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VMware VCAP6.5-DCV Design Exam Experience

VMware VCIX6.5-DCV Badge At VMware EMPOWER 2018 in Vienna, I passed the VMware Certified Advanced professional 6.5 Data center Virtualization Design exam or in sort VCAP6.5-DCV. This exam was already for a very long on my certification list, to be more precise for about four years. Because of the large number of new products VMware released the last couple of years, my priorities shifted many times because Data center Virtualization was not really too interesting to study anymore… (sorry Data center Virtualization for calling you not interesting). My experience with VMware vSphere started more than ten years ago and over the years I have been responsible for designing multiple infrastructures for customers.

The VMware way of describing the VMware Certified Advanced Professional 6.5 – Data Center Virtualization Design certification:

“The VCAP6.5-DCV Design certification validates advanced knowledge of simplifying data center operations through virtualization with vSphere 6.5 and its related components, and is able to recommend and design VMware solutions to meet specific goals and requirements. This industry-recognized certification improves your credibility among your peers and proves that you have a deep understanding of data center virtualization design principles and methodologies.”

 

So where is the exam about: The exam is about the VMware Design Methodology used for designing a VMware vSphere infrastructure the right way. To pass the exam you need to know everything about the following items and make sure you can apply them in real-life examples/use cases:
– AMPRS (Availability, Manageability, Performance, Recoverability and Security).
– RCAR (Requirement, Constraint, Assumption and Risk)
– Non-functional and functional requirements
– RPO (Recovery Point Objective)
– RTO (Recovery Time Objective)
– Conceptual, Logical and Physical Designs
– vSphere 6.5 features, what did the release of vSphere 6.5 provide to each feature and what are the requirements and constraints for implementation.
– vSAN 6.5 features, design and architecture
– Site Recovery Manager features, design and architecture
– vSphere Replication features, design and architecture

Preparation

For me, the preparation of the exam started with a couple of sessions about the vSphere Design Methodology. Jeffrey Kusters was so kind to host a couple of sessions in his spare time about the subject for all the ITQ colleges. Jeffrey Kusters is one of our VMware VCDXs that works at our firm and has a lot of years of experience designing vSphere Infrastructure as an IT architect.

Study Materials

I have used many different material/sources to prepare myself for the exam but watch out. There is so much information available that you can study until 2020 and then you are still not able to read all the information. Focus on the items listed above and you will have a good chance of passing. Important note, sometimes information on a blog or book is a couple of years old and you might expect it to be not relevant. This is not the case the VMware Design Mythology has not changed over the years.

Material list:
Blog – Jeffrey Kusters – Breaking down the conceptual design, RCARs and AMPRS …. VCDX style
Blog – Jeffrey Kusters – Passed VCAP6.5-DCV Design … Yes! Finally VCDX6
Course – VMware – VMware vSphere: Design Workshop [V6.5]
Documentation – VMware – vSphere 6.5 Availability Guide
Documentation – VMware – vSphere 6.5 Installation Setup Guide
Documentation – VMware – vSphere 6.5 Platform Services Controller Administration Guide
Documentation – VMware – vSphere 6.5 Security Guide
Documentation – VMware – vSphere 6.5 Upgrade Guide
– Ebook – VMware vSphere Design Second Edition by Scott Lowe, Forbes Guthrie and Kendrick Coleman
– Ebook – VMware vSphere 6.X Datacenter Design Cookbook SE by Hersey Cartwright
– Ebook – vSphere Design Pocketbook 2.0 Blog Edition
– Exam Guide – VMware – Link
Video – Pluralsight – What’s New in vSphere 6.5
Video – Youtube – vBrownbag – VCAP-DCV Design
White Paper – VMware – Storage Protocol Comparison

Conclusion

I passed the exam on the first attempt with a good score. The questions are decent around 12 drag en drop and 48 multiple choices. The questions are decent and require you to have deep knowledge of the products. So basically you know the answer or you just don’t. For me passing the VCAP6.5-DCV Design made me a VCIX6.5-DCV, so I was extra pleased with the result.

Special thanks to Jeffrey Kusters! You have been an absolute help!

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The VMware VCP7-CMA Exam

VMware VCP7-CMA Badge
VMware VCP7-CMA Badge

Today I passed the VMware Certified Professional 7 Cloud Management and Automation Exam in short VCP7-CMA. The required score was 300 points and I scored 418 points! The exam is about automation of your cloud management platform with VMware Products: vRealize Automation (vRA), VMware vRealize Business (vRB) and vRealize Orchestrator (vRO) but there are also many questions about integrations with other VMware products like VMware NSX-V, VMware vCloud Air and of course VMware vSphere.

To be honest this was not my first attempt at the VCP7-CMA exam. In VMworld 2017 Barcelona, I already did the exam but I failed with just under 300 points, that was quite frustrating.

 

VCP7-CMA Exam:

The VMware VCP7-CMA exam consists out of 85 multiple-choice questions and you need to score at least 300 points. The maximum score is 500 points and you have 110 minutes to complete the exam. In the VMware VCP7-CMA exam guide are all the exam subjects listed so make sure you understand all of them. The main focus is on the vRealize Automation product. Make sure you study the right version because the exam is based on vRealize Automation 7.X and at this time the newest version is vRealize Automation 7.3. A big surprise to me was the questions about vCloud Air… because at the time I took the exam vCloud Air was not a part anymore of VMware (it was sold of to OVH) and all the documentation related to vCloud Air was removed… mmm nice.

VCP7-CMA Study Tips:

For passing the exam, I have used the following websites:

Make sure you understand all the subjects in the Exam Guide. For almost all subjects there is a VMware Hands-on lab environment for available.

If you ask me, this is the most difficult VCP exam that I have completed until now.

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VMworld 2017 Barcelona (my personal review)

This week I travelled with my colleagues to VMworld 2017 in Barcelona Spain. This was my first VMworld but luckily my colleagues helped me out with putting a schedule together. The days were absolutely great and well-organized thanks to my employer ITQ (special thanks to Francisco Perez van der Oord and Paul Geerlings).

This blog post is about my first VMworld with my personal highlights.

 

VMware vSphere 6.5 Host Resources Deep Dive

VMware vSphere 6.5 Host Resources Deep Dive Signed

At the Rubrik stand, a thousand copies were given away of the best book in stores now (personal opinion) “VMware vSphere 6.5 Host Resources Deep Dive“. At a specific time, you had to wait in line to get a free copy of the book signed by Frank Denneman and Niels Hagoort. I was one of the lucky people who got a free copy with their signatures :).

VMworld 2017 Sessions

Delivering-Hybrid-Cloud-Architectures-for-Your-Customer-with-VMware-Cloud-on-AWS-Adam-Osterholt

At VMworld, I attended a lot of sessions but my personal top three were the following:

  • Delivering Hybrid Cloud Architectures for Your Customer with VMware Cloud on AWS – Adam Osterholt
  • Replicating VMware VVols: A technical deep dive into VVol array-based replication in vSphere 6.5 – Claudio Calisto, Nick Dyer
  • vCenter Performance Deep Dive – Ravi Soundararajan

I also attended a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) session with Tom Corn the Vice President of Security Products at VMware about AppDefense.

Server and Storage Hardware (Dell EMC / HPE)

HPE ProLiant DL360 Gen10On Tuesday I visited multiple hardware vendors about their new products.

  • At the HPE stand they showed the new HPE ProLiant gen 10 servers and their current storage portfolio 3PAR, Nimble. A beta version of the HPE ProLiant DL360 G10 was displayed and there was an iLO5 demo.
  • The Dell EMC stand was one of the largest on VMworld. They displayed all their main products and were displaying demos.

Final word

I could blog all day about the announcements and sessions but luckily all information is available for everyone. You can find the sessions on the vendor websites or on YouTube. The company I work for has created a dedicated page to display all the VMworld news items.

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VMware VCAP6-DCV Deployment Certification

On 1 February 2017, I passed the VMware VCAP6-DCV Deployment exam (3V0-623). This was my first VMware VCAP exam that I ever did. I prepped for about two months in my Home Lab environment and a couple of times I used the VMware Hands-on Labs. The main goal wat to exercise all the objectives listed in the exam blueprint.

So what exactly is the VCAP6-DCV Deployment exam? VMware describes it as following:

This exam tests your skills and abilities in implementation of a vSphere 6.x solution, including deployment, administration, optimization and troubleshooting.

Lab environment:

In my home lab environment I deployed the following components to complete all the exam blueprint objectives:

  • 2x – VMware vCenter 6.0 (Windows and VCSA)
  • 1x – Windows Machine with Update Manager (VUM)
  • 6x – VMware ESXi 6.0 (for vSAN and traditional storage testing)
  • 2x – Site Recovery Manager (SRM)
  • 2x – vSphere Replication
  • 1x – VMware vSphere Data Protection (VDP)
  • 1x – Dell Unity VSA for iSCSI, NFS and Virtual Volumes.

The hardware I used can be found on the following page Home Lab. The environment was using nested ESXi hosts to accommodate the required amount of ESXi hosts.

Personal experience:

The exam is a Lab based exam, so this is completely different than a VMware VCP exam. The exam itself is not the most difficult one out their… at least for someone who is working on a day-to-day base with VMware vSphere. The most difficult part is the time management. You have got twenty-seven objectives to complete and you have 205 minutes to complete them, of course, you just need to score 300 points. That can be a bit tricky because if you get stuck you need to go to the following objective.

There are two unofficial study guides available on the internet. These are based on the VMware Blueprint and they helped me a lot. Both guides are detailed and full of information.

Links:

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