I passed my VCAP-DCA in late November right and dove right into the VCDX Design submission. Prior to this I combed through all VCDX defense tips and experiences I could find. I also had read John Arrasjid’s and Ben Lin’s Book:
VCDX Boot Camp: Preparing for the VCDX Panel Defense
From all of the experience and tips I read the most important ones for me were:
Follow the Blueprint – I have read this time and time again but it is so very true. In the end, I created an outline based mostly off the blueprint to layer my design into – a Framework that covered all the points in the blueprint.
Map your Business Requirements to the Conceptual, Logical and Physical Designs – A big part of the design and the “VCDX way” is demonstrating how your design meets the business requirements of your customer. Continue reading
With the VCAP-DCD down, the next challenge was the VCAP-DCA. I didn’t take a break between the two exams. While I was preparing for the VCAP-DCD, I was also prepping for the DCA. I usually have multiple irons in the fire when I’m learning new things. I find that I need a little variety and don’t like to focus on just one thing. Fortunately, at the time I was studying for the DCA, I was also in the middle of a hands-on engagement building two VMware/UCS Data Centers.
Since the VCAP-DCA is a hands-on lab exam, I needed to resurrect my lab. I had a lab using 3 Mac Minis and a Synology NAS which I used prior to me moving from Austin, TX to Ashland, Oregon. I ended up selling this lab as part of the move so now I was starting from scratch.
I choose to build a self-contained lab using a Dell T110 II (Quad Core with HT & 32GB RAM) and I installed ESXi 5.5 bare metal on it and then nested an ESXi Environment within it. I loaded the Dell up with some SSD’s and ran a FreeNAS VM to control and carve up my storage. I choose this setup for few reasons: Continue reading
Previous Post: My VCDX Journey Part I
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.
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.