I am now in the prep stage for the VCAP5-DCD (VMware Certified Advanced Professional: Datacenter Design) exam. I plan to sit for the exam sometime in January.
The exam has 100 questions, and the total allotted time for the exam is 225 minutes. There is a mixture of multiple choice questions along with several “design” questions where you have to use a Visio-like tool to build an appropriate conceptual/logical/physical design based on information provided in a case study.
If you happen to be taking the exam in a country where English is not the primary language, you are afforded an extra 30 minutes. From what I have read and am hearing from others who have taken the exam, the time limit can easily become an issue. This is a long exam, and it is a challenging one.
In the current version of the exam, you are not allowed to go back and revisit questions once they have been answered. Also you are not allowed to “Mark for review.” I believe this is due to a bug in earlier versions of the exam where if you went back and revisited the questions, the exam engine would wipe all of your design objects forcing you to reconstruct everything again from scratch.
If you have gone over the exam blueprint (found here), you will notice that VMware has thrown in a ton of references to external whitepapers. I don’t believe they expect you to read all of them cover-to-cover. I have been told to use this as more of a guide about what is needed for the exam, and what certain areas of the exam will be addressing.
Below is a list of material (besides the blueprint) that I have used for my exam preparation:
- VMware vSphere Design Workshop [5.x]
- This is a three-day course that goes over a good portion of what will be needed in the exam. It does a good job of teaching you the terminology that VMware uses in any architectural design.
- Scott Lowe’s VMware vSphere Design book
- This is a great book, and the only one I have found that directly addresses vSphere design. This is geared toward v4.x, but from a design standpoint almost all of the concepts hold true for 5.x.
- Trainsignal’s Designing VMware Infrastructure course.
- This is a great course given by Scott Lowe. It runs about 6 hours, and pretty much covers the entire exam blueprint.
- Scott Lowe’s Mastering VMware vSphere 5 book.
- I am not even halfway through this behemoth yet, but it has been a great read so far. This is not so much directed at design, but it does a good job of covering every aspect of vSphere 5. This would probably be more applicable to the VCAP5-DCA exam, but it cant hurt I guess.
- #vBrownbag videos from professionalvmware.com.
- I have found that some of these videos are better than others, but they are all free, and most of them contain some great material.
- VMware vSphere 5.1 Clustering Deepdive by Duncan Epping and Frank Denneman.
- This book is so good it should be considered required reading for anyone working with vSphere. Really – it’s that good. Again this is not really geared toward vSphere design specifically, but I found it to be extremely enlightening from an operational standpoint. I have probably read it twice cover to cover, and still have all the sections tabbed out so I can quick-reference them.
That about it for my study material on this exam. I am certainly open to suggestions for anything else though. I have not sat for this exam yet, so aside from the blueprint material, and reading other “DCD5 Experience” posts, I have no idea what to expect. There is such a broad range of topics to study for this exam, that I’m not really sure if I have gone over everything that I will be presented with on the exam. I guess I will find out in January. Be on the lookout for a follow-up t this post after I have actually sat for this puppy.
Here is the twitter pages for the authors (all VCDXs) that I mentioned above: