Stand apart from your peers by adding the Compaq Accredited Systems Engineer title to your MCSE.

System Savvy: The Compaq Certification

Stand apart from your peers by adding the Compaq Accredited Systems Engineer title to your MCSE.

At first, the dividing line was drawn between those who were certified and those who weren’t. With over 126,000 MCSEs in the job market today, candidates who truly wish to stand apart from their peers now must become an expert in an area of interest and prove their knowledge with additional certifications. The pursuit of multiple certifications produces a much more well-rounded candidate and shows proficiency with more than one type of technology.

Piggybacking on the tails of the success of Microsoft and Novell’s certification programs, product vendors have created a new onslaught of initials you can add to the end of your name. While many often think of the CompTIA A+ certification as the standard proving ground for hardware savvy candidates, Compaq offers a vendor-specific approach to rounding out your MCSE credential. Whether you’re a systems architect, developer, administrator, or engineer, the common denominator is, in fact, always the system. If the systems you support happen to sport a Compaq logo on the front bezel, the Compaq ASE certification could be the title you’ve been awaiting to augment your MCSE preparations.

Compaq ASE Sample Questions
The following questions have been paraphrased from the Compaq Self-Assessment guide to give you an idea of the type of questions you can expect on the exam.You'll find the answers at the end of the article.
Thomas Eck

1. When using the NT graphical control feature on the Compaq Remote Insight Board, how many IP addresses are assigned?

  1. 2
  2. 4
  3. 6
  4. 8

2. What is the purpose of the Compaq Insight Manager Version Control?

  1. Perform remote firmware updates
  2. Identify outdated firmware and drivers
  3. Identify and update the operating system
  4. Upgrade the service pack on Windows NT

3. Where can .PEZ files be found to update a Compaq Integration Server?

  1. SmartStart CDs
  2. Microsoft Windows NT CD
  3. Integration Server Setup CD
  4. Microsoft’s Web site

4. Which formula determines the maximum transfer rate across a bus?

  1. Bus Speed (MHz) X Wait States
  2. (Memory Address Bus Size X Clock Speed) / Wait States
  3. (Bus Speed (MHz) x Bus Width (Bytes)) / Cycles per Transfer
  4. Processor Speed (MHz) / Clock Speed (MHz)

5. Errors in adjacent bits can be corrected in which of the following memory types?

  1. ECC
  2. Non-Parity
  3. Parity
  4. EDO

6. Which of the following Compaq Array Controllers support eight logical volumes?

  1. Compaq Smart Array/Smart-2 Array
  2. Compaq IDA/IDA-2
  3. Compaq 2033 Array Controller
  4. None of the above

7. What is the maximum boot partition size in Windows NT when using SmartStart?

  1. 4G
  2. 2G
  3. 1G
  4. Unlimited

8. What is the bootable CD specification called?

  1. a. El Niño
  2. b. El Torito
  3. c. El Niña
  4. d. None of the above

9. How are the disk performance counters enabled in Windows NT Performance Monitor?

  1. Diskperf -enable
  2. Diskperf -e
  3. Diskperf -i
  4. Diskperf -y

The Certification Process

Like most vendor certifications, the Compaq ASE credential offers several variations to suit your skill set and interest level. At the highest level, there are three major types of Compaq ASE certifications: Associate ASE, ASE, and Master ASE.

If you haven’t achieved your MCSE, Compaq offers the Associate ASE program. Within this category, candidates may choose from exams covering Windows NT or Novell NetWare on Intel platforms, hardware troubleshooting, Compaq Professional Workstation support, and Compaq LAN technologies. Once you've achieved the MCSE or CNE credential, you can send in a copy of your transcript or certificate and apply to become a "full ASE."

To do this, you may select from all of the above choices for specialties. Now that the Compaq/Digital acquisition has had time to mature, you can also venture away from the Intel platform and achieve your title based on your knowledge of Compaq’s Alpha-based products. Candidates choosing to certify on Alpha-based hardware can test their integration skills with Unix, OVMS and, of course, NT.

Once you've achieved the ASE title, you can further your studies by going for the Master ASE certification in Enterprise Management, Enterprise Storage, or Compaq high-availability solutions. You can also test your hardware/software integration skills by selecting from Internet/intranet technologies, messaging and collaboration, Baan, SAP, Oracle, and SQL Server integration to obtain the premium title.

Compaq Certification Benefits

Benefit Description Associate
ASE
ASE Master
ASE
Software Support CDs Updates of OS software for Compaq servers and all standard Compaq utilities.
Compaq QuickFind Subscription Compaq service, sales, and support information.
Compaq SmartStart Subscription Compaq utilities, product information, server management tools (Compaq Insight Manager), and drivers.
NT Resource Paq Tools and information that supports Compaq server, workstation, and desktop products in a Windows NT environment.
Compaq ASE Connection Access to an ASE-only Web site with product purchase information, ASE logo merchandise, and access to technical information. Email access to Compaq technical support and access to databases containing product information, software utilities, and more.
Compaq ASE Product Purchase Plan Compaq products at a discounted price.
ASE Only Events Sales and technical briefings by invitation.
New Product CBTs Product training in a self-paced format (CBT).
Day-of-Announcement Product Kits Sales and technical information and tools for Systems Engineers.
Advertising, Logos, and ASE Logo Store For use on business stationery and business cards.
ASE Newsletter Quarterly publication covering subjects about engineering and sales support, ASE success stories, and upcoming events.
Compaq Engineering Conferences Early registration for Compaq conferences with discounts and incentives.  
Compaq Technical Support Hotline Free priority access to Compaq Technical Support.  
ActiveAnswers Access to extranet Web site that provides structured information and tools for planning, deploying, and operating packaged enterprise solutions.

A Natural with NT

Despite the many options available to those seeking the ASE credential, it makes sense for an MCP to seek the Intel/Windows NT Specialist track to best augment the knowledge you already have about NT. To get this title, you must pass three exams within a six-month period. Then you must submit proof of your test scores, a copy of your Microsoft transcript or certificate (if applying for the full ASE), the Compaq ASE application, and a signed non-disclosure agreement. After all this has been faxed to Compaq, you’ll receive an email message from the ASE program coordinator stating that all the requirements have been met and your welcome package will be mailed in four to six weeks.

Exam Details

Like most certification programs, Compaq has selected Sylvan Prometric to administer the ASE exams. Prior to registering, you must first obtain a Compaq student ID number by calling 800-732-5741 (U.S.) or 800-392-7024 (Canada) and registering with Compaq. Once you have obtained your student identification number, you can call Sylvan Prometric at 800-366-EXAM to schedule your tests.

Each test costs $100, lasts one hour, and consists of 50 multiple-choice questions. To complete any of the exams for the Intel/Windows NT Specialist program successfully, you must achieve a score of 84 percent, which equates to answering 42 questions correctly.

The exams are straightforward with few exhibits and no multiple-answer selection questions. If you fail an exam, there are no restrictions on the amount of time to wait before attempting the exam again, nor any limits on the number of times you’re permitted to take an exam. To achieve the ASE certification, you must pass all three exams and submit all paperwork within six months from the date of your first exam.

On the day of the test, in addition to your two forms of identification, be sure to bring your Compaq student ID number. You’ll be required to enter the number as one of the first questions on the exam to help Compaq track your progress through the program.

Exam 1: Compaq Systems Technologies

To prepare for test 10-056, you should either attend the Compaq five-day accelerated ASE program or complete the self-assessment study guide available at www.compaq.com/training/2060.htm. Be forewarned: The study guide doesn’t cover every aspect of what you’ll need to know for the exam; it’s merely a starting point.

To pass this exam, you must demonstrate proficiency in the following system technologies:

  • Bus subsystems found in PC hardware
  • Intel microprocessor architecture and features
  • Memory and cache subsystems
  • Disk and array technologies
  • Compaq network cards
  • Compaq software, diagnostics and utilities
  • Compaq server features
  • Compaq options
  • Compaq recovery server

Exam 2: Windows NT Integration and Performance

As with the first exam, you can acquire the body of knowledge required to pass this exam from either the Compaq five-day accelerated ASE program or through careful preparation of the Compaq self-assessment study guide, this one found at www.compaq.com/training/2061.html.

Unlike other Compaq exams, this exam is specific to NT and requires you to remember many of the topics studied while preparing for the core MCSE exams. You’ll come across a significant number of questions regarding the use of Performance Monitor to optimally tune a Compaq server, as well as Compaq enhancements to the installation and maintenance of systems running NT. To pass this exam, you must have a firm grasp of the following topics:

NT architectural overview:

  • Differences between NT Server and NT Workstation
  • NT executive components
  • NT environment subsystems

Compaq-developed software for NT

  • Compaq Smartstart
  • Compaq HALs
  • Insight agents and Insight Manager for NT
  • Compaq Integration Server
  • Compaq specific drivers

NT performance tuning on Compaq hardware

  • Identifying and remediating a bottleneck
  • Fault-tolerance features in Compaq products

Exam 3: Compaq Systems Management

You can prepare for the Systems Management exam either by attending the Compaq five-day accelerated ASE program or by answering every question in the self-assessment study guide found at www.compaq.com/training/
2063.html
. Unlike the other exams, this one closely resembles the questions found in the study guide. To successfully pass this exam, you must demonstrate proficiency in the following areas:

Server management

  • Network management
  • Management platforms
  • Management applications

SNMP

  • Terminology: Get, Set, Trap, Community Name, Object Definition
  • Interaction with TCP/IP

Compaq server management

  • Server health and error logs
  • Automatic server recovery
  • Compaq management agents
  • Insight Manager licensing

Compaq desktop and portable management

  • System requirements
  • Management agent installation and features

Compaq Insight Manager management PC configuration

  • System requirements and data locations

Using Compaq Insight Manager

  • General usage
  • In-band management considerations
  • Asynchronous management considerations

Compaq Remote Insight Board

  • System requirements
  • Features and usage

Version control

  • Features and limitations
  • Using Insight Manager to identify necessary firmware upgrades

Compaq Integration Server

  • System requirements
  • Setup and usage

Compaq Web-based management

  • Using Web-enabled insight agents
  • Best-practice usage of Web-based management

Be Prepared

Few third-party resources exist to help guide you toward achieving your ASE certificate. If you depend upon simulation exams for practice and a plethora of brain dumps to get you through tests, this certification isn’t for you.

While it’s possible to pass the exams without ever stepping foot in a Compaq training session, you’ll be at a significant disadvantage. Considering that many of the exam questions are based purely on statements made in the courseware and not on industry-standard concepts and terminology, you may need to resort to the process of elimination or pure guessing to achieve a passing score on the exam. In the self-assessment study guides, Compaq states a statistic that 70 percent of all ASE training attendees pass the exams when taken within three to seven days of the training course. Conversely, there’s an 80 percent failure rate for those who either don’t attend training or wait a significant amount of time after attending the class to take the exams.

If you lack the time or budget to attend the training class, you can use Web resources to help you toward your goal of achieving the ASE credential. Begin with Compaq’s site at www.compaq.com/ase. Here you’ll find a wealth of information about the ASE credential, self-assessments, and Compaq course schedules. By studying the self-assessment questions and spending significant amounts of time with the hardware and software referenced in each guide, you’ll be able to handle most questions found in the actual exams.

Crossing the Finish Line

Once you’ve completed all three exams to achieve your ASE credential as an Intel/NT Specialist, employers can be confident that you have the skills necessary to engineer and support Compaq-based hardware solutions for their NT environment. Using your skills, you’ll be able to install and maintain servers in a more efficient manner through implementation of a Compaq Integration Server, manage remote servers using the Remote Insight Board, and receive updates to your pager in the event of a pending hardware failure using Insight Manager.

These kinds of skills and this knowledge can let you improve system availability and ease support burdens—making you a definite asset to any organization. Take the time to add the Compaq ASE credential to your MCSE. Both you and your employer will be glad you did.

Answers to Compaq ASE quiz:
1. c, 2. b, 3. a, 4. c, 5. a, 6. a, 7. a, 8. b, 9. d

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