August 11, 2014

Towards the end of 2013 I thought I might as well try get this exam behind me before kid v2 came along. Even after doing the old trick of booking the exam to force yourself to study, I didn’t know if I had studied enough and enough of the correct material. If you read the blueprint you will see what a mean, it’s kind of vague.

So first thing I did first was attend the vSphere Design Workshop. This is not like any other course I have been on, there is a class guide but its more a series of discussion topics, so that’s mainly all we did… talk.. and come up with different ideas, try justify them and see if they suit the scenario at hand. If you have the opportunity to attend this course do it. It will make you think differently if your day to day job is mainly administration. 

Next was to read the blueprint and white-papers mentioned within it. Some are also case studies and this is where the direction of this exam started to make sense to me. You need to stand back and think big picture. Don’t just think what you would do in the vSphere client, think why you would recommend a certain storage protocol over another or how much compute resource you will need to satisfy resource requirements but also availability requirements for the business. Next I used the following material:

Now to the exam, it's 4hrs of constant reading (I could hardly string a sentence together afterwards - luckily a friend was nearby who quickly grabbed me a beer and all was well again).
For the multiple choice and multiple answer questions I personally like to read the last paragraph first, just to see if the question is there then read through the fluff for the info I need.  The design/Visio style questions aren't super hard but the tool isn't the greatest to use and the information isn't easily visible on the screen, so read over the requirements, read the rest of the background info and drag and drop away! Anyway at the end of the day after submitting the final answer - WIN!   Overall I learnt a great deal from this exam and the preparation for it. For me after doing day-to-day admin for the last 9 years or so it forces you to take a minute to think why you would do something, are you satisfying the requirements given to you and what are the consequences by doing so. Along with the various stages of putting a design together, what is included in the conceptual, logical & physical layers and what type of detail you need to convey.