Before I go into the VCAP5-DCD, it’s important for me to give you some background about what I do. Over the past two and a bit years I have been working in pre sales designing infrastructure solutions based on vSphere. Now the good news is that I was responsible for the whole piece, storage, networking, vSphere and applications. The company I worked for was mainly focused on SMB’s with the number of ESXi Hosts ranging from two to sixteen, with them always being in a single cluster. The downside was I was the only vSphere person, so I never really knew if what I was doing right as I had no one to bounce ideas with.
We had a great technical team, but we didn’t really have a ‘official design methodology’. However we had without knowing it been following some of the principles of VMware design, albeit unknowingly.
Step forward to the last two months, when I joined my current employer. These guys have a design methodology which fits exactly to the VMware design methodology. I had been involved in a couple of projects and had completed various documents after engaging with clients using Requirements, Assumptions, Risks and Constraints. It was and still is a steep learning curve from a process perspective, technically, I think I’m OK.
The great thing is, they have a number of vSphere people, who are always willing to spend five minutes with you to ‘chew the fat’ and go over a design or validate a document.
Chain of Events
One of my colleagues is defending the VCDX at Barcelona (hope he nails it) and asked me to review his design and documentation. Having spent a number of nights reading and reviewing this, I thought maybe I could do this. When we sat down and discussed his design, he stated I should do the VCAP5-DCD, which strangely enough gave me the confidence to think about it.
I hadn’t really given much thought to doing the VCAP5-DCD before this point, apart from it was something I knew I wanted to do, however a chain of events then started which seemed to align perfectly.
Event 1 – Gregg Robertson @GreggRobertson5 twitted a VCAP exam voucher for 70% off any VCAP Exam
Event 2 – I had a meeting on Wednesday morning, which my colleague was unable to attend, which meant I had Wednesday afternoon free and also Thursday morning which was left for action points. With this free time and discount voucher, I thought why not give the VCAP5-DCD a whirl!
Event 3 – I was in Bracknell on Thursday in the afternoon, and I happened to check Pearson Vue website, who have a testing centre and spaces for VCAP5-DCD. The stars had aligned, the exam was booked.
On Wednesday I purchased Paul McSharry @pmcsharry VMware Press Official Guide VCAP5-DCD and read this back to back and did all the tests. I also downloaded the VCAP5-DCD Study Pack which was put together by Steven Dunne @steveied_82. I had actually downloaded this earlier on in the week, but when I looked at it I thought, crikey there is so much to read!
Out of all the information in this pack, I read the VCAP5-DCD Study Outline by Jason Langer @jaslanger and read up (quickly as it was late) any areas I needed to polish up on.
I also read a number of blog sites about the VCAP5-DCD exam experience.
I knew the exam was going to be brutal, from a time and concentration perspective. Plus I don’t function to well if I’m tired or hungry. So I tried to get a decent nights sleep on Wednesday, about six hours in total.
I had a two hour drive to the exam, during this time, I didn’t listen to anything VMware related, I was of the opinion either I know it or I don’t.
Fifteen minutes before going into the exam, I did the following:
- Ate 2 x Natural Eating Bars, for a bit of a sugar rush but also to try and keep hunger at bay.
- Had 2 x Ibuprofen. I didn’t have a headache, but knew I was going to be exerting myself mentally and wanted to make sure I was on top form for the four hours duration.
My exam had 100 questions with 6 designs and 94 questions. I made a note at the top of my plastic sheet with 6 designs and as I covered one, I made a note so that I knew how many where left as time management was key.
How I tackled the questions was a bit different. I started reading at the paragraph above the answers, this was key as this stated what you needed to do. On nearly every question you have the ‘background gumph’ and loads of information, however not all of this is needed, so going to the paragraph above the answers told you what information you really needed to extract to be able to answer.
I finished the exam with about 30 seconds to spare, and was really under pressure on the last five questions. To be fair, I was fatigued and mentally broken when I clicked End Exam and in fact I put my hands in my head and closed my eyes. What seemed like a long time, but was probably only a few seconds I opened y eyes and saw the words ‘Congratulation you have passed the VCAP5-DCD’. My score wasn’t the best 328, but I’m happy that I passed.