At the beginning of February, I sat the recently released VMware Advanced Desktop Administration exam (VCAP-DTA), and I’m happy to say I passed! The exam concentrates on the desktop administration around VMware Horizon View, and other supporting technologies that integrate with the overall solution, such as ThinApp, Active Directory and Group Policies.
If you’ve sat other VCAP administration exams, you’ll be very familiar with the layout and format of this type of examination. Although only 3 hours (180 mins) in length (English), the other administration exams afford you longer. You’ll still need to work swiftly through the exam as some labs are quite time consuming, depending on your experience.
My exam consisted of 23 labs questions, all based on Horizon View 5.2. You’ll be required to carry out a number of different tasks such as installing, configuring, upgrading and troubleshooting. The exam blueprint, as ever, is your primary ‘go to’ resource, to drill down further into the requirements and areas to study.
You’ll connect into a live lab environment (based in America?), with access to several different components such as Horizon View Administrator, vCenter, Connection\Security Servers, SQL, Active Directory and so forth. With each lab\question, you’ll be asked to carry out one or more tasks. You’ll have access to switch back and forth from the lab environment to the question easily, which always provides the relevant credentials and lab information relating to the tasks required. There were a couple of tasks which had me stumped, so I didn’t waste too much time on these and just moved on.
Overall, I was pleased with the performance of the lab, switching windows wasn’t too painful and responded well enough. Tasks typically finished in adequate time. The latency of the connection to the lab environment was acceptable and didn’t cause any frustration. My testing center was Global Knowledge (Wokingham, UK).
The one complaint I would have is you’re presented with a fair bit of information (relating to the lab environment) to begin the exam with. Yet, whilst you read this information and try to familarise yourself with the environment quickly, the exam clock is ticking! Once you’ve read the information, you click on ‘Begin Exam’. Why can’t the clock begin after clicking on ‘Begin Exam’?
- At the start of the exam, prepare for a screen full of information relating to the lab. Write down a few important details and then begin the exam, as the clock is ticking! You’ll have the required lab information at the bottom of each question.
- The lab environment requires an initial remote desktop connection into a ‘Control Center’. From here, you connect to other machines. I re-sized the RDP connections to 1024 x 768, instead of full screen and this just help me navigate in and out the different screens easier. Also, once you’ve opened the connections, leave the windows open (minimised), as they may be required later in the exam.
- Although it’s difficult due to the pressure and time constraint of the exam, try to read each question carefully and the required tasks. I had some spare time after the last question, and having reviewed a few of the earlier questions, I noticed I missed a couple of key tasks.
- The VCAP-DTA doesn’t just cover the ‘Horizon View Administrator console’ most admins are typically used to. Use the blueprint to focus and study accordingly.
- Don’t wait for tasks to complete, move on, read the requirements for the next question and work efficiently, time management is key!
- Even if you don’t know how to fully complete a question or task, try to carry out as much as possible, as partial points\credit is rewarded.
- Practice and tune your hands on skills to prepare for the exam. Having access to a lab is crucial!