My ramblings about all things technical

EMC Information Storage and Management(ISM) exam experience




For the past few weeks I have been learning and studying for the EMC Information Storage and Management(ISM) exam. I decided to set this goal for myself a few months back, as I felt that storage knowledge was lacking from my repertoire and due to it being a prerequisite for the EMC Cloud Architect certification I thought I should try obtaining it.

This morning I sat the exam and I’m very pleased to say I passed it clip_image001. The exam certainly tested me on some questions whereas on others it was quite simple and straight forward. The questions covered all the modules and technologies covered in the course/book fairly equally although there were a few things not covered in the book or course that I remember that was asked.

The resources I used for the exam were four things:

  1. The training course. Due to my working for EMC this allowed me to do the online training for the exam rather than attending the course. The online courses (I say courses as mine were split into four different modules whereas the training classes cover all four in the one course) were really good and allowed me to do it as and when I could, which is partly why it has taken me so much time to finally sit the exam after doing the online course. The course is really good and even though it does give you examples of EMC technologies/services which provide these capabilities (which some people may not like) it does give you a really good base knowledge if you’re a storage noob like me and the EMC examples are a small section of it all.
  2. The ISM Book. This in my opinion was the best resource for the exam as I read it cover to cover and used it extensively for writing notes and looking up different things. The course wasn’t enough for me personally and I’m pretty certain if I just did the online course I would have failed it. This may be due to my doing the online course rather than attending the instructor led one but I still think the book is a must read. Simon Long has done a quick write up on the book on his site if you want to know more about it and has attached a video review done by EMC vSpecialist Bas Raayman at EMC World 2009 on the book too clip_image001[1].
  3. The online practice exam. This helped me greatly with peace of mind in knowing I was prepared for the exam and was really helpful in showing me parts I needed to re-read and study more. You can take the exam as often as you like and if you get the questions wrong it will tell you where to look to learn more about the subject you got wrong.
  4. Research. Yes ok maybe a bit of a soft point but searching the internet and learning/researching more about different things I was unsure about really helped me understand some things much better (converting CHS to LBA) and helped me have more confidence in my answers in the exam. There were also a few people’s blog postings about their experiences of the exam and what they used to study that helped me greatly. The two main ones were
    1. Gina Minks’ blog posting on the exam was a really great resource and pointed me to the Proven Professional community where a large portion of the questions I had, had already been asked and answered.
    2. EMC vSpecialist Nick Weaver’s blog posting on his passing the exam was also helpful in my making sure there weren’t additional resources I needed to use before the exam.

For anyone looking to sit the exam, good luck it’s a good and fair exam. Next for me is my VCAP-DCA which unlike the gentleman writing the VCAP-DCA exam at the same testing centre as me, will require me to study more than a weekends worth of playing in my lab (he was a VMware instructor though)


12 thoughts on “EMC Information Storage and Management(ISM) exam experience

  1. Gregg,

    Nice write-up. I’ve been looking at the ISM exam for the future also although I’ve got my eyes on the VCAP-DCA first.

    I agree with you on the ISM book. It is a great resource, even if you think you know something it’s worth reading the way the book explains it too. I re-learned a few things as a result.


  2. I’m currently studying for the EMC Technical Architect for NAS specialist at the moment, some really tough aspects of these exams, and they make you think about the full product line up. Well worth it for anyone doing EMC work. I’d like to start working towards the EMC Cloud Architect next. Cheers for the write-up, very useful!

    The DCA I found pretty tough, but there’s some really good resources out there to help. The Brown Bags are indispensible in my opinion!

    • I agree, you really do learn and have to know all the products and features and what capabilities each gives you. Nice, hopefully we can share our experiences on our paths towards the Cloud Architect then =0)

      Yeah a bit nervous but also a bit excited to really test myself and learn loads of new skills (PowerCLI for one) before i write the exam. I’ve seen a few of the brown bags and they are brilliant, it’s on my VCAP-DCA & DCD resources page already


  3. Hi Gregg,

    Great article and well done on passing. Just a quick question, is the EMC Information Storage and Management(ISM) exam the first step in EMC certifications?

    Thanks very much,


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  5. I too want to give this Exam. Is it ok if i Read that Book and do a practice paper only.

  6. Gregg,

    Could you please provide more details on which training you took as an EMC employee? I’m an EMC employee too and I want to go through the same training as you did. Is that available on the EMC education site?

    • Hi

      I went onto the EMC education site and searched for Information Storage and Management and a free e-learning course came up which i was able to register for and then do in my own time.

      Good luck with the exam 🙂

  7. Hi,
    I made the Training by EMC and the online Test excam. The online Training I passed with 100%. So I thought now I will be prepared. Now I failed and I am so angry about me because äs you wrote you will need the ISM book.

    Good hint

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