Already having my VCP, the next step on the journey was the VCAP Exams. I chose the Design exam (VCAP5-DCD) first since it more aligned to what I do on a day to day basis. I’m an architect first and foremost and while I can do hands-on, I don’t do it as often as I would like. Some engagements I do hands-on, but most of them I am in a consulting and design role.
I studied off and on for about two months prior to taking the exam. It wasn’t intense study and was done mostly when I was traveling to client sites. I mostly re-read books and did some Pluralsight classes. I found these books especially helpful to review–I have read and re-read these and refer to them often.
VMware vSphere Design 2nd Edition – Forbes Guthrie & Scott Lowe
A really good design book on the “VMware Way” which was also helpful later in the VCDX design for knowing what should be included in Conceptual, Physical and Logical designs.
Networking for VMware Administrators – Chris Wahl and Steve Pantol
Must read for any VMware Engineer or Architect. Very useful on knowing functions of all the different ways of setting up and configuring vSphere Networking. I also used for reference in my VCDX design.
Storage Implementation in vSphere 5.0 –Mostafa Khalil
Again, a must read for any VMware Engineer or Architect. This book was one of the ones I took with me to on Defense trip to review. It was in the trunk of my rental car while I was defending. I’m looking forward to the updated version 6 book.
VCAP5-DCD Official Cert Guide – Paul McSharry
I found some helpful information in this book. Is it comprehensive? No–but I don’t think it could be–The DCD is type of test that studying will only take you so far. It draws upon all kinds of knowledge that should be ingrained into an architect.
Information Storage and Management: Storing, Managing, and Protecting Digital Information in Classic, Virtualized, and Cloud Environments 2nd Edition – EMC Education Services
Not a VMware book, but the DCD goes beyond VMware. I found this to be a helpful refresher on storage and initially read it for EMCISA certification.
I’m a big fan of Pluralsight and before them Train Signal. I still have the DVD Train Signal classes for version 3 by David Davis gathering dust on my shelf. The subscription model is simply awesome and a huge bang for your buck. I’ve watched just about every VMware class they have on there—some more than once. Just a fabulous resources especially if your funds are limited. I have only taken one official paid VMware Class (VMware 3 ICM) due to funding constraints.
I will mention some other specific classes for the VCAP-DCA but for the DCD, this class was especially helpful:
Designing VMware Infrastructure – Scott Lowe
Excellent design class on the “VMware Way”. As with his book, this was also a helpful sanity check on my VCDX design. Scott gives some other great ideas and tips to approach mapping out the design process. I definitely have incorporated what I learned from this class and his book into how I approach design in my job.
vBrown Bag Series
I didn’t use these as much since I found them only a few weeks prior to my exam date. If I would have known about them sooner, I most definitely would have used them. So much great info in these and all free!
Blogs & Exam Experiences
There’s a ton of these and I won’t list any in particular. I found reading others experiences very helpful and what i should expect as far as time constraints and general exam format/testing environment.
My Exam Experience
I found the DCD exam to be very challenging but at the same time pretty fun. I was surprised to see a lot things that I knew that I didn’t review and frankly didn’t think to review. I took all of the time allotted and could have used another hour.
Fortunately, at the end I was happy that I passed on the first go around. I wasn’t very confident that I was going to pass while I was taking the exam but did my best to stay calm and focus on the items I knew really well. Like the DCA, it is best to not dwell on particular questions that you are a little fuzzy on. I took the approach of moving along and going back to the iffy ones at the end.
I really think the DCD is a great exam and passing it proves you know a lot about infrastructure and VMware design. Anyone who can pass that exam knows their stuff–a paper DCD is not possible—I wish it was more recognized in the industry. Hopefully the VCIX versions will get the respect that this cert & the ability to pass this exam deserves.
With the DCD under my belt, the next stop was my -VCAP-DCA which will be the subject of next post: My VCDX Journey – Part 3- VCAP-DCA