VCAP5-DCA exam VDCA550

This week, VMware released the new VDCA550 exam. This exam also qualifies for the VMware Certified Advanced Professional 5 – Data Center Administration (VCAP5-DCA) Certification.

So, now two exams qualify for this certification, the other being the VDCA510 exam that has been around since July 2012. The difference between those, the oldest exam is based on vSphere 5.0, the latest is based on vSphere 5.5.

With a new exam comes a new Exam Blueprint. Both blueprints can be found here.

Although the Exam Blueprint for the VDCA510 exam is currently on version 2.9, there are no changes in the Objectives since version 1.1.

So what has changed in the Exam Blueprint for the VDCA550 exam?

  • Section 1.2, The number of live lab activities (VDCA550; 23 and VDCA510; 26).
  • Section 1.6, The Time limit has changed (VDCA550; 180 minutes and VDCA510; 210). Both an additional 30 minutes for non-native English speakers.
  • Section 1.12, the environment available during the exam is described in greater detail in the VDCA550 Blueprint. Also, the vSphere 5.5 environment consist of five ESXi 5.5 hosts, two vCenter 5.5 Servers, vCOPS 5.6 Foundation, vCenter Orchestrator 5.5 and vSphere Replication 5.5 appliances plus an Active Directory domain controller and shared storage.
  • Section 1.13 presents an overview of the documentation available during the exam; links to the actual documentation are included in the Blueprint. You won’t find this overview in the VDCA510 Blueprint.
  • Under the Objectives, all “Knowledge sections” have been disappeared in the VDCA550 Blueprint. Although some parts moved to the “Skills and Abilities” section.
  • The VDCA550 Blueprint does not have a separate Troubleshooting section. Some troubleshooting objectives have been moved to other objectives.
  • The VDCA510 Blueprint has a total of 9 sections; the VDCA550 Blueprint has 7 sections.

New Skills and Abilities been marked as “NEW”.
Other Skills and Abilities moved to a new location, e.g. “Configure Software iSCSI port binding” is now part of Objective 1.1. But in the VDCA510 exam it was part of Objective. 1.3, so it has been marked as: “VDCA510 Obj. 1.3”.

The VDCA550 Blueprint has the following sections and objectives

Section 1 – Implement and Manage Storage

Objective 1.1 – Implement Complex Storage Solutions

  • Determine use cases for and configure VMware DirectPath I/O
  • Determine requirements for and configure NPIV
  • Understand use cases for Raw Device Mapping
  • Configure vCenter Server storage filters
  • Understand and apply VMFS re-signaturing
  • Understand and apply LUN masking using PSA-related commands
  • Configure Software iSCSI port binding, VDCA510 Obj. 1.3
  • Configure and manage vSphere Flash Read Cache, NEW
  • Configure Datastore Clusters, VDCA510 Obj. 1.2
  • Upgrade VMware storage infrastructure

Objective 1.2 – Manage Complex Storage Solutions

  • Analyze I/O workloads to determine storage performance requirements, VDCA510 Obj. 1.1
  • Identify and tag SSD and local devices, VDCA510 Obj. 1.1
  • Administer hardware acceleration for VAAI, VDCA510 Obj. 1.1
  • Configure and administer profile-based storage, VDCA510 Obj. 1.1
  • Prepare storage for maintenance, VDCA510 Obj. 1.1
  • Apply space utilization data to manage storage resources
  • Provision and manage storage resources according to Virtual Machine requirements
  • Understand interactions between virtual storage provisioning and physical storage provisioning
  • Configure datastore Alarms
  • Create and analyze datastore alarms and errors to determine space availability

Objective 1.3 – Troubleshoot complex storage solutions

  • Perform command line configuration of multipathing options
  • Change a multipath policy
  • Troubleshoot common storage issues

Section 2 – Implement and Manage Networking

Objective 2.1 – Implement and manage virtual standard switch (vSS) networks

VDCA510 Obj. 2.1 covers configuring switches using CLI tools

  • Create and Manage vSS components , NEW
  • Create and Manage vmkernel ports on standard switches, NEW
  • Configure advanced vSS settings, NEW

Objective 2.2 – Implement and manage virtual distributed switch (vDS) networks

  • Migrate a vSS network to a hybrid or full vDS solution, VDCA510 Obj. 2.1
  • Configure vSS and vDS settings using command line tools, VDCA510 Obj. 2.1
  • Analyze command line output to identify vSS and vDS configuration details, VDCA510 Obj. 2.1
  • Configure NetFlow, VDCA510 Obj. 2.1
  • Determine appropriate discovery protocol, VDCA510 Obj. 2.1
  • Determine use cases for and configure PVLANs
  • Use command line tools to troubleshoot and identify VLAN configurations

Objective 2.3 – Troubleshoot virtual switch solutions

  • Understand the NIC Teaming failover types and related physical network settings
  • Determine and apply Failover settings
  • Configure explicit failover to conform with VMware best practices
  • Configure port groups to properly isolate network traffic
  • Given a set of network requirements, identify the appropriate distributed switch technology to use, VDCA510 Obj. 2.4
  • Configure and administer vSphere Network I/O Control, VDCA510 Obj. 2.4
  • Use command line tools to troubleshoot and identify configuration items from an existing vDS, VDCA510 Obj. 2.4

There is no more Objective 2.4.

Section 3 – Implement and Manage Host Clusters

Objective 3.1 – Implement and Maintain Complex VMware HA Solutions

This is VDCA510 Obj. 4.1

  • Calculate host failure requirements
  • Configure customized isolation response settings
  • Configure HA redundancy
    o   Management Network
    o   Datastore Heartbeat
    o   Network partitions
  • Configure HA related alarms and monitor an HA cluster
  • Create a custom slot size configuration
  • Understand interactions between DRS and HA
  • Analyze vSphere environment to determine appropriate HA admission control policy
  • Analyze performance metrics to calculate host failure requirements
  • Analyze Virtual Machine workload to determine optimum slot size
  • Analyze HA cluster capacity to determine optimum cluster size

Objective 3.2 – Implement and manage complex DRS solutions

  • Explain DRS / storage DRS affinity and anti-affinity rules, VDCA510 Obj. 3.3 Knowledge
  • Identify required hardware components to support Distributed Power Management (DPM) , VDCA510 Obj. 3.3 Knowledge
  • Identify EVC requirements, baselines and components, VDCA510 Obj. 3.3 Knowledge
  • Understand the DRS / storage DRS migration algorithms, the Load Imbalance Metrics, and their impact on migration recommendations, VDCA510 Obj. 3.3 Knowledge
  • Properly configure BIOS and management settings to support DPM, VDCA510 Obj. 3.3
  • Test DPM to verify proper configuration, VDCA510 Obj. 3.3
  • Configure appropriate DPM Threshold to meet business requirements, VDCA510 Obj. 3.3
  • Configure EVC using appropriate baseline, VDCA510 Obj. 3.3
  • Change the EVC mode on an existing DRS cluster, VDCA510 Obj. 3.3
  • Create DRS and DPM alarms, VDCA510 Obj. 3.3
  • Configure applicable power management settings for ESXi hosts, VDCA510 Obj. 3.3
  • Properly size virtual machines and clusters for optimal DRS efficiency, VDCA510 Obj. 3.3
  • Properly apply virtual machine automation levels based upon application requirements, VDCA510 Obj. 3.3
  • Create and administer ESXi host and Datastore Clusters, VDCA510 Obj. 3.3
  • Administer DRS / Storage DRS, VDCA510 Obj. 3.3

Objective 3.3 – Troubleshoot vSphere clusters

  • Configure EVC using appropriate baseline
  • Create and manage DRS and DPM alarms
  • Properly size virtual machines and clusters for optimal DRS efficiency
  • Properly apply virtual machine automation levels based upon application requirements

There is no more Objective 3.4.

Section 4 – Manage Virtual Machines and vSphere Resources

Objective 4.1 – Utilize Advanced vSphere Performance Monitoring Tools

  • Configure esxtop/resxtop custom profiles, VDCA510 Obj. 3.4
  • Determine use cases for and apply esxtop/resxtop Interactive, Batch and Replay modes, VDCA510 Obj. 3.4
  • Use vscsiStats to gather storage performance data, VDCA510 Obj. 3.4
  • Use esxtop/resxtop to collect performance data, VDCA510 Obj. 3.4
  • Given esxtop/resxtop output, identify relative performance data for capacity planning purposes, VDCA510 Obj. 3.4

Objective 4.2 – Optimize Virtual Machine resources

  • Compare and contrast virtual and physical hardware resources, VDCA510 Obj. 3.2
  • Identify VMware memory management techniques, VDCA510 Obj. 3.2
  • Identify VMware CPU load balancing techniques, VDCA510 Obj. 3.2
  • Identify pre-requisites for Hot Add features, VDCA510 Obj. 3.2
  • Tune Virtual Machine memory configurations, VDCA510 Obj. 3.2
  • Tune Virtual Machine networking configurations, VDCA510 Obj. 3.2
  • Tune Virtual Machine CPU configurations, VDCA510 Obj. 3.2
  • Tune Virtual Machine storage configurations, VDCA510 Obj. 3.2
  • Calculate available resources, VDCA510 Obj. 3.2
  • Properly size a Virtual Machine based on application workload, VDCA510 Obj. 3.2
  • Modify large memory page settings, VDCA510 Obj. 3.2
  • Understand appropriate use cases for CPU affinity, VDCA510 Obj. 3.2
  • Configure alternate virtual machine swap locations, VDCA510 Obj. 3.2

Objective 4.3 – Manage advanced virtual machine configurations

The first four Skills and Abilities are identical to those in Objective 4.2!!!

  • Compare and contrast virtual and physical hardware resources
  • Identify VMware memory management techniques
  • Identify VMware CPU load balancing techniques
  • Identify pre-requisites for Hot Add features
  • Configure VMware Fault Tolerance, VDCA510 Obj. 4.2
  • Upgrade virtual machine hardware and VMware Tools, NEW

Objective 4.4– Configure and manage vSphere Replication

This objective is all NEW.

  • Configure and manage a vSphere Replication infrastructure
  • Configure and manage vSphere Replication of virtual machines
  • Troubleshoot vSphere Replication

Section 5 – Perform Operational Maintenance

Objective 5.1 – Implement and Maintain Host Profiles

  • Use Profile Editor to edit and/or disable policies
  • Create sub-profiles
  • Use Host Profiles to deploy vDS
  • Use Host Profiles to deploy vStorage policies
  • Import/Export Host Profiles, NEW
  • Manage Answer Files

Objective 5.2 – Utilize Update Manager for patches and upgrades

  • Install and configure Update Manager Download Service
  • Configure a shared repository
  • Configure smart rebooting
  • Manually download updates to a repository
  • Perform orchestrated vSphere upgrades
  • Create and modify baseline groups
  • Troubleshoot Update Manager problem areas and issues
  • Generate database reports using MS Excel or MS SQL
  • Upgrade vApps using Update Manager
  • Utilize Update Manager PowerCLI to export baselines for testing
  • Utilize the Update Manager Utility to reconfigure vUM settings

Objective 5.3 – Manage vCenter inventory

  • Apply vSphere tags, NEW
  • Search vSphere inventory, NEW
  • Troubleshoot the vSphere inventory infrastructure, NEW

Objective 5.4 – Configure, manage, and analyze vSphere and SSO log files

  • Generate vCenter Server and ESXi log bundles, VDCA510 Obj. 6.1
  • Use esxcli system syslog to configure centralized logging on ESXi hosts, VDCA510 Obj. 6.1
  • Test centralized logging configuration, VDCA510 Obj. 6.1
  • Analyze log entries to obtain configuration information, VDCA510 Obj. 6.1
  • Analyze log entries to identify and resolve issues, VDCA510 Obj. 6.1
  • Install and configure VMware syslog Collector and ESXi Dump Collector, VDCA510 Obj. 6.1

Section 6 – Secure a vSphere Environment

Objective 6.1 – Manage authentication and end-user security

  • Add/Edit Remove users/groups on an ESXi host, VDCA510 Obj. 7.1
  • Customize SSH settings for increased security, VDCA510 Obj. 7.1
  • Enable/Disable certificate checking, VDCA510 Obj. 7.1
  • Generate ESXi host certificates, VDCA510 Obj. 7.1
  • Enable ESXi lockdown mode, VDCA510 Obj. 7.1

Objective 6.2 – Manage SSL certificates
The first four Skills and Abilities are identical to those in Objective 6.1!!!

  • Add/Edit Remove users/groups on an ESXi host
  • Customize SSH settings for increased security
  • Enable/Disable certificate checking
  • Generate ESXi host certificates
  • Enable ESXi lockdown mode
  • Replace default certificate with CA-signed certificate, VDCA510 Obj. 7.1
  • Configure SSL timeouts, VDCA510 Obj. 7.1
  • Configure vSphere Authentication Proxy, VDCA510 Obj. 7.1
  • Enable strong passwords and configure password policies, VDCA510 Obj. 7.1
  • Identify methods for hardening virtual machines, VDCA510 Obj. 7.1
  • Analyze logs for security-related messages, VDCA510 Obj. 7.1
  • Manage Active Directory integration, VDCA510 Obj. 7.1

Section 7 – Perform Scripting and Automation

Objective 7.1 – Execute VMware Cmdlets and Customize Scripts Using PowerCLI

  • Identify vSphere PowerCLI requirements, VDCA510 Obj. 8.1
  • Identify Cmdlet concepts, VDCA510 Obj. 8.1
  • Identify environment variables usage, VDCA510 Obj. 8.1
  • Install and configure vSphere PowerCLI, VDCA510 Obj. 8.1
  • Install and configure Update Manager PowerShell Library, VDCA510 Obj. 8.1
  • Use basic and advanced Cmdlets to manage VMs and ESXi Hosts, VDCA510 Obj. 8.1
  • Use Web Service Access Cmdlets, VDCA510 Obj. 8.1
  • Use Datastore and Inventory Providers, VDCA510 Obj. 8.1
  • Given a sample script, modify the script to perform a given action, VDCA510 Obj. 8.1

Objective 7.2 – Utilize basic workflows using Orchestrator

vCenter Orchestrator was an objective in the VDCA410 exam that qualified for the VCAP4-DCA certification, disappeared in the VDCA510 exam and returned in the VDCA550 exam

  • Configure and manage vCenter Orchestrator, NEW
  • Add Orchestrator to vCenter, NEW
  • Create basic vCenter management workflows, NEW
  • Troubleshoot existing workflows, NEW
  • Import/export packages, NEW

Some Objectives are no longer part of the VDCA510 exam, like;

  • VDCA510 Blueprint , Section 6 contains 5 objectives covering troubleshooting skills on CPU, Memory, Network and Storage. However, imho one should know how to troubleshoot a vSphere environment.
  • VDCA510 Blueprint, Objective 7.2 “Configure and Maintain the ESXi Firewall”.
  • VDCA510 Blueprint, Objective 8.2 “Administer vSphere Using the vSphere Management Assistant”.
  • VDCA510 Blueprint, Objective 9.1 “Install ESXi hosts with custom settings”, aka the ESXi Image Builder.
  • VDCA510 Blueprint, Objective 9.1 “Install ESXi Hosts Using Auto Deploy”.

I hope this is useful, as always, I thank you for reading.

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One Response to VCAP5-DCA exam VDCA550

  1. […] Paul Grevink a blogjaban a 3.0-as blueprint mind a 7 szekciojat alaposan reszletezi. […]

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