VCAP-DTD Experience

Way back when 2013 was still shiny and new (January 3 to be specific) I was lucky enough to take the beta version of the new VCAP-DTD exam.  Now that the exam has gone production, I figured I’d share my experience taking the exam with all of you.

The VCAP-DTD is the desktop (read: VMware View + ThinApp) version of the VCAP-DCD.  It’s all about proving your ability to design a View environment.  Prerequisites for the VCAP-DTD are to have either a VCP5-DV or a VCP5-DT (which of course requires a VCP5-DV).

The structure of the exam is similar to the VCAP5-DCD and included mostly multiple choice questions.  There was also a smaller percentage of questions that required matching items from one column with items in a second column (e.g. match the business requirements in column A with the appropriate feature in column B).  There were also a small number of diagram questions that provided a Visio like interface where you are asked to create a physical or logical design based on a stated scenario and design requirements.

The content of the exam covered pretty much all the features of View and ThinApp.  There was also a very fair amount of questions based on designing a vSphere infrastructure, which makes sense since a good View implementation can only exist on a well designed vSphere implementation.  I felt that some of the questions were a little too administrative focused for an advanced design exam, especially for a certification that has an administrative certification requirement.

I don’t want to get too detailed in the topics covered, but you’ll want to know all aspects from Connection Server best practices to Transfer Server requirements and from storage design best practices to application deployment options.  After all, View infrastructures are complicated and require many different components.  Keep in mind that virtual desktops sometimes have very different requirements of these components than virtual servers or physical desktops do, which can result in very different designs. (hint: there was proper emphasis on the most critical components that can sink a View infrastructure if not designed properly)

I did think some of the questions were a little too dependent on memorization of configuration items (e.g. min/max configurations).  As someone who has been designing View environments for over 4 years, I would never rely on my memory for maximum configuration items and would always have those documents close at hand.  If we want our certifications to match real world skillsets, then these documents should be available during the exam.

What did I use to study?  I started with the blueprint (which may have changed from the beta to the production exam) and essentially read through all the documents listed in there.  There were questions I can directly attribute to reading this documents, but many of the skills needed for these design exams come from experience, not studying.