VCAP5-DCD - Mission Accomplished

As you can deduct from the title of this post – yes I passed. I scored a 345 today (passing mark was 300).

I wanted to share with you my feelings and thoughts about the exam that I sat today. Yeah Baby!!

Not all Pearson VUE exam centers are equal. Some are more strict than others – luckily today the one I went to today was not on the extreme side as opposed to the one where I sat the VCAP-DCA). This does not say that the rules were not adhered to, but it was a bit more relaxed.

The time limit on the exam is 225 minutes – and just to make sure you understand the math,
that is 3 hours and 45 minutes. Those of use that live in non-English speaking countries (like me) get an additional 30 minutes – and that is 4 hours and 15 minutes.

Let me start by saying – sitting and doing an exam for 4:15 is not humane. Really not. It reminds me of the blog post I did on Beta Exams.

During the exam you cannot:

  • eat
  • drink
  • go to the bathroom (if you do you loose precious time)
  • chew gum
  • blow your nose
  • get up from your chair to walk around
  • smoke (if that is your poison)
  • etc..etc..

Concentrating for 4 hours straight is hard, concentrating on a screen for 4 hours is even harder. For those of us that have a long attention span, this is not a simple task, and even more so for those with attention deficits. I personally do not understand why it has to be has to 100 questions. I can remember at least 3 different cases where questions repeated themselves with small nuances between the versions. I am sure that the quantity of questions can be reduced to make the exam more “candidate-friendly” without losing out on the actual content being tested.

I will not go into the detail about the format – there are many posts around with that info.

I will emphasize though – as was pointed out on Forbes’ post – you CANNOT go back to a previous question. That means that you have to complete each question – or make a decision to give up on that question in order to continue. That means you have to watch your time VERY CAREFULLY!!

Don’t get stuck on something. Some questions will take 10 seconds – but others will take a good 15 minutes.

I tried to manage my time in the following way. Complete 25 Questions within an hour, that way you can keep a track on your progress. I more or less managed to keep to this, but still I ran out of time at the end.

One more thing. At the beginning of the exam you will be told how many of the 100 questions will be scenario based questions (94:6). Keep track of the how many scenarios you have completed. Time management –  again, this is they key element of the exam. I did not do track my scenarios today, and when I thought I was finished, question 100 was a ….  badabing!!! –> scenario question.
I did not have time to complete it.

Here are the resources I used to study for this exam:

  1. Experience

    There is nothing to replace hands-on experience and knowledge with vSphere environments and architecture. This was my main resource.
  2. The VDCD-510 Blueprint

    Read the documents provided in the tools for each section. It is a long list, and a lot to read. Some of it was new to me, some I know in my sleep. I have collected the links for you here.

    Objective 1.1
    Five Steps to Determine When to Virtualize Your Servers
    Functional versus Non-functional Requirements
    Conceptual, Logical, Physical:  It is Simple
  3. Objective 1.2
    VMware Cost-Per-Application Calculator
    Virtualizing Oracle Kit
    Virtualizing Exchange Kit
    Virtualizing SQL Kit
    Virtualizing SAP Kit
    Virtualizing Enterprise Java Kit
    Business and Financial Benefits of Virtualization

    Objective 1.3
    Developing a Strategy and Deployment Plan

    Objective 2.1
    VMware vSphere Basics Guide
    What’s New in VMware vSphere 5?
    ITIL v3 Introduction and Overview
    Conceptual, Logical, Physical:  It is Simple

    Objective 2.2
    Datacenter Operational Excellence Through Automated Application Discovery & Dependency

    Objective 2.3
    Improving Business Continuity with VMware Virtualization Solution Brief
    VMware High Availability Deployment Best Practices
    vSphere Availability Guide

    Objective 2.4
    Optimizing Your VMware Environment
    Four Keys to Managing Your VMware Environment
    Operational Readiness Assessment
    Operational Readiness Assessment Tool

    Objective 2.5
    Proven Practice: Implementing ITIL v3 Capacity Management in a VMware environment
    vSphere Monitoring and Performance Guide

    Objective 2.6
    VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager Evaluation Guide
    A Practical Guide to Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery with VMware Infrastructure
    Mastering Disaster Recovery: Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Whitepaper
    Designing Backup Solutions for VMware vSphere

    Objective 2.7
    vSphere Security Guide
    Developing a Strategy and Deployment Plan
    Achieving Compliance in a Virtualized Environment
    Infrastructure Security: Getting to the Bottom of Compliance in the Cloud
    Securing the Cloud

    Objective 3.1
    Conceptual, Logical, Physical:  It is Simple
    vSphere Server and Host Management Guide
    vSphere Virtual Machine Administration Guide

    Objective 3.2
    vSphere Server and Host Management Guide
    vSphere Installation and Setup Guide
    vMotion Architecture, Performance and Best Practices in VMware vSphere 5
    VMware vSphere™: Deployment Methods for the VMware® vNetwork Distributed Switch
    vNetwork Distributed Switch: Migration and Configuration
    Guidelines for Implementing VMware vSphere with the Cisco Nexus 1000V Virtual Switch
    VMware® Network I/O Control: Architecture, Performance and Best Practices

    Objective 3.3
    Fibre Channel SAN Configuration Guide
    iSCSI SAN Configuration Guide
    vSphere Installation and Setup Guide
    Performance Implications of Storage I/O Control–Enabled NFS Datastores in VMware vSphere® 5.0
    Managing Performance Variance of Applications Using Storage I/O Control
    VMware Virtual Machine File System: Technical Overview and Best Practices

    Objective 3.4
    vSphere Server and Host Management Guide
    vSphere Installation and Setup Guide
    vSphere Resource Management Guide

    Objective 3.5
    vSphere Server and Host Management Guide
    Virtual Machine Administration Guide
    Best Practices for Performance Tuning of Latency-Sensitive Workloads in vSphere VMs
    Virtualizing a Windows Active Directory Domain Infrastructure
    Guest Operating System Installation Guide

    Objective 3.6
    vSphere Monitoring and Performance Guide
    vCenter Server and Host Management Guide
    VMware vCenter Update Manager 5.0 Performance and Best Practices

    Objective 4.1
    vSphere Server and Host Management Guide
    Validation Test Plan

    Objective 4.2
    vSphere Server and Host Management Guide
    Operational Test Requirements

    Objective 4.3
    vSphere Server and Host Management Guide
    Deployment Guide

  4. vBrownbags

    I used the vBrownbag sessions that are listed and broken down per-objective on Nick Marshall’s post - VCAP Video Study Guides. This is a great set of resources – but takes a decent amount of time to go through.
  5. Study Guide

    Karim Elatov – has a very nice study guide that gives a good amount of material that will help.

So mission accomplished – VCAP5-DCA and VCAP5-DCD done within the past 2 months.

Guess what’s next?