After passing the VCAP5-DCD exam a while ago, the obvious step for me was to prepare and take the VCAP5-DCA exam. So I scheduled the test on January 29 and here are some of my thoughts.
As you all know the VMware Certified Advanced Professional 5 – Data Center Administration exam tests certification candidates on their skills and abilities installing, configuring and administering large and/or more complex virtualized environments. This said, I will not bore you with stuff that you can read in the blueprint and rather give you some useful tips and advice.
First of all, TIME MANAGENT. This is very essential in the VCAP5-DCA exam. I managed to complete about 19 or 20 of the 26 labs. Each lab consists of one or more tasks and you can easy loose valuable time by switching back and forth from the lab description to the work area. Don’t even bother to look up answers in the documentation, which is provided for you. This will cost you a lot of time. This would be a lot easier if the exam center had two monitors available.
Next, If you don’t know the answer to a lab or a specific task in the lab, move on. In most cases you can always go back. Some labs are depending on each other so read carefully! Also, check if there are warnings mentioned in the lab description. In some cases you can perform tasks that will kill the environment and when you do so, it’s game over.
The desktop, as you can see in the mock exam, was very sluggish in my opinion. Especially the RDP sessions. There is a vSphere Client available on your desktop and I strongly recommend to use it for direct connection to the vCenter Server. It is more responsive than the RDP client.
Don’t close the SSH, RDP or vSphere Client session once you have opened them. Minimize them, you probably will need them in the next labs and it will save you some time. Logging in to the sessions isn’t exactly fast on the exam.
Write down the password and optionally usernames so you don’t have to go back to the lab description to look them up.
Okay, so for exam experience. Here are the materials I used when preparing for the exam. First of all, blueprint is your guide. There are also a lot of blogs on experiences from other people, just google it 🙂
- VCAP5-DCA Study Guide by Paul Grevink
- VDCA511 Study Sheet by Chris Wahl
- Plurasight/TrainSignal VMware vSphere Optimize & Scale series with Jason Nash
- Plurasight/TrainSignal VMware vSphere Performance Monitoring series with David Davis
- Home lab to mess around with vSphere environment and gain more hands-on experience
Now for some practical tips. Arrive early at the exam center. Register, get something to drink, go to the bathroom and eat a high calorie snack J you will need your energy.
Try to relax and then… go for it! I’m currently waiting or my exam result. I will update the blog when I got some news.
[ Update 11-02-2014 ]
I just received an email with my score report, I am happy to say that I passed! 🙂