Mar 232012

Happy to say I passed the VCP-510 today.

I have to say the VCP exam has become harder since the VI3 days. The VI3 was the last time I took the VCP as skipped the vSphere 4.x as it wasn’t something I needed at the time.

The broadness of the technical content that the VCP 5.x can choose to ask questions on and the level at which you need to know that contact is considerable. Since my VI3 qualification we have seen a plethora of features like vDS, storage vMotion, Storage Profiles etc, etc, etc. For the VI3 I honestly thing you could do the course read a few whitepapers and pass the exam. The VCP5 is definitely a step up, if you have little or no hands on they you will struggle to pass this exam. I have been in a more presales role for a while now so I struggled to get up to speed.

Although this is a hard exam, its a good thing it is. Far to many early VCPs back in 2008ish were claiming to be something they were not and along with the VCAPs I think its clearer now who knows their stuff.

What did I use to get up to speed:

  • vSphere 5 ICM course
    • This covered off the basics but did not cover things like ESXTOP, Auto Deploy, vDS, VASA etc etc. All of the excluded things are featured in the exam so either do the ‘Whats New’ course aswel or take the ‘Fast Track’ course. But no matter what you will be lucky to pass the exam with just attending a course. (exam prerequisites)
  • Trainsignals VMware vSphere 5 Training.
    • If you don’t get an opportunity to do the course or even if you do they this is CBT is highly recommended. The Demos alone are a fantastic way to learn especially if you don’t have access to a lab. I am doing a full write up on this CBT so ill link to it here once I’ve completed it.
  • Blog posts and link:

I’m not going to link everything I used as the above links already have some good resources in them to look at and some links to other useful pages.

WHATS NEXT: VCAP DCA or DCD I think. Would love to be among the first bunch to attempt a VCDX 5 defence but that’s just aspirational at the moment.

If you read this far down any you have your VCP-510 soon then I wish you the best of luck.

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Feb 132012


The guys over at VSPECIALIST have come up with a great idea to help people that are planning on going down the VCDX path. They are putting together a mock VCDX defence panel to help prospective VCDX panel attendees to hone there defence and presentations skills.

The aim of the Defence Practice Event is to help candidates with the group aspects of a defence session, and to prepare candidates for the type of technical questions they may face from a panel. You may your design inside out, but can you verbalise them to someone who doesn’t know your design as well. Can you explain your choices, limitations and restrictions in your design to someone else, and can you technically defend these when questioned?

The VCDX session at VMworld last year was a real eye opener for me as they had a very small mock session with the actual defence panel. It was suppressing to see a few people who volunteered struggle so much, not with the technical aspects of the challenge but actually trying to explain there thinking aloud as they tried solve the issue they were presented with. It can often be a misconception that the only skills they are looing for are technical, a good % of what they look for in a VCDX is communication and presentations skills. After all they don’t want people to go in front of customer and be terrible at the soft skills after VMware award them the top qualification they can bestow.

I think its great these guys are willing to take time out to help the community in this way and it is a fantastic opportunity to practice for what in real life will be a gruelling experience.

Check out the full details here

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Jun 062010

Hello all,

Over the last few weeks I have been revising for my VCDX design exam I have later this month. I must admit however I have not done as much as I would have liked. (if only I didn’t have to work as well).

I have been asked by a few people what material I am using for my revision. Well Im sure like me, anyone reading this will have googled for study material around this. And essentualy that’s all I’m using at the moment. Here are a consolidated list of useful URLs from various blogs and websites:

ESX Server 3 Configuration Guide

Virtual Machine Backup Guide

VMbook – Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery

Setup for Microsoft Cluster Service

VMware HA: Concepts and Best Practices

SAN System Design and Deployment Guide

Good article on SAN based replication:;col1

Disaster Recovery Solutions from VMware

Making Your Business Disaster Readywith Virtual Infrastructure

Using VMware® ESX Server System and VMware Virtual Infrastructure for Backup, Restoration, and Disaster Recovery

VMware Update Manager – Administration Guide
Security Design of the VMware Infrastructure 3 Architecture
iSCSI Design Considerations and Deployment Guide
VIOPS: VI3 Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Workshop:;jsessionid=D7584DF18C1AD92A7416FD814CAF0FE6#1989
I am also refreshing my memory with the enterprise exam notes i took. I am not expecting to be tested on my knowledge of command line but it will help with some of the actions and topics that I don’t use vmware for on a daily basis and may just be useful so i think it’s worth doing.
Again here are the links for the ent exam material I’m using:

I will keep this blog up to date with how I’m getting on but feel free to ask me questions.

I’m pushing really hard to get to vmworld emea for my defence. I know it’s pushing it a bit but I would love to be vcdx before 2011.

Other very interesting design exam related information:

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May 142010

I finaly got my authorisation through from the vmware certification team that can book my design exam.

As with the enterprise exam you can only take it at the test center in Holbourn London (uk obviously). Luckly my current client is in London (walking distance in fact) so for me this is quite handy.
Ironicly the best day for me happens to have landed right smack on my birthday. Typical…..

I had done about 5 minutes of looking at other peoples blogs and saw that they thought the design exam was easyer than the enterprise. As such I was getting quite hopeful until i saw the design blueprint. Looks like I was wise to leave 6 weeks to study as it looks like I’m going to need it.

I am busy collating all the revision matirial I can lay my hands on and I will post what I find once i manage to get hold of it.

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