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During the last VMworld EU, on Monday I’ve tried the new VMware vSAN 2017 Specialist exam, just to see how difficult was and which kind of contents where covered by the exam.

This specialist exam it’s something outside the traditional VMware certification paths, but it’s classified in the Certification Related Badges that includes different types of accreditations:

All of them are already linked in the Acclaim site, in order to track your certifications and exams progress and, if needed, share it with other people.

The VMware vSAN 2017 Specialist badge holder is a technical professional who understands the vSAN 6.6 architecture and its complete feature set, knows how to conduct a vSAN design and deployment exercise, can implement a live vSAN hyper-converged infrastructure environment based on certified hardware/software components and best practices, and can administer/operate a vSAN cluster properly.

First to all you must already hold a VMware Certified Professional 6 (VCP6) or later version, for any solution track, then you can try the exam if you have good skills on vSAN, otherwise it’s better make practice with some HoLs and/or take a course, like the VMware vSAN: Deploy and Manage [V6.6] course.

For the exam itself a good source of information is the VMware vSAN 2017 Specialist Exam (2VB-601) Exam Prep Guide that explain which kind of knowledge is required thought different objectives in order to be prepared and have some ideas of the different topics covered by the different questions in the exam.

This document provides also a great example of possible questions (10 totally) that represents exactly the difficult level of the exam.

About the exam, it’s like all other VCP exams with the same registration process and similar lenght.

The Minimally Qualified Candidate (MQC) is a conceptualization of the certification candidate that possesses the minimum knowledge, skills, experience, and competence to just meet our expectations of a credentialed individual. But I found it quite easy, if you already have managed some vSAN projects. There are also some questions related to operations, in this case for an architect those could be more difficult (just because you have to remember the menu structure in the UI), but not so much to compromize your pass (if you know the other questions).

Note that it’s all vSAN 6.6 (although some questions are quite generic, for all vSAN version), so be sure to read all the related documents starting first from the Storage Hub page, that collect an impressive number of high quality documents and references.

I’ve passed the exam easily in just 40 minutes (there are 60 questions, but the texts is written in an easy english also for not native):

Unfortunately I’ve found the this exam does not provide any time extention in the VCP certifications, strange considering that it’s an exam that require VCP itself (I hope that VMware will reconsider this aspect and provide expiration extension) and neither a certificate, but just a badge.

Considering those limitations and the exam cost (I’ve got a 50% discount at VMworld, otherwise probably I’ve never tried it) I have some doubts on why people should take it (the exam is valuable, but really too costly compared on what you have). VCP deadline extensions could be a good reason (if VMware will add it), but also if this exam will become mandatory for partner’s competency on HCI.