Saturday, January 31, 2015

VCAP5-DCD cleared and now one step closer to VCDX !


All the readers out there who has been through the journey of VCAP-DCD will know the feeling of pressing the button "End the Exam" and which gives you the one moment of shock, which runs through your whole body and every single tissue of the body is waiting for the next screen.

"Congratulations you have passed the VCAP-DCD Examination"

That screen gave me immense pleasure and for minutes,hours and now days its still giving me the same pleasure in installments :-).

Wow, what a journey. The DCD and DCA are one of the most difficult exams I have ever taken and everyone can vouch the same who has been through the journey as me.

Thank You Note

I really want to thank my friends and colleague who have helped me through this DCD Exam journey and contributed their knowledge and their invaluable time they have provided. We have formed virtual study group and exchanged ideas and prepared to tackle this challenge.

Bas Raayman - @BasRaayman

Gregg Robertson - @greggrobertson5

Marek Zdrojewski - @MarekDotZ

Bobby Stampfle - @BobbyFantast1c

Alex- Correa - @AlexCorrea305 and his friends.

Michael Webster - @vcdxnz001 is my mentor and guided me through this journey.

Exam experience:

I went to another Pearson Vue location for a change for this Exam which I gave based on version vSphere 5.1 and Bingo ! Found it lucky ! :-)

BTW this Exam is retiring today itself so no more vSphere 5.1 but going forward only 5.5 version is available at this time. So many people have asked about the same through Twitter so thought to clarify as everyone is interested in knowing the experience for 5.5 version. Hopefully someone who has passed the version 5.5 can put their experience for others.

It was a new center opened in West of Toronto and 30 mins drive was not far. and went through regular security check in process and get started. No hick ups in the Exam except on time the Adobe Flash decided to stop responding and I just waited for few seconds and it came back normally and yes this was during making a 3rd Design. I almost finished 100 questions leaving 1.25 mins to spare. So thought to take a scheduled break, 1st time I took this break as this was my 4th Attempt :-). Yes I never gave up. This is a Devil exam if you ask me. Especially the content is not what you do on daily basis so you WILL find it more challenging than others who are not in the same boat as you.

So I used that extra time and started reviewing the questions again from # 1. Made some changes in my selection of the answers too while thinking over the options I have selected in MC, and D&D type questions and actually one Design Question as well. But at the end, everything was worth to get a Pass.

"A Pass is a Pass" - as they say, but getting 317 is little more to satisfy myself as just not at the Edge.

Exam Preparation/Tips and Resources

Now for the preparation, I took long time as busy with Family, personal matters, other certification exams time to time with various tracks etc. but I gave myself a break of few months between the attempts and literally spent my own time in preparing for the same. I have seen that most people don't do that (spending vacation time) to prepare for an Exam so in that regard  I have to say a big "Thank You" to my wife and my family to support me through this journey and also in advance for the VCDX. With two little kids it IS difficult to study in breaks and give such tough exam, But my friends, hard work pays off. Period.

For the resources I have used all known resources which are available freely to everyone but will still list out here for the reference.

1) Official vsphere Design Workshop material - Student Guide and Lab Guide
[The courseware is more than enough for this Exam :-)]
2) Official blueprint to keep track of the subjects and reading
3) 2nd Edition vSphere Design book by Scott Lowe
4) Pluralsight videos by Scott Lowe on vSphere Design
5) Managing and Optimizing vSphere Deployments - by Harley Stagner and Sean Crookston
6) VMware vSphere Building a Virtual Datacenter - by Eric Maille and Rene-Francois Mennecier
7) VMware vSphere 5.x Datacenter Design Cookbook - by Hershey Cartwright
8) vSphere Design Best Practices - by Christopher Kusek and brian Bolander
9) Storage Implementation in vSphere 50 - by Mostafa Khalil
10) Gregg Robertson has listed most resources here for DCD so check them out.

10) There is a visio like tool used in the DCD Exam to draw the design and I found the link on Josh andrews' blog  which led me to developed by the community members. I used that to practise the Design questions listed on the site and also tried creating few fictitious designs on my own and use the tool to create a design. This way you can get familiarize with the tool and the time can be minimized for placements of objects in the Exam.

Though this tool is experimental as still undergoing some improvements but its not bad at all. I really recommend to the future candidates who are preparing for 5.5 version to practice the Design items.

11) Some ex-TSEs of VMware has developed a nice Study Guide for VCAP-DCD at so dont forget to check that out. It is very intensive and well written guide covering all the blueprint subjects. You will find some other study guides links as well there.

12) No doubt apart from the reading material you should have experience working in Virtualization architecting and developing solutions and also understanding the terms and technologies to be used.

As the exam is retiring today I wish the good luck to all who are on this path to VCDX for their DCD on 55 version. Once the version 6 will be out it may change as well but time will tell the availability for 5.5 version for now.

Please share and care !!

Wish me Luck for VCDX !

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations! Nicely done :)

    I have as well two kids and I will try my first attempt to take DCD 5.5 18.02. I hope that my lack of working by daily basis with designing will not matter that much and I will pass it.