VCAP5-DCA exam VDCA550 – Section 4


Section 4 of my study guide for the VCAP5-DCA exam VDCA550 is now available. Over 60 pages, covering all Section 4 objectives, including configuration of FT and – new in this exam – vSphere Replication.

The download also includes previous sections. The quality of the .pdf has been improved; graphics are now in a much better quality.

Download VCAP5-DCA exam VDCA550 – Section 1-4.

If you have any questions or remarks, please respond. Thank you very much for reading.


My VCAP5-DCD Exam Experience


I am not the first and will definitely not be last to share an “Exam Experience” story, and normally I wouldn’t do so. So why would I bother you with this one? Well, because I think, this kind of exam is different from the usual IT related exams, like VMware VCP, Microsoft MCP, or Linux LPI exams.

First of all, some background why would someone go for this exam? I have a strong background in System Administration and System engineering and I passed my first VCP exam almost 10 years ago! The VCAP-DCA (Data Center Administration) exam is a good opportunity to test your skills in a live environment. So, I took that exam in 2012.

However, since a couple of years I am regularly involved in vSphere design projects. So it was time to build a solid foundation in the field of design. The following months, I worked my way through a lot of material. Working as a Designer is different from Administration and it is important to get used to a “Design Methodology”. Experience gained during the “administration years” is invaluable for building your in-depth technical knowledge, which is also needed.
The long-term goal was to test my knowledge by taking the VCAP5-DCD exam. The VMware MyLearn portal provides useful information for your preparations, like blueprints, recommended courses and other training material.

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VCAP5-DCA exam VDCA550 – Section 3


Section 3 of my study guide for the VCAP5-DCA exam VDCA550  is now available. This version also includes previous sections.

Download VCAP5-DCA exam VDCA550 – Section 3

If you have any questions or remarks, please respond. Thank you for reading.

VCAP5-DCA exam VDCA550 – Section 2


Section 2 of my study guide for the VCAP5-DCA exam VDCA550  is now available. This version also includes section 1.

Download VCAP5-DCA exam VDCA550 – Section 2

If you have any questions or remarks, please respond. Thank you for reading.

VCAP5-DCA exam VDCA550 – Section 1


The first edition of this study guide was first published as a series of posts on my blog “Adventures in a Virtual World”, here.
These posts were written in preparation for my VCAP5-DCA exam (version VDCA510).

With the release of the VDCA550 exam in spring 2014, I felt I had to write a version for this exam as well. This guide is based on the VDCA550 Blueprint, version 3.2, as found here.

For more information about the differences between the VDCA510 and the VDCA550, read my post on this item.

This guide will meet the following goals:

  • Based on the official Blueprint, follow the objectives as close as possible.
  • Refer to the official VMware documentation as much as possible. For that reason, every Objective starts with one or more references to the VMware documentation.
  • In case the official documentation is not available or not complete, provide an alternative.
  • Write down the essence of every objective (the Summary part).
  • If necessary, provide additional explanation, instructions, examples and references to other posts. All this without providing too much information.

In the official vSphere 5.0 documentation, all user actions are performed using the traditional vSphere Client. However in the vSphere 5.5 documentation almost all user actions are performed using the vSphere Web Client. In this revision, most pictures have been replaced; in some cases you will see the vSphere Client.

I hope all this will help you in your preparation for your exam. I welcome your comments, feedback and questions.

Download VCAP5-DCA exam VDCA550 – Section 1.

VM Storage Policies / Profiles, don’t mix up


With vSphere 5.5 came many, many changes. Without a doubt, the biggest change is the prominent role of the vSphere Web Client, now being the preferred client to manage your vSphere Clusters.

Being very familiar with the traditional vSphere Client, it takes a reasonable amount of time to get used to the vSphere Web Client (vWC). In my case, I always tried to perform the action with the vWC, with the traditional Client for Fall-back or while in a hurry.

While refreshing my knowledge about Storage Profiles, I noticed, in vSphere 5.5 “Storage Profiles” have been renamed to “Storage Policies”.
Although, not quite. Figure 1, shows part of the home screen of the same vCenter 5.5 server.


Figure 1– [Left] vSphere Web Client – [Right] traditional vSphere Client

But, soon I discovered that not only the name of this feature has changed.

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VMFS-5 or an upgraded VMFS-3?


With vSphere 5.0, VMware also introduced a new version of its vSphere Virtual Machine File System, known as VMFS-5. For a complete list of the new features, see the “What’s New in VMware vSphere 5.0 – Storage” whitepaper. Since vSphere 5.5, the maximum supported VMDK size on a VMFS-5 datastore has been increased from 2 TB to 62 TB. More information on this in KB 2058287 “Support for virtual machine disks larger than 2 TB in VMware ESXi 5.5”.

Although vSphere 5.x fully supports predecessor VMFS-3, it’s also possible to upgrade an existing VMFS-3 to VMFS-5. See also this whitepaper “VMware vSphere VMFS-5 Upgrade Considerations
But beware; an upgraded VMFS-5 does not support all of the new features. Most noticeable are:

  • An upgrade VMFS-5 continues to use the previous file-block size, which may be larger than the unified 1MB file-block size. This can lead to stranded/unused disk space when there are lots of small files on the datastore. It is also stated that this can affect the performance of subsequent Storage vMotions.
  • An upgraded VMFS-5 datastore doesn’t have new features like; the new Sub-Block Size, Increased maximum number of files per datastore, no GPT.
  • Also, VMFS-5 upgraded from VMFS-3 continues to have its partition starting on sector 128. Newly created VMFS-5 partitions will have their partition starting at sector 2048.

So, by deploying newly created VMFS-5 and upgraded VMFS-5 datastores, chances are that inconsistencies across your datastores are introduced.
So instead of upgrading existing datastores, another approach is rebuilding datastores (fresh formatted VMFS-5) and relocating your VM’s. Of course this takes some planning and you will need a spare LUN.

One question remains, how to recognize a new or an upgraded VMFS-5 datastore? OK, you can have a look in the vSphere Client or Web Client. If the Block Size is not 1 MB, it is an upgraded one. But now the block Size is 1 MB, can you be sure it is a newly created one?


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