Yesterday i took the plunge and took the VCP550-DCV exam, this was the recertification exam to my already acquired VCP5-DCV with the newly added expiry date this was going to expire come March 2015. But what prompted me to take the exam this week was the offer of being able to take the exam online and not having to go into a testing centre.

Yes you heard correct a VMware open book exam…. So of course i thought i will have a go at that one.

The Delta exam consists of 65 questions with a scoring scale of 100-500, 300 is the pass mark. You will have 75 minutes to complete the exam. If you are taking your VCP for the first time then you will be looking at 135 questions with the same score scale, and the time limit for this exam is 120 minutes.

Below i will share the resources i used for the renewal, the first place to start with any exam is the vendor’s own exam blueprint. from what i can see the blueprint is the same for both the recertifaction and the VCP550.

You will see the delta exam referred to as the VCP550D and the other referred to as the VCP550. You can only qualify for the VCP550D if you have a current valid VCP in Data Centre that is my understanding.

Exam Blueprint – https://mylearn.vmware.com/lcms/web/portals/certification/VCP_Blueprints/VCP-DCV-VCP550-Exam-Blueprint-v3_6.pdf

The VCP550D exam will be available as the Online exam until March 10th 2015, so i would advise any existing VCP-DCV to get on and get this completed. You will find the steps required to do so here – https://mylearn.vmware.com/mgrReg/plan.cfm?plan=51919&ui=www_cert

I would also advise that you take advantage of the free online training course VMware vSphere: What’s New Fundamentals [V5.5] available from here – https://mylearn.vmware.com/mgrreg/courses.cfm?ui=www_edu&a=one&id_subject=51301

I work with VMware on a daily basis and have been for some years so i although i went through the blueprint from top to bottom i also marked a lot of the items off as items i already knew, in particular i compared the VCP5-DCV exam blueprint that i had completed in December 2011 with the new one listed above and these were the topics that i coudl see that were different.

Identify vCenter Server and vCenter Server database requirements Deploy the vCenter Appliance

Upgrade a vSphere Distributed Switch

Upgrade from VMFS3 to VMFS5

Upgrade VMware Tools

Upgrade Virtual Machine hardware

Upgrade an ESXi Host using vCenter Update Manager

Secure vCenter Server and ESXi (Objective 1.5)

Configure and Administer Software Defined Storage (VSAN – Objective 3.3) Enable/Configure/Disable Host Power Management/Distributed Power Management Create/Delete vFlash Resource Pool

Assign vFlash resources to VMDKs

Install and Configure VMware Data Protection

Create a backup job with VMware Date Protection

Install, Configure and Administer vCenter Operations Manager (Objective 7.3)

I knew i had only this week to complete so didnt want to spend an entire lifetime re reading a number of VMware documents and covering topics that i already knew and that i worked with on a daily basis.

Some other areas that i dont use on a daily basis are as follows.

I went through VMware Pricing to understand the different versions as this has changed since my last exam – http://www.vmware.com/files/pdf/products/vsphere/VMware-vSphere-Pricing-Whitepaper.pdf?ClickID=dktomxrztrswwwmc0w2y2obxmbsbntycbybk

I also flicked through this as this gives a good understanding of how things are installed short read – http://www.vmware.com/files/pdf/vcenter/VMware-vCenter-Server-5.5-Technical-Whitepaper.pdf?ClickID=ca4lski74ixqqqspwqvnvleksexef4npenea

Single Sign on is also worth looking at here is the FAQ page – http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=2057799

And if you are not installing on a daily basis have a good read through this – https://pubs.vmware.com/vsphere-55/index.jsp?topic=%2Fcom.vmware.vsphere.install.doc%2FGUID-C6F362AF-397C-4271-A9A1-4EEF1C718AA9.html&resultof=%22vCenter%22%20%22vcenter%22%20%22Single%22%20%22singl%22%20%22Sign%22%20%22sign%22%20%22Deployment%22%20%22deploy%22

And just to dive into some of the features I listed above that I didn’t have to learn or that I don’t use on a daily basis that have been released with version 5.5 I added some more reading to my revision.

VSAN – You have the VMware documentation in the above link but save your time and read Duncan Epping’s blog – http://www.yellow-bricks.com/virtual-san/ you will also find him on twitter as @DuncanYB I would also make a point of flicking through two documents from VMware – http://www.vmware.com/files/pdf/products/vsan/VSAN_Design_and_Sizing_Guide.pdf?ClickID=bezkyvsuzsldddyf1dmgmknvynln6zgfngne and http://www.vmware.com/files/pdf/products/vsan/VMware_Virtual_SAN_Whats_New.pdf?ClickID=anzakro0zowvvvkpyv9s9atrktwt5zsptstn

vFlash Cache – http://www.vmware.com/files/pdf/vSphere_55_Flash_Read_Cache_Whats_New_WP.pdf?ClickID=dktomxrztrswwwmc0w2y2obxmbsbntycbybk

App HA – http://pubs.vmware.com/appha-11/topic/com.vmware.ICbase/PDF/vsphere-app-ha-users-guide-11.pdf

vSphere Data Protection – http://www.vmware.com/files/pdf/vsphere/VMware-vSphere-Data-Protection-Overview.pdf

vRealize Operations – this is a huge topic in this exam… so I would suggest reading quite a bit unless you use it on a daily basis, this was not something I was really familiar with but had configured a lot prior to the exam in my home lab as well as reading a lot of white papers and data sheets…. http://www.vmware.com/uk/products/vrealize-operations-insight/resources.html

I think if possible I would also look at the VMware VCA exams these are an “associate” level exams but they cover a lot of the content above but I believe (they were when I took them) they can be taken at home…

Finally I would suggest taking some of the practice tests on the VMware MYLearn page.

I managed a 487 pass mark out of 500 which i was really quite chuffed with… i am such a nervous exam taker and really despise going to the test center so having this exam available online at home was amazing.

Feel free to post your comments and your own scores, i would be interested to hear your feedback on the exam also.

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