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Posted by on Dec 8, 2013 in Certification | 2 comments

VCAP5-CIA Exam Experience

I sat the VMware VCAP5-CIA lab exam several weeks ago, and finally received my results. I am happy to report that I passed. I’d like to describe my preparation steps here to hopefully assist others who are planning to attempt this exam.

First of all, like the DCA, this is a lab exam. You will be operating in a live lab environment, and some tasks will need to be completed properly in order to complete latter tasks. There are a total of 32 items on this exam, each item having multiple tasks.  As you can infer from the blueprint, the products covered in the lab include vCloud Director, Chargeback, and vShield (among others).

As always, for me, time management was an issue. You have three and a half hours to complete the exam, and I think I made it through only about 25 of the items. One of these days I am going to learn how to properly manage my time on these exams, but this certainly wasn’t it. I probably spent at least 35 minutes on the first 3 items.

I would suggest going through the exam and knocking out the items that are quick and easy first. Make note of the items that you expect to take longer than 15 minutes. This will allow you to properly allocate time to each of those items. While I cannot comment on how the test it weighted, it is my assumption that the more complex items are worth more points than the questions that are less time-consuming.

You will need to have quite a bit of experience with vCloud Director to successfully complete this exam. In my case I was fortunate in that I had a few years of practical experience prior to preparing for this exam. Even so, it was helpful to have access to a lab environment. If you do not have a lab environment handy, then I suggest looking at the VMware Hands on Labs. The specific labs I found helpful were HOL-INF-06 and HOL-SDC-1313. Those have fully functional vCloud director deployments. You can ssh into the cells and practice the command-line items defined in the blueprint. Hands on labs can be found here.

Other resources I found helpful were:

  • Karthic Kumar’s blueprint study guide found here.
  • vCloud Director documentation
  • Chris Wahl’s excellent study sheet.
  • Chris Wahl’s vCloud Director 5.1 essentials courses (Found on
  • vBrownbag sessions hosted by Gregg Robertson. Those are linked from Gregg’s site here.

Thats really all I used. Chris’ study sheet was very helpful It allows you to check off each of the blueprint items so you can easily determine things that you need to focus on. I can’t recommend that enough.

Expect that everything on the blueprint will be covered. You can download the blueprint from VMware here. Like all the other VCAP exams I have sat, this one was no different in that regard. The blueprint was covered in its entirety on my exam.

If you are planning on attempting this exam, I wish you the best of luck. I hope this has helped at least somewhat. Feel free to ask questions, I will answer anything I can outside of NDA restricted topics.

Thanks for reading!



  1. I’ve been following your progress for several months now on this blog. Thank you for the continued guidance on how to pass. I find it to be very valuable: clear, concise. This is special, considering that so much of the subject-related content is overly wordy, unclear, or poorly written in some other way.

  2. Thanks Daniel. I’m glad I was able to provide some value. :) Thats nice to hear. Cheers!

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