Category Archives: VCAP


My VCAP5-DCA (VDCA550) Exam Experience

VCAP-DCAI would like to share my VCAP5-DCA experience as I learned lot of valuable things along the way that I think could help others in their preparation. I am not the first and will definitely not be the last to share VCAP Exam experience. I completed my VCP5 back in February 2012 on the last day before vSphere Install, Configure and Manage class was made mandatory to upgrade to VCP5. Since then I’ve been planning to write my DCA for a long time, due to various reason I couldn’t properly dedicate time and effort to prepare for the exam. Sadly there was a gap of 3 years between my VCP and VCAP success. πŸ™

During a meet up with my Virtualization friends in Nov-2014, we had a discussion about VMware offering 50% discount on VCP and VCAP exam in APAC region and it was the right time to appear for the exam. Then I had to decide whether to go for 510 or 550? it was an interesting choice for me. Even though many had opted for 510, I wanted to give latest 550 a try and registered for the exam on 17-Dec-2014. I just had less than 4 weeks for my exam preparation and due to the lack of time, I couldn’t clear the exam first time around and scored 267 for a 300 pass mark to clear the certification. I was disappointed as it was my first certification I failed at the first go. This exam needs more dedication, practice and preparation.

I took the exam for the second time on 4-Feb-2015, having now known the exam question type, exam pressure I was better prepared for the exam. At least that’s what I thought, I spent more time on the questions and area I had issues at the first attempt. On the exam day to start of with I had issues logging in to my windows box to access exam lab and experienced occasional lag in the lab, nothing that I would like to flag as an issue. Did not experienced any issue during the first attempt, out of 23 questions I had about 10 left during the last 75 minutes.

I had no clue as to how did I end up at that position, time just page out during the DCA exam. I quickly attended the remaining questions and around 3 minutes mark before the closure I had completed 8 questions and I hit finish. It was a long 4 hour exam with out any break (break time at our own cost of time), I walked out of the exam center and eagerly waited for my results. Had lot of eager friends trying to reach me over WhatsApp, text message to check how the exam went for me, in just 15 mins after the exam I got the email from VMware in my inbox. The wait is over, checking the result sounded even more difficult that the actual exam and Wow I passed the exam, I was totally happy on successful completion of exam especially with my VCP expiration date on March-2015. Well that’s my exam experience and I hope you find it useful, I have to endorse what all DCA’s have highlighted “Time management is Key to pass VCAP5-DCA exam“. Try not to leave any question unattended. πŸ™‚

Preparation Tips ?

1. Needless to say that you would need a lot of LAB TIME, grab your copy of blue print and work on each item listed in the objectives.
2. While there are loads of study material available, I would recommend Pluralsight’s (formerly Train-signal) VMware vSphere Optimize and Scale (VCAP-DCA) Jason Nash.
3. VCAP5-DCA Official Cert Guide: VMware Certified Advanced Professional 5- Data Center Administration – This book is official source from VMware and does a great job in covering the topic’s. Even if the book is mainly focused on the older VDCA510 exam, it also contains a chapter highlighting the changes in the blueprints between the 510 and 550 exams which was really helpful. The best part of the study guide is Chapter 10: Scenarios , where you get familiar with exam question patterns. If you can perform the task in chapter 10 couple of times without any assistance or referring any material, then you can confidently approach the exam.
4. Also highly recommend VCAP5-DCA exam VDCA550 study guide prepared by Paul Grevink.
6. (Another great PDF guide and a CLI guide)

Exam tips?

1. Time management – As I mentioned earlier time management would be key, don’t write 1 – 23 and ticket on the completed ones, rather capture only the questions you plan to write later inΒ scribble pad. Read the questions carefully so you don’t need to switch back and forth between the reading and lab session screen.
2. Practice all the question from VMware official guide covered under chapter 10.
3. Go through the CLI guide and practice all command lines.
4. Check Interactive Exam Simulation to get the understanding on how the actual exam feels like.

I have captured pretty much all the tips that I think I’ve used for my preparation and hope you find it useful. Good Luck with your DCA exam and hope you would comment. So What’s next? I am preparing for my VCAP5-DCD planning to appear for the exam during June 2015.Β I will sign off for now.

VMware has released the vSphere 5.5 based VCAP5-DCA Exam

VMware has released a new exam to qualify for the VMware Certified Advanced Professional 5 – Data Center Administration (VCAP5-DCA) Certification.Β This new exam (exam code VDCA550) is based on vSphere v5.5, where the existing exam (exam code VDCA510) is based on vSphere v5.0/5.1.Β Passing either of these exams will earn VCAP5-DCA certification if you meet the other pre-requisites.

Download the Exam Blueprint

Recommended Course: VMware vSphere: Optimize and Scale [V5.5]


The Unofficial Official VCAP5-DCA Study Guide.

Thanks to Jason Langer and Josh Coen for putting together the ” The Unofficial Official VCAP5-DCA Study Guide”.Β  This is a fantastic prep-guide for those who are currently in the pursuit of VCAP5-DCA. I strongly recommend you to download this free source of master piece.


Β Objectives

Β Section 1 – Implement and Manage Storage

Objective 1.1 – Implement and Manage Complex Storage Solutions

Objective 1.2 – Manage Storage Capacity in a vSphere Environment

Objective 1.3 – Configure and Manage Complex Multipathing and PSA Plug-ins

Section 2 – Implement and Manage Networking

Objective 2.1 – Implement and Manage Complex Virtual Networks

Objective 2.2 – Configure and Maintain VLANs, PVLANs, and VLAN Settings

Objective 2.3 – Deploy and Maintain Scalable Virtual Networking

Objective 2.4 – Administer vNetwork Distributed Switch Settings

Section 3 – Deploy DRS Clusters and Manage Performance

Objective 3.1 – Tune and Optimize vSphere Performance

Objective 3.2 – Optimize Virtual Machine Resources

Objective 3.3 Implement and Maintain Complex DRS Solutions

Objective 3.4 Utilize Advanced vSphere Performance Monitoring Tools

Section 4 – Manage Business Continuity and Protect Data

Objective 4.1 – Implement and Maintain Complex VMware HA Solutions

Objective 4.2 – Deploy and Test VMware FT

Section 5 – Perform Operation Maintenance

Objective 5.1 – Implement and Maintain Host Profiles

Objective 5.2 – Deploy and Manage Complex Update Manager Environments

Section 6 – Perform Advanced Troubleshooting

Objective 6.1 – Configure, Manage, and Analyze vSphere Log Files

Objective 6.2 – Troubleshoot CPU and Memory Performance

Objective 6.3 – Troubleshoot Network Performance and Connectivity

Objective 6.4 – Troubleshoot Storage Performance and Connectivity

Objective 6.5 – Troubleshoot vCenter Server and ESXi Host Management

Section 7 – Secure a vSphere Environment

Objective 7.1 – Secure ESXi Hosts

Objective 7.2 – Configure and Maintain the ESXi Firewall

Section 8 Perform Scripting and Automation

Objective 8.1 –Β Execute VMware Cmdlets and Customize Scripts Using PowerCLI

Objective 8.2 – Administer vSphere Using the vSphere Management Assistant

Section 9 – Perform Advanced vSphere Installations and Configurations

Objective 9.1 – Install ESXi hosts with custom settings

Objective 9.2 – Install ESXi Hosts Using Auto Deploy

Paul Grevink has released the VCAP5-DCA Study Guide

The content of the (349 pages) VCAP5-DCA Study Guide was first published as a series of posts on Paul’s blog β€œAdventures in a Virtual World”, these posts were written in preparation for his VCAP5-DCA exam and are based on the official VMware Blueprint. The posts had to meet the following goals:

  • Based on the official Blueprint, follow the objectives as close as possible.
  • Refer to the official VMware documentation as much as possible. For that reason, every Objective starts with one or more references to the VMware documentation.
  • In case the official documentation is not available or not complete, provide an alternative.
  • Write down the essence of every objective (the Summary part).
  • If necessary, provide additional explanation, instructions, examples and references to other posts. All this without providing too much information.