On March 29th I posted about VMware's announcement regarding the retirement of the VCAP5 exams. Passing these exams have always been a bucket list item for me. I feel that they confirm a technician's ability to actually use and conceptualize VMware more beyond the typical multiple choice exam. The VCP has become required for many job so having the next level up should set me apart from the competition.
So after my March 8th pass I started gathering material to sit the DCD. I went ahead and booked the exam for May 27th before I had all of my material. I gave myself a two month deadline. Here is a list of my materials used:
VMware's Exam Blueprint: more than any other vendor VMware lays out exactly what they expect on the blueprint. They also tell you where they're pulling the information from with White Papers and links to documentation. Many people overlook these but they're the skeleton all good supplemental material is based on.
Pluralsight's VMware Design course: Scott Lowe is one of my most respect VMware personalities. I loved his Mastering vSphere books and he has co-written the definitive vSphere Design book as well. His slides really help define the difference with Logical and physical designs, functional and non-functional requirements, and all the other terminology. A great place to start.
vSphere Design 2nd edition: This is the book I mentioned earlier. They dive a little deeper into design decisions and technology surrounding that. A great read even if you aren't taking the test.
Virtualtiers.net simulator: Mylearn has a video tutorial of the interface but Jason from virtualtiers went to the trouble to make an interactive version. Be sure to use this, it can help you figure out the annoyances of the design tool in test. The scenarios aren't directly from the test and I question the accuracy of the proposed solutions but the design simulator and drag and drop questions are spot on.
These were my primary sources. I dug in and watched most of the videos and read some of the book until Mid-march when other priorities came up. I took a little over a week off and then the retirement announcement came. My booking was still valid but it was the last day my preferred testing center was open for the summer. I wanted to make sure I could sit a retake considering it is so strange many people fail the first time.
On March 29th I moved my test up to April 1st. I passed that day with a 368/500.
My best advice for anyone trying to take the exam before June 24th is to go through and do the designs first. They take time and at the beginning you won't feel as rushed. I also flagged them for review so I knew which questions were the designs on the review screen. If you don't know which application fits into which category go on and see if other questions give you additional clarity. I mis-designed a question but was given information to correct my mistake later on.
After you do the designs (probably an hour and a half into it) go back and try all the multiple choice. Once again this may help you correct a design. Finally go back and finish any incomplete designs and review your completed ones. Make sure your connectors go where the scenario tell you, sometimes they are off.
You receive your score immediately unlike the DCA. Good luck!