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Certification Profile: VMware Certified Design Expert for Cloud (VCDX-Cloud)

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This article profiles VMware's VCDX-Cloud Certification. Pearson IT Certification provides a variety of preparation tools to help IT Professionals in their quest for certification. As part of our service to you, we have developed this Profile series. Each profile is developed based on the experience of one of our trainers or authors. You won’t get exact questions or answers, but you will get a real feel for the Certification. This certification profile describes question forms, trouble spots, hints for exam preparation, and recommendations for additional study resources. Find out what you can expect for this certification and how to best prepare for it.
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VMware Certified Design Expert for Cloud (VCDX-Cloud) validates design skills for cloud architects designing the next generation of VMware-based clouds. Cloud computing drastically expands the scope of the traditional architecture design. Now virtualization is merely an integral cog of a larger initiative to automate key business processes. While the focus shifts to designing cohesive solutions leveraging cloud management systems (CMS) from the vCloud Suite, strong data center virtualization skills are still required.

VCDX-Cloud is a reflection of the evolution of the datacenter and provides industry-recognized credibility for cloud architects.


There are several exams you must pass in order to submit an application to defend.

You must hold at least one of these VCP level certifications:

  • VMware Certified Professional—Cloud (VCP-Cloud)
  • VMware Certified Professional 5—Data Center Virtualization (VCP5-DCV)
  • VMware Certified Professional—Desktop (VCP-DT)

You must also hold the following VCAP level certifications:

  • VMware Certified Advanced Professional—Cloud Infrastructure Administration (VCAP-CIA)
  • VMware Certified Advanced Professional—Cloud Infrastructure Design (VCAP-CID)

Existing VCDX-DCV holders will have a migration path that allows them to bypass the oral defense stage. More details will be announced at a later date.

While the number of requirements may seem daunting, set dates for goals and attempt them in a systematic way. Associate with other candidates to form study groups, motivate each other, and share ideas. Even if you are just at the VCP stage, work towards the VCAP exams, and develop your design submission during your spare time. By actively working on it, it becomes a tangible goal that becomes attainable with the right amount of desire and effort.

Certification Details

  • Number of Questions: N/A
  • Type(s) of questions: Oral defense
  • Passing Score: N/A
  • Time Limit: Design Defense (75 minutes), Design Scenario (45 minutes), Troubleshooting Scenario (30 minutes)
  • How to register: http://vmware.com/go/vcdx (defense dates are posted; register for the dates that you are interested in)

Trouble Spots

Cloud computing is a nebulous term that means different things to different customers. One certainty is increased complexity for existing environments. For instance, a customer’s provisioning process may include multiple external systems and various actions that require automation.

Half the battle is getting an application accepted to defend. Don’t shortchange the application submission; allocate as much time as possible to refine the final submission. Submitting a solid cloud design not only gets you in the door, but also sets you up for success in the actual defense.

For consultants who frequently take on customer engagements, this is a matter of picking a particularly interesting design then elaborating on it in the application. If you are not in a consulting role, don’t be discouraged. With the right experience and motivation, you can be successful.

Fictitious or partially fictitious designs are acceptable but have their own pitfalls. Too often we review fictitious designs that are completely overengineered due to lack of constraints. It’s akin to throwing expensive ingredients into a blender without regard to flavor combinations and recipes. If you do a fictitious design, ask a peer to give you a set of requirements so that it’s grounded in reality.

Be sure to display your understanding of requirements, constraints, assumptions, risks, and how they link to the decisions made during the design. Awareness of technology implemented is also important—cloud introduces new abstractions and concepts that must be mapped back to the requirements.

While navigating through all the components in a cloud design, time management is essential, especially in the design scenario. Understand the objectives of each scenario and prioritize your time accordingly.

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