Decided to take VCAP-DCV Deploy exam…

Previously as self-employed I had been putting off sitting the exam due to the cost, but I joined VMware PSO recently and as an employee I get a few free goes at the exams (before I have to explain myself to my boss!), so I figured I would just get it booked and sit it. I didn’t do any specific learning or HOLs for it as I really didn’t know what to expect. So I went in with the mindset that I would fail and use the experience so that I would be much better prepared for the second time around.

A few thoughts:

  • Yes it’s a nested lab and yes it’s slow. But it was nowhere near as bad as I had been lead to believe. It was perfectly acceptable and I’m not sure how it could be improved beyond working on live equipment. My test center have decent sized screens which help.
  • Flash client – wowsers. I’ve been using HTML5 for the past year so I had to relearn were some things were. If you’re going to sit it, avoid using the HTML5 client at work, get used to Flash until the exam is updated.
  • I did not know the documentation was on the desktop and only figured it out about half way through the exam as I had to go on the desktop to do something. I didn’t need it, but I was surprised to see it. I don’t know how I feel about it being there, part of me thinks it shouldn’t be as it’s a knowledge test, not a ‘can you read a PDF’ test.
  • I only had 20 minutes left at the end after I’d completed all tasks. I couldn’t get one of them to work no matter how hard I tried, restarting vCenter may have been an option however I’d imagine it would be close to 20 minutes for it to fully restart so I ended the lab there.
  • I can’t talk about specific questions (obviously), but one had me completely stumped (and I can’t find the answer now!). I’ll just say iSCSI.
  • The exam is long. Don’t drink a load of water before you go in. I’d suggest taking a break at the 1h30 remaining mark just to get away from the screen. Something which I was stumped on before came back to me when I was in the toilet, so it definitely helps to step away for a short while. My test center don’t allow watches in and there’s no clocks on the wall so I really lost all concept of time, even with the timer on the screen saying xx minutes left.
  • Regarding the point above, I found it perhaps unnecessarily long.
  • It really does seperate those who brain dump and those who ‘can’. Even with the documentation on the desktop, there’s no way on Earth you’re going to finish on time if you don’t have a good understanding of vSphere/vCenter and where things live.

I’d originally written the above and posted it on reddit, that was based on my first attempt at the exam. Rather expectantly, I didn’t pass but I was not far off the pass mark (255/300).

I booked the second attempt for 3 weeks after the first, having had to go and work with some customers in between. The first attempt was 12.30 GMT and the second time was 09.30 GMT. I mention the time as I suspect with the US being mostly asleep for the second time round, the lab was much faster. I also didn’t have to SSH into the vCenter to fix a load of ‘stuff’. I am however pleased to announce that I passed the second time.

I should say that if you are an accomplished vSphere administrator you shouldn’t fear the exam. If possible I’d suggest that you go and sit it and you may be in for a surprise. I say it was easier than I expected but that could be because I work with vSphere day in and day out and I have a raft of experience with it. It’s one of those that even with a large amount of study and practice, if you don’t have day to day experience in your job you may struggle.

Now begins the Design study, which I admit is going to be a little bit tougher than anything I’ve sat VMware wise, primarily as I am more of a doer than a designer, but with enough hard work it will be possible.