Saturday, January 31, 2015 VCAP5-DCD cleared and now one step closer to VCDX ... VCAP5-DCD cleared and now one step closer to VCDX ...: Hi, All the readers out there who has been through the journey of VCAP-DCD will know the feeling of pressing the button "End the Exa...

VCAP5-DCD cleared and now one step closer to VCDX !


All the readers out there who has been through the journey of VCAP-DCD will know the feeling of pressing the button "End the Exam" and which gives you the one moment of shock, which runs through your whole body and every single tissue of the body is waiting for the next screen.

"Congratulations you have passed the VCAP-DCD Examination"

That screen gave me immense pleasure and for minutes,hours and now days its still giving me the same pleasure in installments :-).

Wow, what a journey. The DCD and DCA are one of the most difficult exams I have ever taken and everyone can vouch the same who has been through the journey as me.

Thank You Note

I really want to thank my friends and colleague who have helped me through this DCD Exam journey and contributed their knowledge and their invaluable time they have provided. We have formed virtual study group and exchanged ideas and prepared to tackle this challenge.

Bas Raayman - @BasRaayman

Gregg Robertson - @greggrobertson5

Marek Zdrojewski - @MarekDotZ

Bobby Stampfle - @BobbyFantast1c

Alex- Correa - @AlexCorrea305 and his friends.

Michael Webster - @vcdxnz001 is my mentor and guided me through this journey.

Exam experience:

I went to another Pearson Vue location for a change for this Exam which I gave based on version vSphere 5.1 and Bingo ! Found it lucky ! :-)

BTW this Exam is retiring today itself so no more vSphere 5.1 but going forward only 5.5 version is available at this time. So many people have asked about the same through Twitter so thought to clarify as everyone is interested in knowing the experience for 5.5 version. Hopefully someone who has passed the version 5.5 can put their experience for others.

It was a new center opened in West of Toronto and 30 mins drive was not far. and went through regular security check in process and get started. No hick ups in the Exam except on time the Adobe Flash decided to stop responding and I just waited for few seconds and it came back normally and yes this was during making a 3rd Design. I almost finished 100 questions leaving 1.25 mins to spare. So thought to take a scheduled break, 1st time I took this break as this was my 4th Attempt :-). Yes I never gave up. This is a Devil exam if you ask me. Especially the content is not what you do on daily basis so you WILL find it more challenging than others who are not in the same boat as you.

So I used that extra time and started reviewing the questions again from # 1. Made some changes in my selection of the answers too while thinking over the options I have selected in MC, and D&D type questions and actually one Design Question as well. But at the end, everything was worth to get a Pass.

"A Pass is a Pass" - as they say, but getting 317 is little more to satisfy myself as just not at the Edge.

Exam Preparation/Tips and Resources

Now for the preparation, I took long time as busy with Family, personal matters, other certification exams time to time with various tracks etc. but I gave myself a break of few months between the attempts and literally spent my own time in preparing for the same. I have seen that most people don't do that (spending vacation time) to prepare for an Exam so in that regard  I have to say a big "Thank You" to my wife and my family to support me through this journey and also in advance for the VCDX. With two little kids it IS difficult to study in breaks and give such tough exam, But my friends, hard work pays off. Period.

For the resources I have used all known resources which are available freely to everyone but will still list out here for the reference.

1) Official vsphere Design Workshop material - Student Guide and Lab Guide
[The courseware is more than enough for this Exam :-)]
2) Official blueprint to keep track of the subjects and reading
3) 2nd Edition vSphere Design book by Scott Lowe
4) Pluralsight videos by Scott Lowe on vSphere Design
5) Managing and Optimizing vSphere Deployments - by Harley Stagner and Sean Crookston
6) VMware vSphere Building a Virtual Datacenter - by Eric Maille and Rene-Francois Mennecier
7) VMware vSphere 5.x Datacenter Design Cookbook - by Hershey Cartwright
8) vSphere Design Best Practices - by Christopher Kusek and brian Bolander
9) Storage Implementation in vSphere 50 - by Mostafa Khalil
10) Gregg Robertson has listed most resources here for DCD so check them out.

10) There is a visio like tool used in the DCD Exam to draw the design and I found the link on Josh andrews' blog  which led me to developed by the community members. I used that to practise the Design questions listed on the site and also tried creating few fictitious designs on my own and use the tool to create a design. This way you can get familiarize with the tool and the time can be minimized for placements of objects in the Exam.

Though this tool is experimental as still undergoing some improvements but its not bad at all. I really recommend to the future candidates who are preparing for 5.5 version to practice the Design items.

11) Some ex-TSEs of VMware has developed a nice Study Guide for VCAP-DCD at so dont forget to check that out. It is very intensive and well written guide covering all the blueprint subjects. You will find some other study guides links as well there.

12) No doubt apart from the reading material you should have experience working in Virtualization architecting and developing solutions and also understanding the terms and technologies to be used.

As the exam is retiring today I wish the good luck to all who are on this path to VCDX for their DCD on 55 version. Once the version 6 will be out it may change as well but time will tell the availability for 5.5 version for now.

Please share and care !!

Wish me Luck for VCDX !

Wednesday, January 21, 2015 End of Era.... Waiting for new Beginning ! End of Era.... Waiting for new Beginning !: Hi, This is very unexpected and unfortunate but I received this news today that due to Organizational restructuring my position at VMware...

End of Era.... Waiting for new Beginning !


This is very unexpected and unfortunate but I received this news today that due to Organizational restructuring my position at VMware got eliminated so now I am open to any position within the SDDC, NSX, cloud computing or any other suitable position if you or someone in your circle knows about it.

Its been solid 8 years at VMware and saw the whole organization very closely including its growth, products, vision etc. etc.

I started in the days of ESXi 2.x onwards and now 6 is almost on the door step this year.

During my journey here I took some challenges apart from my normal routines and got awarded externally with vExpert (2014/2015) and Cisco Champion 2015 recently. so far I am the only TSE in GSS of VMware who is Cisco Champion so that is a proud moment.

Recently also received an award for Super KM Hero for the year 2014 by the Knowledge Management Team of VMware which is given to an individual who has the highest contribution to the Internal/ External KB articles and White Papers/official documentation by providing positive constructive Feedback/s.

Created around 130+ articles in the repository of the articles and got numerous awards over the years too for the efforts I have put it in.

Anyway my Linkedin Profile has all the details but please get in touch with me if you have any position for me and if you know someone who has such opening in the above areas where I can use my knowledge and experience and I am sure I won't let the selection down.

You can also reach me through Twitter (DM) if you are following me.

I am really thankful for your support and hoping to get some gig soon as I am open to any location in US as decided to move from Canada. I can provide more details if you need once we start having conversation.

This is very hard to digest but C'est la vie !!

If you are on my Linked contacts then please feel free to provide recommendation at your convenient time. Also any references you can provide is appreciated (personally/professionally).

When one door closes, another one opens. This is what I strongly believe and now just waiting for the right moment.

Not feeling anything negatively but staying strong and hoping things changes soon.

Please feel free to reach out to me if you need any more information through email, Linkedin or Twitter or using this blog. 

Thursday, January 1, 2015 VCIX - NV Resources and Lab Latency VCIX - NV Resources, Tips and Exam Experience: Hi, Recently I had some days off at the end of the year and thought to use them properly so I booked the VCIX-NV and VCP-NV (yes in that ...

VCIX - NV Resources, Tips and Exam Experience


Recently I had some days off at the end of the year and thought to use them properly so I booked the VCIX-NV and VCP-NV (yes in that order only :-)).

First of all, I will list out the resources which I used to prepare for VCIX-NV.

The Exam is based on NSX for vSphere version 6.0.2.

1) Blueprint for the VCIX-NV (Yes this is the Primary)

2) HOL Labs 1403,1424,1425 (Enrol few times and make sure you understand all the Tasks you are performing)

3) Official NSX for vSphere Documentation (The Documentation is based on NSX-V 6.1 version)

Read the Installation Guide and Admin Guide very carefully. Understand the overall objective for using particular NSX Feature/s.

4) VCIX Study Guide Series posts by Martijin Smit

5) There is a VMware blogs which you can find here.

6) Hands on. (which I didn't except the HOL as dont have the HomeLab). This is a key as you can test all kinds of scenarios possible as per the blueprint. I understand not everyone has ability and can afford the HomeLab [ like me :-( ] has to rely on alternate resources like HOL. Second problem could be the NSX bits which is again not possible to get for everyone who is trying to achieve this certification.

Now lets come at the 2nd part of the post which is about the Exam Experience at Pearson Vue.

Now as most of the people know in the community and this has be brought out earlier too by various people in the form of various blog posts which is related to the Latency issue while doing the live lab at Pearson Vue Testing center and I had similar issue few times. I called up the proctor three times where either I had the issue when the task was not finishing up after clicking OK button in the vSphere Web Client and waiting till its finished which took long time but cant do anything else until that task is over. One time I cant even click OK on the menu and then Proctor called up the Tech Support and as I watching and listening the whole conversation, no troubleshooting steps actually been performed and automatically everything came to normal. The proctor did freeze the session each time but I got only 15 mins for all the time loss which to me is not enough as I think I wasted almost 25-30 mins just in waiting. I have already addressed this internally and hopefully it will be fixed in near future.

Few Tips for the future candidates.

a) Try to setup the putty sessions to all the possible components which you need for either verifying configuration or part of troubleshooting

b) Use vSphere C# client to make changes in the configuration which I find is faster than Web Client.

c) Read the task carefully and make sure you finish all of them and using both vSphere c# and Web client together will minimize the overall time.

d) Write down the passwords and other information about the login credentials on the sheet Pearson is providing as you may need them

e) Not sure how to keep track but do mark the questions answered fully or partially on the sheet so that you can go back and check if anything needs to be finished later on.

f) Dont spend too much time on one task and now this is the advice everyone is giving whomsoever took the VCAP exams but it DOES makes difference here in VCIX as there are only 18 tasks to finish within the same amount of Time as other VCAP Exams.

Clarification on VCP-NV inheritance on passing VCIX-NV:

So many people in the community are under the impression that once anyone clears the VCIX-NV exam will automatically inherit VCP-NV which is not true as per the response I have received and it is clear in the course datasheet and other details available right now.

VCIX is not similar in that sense as VCAP. If someone passes any VCAP level exam then it is possible to inherit the VCP certification upon passing VCAP but with VCIX, it is not the case.

Logically thinking, why the person has to appear if he is capable of passing VCIX? Which to me is a valid question but still awaiting a reply on that Internally. I will update this post once I receive a response from VMware Education Services.

So I did have to admit that I postpone my success till next attempt of VCIX-NV :-)

As VCP-NV was out of the way on the very next day of VCIX attempt, hopefully I should be able to knock it down next time as not blaming anything I will have to just focus on the missed areas and also deep dive again in NSX !!

Wish me luck !

Share and care please !