Having passed the VCP5 exam last week, I thought I would write the obligatory study resources blog post. So below are the resources I found most useful in preparing for the exam:
1) TrainSignal VMware vSphere 5 Training
I’ve previously used the TrainSignal VMware vSphere 4 VCAP Training Package to begin preparations for the VCAP-DCA exam so was well accustomed with the style of the TrainSignal videos. Since I was in the position of needing to upgrade my VCP from 4 to 5 before February 29th 2012 to avoid needing to fulfill a class requirement again, I found this to be a great resource to quickly get up to speed on some of the new features in vSphere 5 and also provide a refresher for some of the topics that have been in the exam since the VCP 3 days. The topics covered are listed below; the great thing about the modular style nature of these videos is that you can easily focus in on particular topics of interest and skip over others if you want to. I was tempted to skip a few of the chapters I thought I knew everything about, however I stuck with them and not only had a good refresher of those topics, but also picked up a few things I didn’t know.
Lesson 1 – Getting Started with VMware vSphere 5 Training Course
Lesson 2 – Lab Setup
Lesson 3 – Course Scenario
Lesson 4 – Overview of VMware vSphere 5
Lesson 5 – Installing VMware ESXi 5
Lesson 6 – Installing vCenter 5
Lesson 7 – Installing vCenter 5 as a Linux Appliance (vCSA)
Lesson 8 – Using the vSphere 5 Web Client
Lesson 9 – What’s New in vSphere 5
Lesson 10 – Navigating vSphere Using the vSphere Client
Lesson 11 – vCenter 5 – Configuring Your New Virtual Infrastructure
Lesson 12 – Creating and Modifying Virtual Guest Machines
Lesson 13 – Installing and Configuring VMware Tools
Lesson 14 – Understanding and Using Tasks, Events, and Alarms
Lesson 15 – Virtual Storage 101 and Storage Terminology
Lesson 16 – vSphere Storage Appliance (VSA)
Lesson 17 – Creating a Free iSCSI SAN with OpenFiler
Lesson 18 – Administering VMware ESXi Server Security
Lesson 19 – vSphere Virtual Networking
Lesson 20 – Using the vSphere Distributed Virtual Switch (dvswitch)
Lesson 21 – Moving Virtual Machines with vMotion
Lesson 22 – Moving Virtual Storage with svMotion
Lesson 23 – Performance Optimization with Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS)
Lesson 24 – Implementing High Availability with VMware HA (VMHA)
Lesson 25 – Super High Availability with VMware Fault Tolerance (FT)
Lesson 26 – Upgrading from VMware vSphere 4 to vSphere 5
Lesson 27 – vSphere Command Line Interface (CLI) Options
Lesson 28 – vSphere Auto Deploy
Lesson 29 – Storage DRS
Lesson 30 – Policy-driven Storage
Lesson 31 – Understanding the New vSphere 5 vRAM Pooled Pricing
Lesson 32 – Network I/O Control (NIOC)
Lesson 33 – Storage I/O Control (SIOC)
Lesson 34 – ESXi Firewall
Lesson 35 – VMware Data Recovery (VDR) 2
Lesson 36 – Administering vSphere Using an iPad
Both David Davis and Elias Khnaser have excellent presenting styles, in their clear explanations and enthusiasm for the topic – which I am particularly grateful for having watched most of them on the early commute into work. While not directly aimed at the VCP exam, the videos provide a good breadth of coverage of most of the exam topics. As with the other series they are available online streamed from the website as soon as you make the purchase, but also shipped to you on a DVD in formats suitable for PC, iPhone iPad etc.
2) VCP5 Exam Blueprint
Reading the VCP5 Exam Blueprint document is essential to ensure that you have covered all of the bases. I worked through the document and ticked off each objective as I went. Most of my work is with the larger Enterprise deployments of vSphere, so this is a good way to ensure that you have not missed anything that might be more commonly used in say SMB deployments.
3) VCP5 Exam Blueprint Study Guide PDF
While working through the official blueprint document I discovered this Study Guide PDF which Jason Langer and Josh Coen have put together. They have put a lot of work into this document which typically contains a paragraph or two on each objective with highlight points and links to pages in vSphere documentation pdfs for further research. Given the limited time I had to prepare for the exam, this was great for quickly covering all of the objectives and I really appreciated the effort they had made in putting it together.
4) VCP 5 Brownbags
The Professional Vmware site is well known for running 1 hour brownbag sessions for VMware topics, including the VCAP exams. Recently they have started them for VCP5 too and although currently there are only a few, they are well worth checking out.
5) vSphere 5.o Clustering DeepDive
I bought this book by Frank Denneman and Duncan Epping when it came out last year because I wanted know about new vSphere 5 features, however it is also worth reading as preparation for this exam. While the book goes into far more technical depth than required for the VCP, it was still useful for an early appreciation of these topics.
6) Practice Questions
It’s good to at least get a feel of the kind of questions you will be asked in the exam. Both the VMware VCP site with a mock exam and Simon Long’s blog are a great resource for this.
7) Hands-on experience with real world vSphere experience
Most important of all was hands-on experience of vSphere. There were many questions I knew the answer to that were not through the result of self-study, but either I had configured them at work or experienced the issue and had resolved it. You can emulate a fair amount of this if you have access to say a home-lab, but you can’t beat experience and unfortunately there is only one way to get that.
I was pleased to see that the exam was heading more in this direction. When I took the VCP 3.5 in 2008 the Minimum and Maximums document was a core part of my study process, in fact I took the exam while my family were away for a few days, so my house resembled something out of Prison Break with different pages of the Min / Max guide on the walls! I didn’t do that this time and while a good knowledge of the fundamental minimum and maximums is still required on the blueprint, the days of having to memorise every single one in the guide just to pass the exam appear to be over which is a good thing.