Tag Archives: VCP

VMware launches new delta version of VCP5-DCV exam

VMware LogoToday I received a message from VMware Education Services introducing a new way for current VCP holders to refresh or re-certify before their VCP expires.  Currently as it stands, anyone holding a VCP certification prior to March 10, 2013 has only until March 10, 2015 to re-certify using one of the following methods.

  • Take the most current VCP exam in any of the available tracks (Datacenter Virtualization, Cloud and Desktop – not sure if Network Virtualization qualifies for this or not).  No matter which track you held your VCP in, all will be refreshed with another two years.
  • Take an advanced level exam, meaning the VCAP DCA or VCAP DCD.  Not only will you advance to the next level, you will refresh your VCP expiration as well.

Prior to today, these were your options.  Now however all you VCP holders have a third option, so long as you are currently hold the VCP5-DCV status.

What is a delta exam?

This is something new to VMware certifications.  Basically, this exam is based only on the differences between vSphere 5.0/5.1 and the vSphere 5.5 exams.  Also, instead of your normal 135 questions the delta exam will only have 65.  The biggest difference is how the exam is delivered – you won’t need to drive to a testing center for this one, it is being offered online through Pearson Vue – and I’m assuming this will be a similar fashion to that of the VCA delivery.  Another noticeable difference is price – this one, coming in at $120 USD instead of the normal $220 USD.

Is it worth it?

ScreamingMan-300x225This is something I can’t answer for you – you will have to go through the scenarios in your head.  Currently I have an expiry date of January 2016 for my VCP5 and honestly I’d rather sit a new version of the VCAP then do the VCP again.  That said, can I expect a VCAP6-DCA to be available by Jan 2016?  I have no idea!  Do I want to risk the chance of losing my VCP due to no new VCAP exam coming out or possibly failing the VCAP when it does come out?  It’s all a giant kerfuffle in my head right now!  One note, the email I received said it was only available to those who need to renew their VCP before March 10, 2015.  As noted above, mine was extended to Jan 2016 due the completion of my VCAP in January of this year.  That said, I went through the process of being authorized for this delta exam and had no issues getting into the portion of the Pearson Vue site which allows me to schedule it.  So, try for yourself I guess!

Time’s a wastin!

Oh yah, better hurry and make your mind up.  This delta exam will only be available until November 30th, 2014!  So you have just less than a couple of months to figure out what you are going to do!  Honestly, this whole re-certification process just confuses and puts me in a bad mood Smile  Nonetheless, though I’d share the news!  Oh, I tried to use the VMUG Advantage VCP discount code – didn’t work!

VCP now coming with an expiry date

vcp-expiredJust as you check the expiry on a carton of milk, employers will now have to be keen on checking the expiry of the VMware Certified Profession (VCP) holders they are seeking to employ.  Effective March 10, VMware will begin expiring all of their current and any new VMware Certified Professionals, granting them a period of two years to re-certify in order to maintain their VCP status.

VCP recertification can be achieved in a few different ways; the first being simply take the newest VCP certification in your current track.  Alternatively by achieving VCP status in another solution track can also re-certify your current VCP.  Lastly, achieving the next level VCAP certification will in turn recertify your VCP status.  So, what does all this mean.  Let’s take a look an example of each recertification option

  1. A VCP4-DCV certification is set to expire in 2015.  By passing the requirements for the VCP5-DCV, the VCP-DCV status will be extended 2 years from the the completion date of the VCP5-DCV
  2. A VCP4-DCV certification is set to expire in 2015.  By passing the requirements for the VCP5-Cloud, both the VCP-DCV and the VCP-Cloud certification status will be extended 2 years from the completion date of the VCP5-Cloud.
  3. A VCP4-DCV certification is set to expire in 2014.  By completing the VCAP5-DCA, the VCP-DCV certification status will be extended 2 years from the completion of the VCAP5-DCA.

Hey, it's not as bad as I initially thought…

Honestly I feel that this is a good change from VMware’s part.  Past practice has shown that VMware will release a new version of their flagship hypervisor every year around VMworld.  Recertification allows the certification to maintain credibility, ensuring that any VCP holder is at least certified under one of the latest two releases.  In the past, VMware has given a grace period to VCP holders, allowing them a period of time where they can upgrade to the most current VCP status, without having to partake in any required training classes.  This grace period was most certainly not 2 years, so recertifying on new versions of the VCP, in my opinion, just got a bit easier.

Just don't forget to get new milk…

Failing to recertify within the two years however will essentially result in all access being stripped from the VCP portal, and the rights to market yourself as a VCP and usage the VCP logos will be be revoked.  At this point, anyone looking to recertify will need to start from square one.  Meaning you will not only need to pass the most current exam again, but you will have to obtain a credit in one of the mandatory classes as well – not a very cost effective solution.

Any change to certifications is always a touchy subject through tech communities so it will be entertaining none the less to see how this one plays out.  That said, by setting a two year/no training grace period, it appears as if VMware has just made it easier for those VCP’s who wish to recertify on a more current version to do so.  Also, the change will help to ensure that those that are VCP’s, are at the very least certified within the last two years adding credibility and proficiency to anyone who calls them self a VCP.  This, along with the recent addition of the VCA certification, seems like another response to the community uproar over the mandatory training requirements inside of the VCP certification.

VCP expiry dates are now live within the mylearn portal.  Just note that the dates displayed do not reflect those that have essentially already met the recertification requirements by complaining a VCAP level exam.  This functionality is expected to roll into the portal in the near future.

Is October the month of certification? – The price is right!

vcaIt's pretty well known that the fact you need to attend that week long training course in order to even qualify to become a VMware Certified Professional was a big pain point among the virtualization community.  In fact, the VCP, which what used to be VMware's entry level certification could end up costing IT pros looking to get certified well over $1500 by the time it was all said and done.  Although I always though that the training was a great way to help hold the certification in high regard I understand how it could also discourage a lot of smart people from taking the exam, people who's companies don't have the training budget or don't have the will to send them on the course.

That said, VMware has listened and once again responded (Remember vRAM – sorry).  During VMworld, amongst all of the software defined storage, network virtualization, rainbows, clouds, and Hyper-V custard announcements VMware's Education and Certification team slipped in their own little announcement centered around the new VCA (Virtual Certified Associate) certification track.  

What is VCA?

VCA is essentially the little brother of the VCP.  The VCA requires no required training, simply recommending that you take the free foundation classes online that correspond with the respective VCA track.  Also, just like the VCP has branched out into Data Center Virtualization, End User Computing (Workforce mobility) and Cloud; so has the VCA.  Now I wrote my VCA-DCV yesterday and passed.  It was certainly not as up to par technical wise as the VCP is, but it's not really supposed to be.  As far as I can see it's really there to satisfy those who want to get some sort of certification with VMware but want to do it affordably and without the training requirement.  The exam comes in with a price tag of $120.00 and is currently 50% off.

So what about October and why is the price right?

Oh yah, before you go and spend the what is now $60.00 on your VCA, stop, look at that voucher/promo code box and type 'VCA13ICS' into the text box.  Why?  Well that will take the initial 50% off and then give you another 100% off of the balance!  Yes, that makes your exam FREE!   Yes, Free as in beer!  So no reason not to try it.  As far as I know this will last all through the month of October so I guess the year of VDI will have to wait!  Anyways get over to mylearn.vmware.com and sign up!  Good Luck!   And who can really say or think about the price is right without thinking of the epic Happy Gilmour fight!  Bob must be habs fan!

Adam Sandler Happy Gilmore movie image

Once again – register and write you VCA for free during October by using the promo code VCA13ICS

More freebies from Veeam!

Just a quick update –  Veeam has announced that their program in which they dole out free NFR licenses to vExperts, VCP’s, VCI’s, MVP’s, MCP’s, and MCTS’s has been updated to now include the lastest release of Veeam Backup and Replication.  So if  you are in any of the following groups be sure to go and grab your 2-socket license and try it out!  For more information on the new features you can check out their promotional video here.


vExperts, VCP’s and VCI’s – click here for your copy

MVP’s, MCP’s and MCTS’s – click here for your copy

Book Review – VMware Certified Professional on vSphere 5 Study Guide by Brian Atkinson

Over that past few weeks I've been lucky enough to be going over a reviewers copy of Brian Atkinson's (blog/twitter) new book VMware Certified Professional on vSphere 5 Study Guide.  During my VCP journey I have been through a lot, and I mean A LOT of study material (listed here) and let me say I wish I would have had this book during my studies.  

First off, when you purchase this book you get way more than just a book.  In addition to the 753 pages, yes, 753 pages of exam oriented material you get the following…

  • Tear card to help you align exam objectives with page numbers in the book.
  • Practice questions at the end of every chapter (key for evaluating and knowing where you stand in certain areas)
  • ONLINE ACCESS – Wow, you get an assessment test, all the chapter questions from the book, flash cards and a searchable glossary!

Honestly, the name of this book could be a little lacking…sure it's a great Study Guide for the VCP 5 certification, but in my opinion it can be used for way more than that.  As a day to day VMware Administration you can (and I have) use this book as a point of reference to flip through and learn how to perform certain tasks, functions, features, etc…

The book is jam packed full of information and real-world scenarios and it is organzied in such a way that aligns with the VCP 5 blueprint.  Aside from just information, there are a ton of exercises or labs that you can go through in order to gain that hands on experience, as well, each chapter ends with a summary, a section outlining the exam essentials for that chapter, and a set of questions to help you assess what you have just read.  This layout makes it very easy for you to be sure that you have accomplished everything that the blueprint requires and helps you prepare for almost anything the VCP 5 exam can throw at you.

Brian Atkinson, the author of this book has been a vExpert since 2009, and is very well known from within the community.  In my opinion he has hit a homerun with this publication and I would recommend anyone looking to begin studying for the VCP to grab yourself a copy of VMware Certified Professional on VSphere 5 Study Guide.  You won't regret it…  You can check it out officially from the publisher here or also over on amazon.  Also check out Brian's blog over on the VMware communities site.   Good luck on your exam!

VMware vSphere 5 Training by #TrainSignal – Random Thoughts…

Throughout my journey in achieving my VCP 5 there have been several resources which I have utilized and wrote about when compiling my OMG VCP 5 Study Guide.  I have been trying to include a review of them all and one that I have constantly mentioned has been TrainSignal's VMware vSphere 5 training and thought that it might be beneficial to my readers to let you know what I thought about it.

I've always been a fan of TrainSignal's training and have held their VMware vSphere Troubleshooting course in high regards in my review here.  Well, the VMware vSphere 5 training is no different.  This time David Davis (blog/twitter) teams up with Elias Khnaser (blog/twitter) to push out nearly 17 hours of all that is vSphere 5.  The course takes you through a whopping 36 lessons which cover everything that is listed on the VCP 510 Exam Blueprint…and more.  As you can see from the outline below you will be exposed to everything from the core installation of ESXi/vCenter, to management, configuration, administration and even things like how to understand licensing and how to make it all happen with an iPad.

VMware vSphere 5 Training – Course Outline

Lesson 1 – Getting Started with VMware vSphere 5 Training Course

Lesson 2 – Lab Setup

Lesson 3 – Course Scenario

Lesson 4 – Overview of VMware vSphere 5

Lesson 5 – Installing VMware ESXi 5

Lesson 6 – Installing vCenter 5

Lesson 7 – Installing vCenter 5 as a Linux Appliance (vCSA)

Lesson 8 – Using the vSphere 5 Web Client

Lesson 9 – What’s New in vSphere 5

Lesson 10 – Navigating vSphere Using the vSphere Client

Lesson 11 – vCenter 5 – Configuring Your New Virtual Infrastructure

Lesson 12 – Creating and Modifying Virtual Guest Machines

Lesson 13 – Installing and Configuring VMware Tools

Lesson 14 – Understanding and Using Tasks, Events, and Alarms

Lesson 15 – Virtual Storage 101 and Storage Terminology

Lesson 16 – vSphere Storage Appliance (VSA)

Lesson 17 – Creating a Free iSCSI SAN with OpenFiler

Lesson 18 – Administering VMware ESXi Server Security

Lesson 19 – vSphere Virtual Networking

Lesson 20 – Using the vSphere Distributed Virtual Switch (dvswitch)

Lesson 21 – Moving Virtual Machines with vMotion

Lesson 22 – Moving Virtual Storage with svMotion

Lesson 23 – Performance Optimization with Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS)

Lesson 24 – Implementing High Availability with VMware HA (VMHA)

Lesson 25 – Super High Availability with VMware Fault Tolerance (FT)

Lesson 26 – Upgrading from VMware vSphere 4 to vSphere 5

Lesson 27 – vSphere Command Line Interface (CLI) Options

Lesson 28 – vSphere Auto Deploy

Lesson 29 – Storage DRS

Lesson 30 – Policy-driven Storage

Lesson 31 – Understanding the New vSphere 5 vRAM Pooled Pricing

Lesson 32 – Network I/O Control (NIOC)

Lesson 33 – Storage I/O Control (SIOC)

Lesson 34 – ESXi Firewall

Lesson 35 – VMware Data Recovery (VDR) 2

Lesson 36 – Administering vSphere Using an iPad

I can't go through every lesson as this post would be a mile long, but I will highlight a few of my favorite subjects from the training.

Lesson 15 – Virtual Storage 101 – Honestly, anything and everything you need to know to get you started with storage and vSphere is in this lesson.  Elias takes you through VMFS, vmdk's and all there is to know about setting up and configuring iSCSI, NFS, and Fibre Channel within vSphere 5.  

Lesson 17 – Creating a free iSCSI SAN with Openfiler – In this lesson David takes you through everything you need to know to download, install, and configure OpenFiler on a VM to get yourself an iSCSI SAN.  This is invaluable to those with limited budget for home labs.

All of the lessons dealing with new vSphere 5 features – There are a number of lessons focused around using some of the new features and enhancements in vSphere 5 such as the Web Client, vCenter Server Appliance, Storage DRS, vDR 2.0, AutoDeploy, etc…  These are all invaluable for VCP studying as you may not have the resources to put them within your lab and are all included on the VCP 510 blueprint.

As with all TrainSignal courses you get the DVD's which contain all the videos in formats to watch on your PC or iPad and additionally you get online access to the course through their website, printable pdfs of the notes/outlines/slides.  As many before me have stressed, the key to passing the VCP 5 is to practice and practice and lab and lab  If any training at all can get close to the benefits of having a home lab this is it.  You can watch tasks be performed right before your eyes.  I'd certainly recommend this course to everyone, even if you aren't pursuing the VCP 5 or already have it, these videos can be beneficial to you as an administrator.  And don't stop with just vSphere 5.  There are a slew of new courses from Trainsignal such as vSphere Advanced Networking and VMware vCloud Director Essentials. Go ahead and check out all the VMware training that TrainSignal has available.  You won't regret it 🙂

My VCP 5 Exam Experience

Well, with one day to spare before the "return of the class requirement" I have wrote and passed my VCP 5 exam. I thought,  just as many others have,  I would share my experience and thoughts around the exam.

First off I have read countless blog posts about how the VCP 5 was much harder and more difficult than the VCP 4. Personally I did not find this to be the case. Now maybe its the fact that I have another year of experience with vSphere under my belt or maybe I was simply better prepped this time around but I didn't see too much of a difference between the exams.  No, I don't know when VMware released different revisions of the VCP 4 exam, but I thought the style of questions that i seen on my VCP 4 last summer to be similar to the style that i seen yesterday on my VCP 5. And by style i mean more of a type of questioning revolving around experience with the product than just spitting out configuration maximums, In fact I cant remember one config max question at all!

So that being said my advice for those pursuing the VCP 5 would be to get as much experience with the product as you can, whether that be real world experience or lab experience. Also, use the resources that the community has created. Their is some absolutely awesome material available for free along with some that can be purchased.  Aside from all of the official vSphere 5 documentation the resources that I mainly used are listed below…

  • My own OMG Study Guide – This was probably the most useful to me, as it kind of forced me to study every aspect of the blueprint.  If you are studying, I would recommend using all these resources and creating your own blueprint notes
  • Jason Langer's and Josh Coen's Study Guide – Again, this is an awesome resource!  I've praised it many times!  Go through this before you write.
  • Forbes Guthrie's notes – This guy is a note/reference machine!  Check out his VCP notes along with all of this reference cards.
  • Andrea Mauro's VCP Study Guide – Similar to al of the other study guides but each one has a different take.
  • Simon Long's Practice test – you can't think of a practice test without thinking of this guys blog.  Great to see where you are at in terms of knowledge.
  • Damian Karlson and Cody Bunch's Brownbags – get these and watch them.  They did a great VCP 5 series with each webinar focused on a section of the blueprint.
  • Trainsignal's VMware vSphere 5 Training – David Davis and Elias Khnaser do an awesome job at breaking down every single thing vSphere 5 has to offer.  I would recommend picking this up.
  • Scott Lowe's Mastering VMware vSphere 5 – This is a great book not only for your VCP 5 studies but for your day to day management of vSphere.  Get it!

Again, these are just a few resources of thousands that are out there.  Get connected with the community and get certified!  Good Luck!

At last it’s done – My VCP 5 Study Notes (and a sexy PDF)


After 6 months of spending most of my spare time flipping through pages of VMware documentation, sorting through different community blog posts and pages, and deep diving into whitepapers I have finally completed my dissection of each individual learning point in each indiviidual objective of each individual section of the VCP 5 blueprint.  Wow that's a mouthful!

Honestly, I didn't ever think I was going to get through it all and I probably wouldn't have if it wasn't for the greatness of the community surrounding VMware and virtualization.  Without your feedback and comments I probably would have quit long ago and went back to my chicken scratch notebook style of studying.  So hats off to the community and the bloggers that put out and share all of their information.  I'm beginning to realize just how much dedication and effort it takes to keep a consistent blog with relevant information to readers.

Anyways, it's done, so you can check out the online version or if you fancy yourself a 130 pages of awesome sauce you can also download the pdf version below.

Thanks to everyone for their help and here's hoping for a pass for come Feb 28th.  And good luck too all of you as well….!


Top Virtualization Blogs Voting Is Now Open (and little ol’ mwpreston is on the list)

Once again Eric Siebert has put in the time and effort to coral a ton of VMware/Virtualization blogs and opened up the polls to find the top 25..  This is something that I have participated in before but never as a blogger.  To be honest when I first started this blog I never expected it to grow as big as it has.  Although it's not that big when compared against the rock star blogs that are on the list, it's definitely receiving more traffic than I have anticipated and never did I think I would be sponsored this quick.  I know that I received one vote for the top 10, but completely understand that this is probably the only vote in that category that I will get.  I'm still new to this and am trying to do my best to at the very least have consistency on this blog.  So, nonetheless, get over to Eric's blog post on vsphere-land and cast your vote and while your at it have a look at the 'Best New Blog' and 'Best Independent Blog' and see if you can't find mwpreston.net amongst all the other giants.  Not that I expect to receive a lot of votes, really, it's an honor just to have my blog listed amongst the giants that are there.

Looking back from now I'm happy with the content I have provided over the last 6 months.  When I started I had no idea how much work this actually is.  I've tried to put together relevant and accurate posts with walkthroughs and information centered around all that virtualization has to offer.   I've put countless hours into trying to put together a somewhat deep-dive of the VCP 5 Exam Blueprint in efforts to help myself and others achieve their certification as well as lobbied for a giveaway of Trainsignal's VMware vSphere 5 Training.  Blogging certainly takes up a lot of your time, your spare time at that.  That's why its important that you vote and show the bloggers that dedicate their time to providing you with great content that it is appreciated.   Happy Voting 🙂  And if you get a chance, thank Eric for putting it all together.  He not only stops at a voting system, but he puts together RSS feeds and Twitter lists.  The vLaunchPad is truly a work of art and a one stop shop to the Virtualization/VMware blogosphere!

VCP 5 – The Final Push

For those VCP 4's who are looking to upgrade to a VCP 5 there is only a little over a month now to book and pass your exam.  February 29th is the last day that VMware is waiving the course requirements that normally are attached to the VCP certifications and it's starting to come down to the wire for a lot of people.   I myself and in the middle of my studying for the exam and let me tell you there is a lot of information to cover on the exam blueprint.  Of course all of it might not be on the test, but the fact of the matter is that any of it could be, so you best know it inside out.  From what I've heard and read about exam experiences is that the VCP 5 is a bit more difficult than the VCP 4 and that real-world experiences and knowing how to do is certainly giving people a huge advantage when it comes to the exam.  Below you will find a bunch of resources that I'm using to prepare for my exam…

Study Notes

  • My own VCP 5 page – I'm in the process of creating my own study notes for each initiative and section on the blueprint.  I should hopefully be completely finished in the next couple of weeks.
  • Jason Langer and Josh Coen have done an AWESOME JOB at doing the same thing on their respective blogs Virtual Langer and Valco Labs – of course, theirs is complete 🙂
  • Forbes Guthrie's vSphere 5 documentation notes. – AWESOME AGAIN!
  • There are countless other resources that I've used, but these are the main ones.  I will try to add all of them to my VCP 5 page (Time is of the essence right now)


  • Damien Karlson and Cody Bunch have done an awesome and timely job at lining up some great speakers to go over a section of the blue print each week.  Sections 1 and 3 have already been covered, with Scott Lowe covering Section 2 this week.  This is an awesome complement to your own studying.  It's always nice to hear someone else's take on the items included on the section.  Don't miss these!  All the info can be found here.


  • Scott Lowe's Mastering VMware vSphere 5 is an awesome source not only for VCP preparation, but for general administration in your day to day job.  I wrote a full review on the book here and would certainly recommend it to anyone!
  • Trainsignals VMware vSphere 5 Training also covers everything on the blueprint.  This is also a huge complement to your studies.  Along with the slides and information the tasks are actually carried out before your eyes which is certainly as close as you can get to  the 'real-world experiences' without actually doing.