On Monday I sat the VCAP-DCD 5 beta exam. I thought I would write my experience of preparing and taking the exam, but there is actually not much to write about that is different from my VCAP-DCD 4 experience.

So just some bulletpoints:

  • For version 4 I prepared for about month, including Design course, this time during two evenings I just reviewed the vSphere 5 Design course manual.
  • It was a beta exam which usually means long and with errors: 131 questions, 4+ hours. Couple questions were missing some words, in one particular question it seemed important. I had also a crash after two hours, but the examination lady restarted the program and fortunately all of my 80+ answers were there intact.
  • I rushed through the exam as quickly as possible, did not read the lengthy scenarios, concentrated on the important points that were asked for and skipped the 5 Visio type questions to do at the end and I still had only an hour to do those. The Visios seemed to be same or very similar as in previous version so they did not take me so much time and I finished about 10 minutes early.
  • The exam questions seemed much the same as in version 4, only a few related to the new vSphere 5 features.
  • Based on that my recommended study path would be: read all the whitepapers about vSphere 5 (What’s new and best practices) and the design methodology from the Design course and you should ace the exam.
  • If you pass the exam and you are not VCP5 you get VCP5 automatically.

I obviously do not know my result yet. I am still waiting (more than 2 months) for the result from my other beta exam (VCP5-DT) so I do not expect it to arrive any time soon. I feel spending 4+ hours for something that is less than 10% different from the previous exam is not very effective. I wish there would be a shorter web only delta exam or better some kind of continuous training requirement (online webex courses) similar to PMI Project Management Professional certificaton re-examination which requires collection of certain amount of points during 3 year time period to keep the certification. The points are awarded by taking official courses, online courses, writing a blog or for the actual on the job experience.

Another way to go in the future would be to extend the design certification beyond vSphere and include SRM, vCD and possibly vCOps – designing a datacenter nowadays requires more than just vSphere…

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