I took the VCP 5 exam last night and as expected from my experience with the VCP 4 and the community feedback it was no walk in the park. I did pass and I am super glad to have this off my shoulders. VMware’s certifications has gained a lot of respect in the community and among employers. Several things contribute to this, one being the mandatory classroom requirement and two being the very low chance of passing if you don’t have significant hands on experience in all areas of vSphere 5. One thing people should understand is that the VMware course does NOT teach you everything you need to know for the exam. If you complete the course and plan to take the test a week later plan on failing. I agree with VMware’s statement that the person should have at minimum 6 months experience. That brings me to my first gripe with VMware in that they put an expiration date for all legacy VCP4′ers to complete the VCP 5 by the end of February or else you would have to re-take the VMware course that happens to run at $3,000. In my opinion the course covers about 50% of what is on the exam. I think VMware should have given VCP4 holders more time to learn vSphere 5. Detailed documentation, books, and material are just now starting to trickle out. Plus, many environments have not yet deployed vSphere 5 yet. I hope VMware changes this crazy "tight" policy in upcoming exams as I have seen much grumbling on this from the community.
Anyway, let’s move on and discuss the materials I used to tackle this exam.
1. Download the VCP5 Exam blueprint from the VMware website. Print it out and review it several times from top to bottom. Make notes on the areas you anticipate will require more focus on.
2. CREATE A HOME LAB! You are not going to learn things like Auto Deploy, Host Profiles, vDS, and VUM by reading a manual. Servers are very cheap on ebay and many vendors like HP offer software to emulate a hardware SAN.
3. Don’t take any area of vSphere for granted. The exam asked me about every single feature including vDS, vCenter Heartbeat, Net/Storage I/O control, vCenter Appliance, Update manager, VSA,Fiber, iSCSI, ESXi Firewall, command line troubleshooting, etc. Play with and understand every feature and category in the vSphere client.
4. Take the VCP 5 practice exams on Simon’s site.
5. Review all VMware documentation on vSphere 5 and don’t underestimate any feature.
Best of luck to all candidates. It’s a very rewarding exam to pass and have under your belt. Leave a comment if any of you have questions.