So I passed my VCAP5-DCA back in January 2015!

Here is a breakdown of how it went and what I did, so if anyone else is considering doing it here ya go!

At the time I worked for a Managed Services/DR/BC company so we had a lot of kit sat idle at times, which was free to use for labs!

I had a lab setup at work as follows:

  • 5x DL380 g7 in 2 clusters
  • 14TB IBM DS4700 FC SAN
  • 8TB IBM  DS3300 iSCSI SAN
  • Some local storage in each server

Windows Server 2008 which ran vCenter and the client ( I installed teamviewer on this pc so I could login from anywhere on my laptop).

No AD setup.

I had vmotion and iSCSI traffic in one vlan and FT in another and management in another, this was done at the switch end and vlans were not set on vCenter side of things.

I used:

  • Jason Nash Trainsignal Videos
  • The Official Guide, including the extra online pdfs with more scenarios and updates for 5.5
  • The unofficial study guide
  • Just breaking my lab environment
  • CBT nuggets for Orchestrator Fundations

A big massive shout out to Joshua Andrews @SOSTech_WP , his test lab and his willingness to answer my questions, was instrumental in me passing. The guy does it out of goodwill, and for that he should be commended. As much as I went through the scenarios and stuff in my own lab, having a test lab to have a go in was key for me.

I found it very hard, I kid you not the jump from VCP to VCAP was immense, I didn't fully comprehend what I had go myself in for lol. I actually thought I had failed and was very very surprised I passed…and I passed by the skin of my teeth.

I walked out of the exam thinking, I know I can pass that and I made a list of key areas I thought I was weak on, so i could work on them for my 2nd run. It took 3 months of intense studying, seriously intense studying 5 days a week, at work…at home, on the run up to the exam I barely left the house. I come from a martial arts background (BJJ)….sometimes you cant win…but that has nothing to do with losing and mat/dojo time is key to progressing.

The same is true for this, the lab time will pay dividends and doing the questions and understanding what they want and are asking for. When that exam started I was like this is tough….but I was like all I can do is give it my best shot and see where it gets me. I made massive errors in Joshuas test lab, but that's what his test lab is there for, make the mistakes and learn from them…and I did!

It was tough but I found it really interesting, I grew tired of multiple choice exams, this really tests your skills and gives you the confidence in your own skill set.

If its in the VDCA510 blueprint study it even if you are going for 550, my plan was to go for the 510 originally but I just booked the 550, as it was much easier to book and thought I would give it a shot I had the 510 booked for the week after, but I canceled that after finding out I had passed…….wahooooooooooooo!

Moving on from here, my next major goal was to go for the VCAP5-DCD, but as it turned out this required a lot more stuff to do before I could even attempt the exam. More to follow

If anyone has any questions about the DCA exam, please feel free to msg me on twitter, I will happily help if I can, just bare in mind I won't break the NDA 😉


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