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VCAP 6 - DCV - My experience

I decided to do a little write up around my experience of the exam VMware Certified Advanced Professional 6 - Data Center Virtualization Deployment a.k.a VCAP 6- DCV.

A little journey story about my exam first:

I jumped to the opportunity to take the beta exam around July 2016 when it was made available in the UK for beta testers as it was offered at a cut down price so there was no reason to not give it a shot. Half way through the exam I lost connection and my first initial reaction was have I just mis-configured something in the lab? I have heard many stories where people managed to destroy their lab, which I don't know if it is true or not but right at that moment I did think that was the end of my exam. My head was spinning round and round thinking what did I just do wrong?

I waited for 10 minutes and could see another candidate was having problems with their exam as their screen was like my screen just showing trying to reconnect. So we both had our hands raised to seek for the invigilator's attention and no one came to help us so we walked out of the exam room. While we was walking to look for the invigilator I was curious and asked the candidate what exam he was doing and it happened to be the same one as I was doing. Great!! I thought as it could mean that I didn’t break my lab after all. After ½ hour we got told that there was a fault with the exam and they wouldn’t be able to restart the exam and we would need to contact Pearson VUE to rearrange the exam. So I eventually managed to find time to rearranged the exam and have passed it now.

On to the bits that you all want to know:

Exam Experience -

The exam format is very much like VMware’s HOL ( so if you have used it before then you will have a good feel of how the exam will work. Depending on the test centre you go to you might have a small screen to work with so I would practice using a single screen where resolution of the screen could be poor too. I would check with your exam centre to see what screens they use as in my experience when I did the beta exam I had the luxury of two monitors. This meant I was able to display the questions on one screen all the time and have the lab on the other screen. For some reasons I thought all the test centres changed to be like that but how wrong was I!!. As you are fighting against time for your exam you have to practice as much as you can with working with one screen and sliding in and out the questions as you are doing the lab.

9 out of 10 times the VMware's HOL are very responsive when you perform the tasks but when I was doing the exam I was not getting good performance like HOL. So at times I would be clicking on an item to edit or configure and the screen would look like it had frozen. As normal you would issue another click and suddenly the lab would jump back alive and would perform the two clicks I have just issued. This gets frustrating if you are an impatient person so you have to be calm and wait a bit before re-issuing the command again. So remember be patient and calm as the lab could be slow to response to the commands you issue.

Study Materials -

I can’t give away what questions I had in the exam but I can point out some of the materials I have used

  • Look at the blueprint guide just to make sure it hasn't changed and you are revising the right materials
  • This guide provides some insight to what the exam UI will be like and what you can or can't do in the lab like "Control" and "ALT" keys are disabled
  • As this is a deployment exam you are going to expect it to be around deployment and management of an vSphere environment so if you are already doing it as a day to day job then just cover the areas in the blueprint that you normally are not involved with i.e. for me it was VSAN
  • The exam does provide pdf documents around VMware but given the performance of the lab being slow I don't think you would have time to look up information in those documents. It would be better if you know how to bring up the help menu for commands i.e. "esxtop --help" so that you can use those to help you instead
  • Search for “vcap6-dcv deployment study guide” in google and you will find a lot of blogger who would of written lots of good study guides which will cover each of the objectives in the blueprint.
  • Search for "vcap labs" and again there are lots of bloggers who would of written lots of good steps on how to build a lab automated to save you time
I used a few of the HOLs to help me with areas where I needed refreshers or I just didn't have the product deployed: 
  • HOL-1708-SDC-1 - Virtual SAN 6.2 from A to Z
  • HOL-1704-SDC-1 - vSphere 6: Performance Optimization
  • HOL-1708-SDC-2 - Virtual Volumes and Storage Policy Based Management
  • HOL-1710-USE-2 - vSphere with Operations Management: Use Cases
  • HOL-1721-SDC-6 - vSphere Automation with PowerCLI
  • HOL-1704-CHG-2 - vSphere 6: Challenge Lab
  • HOL-1708-CHG-3 - Virtual SAN 6.2: Challenge Lab
There was a lab that I used before which is not available anymore but the documents are still available here. HOL-SDC-1402 - vSphere Distributed Switch from A to Z

Hopefully this will give you an insight to what I used to help me with this exam and I managed to get to know another IT geek from my beta exam experience !!


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