The exam tests a candidate’s knowledge and ability to make optimal design choices with respect to VMware’s core datacenter virtualization products. You are allotted 3 hours and 45 minutes to complete the exam and will have to answer 100 questions in a combination of the following formats:
- Multiple choice questions
- Drag and drop questions
- Visio-like diagramming tasks
Before booking / taking this exam you must hold the VCP5-DCV certification and gain pre-approval through VMware’s education site.
The following resources have been used by us (and / or others) to prepare for the VCAP5-DCD exam and suggested by other readers and bloggers to include for anyone else seeking to do the same thing. But be warned, this exam is as much about thinking the right way and experience as it is about knowledge.
Who better to tell you what the exam is like (subject to some restrictions understandably) than people who have already taken it:
- My VCAP-DCD Experience – Josh Atwell
- Passed the VCAP-DCD 5, My Tips – Justin Langer
- VCAP5-DCD – Mission Accomplished – Maish Saidel-Keesing
- VCAP5-DCD Retake – Gregg Robertson
- Passed: My VCAP5-DCD Experience – Michael Poore
Articles & Documents
One document you should definitely be familiar with is the exam Blueprint. This tells you what the exam will seek to test you on. Registration with VMware is required to view the document, but that’s free. You should be familiar with the document and understand what the exam may test you on before you book the exam.
Aside from the “Experiences” listed above, the one thing that you should probably do is RTFM! VMware’s product documentation may not always be perfect, perhaps doesn’t always say why things work the way that they do and can make for very dry reading matter but there are plenty of best practices in there that it’s good to know.
There are also other resource pages for the VCAP5-DCD exam. Here are a few of them to get you started:
There are three that I’d recommend taking a look at:
- VMware Press are releasing Paul McSharry’s VCAP5-DCD Cert Guide in July 2013.
- Scott Lowe’s Mastering VMware vSphere 5, a popular follow-up to his book covering version 4.
- Duncan Epping and Frank Denneman’s VMware vSphere 5 Clustering Deepdive. This book is very focused on a specific area but it covers it in such rich detail that it’s a must read. Also, expect a good few exam questions to be covered off by the content of this book.
- Forbes Guthrie and Scott Lowe’s VMware vSphere Design 2nd Edition. A quality book!
There is no required course element for this exam unlike the VCP5-DCV. VMware recommend two courses / workshops that would be beneficial background for taking the exam:
I haven’t been on either of these although I’ve heard some good things about the Design Workshop.
What you might also find of great use is TrainSignal’s VMware vSphere 5 Training course if there are some elements of vSphere 5 that you’re not too familiar with. I reviewed the course here on this site. More relevant is TrainSignal’s Designing VMware Infrastructure course.
VMware’s MyLearn site contains a mock exam that gives you an idea how the UI for the questions / tasks that aren’t multiple choice work.