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The Advanced Deploy vSphere 6.5 2018 exam is one of the first “new rebranded” VMware exam, with the new naming convention.

The exam 3V0-21.18 is basically the old VCAP-Deploy (or Admin) based on VMware vSphere 6.5 (actually only the VCP-DCV has been updated to vSphere 6.7, yet) and can be used to obtain the VCAP-DCV 2018 (VMware Certified Advanced Professional — Data Center Virtualization Deploy 2018) certification.

This exam tests your skills and abilities in the implementation of a vSphere 6.x solution, including deployment, administration, optimization and troubleshooting.

Like other VCAP exams, you don’t have any mandatory training, but you need to start from an existing previous certification (at least VCP).

The big change that I found from the previous “Admin” exam (that was the VCAP5-DTA beta exam several years ago) is the new VMware Certification Platform Interface. It’s totally based on the VMware Hands on Labs with the same look and feels and the same rules and tricks (for example for the keyboard or the copy&paste operation).

I don’t know when it was introduced but it’s a great improvement in the usability.

On the other side, is still stupid that only “selected” testing centers are enabled for this kind of exam, without really be able to deliver it well: my first attempt was unsuccessful because the testing center was not aware of this kind of exam, they have tried to run it, but the lab was not starting at all (maybe for firewall issues?)… so I lose several hours (and the travel time) for nothing. I had to wait one week before VUE was able to accept the issue, then I had to reschedule the exam by phone (a very stupid procedure in 2018!).

Anyway the previous testing center equipment was ridiculous for this kind of exam: mouse still with a ball and very slow, wrong keyboard layout and very small monitor (15″ I guess) with 4:3 ratio… useless for a lab with the manual. Please VUE, if you select a few testing centers for this kind of exam, be sure to enforce e minimum quality.

So I re-took the exam on December 19, 2018 and this time the exam deliver was smooth enough and also the Internet connection was fast enough.

The exam preparation guide provides some useful information on what you have to study to prepare for this exam, but I just suggest to work on the product, and with good practice you don’t need to study anything.

You have the official docs in a PDF format, so if you don’t remember a specific command or option, you can search for it.

The exam is 100% lab-based and practical, and consist in a set of tasks (17-item, but each item can have more sub-tasks) exam, with a time of 205 minutes, with an automatic 30-minute time extension for non-native English speakers, to complete the exam.

The passing score is, as usual, 300 (of 500) using a scaled method. A minimally qualified candidate (MQC) achieving the VMware Certified Advanced Professional — Data Center Virtualization Deploy 2018 certification is capable of deploying, optimizing, operating, and troubleshooting complex virtualized environments. Complex environments are those that require cooperative administration across multiple locations and technologies. The candidate demonstrates technical leadership with the use of automation tools, implementing and remediating virtualized environments as well as administering all vSphere features. Candidates are required to obtain a valid VMware Certified Professional 6.5– Data Center Virtualization certification prior to attempting this certification.

Some tasks are very good and realistic, but others are too much specific and just theoretically… and that’s stupid if you don’t declare it.

For example, if you have to deploy and customizing a VM from a template, I expect that the template was working with an existing OS installation… Otherwise, you have to declare if it’s just a fictitious example, because I was looking the console to verify if it was working… and spending time on nothing.

Anyway this time it seems that the exam duration and the exam “effort” are balanced well: I finish 1 hour early (without considering the 30 min extension). Maybe this is also for the new labs that now are “fast enough”.

Language is not a big issue, because you need to perform tasks, not to answer specific questions.

About the client, you can perform almost everything with the vSphere Web Client (it’s a version 6.5 U1, at least for me, so the vSphere Client is not 100% feature complete). As usual there some task for specific CLI commands, but not too much difficult or too much different from similar tasks in previous VCAP-Deploy exams.

You can also perform everything with PowerCLI or another way… the result is the only important aspect, not how you reach the goal.

And you can skip some tasks to complete them later, if you have time.

The bad aspect of this exam, remains still the time to know the result: I received the score report today, so more than 1 month (still good consider that somebody waits for more than 2 months).

Then you still have to wait for the transcription in your exam, to see the effective certification. The report says:

You will receive an email notification from [email protected] once your certification status has been confirmed and added to your VMware Education Transcript (allow one week).

Anyway the transcript was quite fast (in the same day), and strange but Acclaim was even faster to update the badges. The only issue that I had, is that the transcript is not update with the VCP65-DCV certification (that you can obtain with a VCAP65)… Only Acclaim report it correctly.

So definitely it not the right exam to renew your VCP certification if you have only a few months until its expiration… because in case of a fail, you don’t have any more time to renew the VCP.

But still a good exam to demonstrate your ability and IMHO it should become mandatory exam for each admin that works in mid-large infrastructures.