My ramblings about all things technical



As a VMware vExpert working for Xtravirt Limited and a keen contributor to the VCAP communities on the VMware communities ,I received an email from Randy Becraft from VMware confirming my inclusion on the VCAP5-DCA beta exam along with the Blueprint for the exam which should be starting in the coming weeks. Obviously I am under NDA so I can’t divulge too much but Randy has kindly given me permission to blog about the blueprint and what will be required once the exam becomes available to the public.

The Differences

The exam is 60-70% the same as the VCAP4 but the main differences are:

  • The exam consists of approximately 26 live lab activities and consists of multiple tasks, where each task is scored. This is down from the 36 there was in the VCAP4-DCA which I think is much better as I blazed through the VCAP4-DCA to try finish enough of the questions in time and made a few mistakes along the way due to this.
  • There are a number of sections and products which are thankfully not part of the exam any more. This is great as these were very uncommon products that were very hard to practice seeing as 98% of people have never used them (although they are gaining prominence recently).The ones that aren’t a part of the exam anymore are:
    • vCenter Server Linked Mode
    • Orchestrator
    • vShield Zones
    • vCenter Heartbeat
  • The exam is obviously based on vSphere 5 and so as you would imagine there are a number of the new features that have been introduced in vSphere 5 that are part of the blueprint like Storage DRS and the new Auto Deploy features to name but two.
  • The recommended courses are also different as with VCAP4-DCA there were four recommended courses aka:

But with the VCAP5-DCA there are only two recommended courses:

I do think it’s a shame there aren’t the kinds of courses there were for the VCAP4 as I learnt an unbelievable amount from the courses and will be using Trainsignal videos and the official course notes I received from doing two of the recommended courses to help me prepare for the VCAP5-DCA beta

The Similarities

The following things are the same as the VCAP4-DCA:

  • The passing score is still 300 and is scaled. Scaled scores are calculated using a mathematical formula that considers a variety of factors, including the number and type of exam questions included in a specific version of the exam
  • The exam time is still 210 minutes for English speaking countries. Extra time is given for non-English speaking countries the same as they do for the VCP exams.
  • Having your VCP (in this case the VCP5) is a pre-requisite for the exam and you will still need to put in an authorisation request like you did for the VCAP4 before being able to book the exam. If you are a VCAP4-DCA but do not have your VCP5 and pass the VCAP5-DCA exam within the first three months from release of the live exam you will also be awarded your VCP5 credential.
  • You can book the exam via Pearson VUE’s website at The exam will be in the usual Pearson VUE testing centres that offer VCAP-level exams and there may not be a centre near you offering the exam.
  • The security for the exam is still the enhanced method where they won’t let you take in anything to the exam room even your watch and you will be required to have a photo taken and do a digital signature over and above the normal exam sign in procedures.
  • So as to not repeat what has been done so well, Ed Grigson also got permission from Randy to blog about his inclusion in the beta and has done a brilliant breakdown of the similarities and differences between the blueprints of the VCAP4-DCA and the VCAP5-DCA in his blog posting here

There has been information about the infrastructure you will be expected to use during the VCAP5 exam, which will be two ESXi hosts and a vCenter server. This is very much like the VCAP4 exam environment but a subtle difference which VCAP4-DCA takers will fully recognise.

I will be linking to all the resources I’m using for both the VCAP exams on my VCAP5-DCA and DCD resources page and plan to give an NDA limited review of my thoughts of the beta exam and if it was harder/easier or the same as the VCAP4-DCA.

Good luck to all those people selected to do the beta exam and keep an eye out for my home lab postings in my preparation for the exam.