Studying for your VMware VCP 5 Certification – Part 1

VMware VCP study informationIt’s that time again where I need to look at upgrading my VMware VCP certification, this time from VCP4 to VCP5.  Admittedly I am a little late, as due to personal and work commitments I haven’t had any time spare to start studying for my VCP5 exam so am now in a rush to try and make it happen, though I’m guessing that I am not alone in my plight.

Those of you who currently hold a VCP4 are probably aware that you have until the 29th February 2012 to sit an exam to upgrade to VCP5. Book your seat at the Pearson VUE testing centre now else if you leave it past this date you will have to attend VMware’s VMware vSphere: What’s New [v5.0] course before sitting the VCP5 exam and being awarded VCP5 status.

I thought it’d be useful to put together a post or two on VMware’s certifications, studying for the exams and also any useful study resources I come across.  So, let’s kick things off with taking a high level look at the certifications offered by VMware.


VMware Certifications – The Offerings …

There are two main VMware virtualization certification categories with associated certifications and exams linked to them.  The first is …

VMware Certification - VCA-DT VCP-DTDesktop Virtualization:  As you’d expect this covers the area of VMware View and consists of two, soon to be three, certifications. The clue is that each of the certification names end with ‘DT’ for ‘Desktop’.

The second certification category focuses around the area of …

VMware vSphere VCP VCAP VCDXDatacenter Virtualization: Although I don’t have any statistics to back it up I think it is safe to assume that these certifications are the more popular of the two category types (ie:datacentre vs desktop virtualization).

Most of you are probably familiar with the VCP certification and may have heard of the much sought after VCDX, which really separates the men from the boys and women from the girls (delete as appropriate).  The lesser known, and newest, certification under the ‘Datacenter Virtualization’ category is the intermediate level VMware Certified Advanced Professional (VCAP) certification which comes in two flavours; Datacenter Administration (DCA) and/or Datacenter Design (DCD). Meaning that you could end up with a VCAP#-DCA or VCAP#-DCD.  The VCAP is intended for those IT professionals who want to progress from the VCP certification and demonstrate a deeper level of understanding around VMware’s datacentre focussed products.

The focus for me at the moment is upgrading my VCP4 to a VCP5 though ultimately I would like to go for my VCDX, though at my current rate of progress this could be a little way off.

What vSphere 5 certifications are available?

VMware VCP5As at the time of writing this blog post (Feb 2012) the only vSphere 5 certifications available is for the VMware VCP5 (exam: VCP510) and .  VCP5 – Desktop (exam: VCP510-DT).  The VCAP5-DCD exam is coming soon and currently in beta, check out Jason Boche’s post here on his experience with the beta version of this exam.  Keep a regular eye on the VMware Certification page here for any vSphere 5 updates to the other VMware certifications.

Obtaining the VCP5 Certification

There are various paths to gain your VCP5 certification with much of it coming down to whether you currently hold a VCP3 or VCP4 certification and if you go to sit the VCP5 exam before 29th February 2012. If none of this affects you then the steps involved are pretty standard.

The graphic below provides a nice clear outline of the steps required to become VCP5 certified covering most common scenarios. 

Upgrading from VCP4 to VCP5

Though to put it even simpler still:

  1. Attend a qualifying VMware authorized course – see graphic above for the course names.

      Already a VCP4? There is no course requirement until February 29, 2012.
  2. Gain hands-on experience with VMware vSphere 5. (Definitely a nice to have)
  3. Pass the VCP5 Exam.

This is a useful link to VMware’s site (where I gathered the graphic and information above) that you may find of use.


Upgrading from VCP4 to VCP5

There is a limited period of time (ends 29th February 2012) where you will be able to upgrade your VCP4 certification to VCP5 without any requirement to attend the VMware vSphere: What’s New [v5.0] course before sitting the exam. So get in quick! 


Upgrading from VCP3 to VCP5

If you are currently a proud owner of a VCP3 certification and never upgraded to a VCP4, though would like to obtain VCP5 status then there is an upgrade path for you.  For this you will have to attend the following course(s) before sitting the VCP5 exam:

“VMware vSphere: What’s New [V5]” This is a two-day course targeted at the differences between vSphere 4 and vSphere 5. Until February 29, 2012, this class meets the course requirement for the VCP3 upgrading to VCP5.

After the 29th February 2012 deadine, VCP3s will be required to take either the “VMware vSphere: Install, Configure, Manage [V5]” or the "VMware vSphere: Fast Track [V5]" course before being able to sit the VCP5 exam.


VCP5 Exam Format & Other Useful Information

VMware VCP 5 exam format

Here is some useful information covering the main points around planning to sit the VCP5 exam.

Exam Number: VCP510

Number of exam questions: 85 including a short, pre-exam survey (8 questions)

Pass Mark: To pass you need a score of 300 or greater out of 500. the various 85 questions have different weightings associated with them.

Duration: 90 minutes  + 15 minutes for the pre-exam survey

Additional time: An extra 30 minutes is allowed if English is a second language, ie: you’re not from Australia, Belize, Bermuda, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Other languages:  The VCP510 exam is also available in Japanese and Korean (as well as English of course)

Cost:  £145.00 (UK) – cha-ching.. It’s not cheap in any currency, so try and pass it the first time.

When do I find out if I’ve passed? Immediately after completing your VCP5 exam at the Pearson VUE testing centre you will receive your exam score. If you have achieved a score of 300 or greater (and have sat the necessary pre-requisite course, if required) then you have passed.

Other interesting information: After sitting and successfully passing the VCP5 exam you will receive your VCP certificate 4 – 6 weeks later, though before this time you can download and use the VCP5 logo (you will receive an email from VMware in the next 10 days confirming your certification status and you’ll have to agree to the certification agreement).

VMware VCP study guideWhat’s Next?

I hope this information has been of use so far.  In the next blog post I will cover in more detail what’s involved in studying for the VCP5 exam and will take a look at the available VMware VCP blueprints which can greatly help with your study, along with other useful resources (eg: online, books, etc).


Useful Links:

These VMware links are worth a look if you require a deeper level of understanding or information around VMware’s available certifications

VMware vSphere VCP exam guide


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