Preparing for the new VCAP6.5-DCV Design exam

02. August 2017 Study 4
Preparing for the new VCAP6.5-DCV Design exam

VCAP6.5-DCV Design to the rescue

July 10th 2017 was as a sad day for me. I failed my very first IT exam ever since starting in IT over 20 years ago. It was VMware’s VCAP6-DCV Design exam that drew first blood. I completed MCSE, CCNP, VCAP5 and even VCDX on my first try, so failing VCAP6-DCV Design was a pretty bitter pill to swallow. Even more frustrating was the fact that I did not find the exam content itself overly complicated. I understood the questions, had an overall sense of what they were aiming for but in all honesty, I did struggle with the exam interface a lot and I was constantly wondering exactly HOW my logical diagrams would need to look and which connectors to hook up to which objects. But with all justification aside, it is a simple binary result: pass or fail. And I failed. I was already preparing to reschedule my exam when VMware announced the release of the VCAP6.5-DCV Design version of the exam:

VCAP65-DCV Design

What stood out immediately was “135 minutes” and “60 questions”. That had to mean the structure of the exam would have been changed dramatically. Karl Childs finally explained how the exam was restructured on Twitter:

VCAP65-DCV Design Tweet

With my terrible VCAP6-DCV Design exam experience, this new exam setup appears very, very appealing. There was some confusion about different upgrade paths, but ultimately Karl made it very clear: to upgrade VCDX5 to VCDX6, get the VCAP6.5-DCV Design certification.

VCAP65-DCV Design Tweet 2

VCAP6.5-DCV Design preparation

There is one major challenge for me with switching directly to version 6.5. My VCDX journey was all consuming, so I have not yet had the chance to dive into vSphere 6.5 a lot. Of course I got the basics and the major new features covered, but taking it to a VCAP level will definitely require additional effort. As with any certification, my first stop is the exam guide. The VCAP6.5-DCV Design exam guide (which is no longer called a blueprint by the way) is available at: The recommended training is the new vSphere 6.5. Design workshop. The last design workshop training I attended was years ago for version 5 so I cannot comment on the quality of this training. My preparation plan is to call upon my VCDX skills and apply them onto a self-study plan to get up to speed on vSphere 6.5.

The exam guide contains a very detailed and concise breakdown of the exam into three sections:

  1. Create a Conceptual Design
  2. Create a Logical Design from an existing Conceptual Design
  3. Create a Physical Design from an existing Logical Design

That’s it. A very neat exam guide that aligns perfectly well with the VCDX mantra. Each section contains a handful of objectives covering your AMPRS and such. The rest of the exam guide is made up out of sample exam questions and a list of URLs to reference documents. I will have to go through each URL individually because unfortunately, the exam guide only provides an URL to a reference document and does not include a title or category for example. Maybe VMware will improve the exam guide in the future…

Taking the exam at VMworld Europe

I will be registering for this new exam at VMworld Europe so that leaves enough time to prepare. I will do some follow-up posts during my preparation in the coming weeks.

Let’s go get that VCAP6.5-DCV Design and VCDX6-DCV!




4 thoughts on “Preparing for the new VCAP6.5-DCV Design exam”

  • 1
    Dinesh jaisankar on August 3, 2017 Reply

    Kindly comment you experience once you complete the exam.
    I am also started preparing the exam.

  • 2
    Chuck Stevens on August 3, 2017 Reply

    I wonder, will a VCAP65-DCV Design cert + VCAP55-DCV Deploy cert = a VCIX of some sort?

  • 3
    Franck on August 24, 2018 Reply

    Hi there,

    Knowing that all of our companies have “difficulties” when it comes to training, what would be the best “home made” preparation for me to pass VCAP65-DCV (if this nomination is right, because they announced some renaming in the certs again) ?

    (I own already the VCP6-DCV and I have a lab for playing)

    All those changes in exams makes the preparation a bit harder, but it should be fine until next European VMworld 🙂

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