As you can read in my first blog post I was aiming for VCIX-DTM in 2020. After passing the VCAP7-DTM Design exam in June it was now time to focus on the VCAP6-DTM Deploy exam.
And for those thinking that the Design exam is based on “old” tech, wait until you see what this exam is based on.. As this exam is still based on Horizon 6 (6.2 to be precise) and its associated products. So that means vSphere (and vSAN) 6.0 and Identity Manager 2.4.1 just to name a few.
As my homelab (blog post coming soon) is based on Horizon 7 I had to build a new environment to make sure I was getting the actual experience I needed for the exam.
So I made sure I installed all the components found in the Exam Guide including a couple of nested ESXi hosts based on ESXi 6.0 running vSAN and started configuring.
I’d like to point out some resources I used while studying:
- https://szumigalski.com/2016/08/01/vcap6-dtm-study-guide/ – by Sebastian Szumigalski
- https://virtualdesktopsite.wordpress.com/home/vcap-6-dtm-deployment/ – not everything is complete, but 9/10 points you to the right document. If it happens to be a dead link, just copy/paste the name of the document in your favorite search engine
- https://www.pascalswereld.nl/2017/03/09/vcap-dtm-deploy-prep-la-la-land-lab-and-horizon-software-versions/ – by Pascal van de Bor
- http://www.virtualizationblog.in/page/1/?s=mirage – An entire series focused on VMware Mirage (you’ll need it) written by Prashant Rangi
As I never used VMware Mirage (and never will do so again) the series written by Prashant were really valuable to me.
Once everything was up and running I just went over every exam objective and made sure I knew what I was doing on that objective. As not every question would be as obvious as do X or change Y.
I repeated this for a couple of times until I felt confident enough that I was ready for the exam.
After which I spent some more time with the Hands on Labs environments just to get used to the GUI and it’s limitations.
Testing during COVID-19
Due to COVID-19 a lot of test centers in the Netherlands were closed, including the one at my employer. So I had to search for a good spot (not too far away) with a big enough screen to get the best possible experience.
Luckily the first test center I called was available and had at least 23”(or bigger) monitors available, so I could continue booking the exam.
Once I got at the test center I noticed they were pile driving on the building site next door, luckily you didn’t really notice it in the room where the exams were taken.
Another thing that bugged me was the anti-bacterial hand gel available, which was really sticky which bugged me during the exam.
Besides that everything as arranged perfectly! I was told how to leave the room when specific spots were taken and to flip over a card after finishing so they would know which desk they had to clean.
When you talk to people about a VCAP Deploy exam they tend to say that you need all time available or perhaps even more to cover all the questions. When doing some more research this looks to be case for the older exams (which this definitely is).
And based on my personal experience I can only confirm this, as I had 30 (yes, 30) seconds left before finishing the last question (without a review round). By this time (after 204 minutes and 30 seconds) I wasn’t really comfortable anymore as I really had to use the restroom and had been sitting in that same position for quite some time.
When looking online you’ll find dozens of experiences (both positive and negative) about any VCAP Deploy exam and it’s testing environment. My experience was completely positive, as everything worked as expected and I didn’t have any hick-ups in the environment. Though I would say it would be time for refresh of the environment, as things felt quite old.
For some strange reason I didn’t think the exam was that hard, but I did have mixed feelings about it. Comparing it to the feeling I had while preparing this could’ve been a hit or a miss, especially after needing the entire time available for taking the exam.
After submitting the waiting begins, as it can take several weeks before getting your results. Luckily after only 26 hours I got an email from VMware with the subject “Your 3V0-653 Exam Score Report”. At this point I was afraid I failed, as normally any email from VMware tends to start with “Congratulations”.
Upon opening the attached PDF I saw that I had scored enough points to pass!
Achievement unlocked: VCIX-DTM!
For those considering taking the exam, VMware mentioned to release an updated version of the exam “soon”. So if you’re not in a hurry, it might be worth waiting a little bit longer.