My VCAP5-DCD Experience

After my last post about how I have prepared the VCAP5-DCA certification, now it’s turn to speak about the VMware VCAP5-DCD.

VCAP5-DCD, no need to lie, is one of the hardest certification I had to pass (if it’s not the hardest of all 🙁 ) ; by the way I passed it only in my second attempt.

In order to prepare it, I follow the same procedure as for the VCAP5-DCA :

I started with some Google searches to find the most useful information about the certification ; then I searched for experience feedback of anyone that passed it thus their resources used.

Through the resources I used, TheSaffaGeek blog is here again but on VCAP-DCD this time. I used the VirtualHyper blog too which is rather useful.

I downloaded a big study guide from the Paul Meehan blog ; this study guide covers all of the blueprint exam white papers but in a digest manner. In fact, when you have to read all of the white papers for the certification, it requires a lot of time and concentration.

I think you already know it, but the exam blueprint is very important ; with it you know what you have to learn because there is so much information to know and you can quickly get loss. On Jason Langer blog, you can download a package that contains all of the blueprint exam white papers.

This is my video list which I used for the VCAP-DCD exam :

Pluralsight Design VMware Infrastructure from Scott Lowe (very good course on VMware methodology and terminology to use on everything about IT design)

vBrownBag : a lot of video sessions on the VCAP5-DCD exam (very useful)

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

VMware vSphere Design 2nd Edition : this book is a must-have, not only for the exam preparation but for all VMware Architects because there are all the informations needed for a good design implementation ; all the components are reviewed (storage, network, compute, management, …)

VMware vSphere 5 Datacenter Design Cookbook : this book focuses on the most important exam blueprint points

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 : there is no need to present 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, you’ll earn a lot time during the exam because you’ll know how it works.

Now it’s time to make my feedback about my two attempts for the VCAP5-DCD exam :

For my first attempt, I have read only the VMware Press VCAP5-DCD Official Cert Guide in addition to the other blog stuff. I trained myself in many design conception (conceptual, logical and physical designs) and I thought I was ready to try to take the exam. First surprise : time is running out so quickly !!! You must take design question into consideration because they can be worth a lot of points (between 35 and 45 points) ; problem is to not be trapped by losing time on these type of questions (you can’t go back and mark any questions !!). There was only 2 minutes left when I finished the exam. I failed but only 10 points were needed to pass ; imagine my frustration !!!

After two weeks, I scheduled my second attempt for the VCAP-DCD, but this time I read all the other books in my previous list in addition to the VMware Press book. During the exam, I manage my time very well ; no more 15 minutes on each design questions. Some questions were more clear in my mind than in my first attempt (maybe reading more books this time and consolidate my skills help me) and when I finished the exam, there was around 10 minutes left. Verdict ? VMware VCAP5-DCD status : Passed !!!!

In short, pass the VCAP5-DCD exam can be difficult for someone who is more in the technical expertise. If your day-to-day job is to implement many design scenarios, I think the exam is more accessible but consolidate your design skills is essential. That works for me, with this certification I upgraded my skills for designing complete VMware solutions for my customer.

Next step for me is to try to submit my VCDX defense design in order to take the VMware VCDX-DCV certification 🙂

Good luck for everyone trying to pass the VCAP5-DCD exam and one more time, don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions about the exam (according to the NDA).


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