Released today, the VMware Certified Advanced Professional 5 – DataCenter Administration exam (VDCA550) has been updated for vSphere 5.5 and per the new blueprint has a slew of changes since it was released covering vSphere 5.0 two years ago.
Among the major changes, while the 5.0 exam was based on physical hosts the 5.5 exam runs as a vApp just like the CIA and DTA exams. Among other benefits, this does away with the launcher tool bar. Candidates will (after an initial login) be on a full Windows 2008 R2 virtual machine with the vSphere clients, RDP, powerCLI, putty etc. The majority of the exam will take place from that initial desktop.
The environment now has five ESXi hosts. This means a mistake on one host is much less likely to take down the entire exam environment.
Like the DTA exam the new DCA exam is 3 hours long and now has 23 scenarios (down from 3.5 hours and 26 scenarios). Which takes the avg-time-per item from ~8min to about 8.5min.
The new blueprint has 7 sections and 21 objectives, down from 9 sections and 26 objectives for 5.0.
The DCA 5.5 exam (like DTA and CIA) now has access to the full html-based product documentation plus access to the VMware KnowledgeBase.
New topics include SSO, vSphere Replication, vCenter Orchestrator, vSphere web client, VM hardware v10, vCenter Operations Foundation, and vSphere Flash Read Cache
Looking over the blueprint shows some differences. Some sections like Objective 9.1 – Install ESXi hosts with custom settings don’t show up on the 5.5 blueprint at all. Other topics that previously had dedicated objectives only appear as bullet points. For instance, Objective 8.2 – Administer vSphere Using the vSphere Management Assistant has not been carried over – yet resxtop is mentioned several times.
Any current VCP can take the VCAP5-DCA exam and will achieve the certification upon passing. This will all so recertify all VCP-level certs.
New 5.5 Blueprint sections and objectives
Note that while similar sections from the 5.0 blueprint (v2.9) appear in parenthesis this is to denote similar areas. Some sections were carried over mostly intact from 5.0, others were broken apart and appear in different new sections.
1 Implement and Manage Storage
1.1 Implement complex storage solutions (1.1)
1.2 Manage complex storage solutions (1.2, 1.3)
1.3 Troubleshoot complex storage solutions (6.4)
2 Implement and Manage Networking
2.1 Implement and manage standard virtual switch networks (2.1)
2.2 Implement and manage distributed virtual switch networks (2.2, 2.4)
2.3 Troubleshoot virtual switch solutions (2.3, 6.3)
3 Implement and Manage Host Clusters
3.1 Implement and manage complex VMware HA solutions (4.1)
3.2 Implement and manage complex DRS solutions (3.3)
3.3 Troubleshoot vSphere clusters (6.5)
4 Manage Virtual Machines and vSphere Resources
4.1 Utilize Advanced vSphere Performance Monitoring Tools (3.4, 6.2)
4.2 Optimize Virtual Machine resources (3.2)
4.3 Manage advanced virtual machine configurations (3.1, 4.2)
4.4 Configure and manage vSphere Replication
5 Perform Operational Maintenance
5.1 Implement and maintain Host Profiles (5.1)
5.2 Utilize Update Manager for patches and upgrades (5.2)
5.3 Manage vCenter inventory
5.4 Configure, manage, and analyze vSphere and SSO log files (6.1)
6 Secure a vSphere Environment
6.1 Manage authentication and end-user security (7.1)
6.2 Manage SSL certificates (7.1)
7 Perform Scripting and Automation
7.1 Execute VMware cmdlets and customize scripts using PowerCLI (8.1)
7.2 Utilize basic workflows using Orchestrator
VCAP-xxA: Don’t guess. Do!