It's been a busy few months with my little girl Sadie arriving (she is smiling now), I haven't had much time to post.
I recently passed the VCAP-DCD exam and thought I would jot down a few words about my experience.
A few study tips,
Study the recommended reading from the exam blueprint. The blueprint gives very high level subject titles, with links to numerous guides and references. I would recommend reading them all at least once before taking the exam.
You may notice that the majority of the documents are also recommended reading for the VCP level certification. You may find your self reading content you feel you understand very well. This make very dry reading, I must admit.
One tip is to try and see past the technical facts and look at the impact if the settings or functionality is implemented in a certain way. For example, it is easy to memorise the requirements for vMotion, it is useful knowledge, however for this exam, consider things such as , what is the impact of guest virtual machines not meeting these vMotion requirements, will the cluster become imbalanced, what is the importance of initial guest placement? I found by considering the content in this way, my designs would avoid these issues and I would be asking myself useful questions. During the exam this helped me spot obvious trouble spots.
Know the VMware design terminology. Technical knowledge is great but this test also requires you to understand business's requirements. If you haven't got experience of design work, I would recommend the vSphere design workshop. This course covers a lot of the content in 3 days. It won't cover it all, however it will give you the approach, terminology and show you the mindset you need to be in to ask the design type questions when reading requirements.
Read around the technology, I spent a lot of my study time just reading case studies from various vendors.
The exam is based on 4.1 , make sure you know the new features if it has been awhile since you did the VCP course.
Make sure your general IT knowledge is refreshed, i.e. Basic raid levels, link speeds, What is the difference between redundancy, DR and backup – normal operational management stuff, but all from a design perspective.
Resources I used.
- Blueprint and associated links (Scott Crookson has kindly placed them in one file for easy download)
- Case studies
- vSphere design by Scott Lowe et al
- Ha & DRS Technical Deepdive by Duncan Epping
- Workshop design guide
There are 113 questions, they range from multiple choice to visio type design questions. The method I used was to read through all questions answering the ones I thought I could answer straightaway. From here I took a deep breath and concentrated on the longer questions.
Time management is key, there is a lot to read, however looking for the useful information is a good tip, get to the point – just like in real life.
One last tip is to make sure you watch the Official exam demo, this gives a tutorial on how to use the design tool for the longer questions. I would recommend this, it takes away the scare factor when you are faced with the tool in the exam.
Good luck to anyone taking the VCAP-DCD , in my humble opinion it is a worthwhile exam, it is pretty tough, but very possible to crack.