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VCAP-DCA

December 12th, 2010

I am a little over 12 hours away from sitting down to attempt my VCAP-DCA for the first time. I say “attempt” and “first time” as I am actually really nervous about sitting this exam! I have relaxed back into an architects role over the past 6-12 months and so I am feeling the pressure of not being as hands on as I once was or as I was when I previously sat the Enterprise Administration exam last year. There is so much study material, and I haven’t really put in enough good lab time.

However I also think this period is one of the more difficult times to take this exam. Why?  When I sat my EA exam last year it was focused around ESX and vCenter. There was no additional software to worry about, no fancy features, you just needed to know the ESX CLI pretty well. Seeing how the ESX Service Console is Linux based, and I have spent a lot of time with Linux, this wasn’t a major challenge (although I did do a lot of studying anyway!).

The VCAP-DCA sits at a frustrating time as we have to know 2 products quite well; we need to know both ESX and ESXi. Sure the differences aren’t much as we focus on doing things the “right” way (that is, vMA, PowerCLI, Orchestrator, etc. etc.), but some stuff is applicable only to ESX (firewalling as a single example), and other stuff is applicable only to ESXi (lockdown mode as a single example). The next release from VMware will be a bonus as it’s back to one core product that we need knowledge of. Additionally a lot of the really good deep-dive documentation and blogs you find out there are from admins and engineers that get down and dirty with the Service Console, and many haven’t yet been updated the details for ESXi (some you simply can’t do in ESXi). So I’m trying to achieve the same things I used to achieve with ESX by learning this almost from scratch again. If I enable tech-support mode and jump into BusyBox, is this an okay practice in the exam? It might not include ESXi hosts at all! Certainly some scenarios would negate the ability to use the BusyBox, but I guess so long as I can get the job done, it shouldn’t matter!

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