VCAP-DTA exam experience
Today I sat the VCAP-DTA exam and obviously don’t have any results yet 🙂
Overall I am extremely pleased with the exam experience, it had a very logical structure without jumping from A to B too much. You can see the experience VMware gained through the VCAP-DCA and VCAP-CIA exams there, while I was jumping around from one part of the blueprint and logical structure of the data center in the VCAP-DCA and the exam felt like all over the place, the VCAP-DTA almost tells a story with a very comprehensive logical flow.
I also liked the implementation of the troubleshooting section in general, it is much more relaxing to know what the issue is and not wondering at every task if something is set up the way it should be or if it is a hidden troubleshooting scenario like in the VCAP-DCA.
As described in the blueprint I had to do 23 tasks (of which some were further broken down into independent sub tasks of some sort) and got allotted 180 minutes to complete them to the best of my knowledge and ability.
On most VCAP reviews you will always read one sentence: “Time management is key!”. While this is also true for the VCAP-DTA I felt much more relaxed during the exam compared to the VCAP-DCA or VCAP-CIA. This might just be because having done 5 VCAPs I kinda get the hang of it by now but I do like to think that part of it also lies in the structural approach this exam takes. I could comfortably look at all tasks and if I had had the knowledge for all of them I could also have implemented them. As I am too lazy to update my information for the exam center I am not getting the 30 minutes extra time for not being a native English speaker, so if you have that “advantage” you should be fine for time.
There are a couple of things that I disliked though. This includes that I had no way to verify my solutions on ALL troubleshooting tasks I got, basically making it a game of educated guessing rather than real troubleshooting. I also struggled with several disconnects (I believe I had around 8 or 9 in total) which cost me a good 10 minutes of the total time. Documentation also still is in PDF format with Adobe Acrobat being the only available reader, even though that should change in the future. This makes scrolling in the documentation or zooming incredibly slow and documentation therefore rather useless. Some questions also could need some clarifications as sometimes there is no default configuration and you have several options in front of you of which all could make sense, making it a best guess game again.
Overall these points should not be contributing too much of me passing or failing the exam though, if I fail it is not because I lost 10 minutes of time or because I could not look up something in the documentation, after all this is supposed to be an advanced level exam where you simply have to know your ****.
I could have done a lot more for preparation, my exposure to Horizon View so far has been starting the View Client to connect to a desktop and seeing the administrative interface for roughly 4 hours in total. As my home lab server had a hard disk failure and I had not done backups of my environment yet I basically just read up on the tasks that were mentioned in the blueprint. I would NOT recommend that as a general practice though.
As for study resources I used:
- Steve Dunne’s study notes overview to be found at http://www.virtuallyvirtuoso.com/vcap-dta-study-notes/
- Chris Becket’s study notes to be found at http://virtual-fabric.com/
- VMware ThinApp 4.7 Essentials
- Implementing VMware Horizon View 5.2
- Mastering VMware vSphere 5 – Yes you will need to manage vCenter too 😉
- VMware View 5: Building a Successful Virtual Desktop
- Exam Blueprint