This post is also available in: Italian
Several months ago (on 26th August) I’ve taken the VCAP5-DTA beta exam and finally I’ve got the results: it was a pass! This time the confirmation email was slightly different from the usual beta result because also the score report was provided:
Thank you for participating in the VMware Certified Advanced Professional – Desktop Administration program.
Please find your score report attached.
The result was a big surprise not because the exam was really difficult (wasn’t easy), but because was really long with several task to complete, with some of them really time consuming.
From the other side I have to admin that this admin exam is the best one that I’ve took: the VCAP-CIA one was really better and more complete rather than the VCAP-DCA, but this one is has not only a real complete and (medium) complex environment, but it has also the tasks in a logical path. The logic path is the way to build and maintain an almost real Horizon View infrastructure, so is really similar to a what a VMware Admin must be able to do.
The final blueprint is not yet available, but I suppose that the exam will be really similar to the beta one with 31 tasks (several with sub-tasks) in 240 minutes. As all other admin (and seems also for design) exams is really important be just in time: when scheduling an exam, it is important to note that hardware resources are allocated for the duration of the exam. Since the hardware will be reallocated after the exam, it is critical that candidates arrive at the time their exam is scheduled to begin. To allow for unforeseen issues, candidates will be given a 30 minute grace period. After 30 minutes, the exam will be placed in a “No Show” status and the hardware will be reallocated for use by other exams. A candidate who is aware that they may arrive more than 30 minutes late to their scheduled exam should contact Pearson VUE to re-schedule.
Of course, as all the other VCAP exam, it require a pre-authorization from the VMware web site, to verify if all pre-requisites are satisfied.
As written, the environment is almost complete: the exam consists of a number of tasks that are performed using a virtual environment consisting of four ESXi hosts, three vCenter Server virtual machines, four VMware Horizon View™ Connection servers plus additional supporting resources. A number of pre-configured virtual machines will also be present for use with certain tasks. The lab environment is based on VMware Horizon View 5.2 and VMware ThinApp. But note that not the entire environment was really needed to all the tasks (although I’ve not complete all of them, so maybe latest tasks may ask to use the missing objects). The user experience was reasonable, but some speed improvement maybe is necessary in the final version (in order to wait no so much during some tasks).
The VCAP-DTA Beta Exam includes troubleshooting tasks. As a result, some components may not be correctly configured, or may not have been configured at all, which is entirely intentional. In addition, some lab tasks are dependent on the successful completion of previous tasks. Every task can be completed successfully, and knowledge of how the task is completed is essential to determine what component or components must be configured or re-configured. Some troubleshooting tasks were almost challenging and the related and available guide may not help so much (and remember that you don’t have access to other resources rather the official PDF guide).
Command line is necessary is a couple of task, but basically you need a good practical experience on all the admin tasks and some experience on how design, configure, tune an Horizon View (and remember that also the ThinApp part is covered). Of course you need some practice also in the VMware vSphere Suite (included some with the new Web Client). Not sure if the final exam remain based on vSphere 5.1 and Horizon View 5.2 (but I suppose it will).
About the available resources, actually the APAC #vBrownBag is covering this exam, and there is also the official course VMware Horizon View: Install, Configure, Manage [V5.2], including some free resources. But a real (or a good lab) practical experience is the first resource that you have to use.
There are other considerations related, in general, to the VMware beta exams experience. First to all, the limited testing center availability is still a big issue, considering that there is few time and in this case considering that the beta period was in August (really a non-sense because in Italy all the few testing center where closed). I’ve found a seat in Vienna (not so close to me, but I was there for a short holiday, so it was a good compromise), but this aspect must be solved. A possible solution is give more time for the beta or, at least, more time before the beta period starts (I’ve received the invitation when was already started).
Note that actually the final exam is not yet available, and this is another big difference from previous beta, where the result was give several weeks after the GA of the exam. Good move and hope this will be the standard.