My VCAP5-DCD Reflections


Last Monday (1/28/13) I sat the VCAP5-DCD and am ecstatic to announce that I successfully achieved a passing score! I was extremely nervous going into the exam, more so then when I sat the VCAP5-DCA, but I managed to get through it. Below is a little bit about the test, along with a few tips and a list of the resources that I used while preparing for the exam.


The exam is 100 questions and you have 225 minutes to complete it (more time is allotted if English is not your first language). There are 94 multiple choice/drag-and-drop questions and 6 Visio/diagramming style questions. When I finished question 100 I had ~40 minutes to spare, not knowing if that was a good thing or a bad thing. I held my breath and clicked next not knowing what to expect, and thankfully I saw the word Congratulations. I breathed a sigh of relief, not even caring what my score was, but just glad to have passed.

I’m not going to go too deep into any of the topics, but I will share with you a few tips and a list of resources (the first tip is also a resource):

Tip 1

Go out and get the Designing VMware Infrastructure training videos from TRAINSIGNAL that were done by Scott Lowe (blog / twitter). I found these videos to be an excellent resource and would highly recommend them to anyone who is attempting their VCAP5-DCD. While all of the lessons in the series are useful, here are a couple of the lessons in the course that I found most useful

  • Lesson 3 – Understanding vSphere Design Terminology
  • Lesson 4 – Determining vSphere Design Factors
  • Lesson 5 – Defining a Logical Design
  • Lesson 13 – Creating a Physical Storage Design
  • Lesson 14 – Creating a Physical Network Design
  • Lesson 18 – Bringing it All Together

Again I found all of the lessons helpful in some way, but my I found the lessons above to be the best

Tip 2

Manage your time well. Like I said earlier, I had ~40 minutes left when I was finished, but that is just the way I take tests. I don’t linger on a question for too long. I either know it or I don’t. If I don’t know it, I make the best guess I can without spending copious amounts of time on it. Budget 15-20 minutes for each Visio/diagramming question.

Tip 3

Know the differences between a Requirement (functional and non-functional), a Constraint, an Assumption and a Risk


Gregg Robertson (blog / twitter) has a fantastic VCAP5 landing page with many resources here

Nick Marshall, Alastair Cooke and the APAC #vBrownbag crew have done an EXCELLENT VCAP5-DCD video training series. Definitely don’t skip over this

From VMware Press, Sean Crookston and Harley Stagner’s Managing and Optimizing VMware vSphere Deployments book. The entire contents are definitely not geared towards the VCAP5-DCD, but chapters 1, 2 and 6 are definitely useful and I feel will add value to your studies

And of course, the VMware vSphere 5 Clustering Technical Deepdive book from Duncan Epping and Frank Denneman. There is a 5.1 version out, but since the exam is based on 5.0, you may want to stick with this one. All the content in the book is useful, especially for design, but I wouldn’t say you need to know the book inside and out to be able to pass the exam

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