Another VCP Exam? Renewing / Upgrading to VCP5.5

I recently sat the VCP550D exam – which was both scary and exciting at the same time.

If you haven’t heard, VMware recently introduced a re-certification policy to maintain your VCP status.  I originally completed the VCP in ESXi 4.1, then the upgrade exam for 5 – and now my number was up for re-certification to keep my VCP qualification.

Some things about this exam were very new to me, specifically:

  • Testing was performed completely online (from home in my case)
  • The exam was open book

An open book exam that I can sit from home? Well, I thought all my Christmas’s had come at once.  With all of VMware’s online documentation, and all of Google at my disposal – how could I possibly fail? I wont’ leave you hanging, I didn’t fail – I passed – but it was definitely not the walk in the park I thought it would be.

What do you need to know?

The upgrade exam is heavily geared towards testing your knowledge of what’s new and different from ESXi versions 5 / 5.1 and 5.5. While I work with ESXi and vCenter everyday, some of the lesser-used features that I had to brush up on were:

  • vSAN
  • vCenter Operations Manager (now renamed to vRealize in version 6)
  • Storage DRS
  • vSphere replication

Open book makes it easy, right?

No, no, a thousand times no. You can’t possibly Google all of the questions in the allotted time – so don’t even try.

What I’d recommend:

  • Answer as many questions as quickly as possible, and mark any questions you don’t instantly know.
  • After going through every question, go back to the marked ones and spend what time you have left trawling the VMware documentation.

Most importantly, don’t get bogged down in questions you don’t know the answers to – just keep moving forward.

Final thoughts?

As with any exam, having a training lab or hands-on experience is the key. Use and understand those features that you don’t use every day.

vSAN and vCOPS/vRealize aren’t going away.  Their prevalence in this exam and in the new VCP6 DCV training course suggests that VMware is pushing these two technologies hard, so expect to see/hear of them more often.

References

VMware Re-certification Policy

VCP550D Exam Blueprint

 

About the author:

Kamal is a Microsoft and VMware technical specialist, and spends his days solving complex problems for Tier 1 companies. In his spare time he is a Microsoft Certified Trainer and VMware Certified Instructor at IT Futures.

Read More on Kamal’s blog.

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