I was keenly aware that at least in this calendar year the VCAP5-DCD exam and undergone some changes E.G. it no longer had multiple choice questions (think VCP5-DCV in terms of format)
There was a wealth of knowledge out there from people whom had either passed/failed or were currently studying so it didn’t take too long to get an understanding of what disciplines/knowledge VMware were looking for in the exam.
I elected to study for around an hour a day to hopefully cover all of the material required without burning myself out. While this did work for the most part, there was the inevitable last few days of cramming and panic.
As I am sure you have heard many times before I cannot say much on the actual exam but I did finish it with 13 minutes to spare, I was aware others had struggled to get everything done in the allocated time.
Being honest I did not expect to pass, as some of the questions were really quite brutal in their ambiguity (my opinion) but to counter this (during the exam) I would complete the questions in the following order (master design, design and then others) before ensuring I re-read each question to double check I had not missed something and in some cases I had and I was able to correct some mistakes I had made.
There is no question time management is the key, you have to be ruthless and disciplined to ensure you get time to cover the design questions as well as the other questions in the exam but it is possible!!
Also factor in the usual “what answer is VMware actually looking for?“, as with any tech related exam, they are looking for -their- answer, not necessarily the answer or solution others would perhaps use or do out in field.
Topics you are going to NEED to cover in your studies
- Storage (requirements, dependencies, features, limitations of the various types of storage)
- Auto Deploy (yes really)
- Understand the following terms and how to identify them.
- Disaster recovery and Business Continuity particularly understanding what RPO, RTO, WRT & MTD are and how they differ.
- Fully understand (or at least have a working understanding of) technologies like vSphere HA/DRS/SIOC/NIOC/VASA/VAAI/ALUA
- Good working knowledge of networking.
- A good understanding of how tiered applications work and are designed.
The resources I found most helpful for study were as follows..
- Join the DCD Google+ study group
- Definitely check out the vBrownBag VCAP-DCD 5 podcasts.
- I was fortunate to be given a copy (thanks @jonathanmedd) of the Official Study book written by a good friend Paul McSharry
- Scott Lowes Pluralsight DCD course – VMware Design course
- VCAP-DCD Mock exam http://www.virtualtiers.net/ and test scenarios at www.elasticsky.co.uk
- VMware education VCAP-DCD page: https://mylearn.vmware.com/mgrReg/plan.cfm?plan=30484&ui=www_cert
- Great blogs like – craigwaters.org, vbikerblog.com, defaultreasoning.com & burdweiser.com
As I said earlier I was a little surprised I had passed! I found it very challenging but I shall not complain I know many before me have studied very hard and still failed, do not underestimate this exam.