Written by Consultant, VMware Certified Trainer and vExpert Paul McSharry, the VCAP5-DCD Official Cert Guide is an excellent resource for solidifying and testing your knowledge in advance of sitting the actual exam, as well as a useful reminder guide for your day to day role in design.
As I mentioned in my VCAP5-DCD Exam Prep Resources article, I saw my study as being split into two distinct areas, Holistic Design and Technical Design. For me, this book falls very much into the former category, mainly covering the process and methodology for producing a design.
The main chapters are:
- Introduction to Technical Design
- Creating a Design
- Thoughts on Good Choices for Virtualization and Design
- Developing a Design on Paper and Delivering It Physically
- Virtual Machine Design
- Project Execution
- Tips for Passing the Exam
I was fortunate enough to attend the official VMware Design workshop (for v4) run by Paul a couple of years ago and his personality and teaching style really come through in the book. For me the strongest positives in the book are:
- Great use of real life examples and case studies throughout the book
- Plenty of great practice questions at the start and end of each chapter as well as the included practice exams. For me this was one of the most valuable features of the book as it helped me build confidence in my knowledge and highlighted areas for improvement.
- Many tips / suggestions of processes and activities to use in your real design engagements, my favourite or which is to spin up an internal wordpress site or similar and use that to disseminate project information to stakeholders and users.
The only minor tweak I would like to have seen would be in the practice questions, where there are some questions which require multiple answers. In the real exam, VMware generally specify the number of answers to select [e.g. Select three of five answers]. This would have been good in Paul’s test questions too.
The print version of the book also comes with a DVD that includes test exams, another great resource, especially when genuine (not brain dump!) tests are not common and can be quite expensive. I did not have time to go through these tests prior to my exam, so cannot reasonably comment on their quality, but based on the sample questions in the book I would suggest they should be of a good standard.
To summarise, I can whole heartedly recommend this book, not only as a key component in your VCAP5-DCD study, but as an excellent reference resource for designing vSphere infrastructures out “in the wild”.
Finally, keep an eye on my blog later HERE I will be providing an opportunity for one lucky person to win a signed copy of this book!
Disclaimer: I was kindly provided a copy of the book by Paul, however there was no expectation or requirement to review or publicise the book.