VMware have bowed to the pressure and reversed their decision to do away with the VCAP Design and Implementation certifications for version 6, here’s what to look out for in the beta blueprints…
When VMware originally announced the version 6 certification tracks there was much disgruntlement in the community about the Advanced certfications or lack thereof.
With vSphere 5.x life on the VMware certification rollercoaster was relatively simple, in terms of the tracks at least, the exams were still a nightmare, but at least you knew what you had to do and felt relatively rewarded should you succeed So there were two tracks at the Advanced Professional level after the VCP-DCV cert – Datacenter Administration and Datacenter Design – you took one exam for your chosen track and were awarded the VCAP-DCA or VCAP-DCD certification for passing the Administration and Design exams respectively. Happy days. Then along came vSphere 6 and the revelation that there were no longer going to be any VCAP certifications, instead there would be one Advanced level certification awarded only on completion of both Advanced level exams, namely the VMware Certified Implementation Expert – or VCIX.
Now what angered and confused the majority of the community working at or aspiring to the Advanced level certs, aside from the fact that VMware would have you studying for months before sitting at a terminal for four hours to pass an exam, with essentially nothing to show for it, but it was the lack of design or architectural recognition that got the most backs up. The two tracks were there for a reason, there tended to be vOps folk and vDesign folk out in the field, and they tended to rarely need to venture into each other’s territory, at least not to the level of passing the other code’s Advanced Level exam. So now there would be no Design cert, and if you managed to get both Advanced certs done you’d be an ‘Implementation Expert’. Hmmm.
So the VMware community voiced it’s disapproval and luckily, the community is one of the best out there and VMware are one of the best at listening to it, leading to the announcement made in early December that yes, the VCAPs were making a comeback for version 6, and as a sweetener, for those already holding both VCAP5 Datacenter certs you can get the new VCIX6 certification by passing one of the new exams. Behold:
Still in beta, the Exam Blueprints are lacking any information relating to the exam logistics leaving us in the dark as to details such as Number of Questions, Passing Score, Time Limit, Retake policy etc, but this is only to be expected at this stage.
The Objectives though, should provide a decent indication as to what we can expect, so let’s have a quick look through and compare with what we knew about the VCAP5 exams.
VMware Certified Advanced Professional 6 – Datacenter Design
So generally on the surface there isn’t too much difference between the version 5.x and version 6 requirements around gathering requirements and creating the logical and physical designs, until you get to Network and Storage design where two little features now make an appearance: NSX, and Virtual SAN. Two pretty big topics just slotted in there that could potentially add weeks to your study schedule for this one, especially if you’ve not had the pleasure of working with these pieces of tech before. Luckily (if that’s the word) there are a load of tools and references listed for both of these new additions to get acquainted with. Some light reading required there then.
The other noticeable difference is the lack of any of the pesky ‘documentation’ requirements, there’s no longer a Section on Implementation Planning, so no validation plans, no implementation plans and no installation guide.
On top of this you can expect the usual VMware leaning toward the new features, so expect some focus on Content Library, SMP-FT, VVOLs, Cross-vCenter vMotion, and potentially Instant Clone, along with of course the implied knowledge of all the new config maximums, especially around the VCSA.
A mock exam is also promised, so look out for that.
VMware Certified Advanced Professional 6 – Datacenter Deployment
Straight away there’s a shiny section 1 for the ‘Deployment’ exam, in comparison to the VCAP 5 ‘Administration’ exam so that’s probably a clue as to the addition of the new objectives. the VCAP 6 deployment exam objectives now includes more focus on Auto Deploy and advanced host configuration, as well as a section on the core services, SSO, PSC and the like which interestingly includes things like determining use cases for embedded vs external PSC.
As with the Design blueprint, Virtual SAN is now a big feature in the Implement, Manage and Troubleshooting complex storage solutions along with a load of recommended reference material that could cause headaches for those unacquainted with vSAN.
Interestingly though there is no mention of NSX in the Network-based objectives, which is odd considering this seemed to feature heavily in the design exam blueprint.
There’s notable mention of VM Component Protection (VMCP) and SMP-FT as you’d expect with them being new features along with a new section on Content Library. There is also now Objectives around vSphere Data Protection as well as Replication, but now no mention of Orchestrator which did feature in the VCAP 5 Administration exam.
So there you have it, some interesting omissions and additions. Regarding the format you can only assume that as with VCAP 5.x the design exam will be heavily focused on the design questions, although hopefully they’ve made improvements/completely overhauled the horrendous Design Tool for the version 6 exams, and the Deployment exam should be largely ‘lab’ based again, but expect more detail on this as it’s released to the baying crowds outside VMware’s doors, rejoicing in the prospect of torturing themselves in the name of VMware certification. I know I’ll be there to do it all again, glutton for vPunishment me.