Last week I passed my VMware VCP5-DCV exam. This posts looks to review and give my impression on the sought after certification.

Exam Quality

Within the standard Pearson Vue test environment, VMware deliver an exam that is of high quality, integrity and challenging to all who sit it. The questions have a strong emphasis of testing the candidate’s knowledge with technically accurate, factual, and straight to the point questions. There are no misleading questions, double negatives or trickeries – just plain old multiple choice questions. The diagrams are clear and precise. They provide information surrounding the question and scale nicely.

Exam Difficulty

This is my first non networking exam. It was interesting to approach a blueprint in a different way. I have not counted the VCA-DCV or Cloud certs as they are new and are focused on a general immersion. The VCP is not something you can take on lightly. This exam is fairly deep and rather cunning with its questions. It covers compute, vCenter, vSphere, storage and networking. The breadth of the exam is great. I found due to exposure my compute and vProduct knowledge adequate but storage still is very hard for me. Networking was a given and having explored the VMware side of networking the information came quite easily.

I touched on exam accuracy earlier – It is important that the exam has clear and error free questions as the candidate needs to commit to answering 85 questions in 90 minutes. That means little over 60 seconds per question. It is good because there will be sections (networking for me) where I was able to answer very quickly and move on. I saw these as quick wins. Other questions such as storage relating to RDM, VFS and VMFS took me a little longer. With the amount of networking questions I got early on I was confident but towards the end I had 11 storage questions in a row. This shattered my confidence and made me feel a little uncomfortable when clicked the end button.

Exam Preparation

VMware Documentation

There isn’t a better source of truth when it comes to a technology. This is the holy grail and is my number one resource when I was studying. If I sought clarity I did not google but went here first. It is the same for network engineers using Cisco. They would log into the DOCCD.

VMware Fast Track 5.1

With VMware certifications it is a pre-requisite to attend a training course. Back during February I was a part of the VMware Fast Track 5.1 course. I had a great instructor who was on the ball – she did not say ‘um’ at all during the course and she could answer any question thrown at her. I was offered this over ICM and there was a lot more networking information on it. Pretty darn good but as always these ILT’s are only as good as the instructor.

VMware BrownBag

This video series discusses and covers the blueprint through a screen cast. This is a must watch. There are 7 x 1 hour videos. Great to watch when commuting.

Mastering VMware vSphere 5

This book written by Scott Lowe was a great resource for me personally. It clearly outlined details that were the best of Scott’s knowledge, real world experience and documents from the VMware Technical Documentation. It is a great read and flows very well.

The Lab

For a majority of technologies tested I was exposed to this in my work environment. For my home environment I used AutoLab. AutoLab allowed me to easily deploy a nested ESXi install on my MBP retina. It allowed me to familiarise myself with the core concepts of deployment and do it easily whilst on the go. It made it much easier to tear down and rebuild especially with the 60 day feature licences.


This exam was very well-rounded. It was a great test to study and I feel it rounded off my DC knowledge well. There are so many technologies that VMware use to extend functionality in the DC and as a network engineer who transports this traffic around it was my goal to know more. Now that I am certified I think I will consider a cloud or cloud infrastructure design as something to do in my road map.

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