Yesterday I sat the VCAP-DTA exam and obviously don’t have any results yet
Overall I am extremely pleased with the exam experience, it had a very logical structure without jumping from A to B too much. You can see the experience VMware gained through the VCAP-DCA and VCAP-CIA exams there, while I was jumping around from one part of the blueprint and logical structure of the data center in the VCAP-DCA and the exam felt like all over the place, the VCAP-DTA almost tells a story with a very comprehensive logical flow.
I also liked the implementation of the troubleshooting section in general, it is much more relaxing to know what the issue is and not wondering at every task if something is set up the way it should be or if it is a hidden troubleshooting scenario like in the VCAP-DCA.
As described in the blueprint I had to do 23 tasks (of which some were further broken down into independent sub tasks of some sort) and got allotted 180 minutes to complete them to the best of my knowledge and ability.
On most VCAP reviews you will always read one sentence: “Time management is key!”. While this is also true for the VCAP-DTA I felt much more relaxed during the exam compared to the VCAP-DCA or VCAP-CIA. This might just be because having done 5 VCAPs I kinda get the hang of it by now but I do like to think that part of it also lies in the structural approach this exam takes. I could comfortably look at all tasks and if I had had the knowledge for all of them I could also have implemented them. As I am too lazy to update my information for the exam center I am not getting the 30 minutes extra time for not being a native English speaker, so if you have that “advantage” you should be fine for time.
There are a couple of things that I disliked though. This includes that I had no way to verify my solutions on ALL troubleshooting tasks I got, basically making it a game of educated guessing rather than real troubleshooting. I also struggled with several disconnects (I believe I had around 8 or 9 in total) which cost me a good 10 minutes of the total time. Documentation also still is in PDF format with Adobe Acrobat being the only available reader, even though that should change in the future. This makes scrolling in the documentation or zooming incredibly slow and documentation therefore rather useless. Some questions also could need some clarifications as sometimes there is no default configuration and you have several options in front of you of which all could make sense, making it a best guess game again.
Overall these points should not be contributing too much of me passing or failing the exam though, if I fail it is not because I lost 10 minutes of time or because I could not look up something in the documentation, after all this is supposed to be an advanced level exam where you simply have to know your ****.
I could have done a lot more for preparation, my exposure to Horizon View so far has been starting the View Client to connect to a desktop and seeing the administrative interface for roughly 4 hours in total. As my home lab server had a hard disk failure and I had not done backups of my environment yet I basically just read up on the tasks that were mentioned in the blueprint. I would NOT recommend that as a general practice though.
As for study resources I used:
- Steve Dunne’s study notes overview to be found at http://www.virtuallyvirtuoso.com/vcap-dta-study-notes/
- Chris Becket’s study notes to be found at http://virtual-fabric.com/
- VMware ThinApp 4.7 Essentials
- Implementing VMware Horizon View 5.2
- Mastering VMware vSphere 5 - Yes you will need to manage vCenter too
- VMware View 5: Building a Successful Virtual Desktop
- Exam Blueprint
PS: It also does not hurt to know the install, upgrade and administration guides by heart
I just sat it yesterday and all I can say is VMware have to sort out the Lag, If I gave a system like that to a customer they would throw it back in my face. :smileyangry: I get a better remote response to my home and I live in the middle of no where with crap internet.
This might be to do with the fact I was an afternoon UK user and struggling with the transcontinental broadband activity with the USA coming online from 1pm to 4pm. So my advice is if your in the UK get a 9am exam so its done by 12.
This being my first VCAP it was a shock to the system exactly how much they ask you to do. But when it takes 15-20 seconds to flip between browser tabs and 30 seconds between RDP sessions it becomes frustrating. I got no disconnects but taking 10+ mins to complete a wizard I know takes 3 Mins is not acceptable in my eyes. At one point i was ready to walk out it was so bad.:smileycry:
The PDF's are gone, its online HTML docs which is good, but that doesn't help when the browser and response times are so slow. you also get access to KB's but you have to use the VMware KB search and as everyone knows this is useless.
Again as Frank and everyone says TIME MANAGEMENT. 3 hours is not a long time and factor in 10-20 mins for the Lag. And Don't have a coffee before hand, a trip to the loo is valuable time during the exam.:smileyblush:
Someone of my experience was hampered by over thinking. :smileyconfused: Some questions to me seemed too simple and I actually spent more time on trying to figure out if it was a trick question.
Another thing that threw me is some of the things they ask you to do are already done, Two questions asked me to do something and of course I struggled with the lag to get to the screen to a piece of it only to find that it was done, Again me over thinking probably but annoying that I spent 2 mins struggling to get to that bit for no reason.
You really have to know the product, not just how to install the system or to create pools, that's what the VCP is for. Blueprint is GOD nothing that's not in there is not covered. and don't be like me and study for a couple of days before hand. get started weeks before and get a lab built. I didn't do a lot of practical as I thought i had enough covered in my day job. I was wrong.:smileyplain:
I hope I have passed but if I have it will be well below the standard I set myself.
As a reminder, if you have issues during the exam file a ticket immediately. This includes situations like lag.
The PDFs are still there.
It sounds like a lot of people experience issues with lag. Is this something that the test center can resolve during the exam?
You can ask, but the local proctor most likely won't have any rights to the local PC. If they do they can make sure no antivirus scan or backup is running on your PC, they can refrain from playing CoD and streaming videos while you are taking the exam, etc.
That's a good point. I'll have to politely ask to refrain from fragging and YouTube at least for the duration of the exam.
How do you raise a ticket in an exam?
spend another 10 mins filling out forms
The test center said there was nothing they can do as its a remote test and its not on their servers. their internet was fine.
where? they were not on the ControlCenter i was using? just links to KB and online html.
saying that they could have been, I probably was too keen to get going to notice
They are there, the folder on the desktop named "Documentation" has not changed - just in case access to html hiccups.
Two links were added to VMware View 5.2 Documentation Library and http://kb.vmware.com/
ah well to late now. I had studied with the PDF's and knew my way around them better than online.
Tell them they need to raise a ticket with Pearson. They should be able to do this and then contact us. If they continue that (for future reference) then let us know which testing center it is and we can get it looked into.
Here is the desktop you were working on yesterday. I added the arrow
Looks like I also forgot a shortcut, you get the link to the vSphere 5.1 docs also.
desktop i had certainly wasnt that good a resolution. :smileylaugh:
lucky if i had half that resolution. i saw the online docs first and never looked any further left, never even seen the Vsphere link either.
Im sure they were not ordered like that either.
You can request as part of your exam booking a large monitor that will have high resolution.
As for the lag/delay that has been happening for all of the lab based exams for years and until they do relatively local instances of them I cant see it getting any better. You also have to make sure you use the RDP link in the shortcut bar at the top of the screen rather than the rdp link on the desktop of the vCenter server (this is applicable to DCA I'm not sure of the exact setup for the DTA but would assume it's akin to the DCA)
Good luck with the result.
You are correct, I don't limit my RDP to the exam default ~1280x1024 which affects the display slightly.
oh well all things learned.
if i fail i will cry and have a resit and ask for a HUGE monitor and a highspeed link to the states.
with any luck i have passed and its all information for the next person
How do you file a ticket for an exam?
Well an update to my experience.
i Failed the last time. But VMware issued me with a resit pass Which I finally got round to doing today.
i Had same lag issues this time even though I took a UK AM time slot. I did however manage to complete 22 of the 23 questions.
This time I had one question that looked like it was partly done for me. I'd love to say what it was as it's a cracker but NDA and all that.
and view administrator on one of the connection servers stopped working on question 21 so I had to use another connection server to complete the last 2 questions.
as for study. We'll you have to. Know your stuff, do it and know where to get it and quickly. I used the manuals a few times and knowing how to search all manuals at once is handy.
LAst time time I studied the wrong way, the same way I study for a VCP, soak up information. But for this you need to know where and how to do it and reading about it isn't any good you have to do It. i used auto lab from Alistair cook to build a useable lab on workstation and that helped a lot.
oh and test center didn't give me a big monitor Even though I requested it. I was stuck with a 17" monitor with 1024x768 resolution again.
mmaybe vmware could reduce the res of the RDP machines to that instead of 1920x1080 to reduce the lag when scrolling.