Is the VCAP-DCV Deploy Worth It?
| technology | system admin - Ross Heintzkill

Is the VCAP-DCV Deploy Worth It?

VMware is one of the most recognizable virtualization software providers in the world. VMware offers many, many different products and types of products to companies that need cloud computational, storage, and networking solutions. That might sound simple enough or obvious, but actually getting your hands around all the services VMware offers can be a chore all itself, much less gaining expertise in the one that your organization needs.

The VCAP-DCV Deploy is one of VMware's most advanced certifications in their Data Center Virtualization track. If you and your organization are looking to virtualize your data center operations, with the VCAP-DCV Deploy, you can prove yourself up to the task. Read on and learn everything you need to know about getting certified in designing, installing and managing VMware vSphere to virtualize your data center.

What is the VCAP-DCV Deploy?

The VMware Certified Advanced Professional in Data Center Virtualization Deploy – or VCAP-DCV Deploy – is one of VMware's two advanced professional certifications in data center virtualization skills. The VCAP-DCV Deploy tests your ability to deploy and optimize VMware vSphere infrastructures. If you're familiar with building scalable and reliable virtualization platforms at the data center level, this is a highly advanced certification to prove yourself with.

Its prerequisites are VMware's professional-level certification in the data center virtualization (DCV) track: VCP-DCV, as well as the technical associate-level cert in the same: VCTA-DCV. The VCAP-DCV Deploy is nearly the most advanced certification in the DCV track, the highest being their Design Expert Certification: VCDX-DCV.

If you're considering the VCAP-DCV Deploy, you should be pretty far along in your cloud administration career, specifically with data center virtualization. VMware has six different certification tracks – they represent the primary areas of technology they provide solutions for: Data Center Virtualization (DCV), Cloud Management and Automation (CMA), Security (SEC), Network Virtualization (NV), Digital Workspace (DW), and Application Modernization (AM). The path to expert-level certifications in each of those tracks has a series of steps that are punctuated by recommended training and required certifications.

What Does the VCAP-DCV Deploy Test?

Earning the VMware Certified Advanced Professional – Data Center Virtualization 2021 certification requires passing the Advanced Deploy VMware vSphere 7.x (3V0-22.21) exam. It's a 17-item lab-based exam. There is an alternative exam, Advanced Deploy VMware vSphere 6.7 exam (3V0-21.20) which retires on June 30, 2021. The 3V0-22.21's exam sections are:

  • Section 1 – Architecture and Technologies
  • Section 2 – Products and Solutions
  • Section 3 – Planning and Designing
  • Section 4 – Installing, Configuring, and Setup
  • Section 5 – Performance-tuning, Optimization, and Upgrades
  • Section 6 – Troubleshooting and Repairing
  • Section 7 – Administrative and Operational Tasks

The 6.7 (3V0-21.20) objectives are different. If you're planning to take that soon-to-be-outdated exam, check VMware's website for the objectives.

How Much Does the VCAP-DCV Deploy Exam Cost?

It costs $450 to take the VCAP-DCV Deploy exam. Both the Advanced Deploy VMware vSphere 6.7 (3V0-21.20) and the 7.x (3V0-22.21) cost the same, have 17 questions and a maximum of 205 minutes (that's just under 3 ½ hours). To schedule an exam, you'll need to go to VMware's website and navigate to their Education Services, and Certifications.

What Experience Do You Need for the VCAP-DCV Deploy?

The first and most obvious prerequisite for taking the VCAP-DCV Deploy is the professional-level VCP-DCV and technical associate-level VCTA-DCV. Along the way to earning those certifications, you should have gathered knowledge and experience with core virtualization technologies, as well as installing, configuring and managing data center virtualizations. Experience with optimizing and scaling data centers is recommended before going for the VCP-DCV. Broadly speaking, advanced skills in vSphere Deploy is strongly recommended before attempting the VCAP-DCV Deploy.

Speaking more specifically, a VCAP-DCV Deploy candidate should know how to enable cluster features and how to configure vSphere storage and networking. You should know how to automate host configurations with host profiles. Creating a VMware vSAN-enabled cluster with VMware's Cluster Quickstart is important, as is knowing how to configure the VMware vCenter Server.

In addition to all of that, before earning the VCAP-DCV Deploy there are broad skills you should have too. Like troubleshooting host and storage connectivity, performing lifecycle operations on vSphere components and implementing security hardening guidelines in the virtual landscape.

Who Should Take the VCAP-DCV Deploy?

The VCAP-DCV Deploy is a certification for advanced professionals – there are several steps to take before you earn it. Only highly experienced data center virtualization architects should attempt the VCAP-DCV Deploy exam.

VCAP-DCV Deploy for Cloud Architects

If you've been a cloud architect for a while already, or have plans to move your career in that direction, the VCAP-DCV Deploy is probably one of the most obvious certifications you could choose – if your organization depends on VMware technologies for their cloud network. That's because the VCAP-DCV Deploy is specially made for IT professionals who build and deploy optimized virtualized data centers – that's more or less exactly a cloud architect's job description.

The skills on the VCAP-DCV Deploy are highly specific to VMware technologies and solutions. If you're a cloud architect but your organization doesn't use vSphere for your virtualization, the VCAP-DCV Deploy isn't going to be worth it for you.

VCAP-DCV Deploy for a Virtualization Engineer

The VCAP-DCV Deploy is a good certification for virtualization engineers whose job responsibilities fall squarely under the data center virtualization category. If more of your time is spent with security tasks, network virtualization, or cloud management and automation, there are other certifications that probably relate more closely to your job.

However, if you're a virtualization engineer for an organization that depends on VMware for data center virtualization and you work in planning, installing, configuring, managing, or optimizing your cloud infrastructure, the VCAP-DCV Deploy is one of the best certifications you could get to stabilize and advance your career.

VCAP-DCV Deploy for Data Center Technicians

Typically, data center technician is a job title you'd find on the lower end of a career ladder. Generally, there are more opportunities available after working as a data center tech than before. If you've just started your data center career, the VCAP-DCV Deploy might be too high a hurdle for you. First of all, there are many prerequisites to earn beforehand – the VCTA-DCV and VCP-DCV – and a lot of experience to gain in using vSphere to optimize and scale virtualization deployments.

There's no reason a data center technician shouldn't plan to eventually earn their VCAP-DCV and use it as a mountain in the distance to plan your journey toward.

Is the VCAP-DCV Deploy Worth It?

The VCAP-DCV Deploy is worth it for advanced professionals, but it's important to keep in mind that it is a highly specialized certification – both in terms of skills it tests for as well as technologies it applies to. The VCAP-DCV Deploy is absolutely worth it for someone who works every day with data center virtualization and whose job responsibilities include implementing vSphere 7.x solutions.

If you're not involved, day-in and day-out with deployment, administration, optimization or troubleshooting in a VMware cloud environment, the VCAP-DCV Deploy might not be worth it. If you are, though, it's a terrific way to validate your experience and gain near-mastery over your cloud environment.

Using VCAP-DCV Deploy to Learn Skills

The VCAP DCV Deploy test only has 17 questions on it, but the questions are posed in a lab environment, which means there's very little memorization involved with passing the test. If you're taking the VCAP-DCV Deploy exam, you'll want to have a lot of practice with the many different skills that are involved with supporting a virtualization platform for an entire organization.

Sure, there are a lot of things you need to study and understand from a "book-learning" perspective. But when you're preparing for VMware's most advanced certifications, you can't depend on rote memorization and study to get you through. Passing the VCAP-DCV Deploy will call for hands-on, skills-based understanding of virtualization platforms. You'll need to know the problems that could arise with deploying and scaling those platforms and what VMware technologies can fix those problems.

Using VCAP-DCV Deploy to Validate Skills

One final thing to consider about the VCAP-DCV Deploy is that it validates your skills and abilities with VMware. Much of what you'll be learning and testing on at this level is deep dives into the VMware technologies and unique solutions for handling virtualization platforms supported by VMware.

The VCAP-DCV Deploy doesn't apply to all virtualization software providers. But having it does mean you're an advanced professional in using VMware tech to optimize vSphere infrastructures. The VCAP-DCV Deploy is a highly respected certification in companies that depend on VMware. After all, they already trust VMware for their virtualization platform, and this cert is VMware's way of saying you know how to perfectly scale or deploy it.

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