Earlier this month I took the VCAP 6 DCV – Deploy exam to round out my VCIX 6.5 certification.  Previously, I mentioned how important I felt time management was during the VCAP 6.5 DCV – Design exam, well that exam had nothing on the Deploy exam.  I used the entire duration and probably could have used another 30 to 40 minutes to increase my level of confidence walking out the door.

I walked away leaving two questions unanswered because while I knew what was needed to answer them correctly, I don’t work in those aspects of vSphere enough to know how to accomplish them without digging around in the documentation.

Beyond that I had one question I knew was wrong, and another two I felt iffy about.

Regarding the experience of the exam itself:

It was incredibly stressful – imagine the stress of a huge meltdown in your environment at work.  Stressful right?  When the day is over you want to go home and sit on the couch with a beer.  Now take that stress level and subject yourself to it 27 times in a little over 3 hours, in an environment that you have never touched before, on someone elses computer, and you don’t have google (or coworkers/VMware support).   I took the exam first thing in the morning, and when I was done I was completely toast.

That said, the exam interface itself used the HoL format used in the online training courses and well the Hand on Labs.  I had no issues there other than that I just missed driving my good old Zenbook or Surface.

My biggest complaint about the whole experience was that it took over a week to get my results, which was more stressful than the exam itself.  Fortunately, when the email came the news was good news!

Content wise I felt it was a really good all around test of ability for a vSphere administrator/engineer/architect type person.  If I had to redo I’d focus on those areas of the vSphere suite that I don’t do every day.  i.e.  The stuff I do everyday or have focused on a lot in the past: powercli, HA, DRS, esxcli, iSCSI, networking I would flat-out ignore.  Anything related to those I either don’t need documentation or I simply need a reminder of the exact spelling of an advanced parameter or something similar.

Review the blueprint and drill into those things that you aren’t comfortable with. You don’t have to build to a level of mastery, but get yourself to the point where you know what needs to be done so you can accomplish it 70% to 80% on your own and you can find the last 20% to 30% in the documentation within 30 to 60 seconds – i.e. you understand the breakout of the vSphere documentation and you know the keywords you are looking for to find the section quickly in a PDF.

Lastly – the only real preparation I did for this exam was the solutions4crowds exam simulator.  The simulator was only 17 questions, but it provided a great mockup of what to expect and it was worth every bit of the $10 the owner asks for to utilize it.

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