I was “fortunate” enough to be part of the group of people who were invited to do the VCAP-DCA exam. Some of the others like Jason Boche and William Lam who recently did this exam already shared their experience. The VCAP-DCA Exam is the follow up to the VI-3 Enterprise Exam which I passed two years ago as part of my VCDX Journey. I must say that my experience was different than some others mentioned. No lag, no overlay issues… everything worked perfectly well. I guess one thing to keep in mind when you experience issues like that is that this exam is still beta, there is a reason there is a beta period even for exams!

Of course I can’t share any specifics with you regarding the questions as the VMware Certification Team would have to kill me if I would. However I do want to stress, and I guess that Jason and William had a similar experience, that this was seriously one of the most difficult tests I have done so far. The range of products (vCenter, ESX, vMA, vShield, Orchestrator, PowerCLI, Heartbeat) is huge which makes it really difficult to prepare for this exam. Keep in mind though that no one expects you to know the full range of products in-depth, but they do expect you to know how to solve things or how to set-up things. This could be particularly difficult with products like vShield, Orchestrator and Heartbeat. For me particularly this was a challenge as I tend to focus more on the architectural side these days, I guess being a technical consultant / implementation specialist would definitely help!

I guess the one reason you are reading this article is to make sure you prep well, here are some tips:

  1. Read the VCAP-DCA blueprint!
  2. L A B T I M E. Make sure you get enough time to spent in your lab. I can’t stress this enough as the test is 95% Lab based as opposed to the VI3 Enterprise exam which was roughly 40% Lab based.
  3. Make sure you are familiar with vMA, PowerCLI, ESX, vCenter(and all the features like vDS, vSwitches, Host Profiles, VUM etc…), Heartbeat, Orchestrator, vDR and all the rest that you can think off.
  4. Make sure you are familiar with the command line:
    1. esxcfg-* commands or the vMA equivalents (vicfg-*)
    2. esxcli
    3. PowerCLI
    4. vifp
    5. vmware-cmd
  5. Did I already mention Lab Time?
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    1. Rick Boyett says

      I didn’t get a beta invite this time around. However, after reading this, maybe that was for the best.

      Fortunately I just put the finishing touches on my home lab. I think I’ll probably take the test in August unless work keeps me too busy..

      Thanks for the information..

    2. says

      I did the exam on Monday and was not able to finish it within time as the whole environment was so slow that every single task was taking more than 2 minutes to finish. But found it very exhaustive though. Covering most of the topics as Duncan mentioned and which includes other components as well such as Update Manager and FT – you just have to get hands on everything you know about vmware -except the products such as lab manager and other which are not part of blue print.

    3. says

      Interesting, I didn’t expect them to add some of the products like orchestrator and PowerCLI since they are “addons” and not necessarily part of the core products. Better study those! Thanks for the update!

    4. says

      I am newer VCP working towards his VCDX4 and when I 1st read the VCAP-DCA blueprint I knew that was the 2nd test I wanted to take. You are verifing that for me :) .

      My 1st goal since I work ton on the design side is the VCAP-DCD. I am hoping to get feed back on that test before VMworld so I know where to focus my Lab time. My focus right now is vShpere Design/Support and upgrades to vShpere.

      Also going for advance traning in VMware view and SRM.

    5. says

      Duncan, just wanted to say thanks for all the valuable insight you provide to the VMware community. I know during the past few years since being thrown into a small datacenter administrator role I have referenced your articles numerous times. I just took the VCAP-DCA yesterday and because of the knowledge you share I felt a lot more comfortable in front of that lab than I would have doing it just from personal study. Thanks again and keep up the good work!