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VCDX Design Exam Post-Mortem

It’s a bit later than I would have liked (sorry Jason!), but I wanted to write up a brief post-mortem on the VCDX Design Exam, which I took—and passed with a score of 408–this past Tuesday.

The exam wasn’t particularly difficult in the sense of needing to know specific details. For example, I saw very few questions asking about a specific command-line parameter, the output of a specific command, or how many X that feature Y supports. There were a few, but not many. That doesn’t mean you don’t need to know that sort of stuff, because you do—but in a very different way.

The exam is moderately difficult in the sense that you are required to take the product knowledge you have and put it together to solve a scenario. The real kicker, in my mind, is the “Select the best answer” prompt—implying that there was more than one technically correct answer. But which answer was best? Yes, you could do it via method A, but is method B better? Which method best satisfies the requirements described in the question? In this aspect, I did find the test challenging. Not incredibly difficult, but challenging.

Unfortunately, the test suffered from a few issues. There were several questions that had missing components necessary for a correct answer. I commented on those, but what else can you do? The design portion of the exam—by now you probably know there is a multiple choice section and a graphical design section—had a terrible interface. I struggled more with the interface than I did the question. Looking at it from VMware’s perspective, I’m sure that it was incredibly difficult to come up with something like that, and I give them credit for actually trying (and not totally failing).

All in all, I think that VMware did a reasonably good job with the exam. It was very different from the Enterprise Admin exam but equally challenging in a very different way.

Now comes the real question: what did I use to study? Here’s the resources that I used:

  • The VI3 connections and ports diagram, downloaded here from Forbes’ site

  • iSCSI Design Considerations and Deployment Guide from VMware

  • Configuring and Troubleshooting N_Port ID Virtualization document from VMware

  • Setup for Microsoft Cluster Service document from VMware

  • Fibre Channel SAN Configuration Guide from VMware

  • Virtual Machine Backup Guide from VMware

  • Resource Management Guide from VMware

  • Duncan’s VMware HA deepdive

  • VI3 security hardening white paper from VMware

I used all this in conjunction with the Design Exam blueprint, of course.

So, there you go: there’s my brief analysis of my VCDX Design Exam experience. Your mileage may vary, of course, since there are numerous versions of the exam.

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