VMware vSAN 2017 Specialist Badge


I recently earned the VMware vSAN 2017 Specialist Badge. Despite the name, I did in fact pass the exam in 2019 with a score of 411. This is the latest version of the exam. I do not like how VMware is naming the exams after the year the exam was released. Makes sense for Microsoft to put a year in the exam title because the version of their software obviously has the year in it. I hope VMware goes back to naming the exams after the version of the product.

The latest version of vSAN is 6.7 U2, but the exam objectives are based on vSAN 6.6. The exam was fairly easy so I guess that is why it is for a badge and not a certification. The exam didn’t really have any surprises. It closely followed the exam objectives. I recommend to review the material in the two links below and know it very well. I had plenty of time to finish the exam.



As you can see from the image below, the badge path is for VCP6 holders. The drop down also has expired VCP and no VCP. My VCP is active, but on 5.5. I have kept it active with taking VCAP exams during the past few years. Then it would have become active anyway since VMware changed their rules for certification expiration.


Anyway, there are actually many more certifications that meet the requirements for this badge. The screen shot below, from VMware’s certification manager, shows a long list that has VCAP 6, VCDX 6, and newer VCP exams. I earned the badge since I previously passed the VCAP6-DCV Design exam. I am not sure why it says vRealize Operations 2017 for 1.2. I am guessing it’s a mistake and should list the vSAN exam.




vExpert 2018 and AWS Certified SysOps Administrator

I have two personal announcements that I am excited to share. I was selected as a VMware vExpert for 2018. One of my goals with this blog was it to assist in being recognized as a vExpert. I am happy I reached that my first year. There’s other contributions I made to the community that helped, such as the VMTN forums and VCAP Google+ community. Hopefully, I can be more active and achieve this status two years in a row.


I passed the AWS Certified SysOps Administrator – Associate exam. One challenging aspect of AWS exams is the passing score changes without warning and the passing score to reach. I took the exam the last day the specific version was available and fortunately passed with a 91%.


Passed VCAP6-DCV Design Exam

I finally passed the VCAP6-DCV Design Exam after about 4 months of studying. This makes me a VCIX since I passed the VCAP5-DCA last year. I do not recommend anyone to take this exam.

I thought I could be different than the many others that failed the test their first and second attempts. However, I was like a lot of other people. This exam is extremely difficult and has many flaws.

My biggest complaint was on a drag and drop question. I was frustrated because I studied a lot and from many different sources. I was surprised to not be familiar enough to even attempt to answer one question. I eventually figured out why I was not ready for the question. It was based on a 5.5 objective; Describe layered security considerations, including but not limited to Trust Zones. That objective is not on the 6 exam objectives. I used many different sources when studying and no one mentioned this topic. VMware should base the exam off of the objectives they list on their site for the respective version of the exam.

I have a smaller example of another flaw. A host is referred to by different words on various questions. Sometimes a host was called a server or node. One questions used the word server to refer a host and also for a virtual machine from what I gathered by the context of the question.

On the other hand, the deploy exam was straight forward and a rewarding experience. I gained a lot from it and knew where I stood when studying and taking the exam. The design exam is the complete opposite.

I see why many others, including VMware employees, recommend to not even take the VCAP6-DCV design exam. I completely agree. I highly recommend to take the VCP 6.5 and then take the VCAP on 6.5 if that’s what it takes to avoid the VCAP6 design exam.


Preparation for VCAP6-DCV Design Exam

I am studying for the VMware Certified Advanced Professional 6 – Data Center Virtualization Design Exam. I started to prepare for the exam this month and plan to take it in December. I had to hunt for good study material because VMware does not offer much. Only a blueprint, which is not even in a PDF. I contacted VMware education and was told the certification page with the blueprint is it. However, vMusketeers has made a spreadsheet with the blueprint. It includes the links that makes keeping track of studying easier because there are a lot of white papers to read. Also, check out the certification tab on the vMusketeers blog. There is additional information such as a practice quiz and useful links.

An absolute necessity is reading two articles on Jordan’s Roth’s blog; Scoring for VCAP6 Design Exams and VCAP6 Design Tips, Tricks and New Features. Read the comments on those two articles too. Jordan use to work for VMware on a team that created this exam. I think the information in those articles should be on VMware’s site so everyone has easy access to it. Here’s something funny Jordan said in one of his comments when someone questioned him. Jordan, “Well, since I designed the VCAP6 design exams myself, you can take my word for it or what you read somewhere else 🙂”

I highly recommend to watch the VCAP6-DCV Design Series on YouTube hosted by vBrowBag. They have a video for 11 of the 16 exam objectives. The videos are hosted by many VMware veterans and even some VCDXs. The few I watched so far have offered good, deep explanations.

There are two Google Communities to monitor; VCAP-DCD Study Group and VCAP6-DCV Design. The latter is more current. I recommend to spend as much time as possible to read every post, even if it goes back over a year ago when the VCAP6 was not yet leased. A lot of the 5.5 content is still every relevant.

Virtualtiers.net has a simulator, multiple choice questions, and drag/drop questions. I think it is based on the 5.5 objectives, but its worth going through to get a feel for the simulator and drag/drop questions. VMware has their official VCAP Datacenter Design Simulation, which is a Flash based walk through.

This should help someone get started on studying for the VCAP6-DCV Deploy exam. I will make an additional post after I take the exam. For now, I have plenty of content to keep myself busy for the next couple of months.

VMware Certifications

I have not been a fan of VMware certifications since they decided to make the VCP expire after only two years of holding the certification. To top it off, the policy was even for past certification holders. Everyone had two years before they had to pass another exam! If not, an expensive class would be required again before taking an exam.

After that being said, I have kept up with the game and took my VMware skill set to the next level last year by passing the VCAP5-DCA. I studied more for that exam than I have ever done for any other exam. I learned a lot from the entire experience. I took the exam on the 5.5 objectives so I’m not sure how relevant my advice would be now. However, I decided to post what I said on the VCAP-DCA Study Group in case it may help others.

I passed with a score of 347. I took the exam on Saturday and received my results in about 3 hours.

I, of course, ran out of time during the exam. I worked nonstop. I don’t know what would have happened if I stepped away to use the bathroom. I completed everything I knew and went back to the few labs I wasn’t sure about.

I obtained a lot of great information in this group. I went back to the beginning of the group and read everything. Other places I learned from was the VMware Press VCAP book, Jason Nash’s Plural Sight videos, Paul Grevink’s study guide, Josh’s lab, and other various blogs. I spent about 4 months preparing for the exam going over all that material and practicing in my lab.

I’m so happy to pass the exam. I learned so much from the experience. I’m looking forward to taking a break for a while. Then take the design exam on 6.

The next VMware certification I go for will be the VCAP6-DCV Design. That will earn me the VCIX-DCV because my first VCAP basically counts as the deploy requirement. I may try to squeeze in upgrading my MCSA 2012 to 2016 before my next VCAP.