I have to admit that I was very impressed with DataPower Course WB552. The content of the course covered everything that on would need to know about how to use the box along with security. It also provided a lot of opportunity to go off the beaten path and try modifications on your own. I felt like I got a good feel for debugging on the box as you would almost always miss a step (by default a rule is bi-directional which will throw an error when you only have security on one side).
When you are in this debugging mode, the box provides a pretty good view of exactly what was going on with the ability to see the complete trace log for a single transaction, even though sometimes the errors themselves are cryptic. Luckily, I have more than enough experience translating developer exceptions into English from WebSphere Process Server.
The time allocated for the labs is quite large and you get the opportunity to leverage the skill of your teacher to explain certain dialog boxes and determine the datapower programming model. An example of this was when I was trying to set two URL’s in a match rule, thinking that the operation between multiple rows in the list was an ‘OR’. It’s actually an ‘AND’ meaning that my match would have to satisfy both URL rules.
Given that I had previous datapower experience both writing the certification test and reading the course beforehand, my view may be a little skewed but I noticed that the entire class was able to keep up and usually worked ahead of the lecture::lab relationship.
I was told that there is a follow-on course for WB552, I’m not exactly sure which one it is, or what they start to get into.
I totally recommend this course to anyone who wants a better understanding on the hands-on use of the datapower box.
Curiously, I was also informed that the IBM Business Partner Virtual Innovation Center does not currently provide a DataPower box. This makes it difficult for partners to get the hands-on skill or be able to rerun the labs on their own time. Hopefully this will be addressed soon by IBM.