into taking version 2. I was pretty up to date with the new management applications that HPE had recently brought out so I think I was a bit overconfident. Anyways I failed the first time with 67% (should have been 70).

I took the plunge after that and bought the book from the Adobe Library, mind you, I should have done this beforehand me-thinks, ah well you live and learn.

The main differences in this one were around the sales questions they were asking, e.g. what’s the cheapest way to solve the customer’s problem? Rather than the usual which technology is best suited for the particular solution or scenario.

There was a bit of a learning curve but I got there on the 2nd try.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise Server MASE v1

I did this one off of my own back really, so I took it upon myself to download the book for the exam (wasn’t very helpful) also took some time in the afternoon’s to go through some training on the different NIC’s cards that HPE OEM from Emulex, Intel, Broadcom etc to be able to answer some of the questions around FlexFabric. I also got involved with some of the management software e.g. One View & HPE Sim which even though aren’t being used much (well HPE Sim isn’t) would still come up in the exam.

Passed this one 2nd time.

In Summary, the HPE ‘Hybrid’ List of Exams is a pain to take but is well worth the time and trouble.

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Greg Heath

Greg Heath

Practice Lead
Cloud & Modern Infrastructure

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