On Monday, November 26, 2012, I sat and PASSED the VCAP-DCD for vSphere 5!!!
The exam was tough, VERY tough. I have always been an administrator and I think I have the technology down cold. Need a host configured, a host profile applied, or multipathing set up – no problem just give me a minute. Need me to identify a set of functional requirements from a business case and then create a design based on it – hmmmmm, not something I have a whole bunch of experience with. I spent a good deal of time preparing for the DCD exam and it required me to recall nearly every minute of that preparation to pull off the pass, and even then I only just squeaked by.
The format of the exam changed sometime in mid-October and the blue print was updated to reflect the change. So what was the change? You are no longer allowed to mark a question for review and then return to it. Once you submit an answer it is you final answer for that question. I think this change significantly increases the difficulty of the exam (or at least contributes to a good level of anxiety while taking it). Several folks have posted an exam strategy of marking design questions for review and returning to them to be able to budget time for them, this strategy no longer works.
As the blue print states you have 225 minutes to complete the exam and there are 100 questions that are a mix of multiple choice, drag-n-drop, and “visio” like design tool. When I submitted my answer to question 100 I still had 53 minutes left. This remaining time is where the mark for review would have come in handy. There were a few of the drag-n-drop and at least on of “visio” design tool questions that I think a go back and review would have been useful for.
My Study Resources
I learned a lot about the design process while preparing for this exam (kind of the point, right?). Lot of great resources out there and here are a few that I used to prepare.
If you are preparing for the exam make sure you check out the design tool demo so you are familiar with how the “visio” like questions work. As with any VMware Certification exam one of the best resources is the exam blue print. Make sure you have the latest copy of the blue print which is available on then VMware VCAP5-DCD Certification page.
Scott Lowe’s Designing VMware Infrastructure TrainSignal course was extremely helpful for me. The course helps lay a good foundation, and I think I found it so beneficial since the instruction does seem to target VMware administrators that are looking to transition into an architect role.
ProfessionalVMware.com APAC DCD vBrownBag Series – http://professionalvmware.com/brownbags/ These are AWESOME resources. I spent my commute listening to the APAC vBrownBags and they are a must listen if you are preparing for the exam.
coolsport00‘s VCAP-DCD Study Notes – http://professionalvmware.com/2012/11/vcap5-dcd-study-outline-pdf/ Shane sent me these the Friday before I took the exam. Wish I had got them sooner. Nice notes organized against the exam blue print.
Jason’s VCAP-DCD Document Package – http://www.virtuallanger.com/2012/09/30/vcap-dcd-5-document-package/ The VMware PDFs and other documents referenced in the blue print in one convenient package.
VirtualHyper.com VCAP-DCD Study Guide – http://virtuallyhyper.com/2012/08/vcap5-dcd/
Some links to some other DCD resources and very good notes for each section of the blue print.
Everyone knows about Scott Lowe’s books and of course the vSphere HA Deepdive by Duncan Epping and Frank Denneman. These are fantastic books and will definitely help in your preparation efforts but there a a few new books out there from VMware Press that I found to be very excellent resources.
VMware vSphere 5 Building a Virtual Datacenter Eric Maille and René-Francois Mennecier is another great book that will help you learn to match VMware Datacenter products and solutions with business needs.
I will continue to hone my skills as both a vSphere Administrator and a vSphere Architect. One thing is for sure I am glad that exam is behind me (until the next version anyway)!