Category Archives: Certifications

MY VCAP-DCA (VDCA550) EXPERIENCE

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Dear All,

Happy to share that yesterday cleared my VCAP-DCA (VDCA550) Certification. Yesterday finished writing my exam around 6:00 PM Singapore Time and waiting for my Score Report to see this below wonderful lines –

“Congratulations on passing the VMware Certified Advanced Professional – Data Center Administration exam! You will receive an email notification from certification@vmware.com once your certification status has been confirmed and added to your VMware Education Transcript (allow one week).”

After completing my VCAP5-DCD certification last year on 21st August started preparing for my VCAP5-DCA exam but because of hectic schedule could not get enough time to finish this. But Finally achieved this.

Overview:-

The VCAP5-DCA (VDCA550) Exam consists of 23 live lab activities and a short pre-exam survey consisting of 9 questions. The total time for this exam is 180 minutes but as i was writing this exam in Singapore where English is not a primary language so an additional 30 minutes added to the exam time to 210 minutes. Plus 15 minutes for short pre-exam survey so total time was 225 minutes.

The passing score for this exam is 300 out of 500.

Exam Experience

Although i have been working on VMware products for long but for the VCAP-DCA on 5.5 exam, I knew I had to brush up and practice at least once in my lab all the areas in the blueprint. VCAP5-DCA-VDCA550-Exam-Blueprint-v3_3.

I started practicing through the blueprint. Going through the blueprint is compulsory as the exam covers all the topics discussed in the blueprint. Second best source was go through the various blogs sharing experience and tips provided for VCAP-DCA exam.

There are lot of blog posts which you should go through which has study notes which will certainly help with great deal. Here are few blogs which  i followed:-

http://thinkingloudoncloud.com/

http://stretch-cloud.info/

http://longwhiteclouds.com/

vSphere Optimize & Scale Course on Trainsignal by Jason Nash: Official recommended course for VCAP5-DCA and Jason Nash one of the most excellent instructors and he deep dives through each point in the blueprint.

The ProfessionalVMware #vBrownBag sessions on Youtube.com.

Exam Environment

The format has changed significantly from the 510 exams from my research and in asking others of their experience…The exam consists of a number of tasks that are performed using an environment consisting of five ESXi 5.5 hosts, two vCenter 5.5 Servers, vCenter Orchestrator 5.5 and vSphere Replication 5.5 appliances plus an Active Directory domain controller and shared storage. A number of pre-configured virtual machines will also be present for use with certain tasks.Throughout the exam you are repeatedly warned to not change anything but what actions are stated in the question…

I solved 22 questions and was left with 7 minutes time for a question I had no idea where to begin with. So after 5 minutes of desperate clicking around vSphere Client and in provided documentations, I gave up and finished my examination session.

Final Thoughts

I am so happy to clear my VCAP-DCA (VDCA550) exam. I was relieved and fairly happy that the plan had worked and all the hard work of the months had paid off.

Good luck to all those taking the VCAP-DCA in the future 🙂

My VCAP5-DCD Experience

I got so many messages to share my experience with the VCAP5-DCD. So here is my VCAP5-DCD preparation and Exam experience.

VCAP5-DCD, no need to lie, is one of the hardest certification I had to pass; by the way I passed it in my second attempt ;-).

I took this exam on 21st August, 2014. For VCAP5-DCD you need to understand all the nuances of a typical customer scenario which you will be working as an enterprise architect with focus on virtualization of course.

The exam consists of 100 questions with Single choice, multiple choices, drag-drop and 6 Visio like scenario based design questions that need to complete in 275 minutes (including 30 minutes extra for non-English country…was lucky to get this 🙂 ). The exam covers all the topics mentioned in the blueprint. VMware has been doing a good job of making sure that all they give in the blueprint is covered in the exam and also the exam live up to the “Advanced “category which these exams are part.

Make sure that you understand every aspect of a project design such as Goals, Requirements, Constraint, Risks, Assumptions in very details and have a clear understanding of what these are and given a scenario how to recognize them. Read and understand HA/DRS and Resource Pool concepts in great detail, look at all the backup and DR strategies and concepts (e.g. RPO, RTO, WRT and MTD).

There is no practical question but I would encourage people preparing for the exam to do a lot of mock design on paper in networking and storage areas with various permutation and combination of network cards , HBA and storage tiers.

Handling the time in the exam is a critical factor makes sure that you target approximately 25-30 questions per hour which will give you sufficient time in the last hour so that you don’t have to rush and you can concentrate on the Visio type Design questions and also review your answers if necessary. (Good News Review is Available now)

About the books I used for the exam, here the list:-

VMware VCAP5-DCD Exam Blueprint: – https://mylearn.vmware.com/mgrReg/plan.cfm?plan=47317&ui=www_cert

VMware vSphere Design 2nd Edition: This is a must read not only for the exam preparation but for all the information’s needed for a good design implementation; all the components are reviewed (storage, network, compute, management …)

VCAP5-DCD Official Cert Guide: It’s the VMware Press official book on the VCAP-DCD exam. It’s a good book when you start from the beginning.

VMware vSphere 5 Clustering Technical Deepdive: This is great to read this book wrote by Duncan Epping and Frank Denneman, it’s just the reference on HA, DRS and Storage DRS mechanisms.

Don’t forget to look at the VMware Design tool simulator for the VCAP5-DCD exam, Watch at least 3-4 times and will save time in exam.

Here are few links:-

http://www.vmwarevideos.com/vcap

http://professionalvmware.com/brownbags/

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Good luck everyone for trying to pass the VCAP5-DCD exam and don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions about the exam 🙂