So this morning I took the VMware Infrastructure as a Service exam (VCPVCD510) to gain the VCP5-Cloud qualification. The IaaS exam is available for existing VCP5-DCV holders to take without any other pre-requisites. I am very pleased to say I finished the exam in good time and scored 466/500 – the pass mark is 300.
Today was always going to be a bit of a funny day as I scheduled the VCAP5-DCD exam for 10am this morning. I am happy to say that I passed! I’m a bit light on VMworld to report today, so forgive my DCD experience to pad it out!
I have to confess my prep for this exam was light – I literally only watched the TrainSignal course by Scott Lowe (@scott_lowe) and just about finished that last night in the hotel! I don’t spend much time focussing on design during my day job, so I approached this exam as a bit of a learning experience rather than a serious bid to pass. I decided to book the exam here at VMworld just because you can get 75% off – if you’re funding yourself it’s not a discount to be dismissed easily!
Taking the exam
As with the DCA exam the DCD is a gruelling 4 hours, with 100 questions of which normally around 6 are Visio style designs. Again, same as the DCA, time management is massively important – I was actually so concerned with the time after running out in the DCA that I went probably too quickly and finished with 45 minutes to spare.
It’s also a very wordy exam – you have to read a lot of text and pull out the relevant info. On the one hand you need to read it very carefully to ensure you pick up the right requirements etc, and on the other you really need to read as fast as possible to keep on track time-wise. The technique I used was to find out what they were asking me for first, and then scan back through the text for the relevant information.
The Visio style questions are a bit clunky, and I’d definitely recommend using the demo of the interface that VMware provide to make sure you’re familiar with how it works – you don’t want to do a “Gregg” (ahem @GreggRobertson5, I am looking at you) and delete your whole diagram by accident.
There are absolutely loads of exam experiences out there to read up on – just Google “VCAP5-DCD exam experience” (though, probably, that’s how you ended up here). I used http://thesaffageek.co.uk/vsphere-5-study-resources/vcap5-dca-dcd/
TrainSignal (now PluralSight) – I am really lucky to have access to TrainSignal’s library via the vExpert program, but it’s such a good resource I’d definitely pay for it if I didn’t. The course I used was Designing VMware Infrastructure.
I have also read Scott Lowe’s Mastering VMware vSphere 5 which is a fantastic book, even if you’re not going to do the exam. If you plan on buying it you could always use the links in my booklist page
The rest of the day
After the exam I was pretty wrung out and needed a bit of time to recover – I’m still feeling the effects of the concentration now 3 hours later.
Hands On Labs
I spent some time doing hands on labs (HOL) this afternoon, specifically doing the vCAC v6 labs. I’ve been involved with the beta for “project nee” which is what the HOL were based on. The HOL infrastructure is huge here, with a full suite of desktops and a BYOD version. It’s pretty slick – at the time of writing there are over 28,000 VMs created in over 3,100 labs.
I braved the Solutions Exchange again after yesterdays car crash of a visit, determined this time that I would not let my badge get scanned by any pushy sales person. It was more tolerable this time, I got to the stands I was aiming for and was relatively un-harrassed.
I was happy to hand over my info to PernixData for a copy of the vSphere Design Pocketbook, especially as it’s got a contribution from DefinIT’s Simon Eady in it!
It’s impossible to explain how good it is to be able to talk to so many really awesome people who I am honoured to call peers – It’s great to chat with people who have similar goals and find out how and why they’re doing the things they are. For me that’s been one of the best parts of VMworld and I have learned at least as much through conversations with people as I have from the sessions.
Tonight is the VMworld Party, I am torn between going to that, and going to bed! Whatever I decide, tomorrow is a new day and I will be aiming to go to a few more sessions as well as keep on with the networking.
After my previous post about studying and the exam experience of the VCAP5-DCA exam (and 3 weeks of waking up to check my phone for the email all night) I am pleased to say that I received my Exam Score last week and it was a pass! I was really pleased to see that I passed with a very decent margin too, which was great! The rushed nature of the exam and long wait for the results leaves you going over the exam in your head convincing yourself how badly you’ve done, so it came as a huge relief and surprise.
Next up, VCAP5-DCD – possibly even at VMworld Barcelona given that there is 75% off exams for attendees taking them on-site.
DefinIT @ VMworld Barcelona
I’m also very excited to say that fellow DefinIT blogger Simon (@simoneady) and myself will be heading off to Barcelona in October to our very first VMworld conference. Regular readers may have seen Simon won a V.I.P Tweet competition earlier this year, which was fantastic. I threw my name in the ring for a vExpert Blogger pass and was slightly stunned and very pleased when I received an email saying I’d been selected to go. For both Simon and myself VMworld has been something we have both wanted to attend but never really had the opportunity before, so we’re really looking forward to it!
I started the TrainSignal VMware vSphere Optimize and Scale (VCAP5-DCA) Training course as part of my preparation for taking the exam which I took at the beginning of this week - I'm still waiting to hear the results. One thing I found when I started preparing is that there is an overwhelming volume of information - the Exam Blueprint is a great place to start as that lays out what will be tested. There are 9 sections and 27 objectives laid out, with knowledge, skills and abilities and tools required for each objective. The volume can be overwhelming, even if you already know most of it!
I found the VMware vSphere Optimize and Scale (VCAP5-DCA) course provided me with a framework on which to hang these topics - it covers pretty much every objective in the blueprint directly and allows you to get a picture of what you already know and are confident on and areas where you need to really focus on learning. Once I identified areas to study I used a number of really helpful resources as well as the VMware documentation to boost my knowledge on those topics. Quite often I re-watched the relevant topic in the TrainSignal course, but most important of all is getting into the lab.
I'm very pleased to say that as of 21st December, I passed my VCP510 exam and am now VCP5 qualified! It's something that I've wanted to do for a long time (since VCP3) but have never been able to get funding for the required course. My current employer sent me on the vSphere 5 Fast Track course earlier this year, so I was all set to take the exam.
My exam experience was somewhat marred by a very poor first attempt which I narrowly failed. The exam I sat had dozens of spelling and grammatical mistakes, inaccuracies and other problems and I spent far too long commenting on those than concentrating on the questions. Fortunately I was eventually able to speak with VMware Education and they issued me with an exam voucher (they will also be releasing a new version of the exam soon, which I'm assured will resolve these problems). My second attempt was a lot better and I smashed the 300 point pass mark by 128 points, which went some way to restoring confidence in my own knowledge of the subject!
I'm now looking forward to studying for the VCAP-DCA and DCD exams with a view to completing them in 2013...