Welcome to the ValCo Labs VCAP5-DCA page. Here you will find a full and in-depth breakdown of each section from the VCAP5-DCA blueprint, to include the ‘Knowledge’ and ‘Skills and Abilities’ sections. Not too sure what the VCAP5-DCA certification is or to whom it is targeted at?

“The VDCA511 VMware Certified Advanced Professional on vSphere 5 – Datacenter Administration exam tests potential VCAP5-DCA canidates on their skills and abilities installing, configuring and administering large and/or more complex virtualized environments” -VCAP5-DCA Exam Blueprint Guide

In other words, the VCAP5-DCA is a VMware advanced certification with a focus on vSphere 5 in environments that are large and/or complex. I haven’t taken any of the previous VCAP exams so I cannot provide first hand input on their difficulty, but if the blueprint is any indication, you better be ready to work. VDCA511 will have 26 live lab questions and you will have 210 minutes to complete it. If you take the exam in a country whose primary language is not English you will receive 30 additional minutes to complete the exam. You need a 300 or better for a passing score.

If you’ve seen my VCP5 page then this layout and format will be familiar. As with the VCP5, Jason Langer (blog/twitter) and I will be splitting up the sections and covering them on our respective blogs, but all links for each section will be posted on both Jason’s and my VCAP5-DCA page for easy access. Jason has sat and successfully passed the VCAP4-DCA exam so he will have more insight what you might expect on this exam.

Without further ado, lets get to it!

UPDATE: February 15th, 2013

You can download the complete guide in PDF format. It includes ALL sections.

The Unofficial Official VCAP5-DCA Study Guide

                               (PDF Version)


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 Operational 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 – 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

Comments 48

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  7. Thank you for the awesome guide! I studied this in great detail up until and even the day of my test! I just took the VCAP5-DCA test Friday, and even if I don’t pass, I just wanted to say thank you for taking the time to do this!

  8. Pingback: Passed VCAP-DCA!

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  11. Just wanted to say thank you for putting together these awesome guides and provide a success story. I studied this (and paulgrevink’s guide) thoroughly and just got my exam report back. Passed 🙂 Very, very thankful for all of your hard work that went into this guide.

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  25. Hi,
    Is there study sheet available as per latest blue print version 3.2 for VCAP5-DCA (VDCA550)?
    Please let me know.

    1. I mean study guide as per latest blue print version 3.2 for VCAP5-DCA (VDCA550). Please let me know if anyone has it.

      1. Post

        Hi Uman, thanks for stopping by. Unfortunately I don’t have an updated guide for the 5.5 exam (although I believe the 5.0 exam is still available). I don’t know of any guides out there for the 5.5 version. Should I come across some I’ll post them on the site.

        1. Hi Josh – Thanks for your prompt response. Will explore VDCA511 then.
          Other than Labs, Study Guides, vBrown Bag videos, can you suggest any other resources suitable for the VCAP exam?
          How about VCAP5-DCA Official Cert Guide – Should I use that too?

          Please advise.

          1. Post

            So, I’ve heard that the newer version of the test (55) is better, but I’m not sure. I also have not read the official cert guide. If you plan on taking the 5.0 test then I strongly believe our guide will get you through it. Of course the brown bags are also a great resource. I would also highly recommend the VMware vSphere Optimize and Scale 3-part series authored by Jason Nash which can be found on Pluralsight’s website ( It is excellent.

            Hope that helps.

          2. Post

            I haven’t looked through the Cert guide, but I’ve heard good things about it. At the end of the day I think the more resources you have, the better.

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