VCAP5-DCA Thoughts and experiences

There’s been a ton of write-ups on the VCAP5-DCA exam.  Any quick Google search will pull up several people’s experiences and if you’re on Twitter following the #VCAP hashtag, you can join in the conversations and see posts there as well.  Given that I just took the exam back at the end of February and found out my results, I figured I’d toss up my thoughts and experience as well for anyone that might want to read about it.


I sat the exam back in February in the afternoon.  The testing center was close to my office so it wasn’t bad traveling there.  I have to say that the testing center was significantly better than the one that I normally take my exams in, which is closer to my house.  The PC I was given was just fine and the latency to the testing environment was bearable.  Overall I thought the test was fair.  Just like others have suggested, if you follow the blueprint and you can do all the things listed on it, you’ll be just fine.


I suggest coming up with practice scenarios for each topic and changing them up as much as possible so you can get used to doing the topics as many ways as you can.  I think one area that most people forget about is fundamentals.  The VCAP5-DCA exam is an advanced-professional level test sure, but you’re still going to need solid fundamental understanding of vSphere.  Don’t just focus on the advanced topics, but make sure your basics are solid.  It will help ensure you don’t silly mistakes.  For the last several months I had been migrating our remote offices to new infrastructure builds so reinforcing basics was pretty easy for me as I had done quite a few of them 5-6 times already.  This also helped building my confidence and speed with doing basic tasks as well as fast GUI navigation rather than hunt and peck.


My strategy was simple, write down 1-26 on the dry erase board I was given and the number of topics in each question along with the overall topic out to the side of the question.  I then attacked each question based on how fast I thought I could get through each piece.  When I was done I simply marked the question and topic out on the board.  This way I knew I had finished a question or was missing something.  I had to consult the PDF’s a couple of times.  I suggest knowing exactly where to look if you need to hit these and to use the Search function.  Scrolling the PDF’s means you’re going to have a bad, bad day.  As with just about everyone that I have read about their experience will attest, I ran out of time.  I was pretty confident I had accomplished enough of the tasks and parts of others to pass.  I received my results 9 business days later, 6 days short of the amount of time VMware said they would return results and was happy to see ‘PASS’ in the attachment.

User-Defined Network Resource Pools

This isn’t anything profound, but as I was going through my VCAP-DCA5 materials, one of the objectives concerns user-defined network resource pools.   While creating them is well documented, in the study guides I was using there were no mentions of where you turn these on.  It’s pretty simple actually.  Here’s a quick recap of what we’re trying to accomplish:

Create a new user-defined network resource pool.

user_net_resource_step1Name the pool

user_net_resource_step2Assign the pool to a dvPortGroup


user_net_resource_step4You can even do it from another interface as well by clicking on the ‘Manage Port Groups’ link in the same window

user_net_resource_step5Another objective point take care of.  Easy stuff.

Enabling VAAI for NFS on NetApp

A quick post about VAAI, NetApp and VMware.  I was messing around with VAAI and installing the NetApp plugin for NFS in my VCAP test environment.  This is a pretty simple process and can be automatically deployed via the NetApp VSC, if installed.  Since I’m working on making sure I can do this from the CLI, think VCAP-DCA5, I’m practicing doing it from there.  I’m using the NetApp Simulator, which is probably the best thing that NetApp could have done for its customers.  Simply amazing piece of software that offers nearly all the functionality of a NetApp filer.

vaai_nfs_plugin_step1I placed the NetApp_bootbank_NetAppNasPlugin_1.0-018.vib on a datastore so that I could access it from the CLI

vaai_nfs_plugin_step2Easy stuff, nothing new here.  Now let’s get this thing installed from the CLI

vaai_nfs_plugin_step3Looks like we got it.  Reboot the host and we’re golden.  Check vCenter to see if our Hardware Acceleration is working.

vaai_nfs_plugin_step4Hmmm, not working as it should.  Let’s check to make sure the vib is showing up in the vib list.

vaai_nfs_plugin_step5Yeah we got it there.  What could be the problem?  Well, let’s check the NetApp to see the NFS options.

vaai_nfs_plugin_step6Ah ha!  There’s our problem right there.  There’s a few options not enabled.  These have to be enabled to allow VAAI functions on the NetApp for NFS datastores.  So let’s enable them

vaai_nfs_plugin_step7Now that it’s enabled, let’s go check our vCenter and NFS datastores again.  A quick rescan of the datastores and we’re working as intended.

vaai_nfs_plugin_step8Or we can check it from the CLI, since we’re concerned about knowing how to check this from there anyway

vaai_nfs_plugin_step9EDIT – So I was building a new controller out in the lab and I confirmed Mike’s assumption.  The need for ‘options nfs.v4.enable on’ is only a requirement using the version of the NetApp simulator that I’m using.  This option is NOT required for a real set of controllers.