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Exam Profile: VMware Certified Advanced Professional - Cloud Infrastructure Administration Exam VCAP-CIA

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  1. Exam Details / Trouble Spots / Preparation Hints / Study Resources
  2. Exam Objectives / Where to Go from Here
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This article profiles VMware's VCAP-CIA Certification. Find out what you can expect for this certification and how to best prepare for it.
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The VMware Certified Advanced Professional—Cloud Infrastructure Administration Exam VCAP-CIA is one of the new cloud-focused certifications from VMware that go beyond core vSphere virtualization knowledge. The exam validates your ability to install, configure, and administer complex, single, and multi-tenant public/private/hybrid VMware vCloud environments. It tests knowledge of installation and administration of vCloud Director, vCenter Chargeback, and the vShield Manager and Edge products. It requires the candidate has the core vSphere platform knowledge necessary to serve as a base for vCloud Director and its associated components.

The VCAP-CIA exam is one of two exams a candidate must take to achieve VCDX-Cloud certification, but it is only open to individuals that have achieved a VCP-level certification. Candidates that do not hold the VCP5-DCV, VCP5-DT, or VCP-Cloud certification must obtain that certification prior to attempting the VCAP-CIA exam. For more details about the VCAP-CIA exam and recommended courses, please see the VCAP-CIA Official Cert Guide and the VCAP-CIA site from VMware.

Exam Details

  •       Number of Questions: 32 live lab activities, with a short pre-exam survey consisting of 9 questions.
  •       Type of questions: These are real life lab activities, which have to be performed on real hardware; no multiple choice questions or simulated activities are used.      Passing Score: 300, on a scaled score of 100 to 500
  •       Time Limit: 210 minutes for the exam plus an additional 15 minutes for the pre-exam survey. Candidates testing in countries where English is not the primary spoken language will have an additional 30 minutes for the exam (240 minutes total)
  •       How to register: http://www.pearsonvue.com/vmware

Trouble Spots

In general, candidates should have thorough knowledge of all aspects of the exam blueprint (listed below), but there are a few objectives that could cause particular trouble.

This exam builds on the VCP5-DCV and VCP-Cloud foundation knowledge; however, in additional to knowledge of VMware vCloud and virtualization concepts, the exam requires extensive experience of the technology to correctly configure each task.

In a typical work environment, a candidate will gain experience of the implementation of a particular storage type or network configuration, for example. Be prepared to configure any network type (Direct Connect, Routed or Isolated) or storage profile. Also prepare to create pVDC, Merge them, create Org and Org vDC etc. Prepare to create vApps and vApp Catalogs as well.

Networking is a very key component of a vCloud environment and the exam reflects this importance. Networking is generally one of the weaker skills of vSphere and server administrators, so this can be an area of particular difficulty. With this, one can get difficulty in understanding and implementing VXLAN also. Another aspect which is newly introduced is Storage Profile which is combined with VMware vCloud Director. There are some caveats which need to be taken care while handling Storage Profile combined with vCloud Director.

Similarly, vCloud Networking and Security (vCNS, formerly vShield Manager and vShield Edge devices) is also a key component of vCloud Director and the VCAP-CIA exam. Knowledge and experience with DHCP, NAT, and VPN services, and how these are configured within vCloud, are all necessary for success with this exam.

Chargeback is a relatively new concept for most vSphere administrators but should be thoroughly understood prior to taking the exam. Reporting, cost models, and configuration details of vCenter Chargeback are important components of a VMware vCloud infrastructure and candidates should take care to fully understand the details of vCenter Chargeback.

Preparation Hints

The most important aspect of this exam is practical experience of the technology. To enable efficient and thorough study of the blueprint content, build a test lab consisting of at least one vCD Cell Server, one vShield Manager, two ESXi hosts and a vCenter Server and one vCenter Chargeback Manager. This can be accomplished using VMware Workstation or Fusion or similar products running on a powerful workstation or laptop, or with dedicated home lab resources.

Practice installing and configuring each aspect of the blueprint. Understand how to complete tasks from the vCloud Director GUI, vShield Manager GUI, vSphere Web Client and the vCenter Chargeback Manager GUI. It also requires you to practice some command line options in vCD Cell, specially configuring certificates and some management functions.

Unless the exam question states otherwise, no specific method is required to complete the tasks; however, in some cases the command line interface is the only method. For an example, you can only use command line to put a vCD Cell in maintenance mode.

Ensure all documentation in the blueprint is covered in preparation work. By being familiar with the information contained in each paper, time can be saved during the exam.

Join the VMware community for VCAP. There is a wealth of VCAP information to be found, primarily created by IT professionals studying the content. There are several web-based study groups who present videos on various blueprint objectives and one of them is vBrownbag. These are ideal to save and watch while completing the tasks on a home lab.

There are no prerequisite courses; however, the following official course is recommended: vSphere: Optimize and Scale.

Take advantage of the free online labs available via the VMware Hands-On Labs (HOL) online. Many of these labs are the same as those that were available during VMworld 2012, while others are new. In addition, several videos are available on the official VMware YouTube channel.

Recommended Study Resources

Aside from the official courses and other material mentioned above, the following study resources are recommended to ensure success on the exam:

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