Today I took the VCP510 exam and passed, so I thought I would share my thoughts on this latest certification by VMware. Firstly, I’m in the middle of the VCAP exams, having just completed the VCAP-DCA4 and will soon start studying for the VCAP-DCD4. Why take the VCP exam based on a new version now? Well, mainly because I’ve already been on the VMware vSphere: What’s New [V5.0] course and most of the contents are still fresh in memory. Secondly having passed the VCAP-DCA4 exam, with the next one being design focused I can pretty much focus on design best practices regardless of the version (although there are obvious differences).
After spending a week working down-under in Perth, I managed to get some time off this week to recover from the jet lag, so what better way than spending a few days refreshing my memory and doing LOTS of lab work with vSphere 5!
Much of my focus was around the vSphere Storage Appliance (vSA), vCenter Server Appliance and Auto Deploy and I must admit after reading some other comments I didn’t focus too much on configuration maximums (still glanced over them).
I can’t go into the specifics of the exam, as per the usual NDA, but here are my thoughts…
This was much tougher than I thought, perhaps a combination of jet lag, and maybe VCAP-DCA/DCD4 study floating around in my head didn’t help. However, don’t underestimate it. It is a little more difficult than previous VCP exams (3/4). There were a good few questions that I marked for review and couldn’t decide between some of the options, but certainly more hands-on lab work would have helped. I was OK with the time allocated (you get 90 minutes to answer 85 questions), but I do tend to rush quickly through each question and review them all at the end.
One tip which will save your ass is to spend some time reading up on the new features, but more importantly implementing them for yourself! Many questions are aimed at your experience with the product, not just specifics like config maximums and what you’ve read in the PDF’s. I use Dropbox and store all of the vSphere 5 documents so I have them wherever I go. If you are lucky enough to have a vSphere 5 environment to hand then spend most of your time implementing the new features, understand how to configure them and what the limitations are.
My second tip is to read the vSphere 5 Clustering Technical Deepdive by Duncan Epping and Frank Denneman. I purchased the Kindle version from Amazon so I can read on my iPad, but you can get it in paperback too. This contains a lot of valuable information for this exam, especially as HA is completely new and you will likely get tested in this area.
There is also a vSphere 5 training series by TrainSignal which is excellent especially if you are new to virtualisation and vSphere 5 is your first step into the world of cloud computing.
VMware continue to have the best certifications in the industry which are highly respected and sought after, and having done various other VMware exams in the past it is clear than they are continuing to push us individuals further and further which maintains a very high standard of competency in our industry. If you are serious about a career in virtualisation then if you only listen to one thing I’ve said here, then it is this… Get a home lab! If not for the VCP5, you’ll certainly need it for the VCAP-DCA exam, but most of all you’ll get a lot of satisfaction out of working in your own virtual infrastructure that YOU have created.
Also, check out StratoGen who are a leading cloud provider, a VMware Enterprise Service Provider and have some hardcore skills to including my pal Simon Greaves who recently joined them. If you need VMware Hosting, then these are the people you need to speak to!