The VCAP5-DCD is one of VMware’s advanced certifications that validates both  general datacenter and specific vSphere related  design  skills.

The 225 minute exam comprises of 100 questions,  mainly multiple-choice,  drag and drop and a handful of  in-depth design scenario questions.

The design scenario questions make use of an custom design drawing tool, where  objects can be linked together to show the  logical or physical design of a platform, or specific configuration.

To take this exam, you must register and  already be a VCP-DCV.  Although there is an official course for this exam (The Design workshop)  it is not required to become certified.

As per all VMware exams,  the main starting point for preparing for this exam is the official VMware blueprint 

The blueprint  outlines the main areas of interest in the exam,  with recommended reading material.   You may notice that these documents are pretty much standard VMware documentation for configuration, administration and best practices.   As a VCP,  it is also likely that you studied this material before.

This is where the VCAP5-DCD certification differs from other VMware exams.   The exam is challenging and has been well constructed to validate if you think like a designer, rather  than knowing the options and how to do something referenced in the recommended reading material.

For people who are experienced designers  it should be easier to take the documentation and concepts , then  incorporate  into their design methodology.  However, if you are a VCP and VCAP-DCA technical engineer  looking to develop  or validate design skills  without years of  leading design projects  it may seem daunting.

The VCAP5-DCD blueprint appears to take the latter situation into consideration by specifying that a design process and methodology is part of the exam.    Understanding the terminology used in design scenarios   from both  technical and business perspectives.  then developing  a process to review  technical  documentation and construct / deconstruct designs  is in my opinion the key to sucess for this exam.

The approach I used for this exam  was  to initially   review all   the design process and terminology again to ensure I had the correct through process.   From there I worked through each of the technical components  specified in the blueprint,  then   ensured for each technical objective

  1. Review the known best practices (Both the Official VMware  documentation, and other documentation – communities, books, blogs,  etc)
  2. Read case studies on how people in the community or vendors have implemented the technology effectively and what issues they had.
  3. Review the VMware knowledge base for issues around the technology and how to avoid them.
  4. Relate the technology to previous projects I have worked on.

For items 2 & 4   I practiced creating  logical / conceptual / physical diagrams and deconstructing  the highlighted  designs looking for trade offs,  items against the known best practices and  creating component  relationship diagrams.

One of the challenges with this exam and design in real life is that there are normally  multiple ways of satisfying project  requirements,   is the best practice suitable,    what if you cant complete configuration to best practices,  what is the impact?

The VCAP5-DCD covers alot of ground  and requires many hours of reading around the subject.

I have compiled a list of reading materials, exam reviews and created a few practice exams that may help you along the way.   These  lists are not  exhaustive, but will give a good starting point for study.   If you come across a useful link and think I should add it please let me know.


Recommended  VCAP5-DCD  Reading 

Useful Study Material 

Published Books

Practice Tests

Exam Experience  Reviews 

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