Tag Archives: VCP

VCP 6, My Last VCP

VMW-LGO-CERT-PRO-6-DATA-CTR-VIRT

Ok, so I say this every time but this time I mean it… well, at least I think I do.  This is my last VCP exam.  I took the VCP 5.5 Delta a few years back now.  Before that were a few VCP 5s.  There might have even been a VCP 4 thrown in there somewhere.  I’ve taken this exam more times than I want to think about.

Last week I took the VCP6-DCV Delta.  I could have held off a few more months before my VCP 5 expired but i had some spare capacity to study so I committed to retake the exam.  Work was kind enough to give me two dedicated study days to prepare.  I used them as well as I could have.  I had also hoped to get in some solid study in the weeks leading up to the exam but unforeseen personal issues got in the way which wrote that off.  So I really wasn’t feeling confident going into this exam.  To my surprise, though, I actually passed with a decent mark.

The VCP is a real solid exam for its type, it always has been.  Personally I think one of the harder ones out there too.  Of course exams like the VCAP are on a different level but as for the standard multiple choice exam it’s right up there.  VCP exams really require that you have solid experience with the technology, especially the VCP-DCV focusing on vCenter, along with vSphere Replication, a little vCloud Air thrown in, vSAN features, and the new PSC.  it has really become quite broad.

The Delta I took was comprised of 65 questions over 75 minutes, 20 questions less then the full VCP exam thankfully.  As a guide I usually work out how many questions 70% is and treat that as what’s required to pass.  It’s usually treated me well as a format for passing.  So when I scribbled down 15 questions I was uncertain with at the end of the exam I felt it could have gone either way.  I was quite worried.  So seeing that I passed in the high 400’s out of a possible 500 was quite pleasing.

I think the community has finally gotten over and accepted this 2 year expiration with VMware certifications.  I’ve never really had an issue with it.  I’ve known this is where the industry has been heading with certifications for a while now.  It doesn’t mean it’s not frustrating though.  Which is why I’m hoping I won’t have to do another one again.  Now it’s not to say that I won’t do another VMware cert.  I just have to be a little smarter and play the game a little better by upgrading to the new VCIX cert.

In any case, it’s done, it’s out the way.  I get to use the new little logo.  And, well, that’s about it 😛

VCP5-DCV Delta done and dusted

Over the weekend logic and common sense failed me and I decided to sit my VCP5-DCV Delta Exam.  Since VMware introduced a recertification policy back in March 2014 I’ve been buying my time to renew.  My deadline was approaching and with the limited time offer to sit a Delta exam recertification I jumped on it.

To date I’ve seen nothing out there on user experiences taking the Delta exam, though, it’s only been three weeks since the VCP5-DCV Delta exam has been available.  So unfortunately taking this exam would be unchartered waters.  I’ve been psyching myself up all week so that wasn’t going to phase me 🙂

I had my plan ready for first thing Saturday morning.  I would fire up the vSphere environment on my new NUC test lab.  Download all the PDFs in the VCP5-DCV Delta Blueprint.  Then cram like I’ve never crammed before over 48 hours and take the exam Sunday night.

Step 1 was Requesting Authorization on the VMware MyLearn site.  I had already performed this earlier on in the week and was authorized the same day, my authorization was valid for 10 years, I guess just in case I became a little busy.  Step 2 was booking for the VCP550D exam on the Pearsons website first thing Saturday morning.  There’s nothing like preparing for an exam than knowing you’ve already paid to take it.  The exam cost was $130 AUD ($120 USD).

Next I downloaded and studied the Blueprint.  65 questions over 75 minutes, that’s 1 minute 15 seconds per a question.  Vmware are notorious for pushing time limits in exams 🙁  The MyLearn site states that only new material between vSphere 5.0/5.1 and vSphere 5.5 would be on the exam yet the blueprint contained everything that would be in a full VCP exam.  This made study a little difficult.  I wasn’t going to study everything obviously.  So I took advantage of the FREE 1-hr online course -VMware vSphere: What’s New Fundamentals of V5.5 to help prepare for the exam.  I used that has the basis of what I needed to study.  The online course was a good starting point of where to start the deep dives into the PDFs.  What I found was absent in the video, but clearly mentioned on the blueprint, was vCOPs and vSAN.  Something to keep in mind.

Next came the mind numbingly hard part of reading the PDFs.  I focused heavily on some of the new guides, In particular, the Replication guide, Data Protection, and Storage.  By Sunday afternoon (after a day and half of reading) I had covered most of the material in the PDFs.  The only exception being the three vCOPS PDFs totalling 400 pages which I refused to read!

Next came taking a few practice exams off the VMware MyLearn site.  I knew the questions would be broader than the Delta exam so I just focused on the new 5.5 material.

As the end of Sunday approached it was time to take the exam.  Now If it’s not clear by this point, this is an online exam.  For the people that don’t know what that means.  It is an open book exam!  Now I don’t want hate messages.  It’s an open book exam!

So this is where my three monitors got put to good use.  Monitor 1, the exam window.  Monitor 2, Google.  Monitor 3, the Advanced Search function of Adobe Reader set to search all PDFs in the Blueprint folder.

Now if you’ve read this far, plain and simply, I’m not going to give you the answers.  I feel, though, based on my experience I can comfortably recommend what you need to be studying.  So know your vSAN, know your vFlash, know your VDP, and know Replication.  It felt like the lower end of 50% -- 75% was this new material and the rest was standard VCP knowledge material that we should all know.  Looking at the exam at a high level it’s set in the format of a traditional VCP exam.  So if you can remember back to your last one expect the same types of questions worded the same way.

Where I felt I was weak on and would also recommend.  Know your vSphere Editions and high level vCOPs 😉  If you’ve done your VCA-DCV certification you’ll been fine with that knowledge for vCOPs.  Just focus on your knowledge of what Badges are and what they are comprised of.

So now long story short I am recertified for another 728 days.

As an open disclaimer I’ve been using vSphere 5.5 since day one of release.  I’ve been closely following all the new technologies that have been accompanying vSphere 5.5.  Keep that in mind before you say this was a paper certification.

References

Recertification Policy

VCP5-DCV Delta recertification exam

Pearsons VMware exam registration site

VCP today

-- Part 2 --

Well, exactly two weeks after taking my VCP510 exam I received a confirmation email from VMware on the status of my VCP5 certification.  I say status, and not approval, because there are still steps that need to be taken in the myEducation portal.

During the research in taking my VCP and the process of what happens after you take an exam I found a lot of people in a similar boat to me, confused about what to do next.  I touched on some of this stuff in my previous post “VCP today, I think?!?!“.  So for this post I thought I might exam what happens after you take the VCP exam.

So after you take you exam –and I’ll assume you pass.  If you’re like me you’ll face a nervous wait to receive an email from VMware confirming whether you have met all the prerequisites.  For people who had taken the exam around February 2012 the wait was as long as 4-6 weeks.  At this time of year the wait is much less.

The email states there are three things I need to do before my transcript will reflect my certification status.

--  Confirm your shipping address

--  Consent to transcript release

--  Accept the VMware Certification Agreement

After logging into myEducation Portal and selecting myTasks.  I could now see a new Plan with an option to Manage.  Selecting this brings up very detailed track list of prerequisite courses and exams.  VMware should make this list accessible as it would make understanding the certification process much easier.

 

It would appear that the VMware email is a little out of date as there is now a fourth item that needs to be completed in addition to the above three.  You now also need to select the link to request a VMware Workstation 8 license.  Kind of a strange step, but a free license, I’m more than happy to go along with it.

Once all completed, the progress should now state Completed at the top right of the Plan.  VMware say to wait 24 hours for the certification to appear on your transcript.  I received an email a couple hours later.

Unfortunately the process continues.  The mailed out certificate takes 4-6 weeks to arrive and access to the VCP Portal takes up to 2 weeks.  But hey, at least I’m finally recognised as VMware certified.

Appendix

Part 1 -- VCP Today, I think?!?!

VCP today, I think?!?!

-- Part 1 --

Finally after two years I’ve managed to make the effort to sit my VMware Certified Professional exam.  In itself, not really news worthy.  So why is it up on failsys?  Well… because of the process I went through.

Anyone can sit a VCP exam, but pass or fail, to become certified by VMware you need to attend certain authorised training courses first and meet VMware’s prerequisites.  Two years back I attended the vSphere: Configure, Install, Manage [V4] course.  Now don’t get me wrong, it was a great course.  The instructor was knowledgeable and knew how to sell, present, and generally get the most out of the course material.  After this four day course I expect to be able to sit the exam.  At the conclusion of the course speaking to the instructor, someone who had sat the exam and going through practice tests, I realise that I was nowhere near ready.  The exam went well beyond the high level overview of course material on how HA worked.  You needed to know more than just the concepts about SANs, iSCSI, FC.  Stuff that I thought I had but realised might not be good enough.

VMware provide a thorough Exam Blueprint document that is intended to provide all the objectives of the exam and links to VMware documentation that cover those areas.  The amount of documents and pages to read is quite disheartening.  Fortunately work paid for the course but I still felt a little cheated afterwards.

Fast forward 18 months later, vSphere 5 had just been released, and I had still not sat the VCP exam.  In between that time I had happily studied and passed other non VMware exams.  So when a new job asked what training I would like to do chose vSphere: What’s New [V5].

Image 1. Requirements as of November 2011

What’s New [V5], at the time and still is, solely not good enough to become certified.  In late 2011 you still needed to have sat the vSphere ICM [V5] course or during the certification grace period currently be a VCP4.  I would either have to sit the VCP4 exam or talk work into also sending me on the full vSphere ICM [V5] course.

Fast forward another 6 months.  The prerequisites have changed a few times and now allows a non VCP4 holder with the right qualifying course to take the VCP5 exam.  When I was offered an exam voucher at the end of last month I decided to cram and finally take this exam.

Image 2. Requirements pre June 2012 (notice the non specific VCP4 course requirements)

Image 3. Requirements on VMware Training website June 2012

So after two years I’ve finally sat the exam and believe I finally met the complex and ever changing VCP requirements.  From what I gather the VMware certification process after passing the exam can take as long as 6 weeks.  Seems like VMware lack Microsoft’s automation in this process.

I have mix opinions on this whole process.  I’m one of those people that like certifications.  They’re certainly not, ‘the be all to end all’, but they are a nice to have.  They show that you’ve gone that extra mile when you didn’t have to.  I’ve seen many resumes over the years pass my desk.  Many students, fresh from Indian University, and more certifications on their CV than I can count on my fingers.  Too many certifications can obviously be a bad thing when not put in context.

VMware’s approach of having to meet course requirements is a good start.  It is frustrating though when those courses have little relevance to the exams.  It feels like a token donation (a large donation at that) to the training provider to achieve certification.  When you have Indian training institutes selling budget courses due to the high turnover of students and other regions around the world paying high premiums it does seem unfair.

In all honestly I’d like the see the prices of courses come down, maybe 5 day courses shorten to balance the price reduction.  To counter this, courses and / or certifications could only be obtained with a corporate sponsor.  Now lets be completely honest here.  VMware courses are very specifically directed at the experience IT worker who has been in the industry at least 24 months.  Having a corporate sponsor (not a training institute) would dramatically cut down on paper certification university students fresh out of school.

Are there better ways?

Appendix

VMware VCP Homepage

VCP5 Blueprint (Login Required)

Part 2 -- VCP Today