Changes in VMware Certified Professional – DCV 5.5

Introduction

During the opening keynote of VMworld 2013, VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger announced the general availability of the next generation of their flagship product, vSphere, 5.5. Five months later, VMware Education has released the updated version of the VMware Certified Professional –Data Center Virtualization test to cover the several new features.

vSphere 5.5 is the third major release of the vSphere 5.x family; however, it is the first time the VCP-DCV5 test has been changed (aside from the removal of VSA and Data Recovery questions with the release of vSphere 5.1). When 5.1 was released, VMware Education decided to keep the test 5.x “agnostic.” This meant that only the features of 5.0 were fair game. There are two reasons that the test has changed for the latest release.

First, vSphere 5.5 emphasizes several features that VMware has made key to their long term product roadmap. These include:

  1. The depreciation of the C-Sharp Client in favor the vSphere Web Client.
  2. A focus on vCenter Operations Manager (vCOPs) integration with vSphere in the form of VSOM.
  3. Single Sign On (SSO) is now required by vCenter.
  4. Built in BCRS tools with vSphere Replication and Data Protection.
  5. vFlash read caching with direct attached SSD drives.
  6. The introduction of VM hardware version 10.

These will be further explained in the following sections.

The second is to align the test with the Cloud and Desktop versions. The VCP-510 was 90 minutes, 85 questions (63s per question average). The Cloud and Desktop tests are both 120 minutes, 135 questions (52s per question average). The VCP550 test has been increased so that all three tests are equal.

There has also been one removal. Lab Manager is no longer part of the test. This is the final nail in a product that has been on its way out for a while now.

How VMware Writes a Test

One thing that VMware Education has always done a great job with is test blueprint design. The blueprint for the VCP550 (ver 3.1 as of 2/24/14) is the rubric on which you will be tested. No more, no less. This has always been the case. If it appears on the Blueprint it is fair game. If something does not appear, at best you might see a reference (to VSAN for example), but it will not be the heart of the question.

VMware also tests heavily on new features and products since the last release, features that have changed, and Enterprise Plus features. For admins using earlier versions of vSphere, I highly recommend you study these three things. Having taken several VMware tests, I am not sure you can pass without them. To help you get started I will address what has specifically changed in the Blueprint and features that have been updated.

New Changes to the VCP550 Blueprint

The following section is a complete list of all new objectives that have been added to the Blueprint for the VCP550. Each objective is paired with a link to the official VMware documentation that addresses the knowledge required.

Note: The VMware vSphere Data Protection Administration Guide and vSphere Operations Manager documents are only available in PDF format, so direct links are not available. In this case, page numbers have been provided as a reference to the appropriate content.

Section 1 – Plan, Install, Configure and Upgrade vCenter Server and VMware ESXi

Objective 1.2 — Install and Configure vCenter Server: Knowledge – Identify Single Sign On Requirements

Prerequisites for Installing vCenter Single Sign-On, Inventory Service, and vCenter Server

Required Information for Installing or Upgrading vCenter Single Sign-On, Inventory Service, vCenter Server, and the vSphere Web Client

Objective 1.2 — Install and Configure vCenter Server: Knowledge – Install and Configure the vSphere Client / vSphere Web Client

Install vCenter Single Sign-On, the vSphere Web Client , vCenter Inventory Service, and vCenter Server by Using Simple Install

Objective 1.5 –Secure vCenter Server and ESXi: Knowledge – Describe Single Sign-On architecture

vCenter Single Sign-On Components

Objective 1.5 –Secure vCenter Server and ESXi: Knowledge -Differentiate Single-Sign-On Deployment Scenarios

vCenter Single Sign-On Deployment Modes

Objective 1.5 –Secure vCenter Server and ESXi: Knowledge -Configure and administer Single Sign-On

Add a vCenter Single Sign-On Identity Source

Objective 1.5 –Secure vCenter Server and ESXi: Knowledge -Manage Single Sign-On users and groups

vSphere Users and Permissions

Objective 5.3 – Create and Administer Resource Pools: Knowledge – Describe vFlash architecture

Set Up Virtual Flash Resource

Section 5 – Establish and Maintain Service Levels

Objective 5.3 – Create and Administer Resource Pools: Knowledge – Create/Delete vFlash Resource Pool

About VMware vSphere Flash Read Cache

Objective 5.3 – Create and Administer Resource Pools: Knowledge – Assign vFlash resources to VMDKs

Configure Flash Read Cache for a Virtual Machine

Objective 5.5 – Backup and Restore Virtual Machines: Knowledge – Identify VMware Data Protection requirements

VMware vSphere Data Protection Administration Guide – Pages 18-19

Objective 5.5 – Backup and Restore Virtual Machines: Knowledge – Explain VMware Data Protection sizing guidelines

VMware vSphere Data Protection Administration Guide – Page 18

Objective 5.5 – Backup and Restore Virtual Machines: Knowledge – Differentiate between VDP and VDPA

VMware vSphere Data Protection Administration Guide – Page 12, Table 1.1

Objective 5.5 – Backup and Restore Virtual Machines: Knowledge – Describe vSphere Replication architecture

Overview of VMware vSphere Replication

Objective 5.5 – Backup and Restore Virtual Machines: Knowledge – Install and Configure VMware Data Protection

VMware vSphere Data Protection Administration Guide – Pages 17-28

Objective 5.5 – Backup and Restore Virtual Machines: Knowledge – Create a backup job with VMware Date Protection

VMware vSphere Data Protection Administration Guide – Page 66

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Objective 5.5 – Backup and Restore Virtual Machines: Knowledge – Manage and monitor VDP capacity

VMware vSphere Data Protection Administration Guide – Page 94

Objective 5.5 – Backup and Restore Virtual Machines: Knowledge – Perform a test/live full/file-level restore with VMware Data Protection

VMware vSphere Data Protection Administration Guide – Pages 81-86 and 123-128

Objective 5.5 – Backup and Restore Virtual Machines: Knowledge – Perform a VDR data migration

Replicating Virtual Machines

Objective 5.5 – Backup and Restore Virtual Machines: Knowledge – Install/Configure/Upgrade vSphere Replication

Installing vSphere Replication

Reconfigure the vSphere Replication Appliance

Upgrading vSphere Replication

Objective 5.5 – Backup and Restore Virtual Machines: Knowledge – Configure Replication for Single/Multiple VMs

Replicating Virtual Machines

Objective 5.5 – Backup and Restore Virtual Machines: Knowledge – Recover a VM using vSphere Replication

Recover Virtual Machines by Using vSphere Replication

Objective 5.5 – Backup and Restore Virtual Machines: Knowledge – Perform a failback operation using vSphere Replication

Failback of Virtual Machines in vSphere Replication

Objective 5.6 – Patch and Update ESXi and Virtual Machines: Knowledge – Import/Export a Host Profile

Import a Host Profile

Section 7 – Monitor a vSphere Implementation

Note: The requirement to know resxtop has been removed. However it is a useful tool you should understand.

Objective 7.3 – Install, Configure and Administer vCenter Operations Manager: Knowledge – Differentiate Major/Minor vCOPs badges

Using Badges to Monitor Objects in the Virtual Environment

Objective 7.3 – Install, Configure and Administer vCenter Operations Manager: Knowledge – Explain vCOPs architecture

vCenter Operations Manager 5.8.1 vApp Deployment and Configuration Guide – Page 7

Objective 7.3 – Install, Configure and Administer vCenter Operations Manager: Knowledge – Deploy and Configure vCOPs appliance

vCenter Operations Manager 5.8.1 vApp Deployment and Configuration Guide

Objective 7.3 – Install, Configure and Administer vCenter Operations Manager: Knowledge – Upgrade vCOPs

vCenter Operations Manager 5.8.1 vApp Deployment and Configuration Guide, Page 29

Objective 7.3 – Install, Configure and Administer vCenter Operations Manager: Knowledge – Understand metrics used by Major/Minor vCOPs badges

Using Badges to Monitor Objects in the Virtual Environment

Objective 7.3 – Install, Configure and Administer vCenter Operations Manager: Knowledge – Monitor vSphere environment

vSphere Monitoring and Performance

Objective 7.3 – Install, Configure and Administer vCenter Operations Manager: Knowledge – For a given alarm, identify the affected resource in a vSphere implementation

Monitoring Events, Alarms, and Automated Actions

Final Thoughts and Advice

VMware’s VCP tests are complex and none more so than the VCP-DCV. vSphere is the heart and soul of the vision that is the Software Defined Enterprise. To that end, it is crucial to understand. Version 5.5 continues a long history of disruption and innovation by extending further into the realms of storage, networking, and policy-based management. To become a VMware Certified Professional, your knowledge and skills must as well. The days of only needing to know about compute are over.

VCP-510 covers an enormous amount of material that a VMware administrator is required to understand. VCP-550 has upped the stakes. It is longer from both the perspective of time and total questions. It also covers two brand new products that could easily merit their own tests. That being said it is very doable. I have done it and lived to tell the tale.

To be successful you need three things:

1. Hands-on experience. If you don’t have direct access to a production environment, build a home lab. This can be done with little upfront cost on one PC. Kits like Autolab can run on a mid-level laptop and are free.

2. Complete knowledge of the blueprint. Know it in your sleep. It is the key to success.

3. Proper training. This may be the most important step. If you have not used vSphere daily for at least a couple years, training will fill in the gaps and raise your game to level needed for success.

Lastly, I assure you it is worth it. VMware is the industry standard for the Software Defined Enterprise. Proving your skills by becoming a VMware Certified Professional shows that you are ready for the latest challenges facing business and IT.

Good luck and Godspeed.

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Byron Schaller

Author/Owner at vByron
Byron Schaller is the Virtualization Technology Evangelist for Pomeroy IT Solutions. Prior to Pomeroy, Byron spent over 8 years consulting for the IBM Global Services Enterprise Virtualization practice. Blending over 15 years of experience in Enterprise Infrastructure Design and Agile Software Development he specializes in service design and automating operations in the Software Defined Enterprise. Byron is a former Microsoft Certified Trainer and presents seminars to high school educators about leveraging cloud technology. Byron holds 35 current industry certifications including: VCAP-DCA, MCSE: Private Cloud, 4 CCNPs, all 3 VCPs, EMC Cloud Architect ITaaS Expert and ITIL Foundations V3, among others. He is also the author of the popular virtualization blog vByron.com (http://www.vByron.com), described as “Software Defining Virtually Everything-as-a-Service.”

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