VCP VMware Certified Professional vSphere 4 Self-Study Resources


These series offer a progressive, self-paced study routine for VCP VMware Certified Professional vSphere 4 certification exams, with tools that help certification candidates learn exam topics, gain hands-on experience, prepare for the exam, and practice their test taking skills.


VCAP4-DCA exam blueprint now available

The VCAP4-DCA exam is currently going through the beta phase, invitations were sent out about a week ago and beta exams are being taken this week. At the same time, VMware also published the exam blueprint document, which as always will be THE most important document for an individual to download and digest when preparing themselves for this VMware exam.

The exam covers the following objectives:

  • Implement and Manage Storage
  • Implement and Manage Networking
  • Deploy DRS Clusters and Manage Performance
  • Manage Business Continuity and Protect Data
  • Perform Operational Maintenance
  • Perform Advanced Troubleshooting
  • Secure a vSphere Environment
  • Perform Scripting and Automation
  • Perform Advanced vSphere Installations and Configurations

The blueprint confirms that the exam is based exclusively on live lab activities, with each lab consisting of a number of scored tasks. The exam will use the same 100-500 scaled scoring system as the VCP4 exam, although the passing score will only be set after the beta period. VMware will also set the time for the exam after the beta period. The exam code with Pearson Vue will be VCDA410, and registration for the final exam opens on July 12th.

Update on June 16th:
The content of the exam is very broad and very thorough at the same time, it looks as though the labs will be challenging, and that the VCAP4-DCA certification will be a very significant step-up from the now foundation-level VCP4.

Whilst VMware have not made it compulsory to attend any training courses to qualify for the VCAP4-DCA certification, the exam contains labs similar to those done during the following courses:
vSphere: Install, Configure, Manage and Manage Availability and Manage Scalability
vSphere: Fast Track
vSphere: Manage for Performance
vSphere: Troubleshooting
vSphere: Manage and Design for Security
vSphere: Automation with vSphere PowerCLI

VMware Certified Advanced Professional on vSphere 4 – Datacenter Administration (VCAP4-DCA)

VMware have now announced the new VCAP4-DCA certification for vSphere 4, designed to follow-on from the VCP4 and give those in high-level technical roles the opportunity to demonstrate their advanced-level technical skills in key areas of vSphere and vCenter technologies. The VCAP4-DCA also leads on to the full VCDX4 certification.

For the official VMware page on VCAP4-DCA, follow this link.

To achieve VCAP4-DCA, there are two exams that must be passed:

The blueprint for the new VCAP4-DCA exam will be made available soon, and there will be an invitation-only beta process for the exam too. The VCAP-DCA exam will be the first VMware exam to be based entirely on live labs, and will cost $400 – registration for the exam opens on July 12th. Those who have passed the Enterprise Administration exam for VI3 will be entitled to a discount on the VCAP4-DCA exam.

The exam will be centred around three key areas of expertise in vSphere 4 – performance, troubleshooting, and security, and there will also be some exam content around automation. It will not be compulsory to attend any official vSphere courses to qualify for the VCAP4-DCA exam, but given the content of the exam VMware recommend that the advanced-level vSphere courses are considered to assist with preparation for the exam.

Here’s an outline of the recommended course and exam sequence for those who are new to VMware training/certification who wish to pursue the VCAP4-DCA:

VMware Certified Advanced Professional on vSphere 4 – Datacenter Design (VCAP4-DCD)

As well as the VCAP4-DCA certification, VMware have also launched the VCAP4-DCD certification for those who are capable of designing VMware solutions around vSphere 4 in multi-site, large enterprise environments. The certification builds on the foundation-level VCP4 certification and gives architects the opportunity to use VCAP4-DCD as a step towards the full VCDX4 certificaiton.

To achieve the VCAP4-DCD certification requires two exams to be passed:

The exam will be a mixture of multiple-choice questions and a design exercise, and registration for the exam begins in August. The fee for taking the exam has yet to be set, but like the VCAP4-DCA exam it will be available at a large number of Pearson Vue testing centres around the world. Those who have passed the Design exam on VI3 as part of the VCDX3 program will be entitled to a discount on the VCAP4-DCD exam.

The official VMware page on the VCAP4-DCD can be found here.

The VCAP4-DCD exam will not have a compulsory vSphere training requirement, however VMware are recommending that the vSphere: Design Workshop be considered as the exam objectives are all met by the instructor-led workshop.

Those who are new to VMware training/certification who wish to pursue the VCAP4-DCD should follow this path:

VMware Certified Design Expert on vSphere 4 – Datacenter Design (VCDX4)

To complete the set of advanced-level certifications for vSphere 4, VMware also announced the VCDX4 certification, designed to follow-on from the VCP4 and both new VCAP certifications. The VCDX for VI3 is held by roughly 50 individuals worldwide, most of whom work for VMware or their partners, and VCDX4 is aimed at the same calibre of individuals.

There are four elements to the VCDX4, three exams need to be passed as well as the individual submitting, presenting, and defending a vSphere 4 design to a panel of the current breed of VCDX holders:

The VCAP-DCA and VCAP-DCD exams can be taken either way round, but both must be completed before the process of submitting a vSphere design can begin. Those who pass the VCAP-DCA and VCAP-DCD exams will also gain those certifications en route to achieving their VCDX4.

The only compulsory vSphere training element of the VCDX4 is to achieve the foundation-level VCP4, but VMware recommend advanced-level vSphere courses as part of the preparation for the VCAP exams. An individual wishing to achieve VCDX4 who already has the VCP4 certification should follow this path:

VMware are offering discounts and shortcut paths to those who were persuing the VCDX3 certification, and have completed some or all of that program. The official VMware page on VCDX4 illustrates the various options available.

Official Training on vSphere

OK, I’ve now got the go-ahead from VMware Education to publish the information on the availability of training courses for vSphere 4.
If you’re already experienced with VI3, there will be a 2-day "What’s New" course for you to update your skills to vSphere 4 and learn how to migrate a VI3 environment to vSphere 4. You can actually take a pre-release of this class now, running on the Release Candidate software:
The current Install & Configure course for VI3 will be renamed to "Install, Configure, Manage" for vSphere 4. The course will remain at 4 days in length, and will still be the closest match to the VCP exam for vSphere.
There will also be a "Fast Track" course for vSphere 4, this will be 5 days with extended hours as at currently is for VI3. The content will be the new "Install, Configure, Manage" course, plus additional content on availability, scalability and troubleshooting.
VMware have yet to decide whether to release dedicated courses on availability, scalability and troubleshooting, along with possible content on automation and scripting, and possibly other topics too. These may only be available as part of the "Fast Track", as a separate 4-day course, or even as individual 1 or 2-day courses.
So, the important bit – when will they be available?

The pre-release "What’s New" is available now.

The final release of "What’s New" will be available from the end of June.

"Install, Configure, Manage" will also be available from the end of June.

"Fast Track" will be available from the end of July.

Keep checking back here, and on the main Global Knowledge site for further details:
UPDATE on 26th April:
VMware Education have now posted the official course overviews for "What’s New" and "Install, Configure, Manage" on their website:

Now I am the Master

Something I predicted would happen a long time ago is actually going to happen after all…..
We’ve had the VCP for a long time now, we’ve just about got the VCDX too, but there’s an enormous gap in the middle:

Nothing has been announced officially on this yet, but the "gap" is going to be filled by a "Master VCP" certification for those who complete 2 steps:

1. The current VCP

2. The Enterprise Admin exam which is currently step 2 of the VCDX

Quite how the exam will be run, and where you’ll be able to take it, is yet to be determined, but expect the cost to be £250+VAT. The exam is part multiple-choice questions and part hands-on lab, and I’m actually taking it in 2 days time (I’m registered for the full VCDX) so hopefully I’ll meet the requirements as soon as the "Master VCP" is fully launched.

The exam blueprint is available at:

The blueprint content is a great match to the Deploy Secure & Analyze (DSA) course, most of which is also covered in the Fast Track (FT) course:


FT =

How do you get to be a VCP on vSphere 4?

VMware have now officially announced the variety of ways in which people can obtain the new VCP on vSphere 4 certification. As I mentioned in previous posts, the path for each person depends on whether they’ve attended official VI3 training (like we provide at Global Knowledge) and/or their current status as a VCP.
The various “upgrade” paths are:
Current VCP on VI3 (until 31st December 2009)
1. Pass the VCP on vSphere 4 exam – either attend the vSphere 4 : What’s New course to gain the necessary skills and knowledge, or self-study
Current VCP on VI3 (from 1st January 2010)
1. Attend the vSphere 4 : What’s New course
2. Pass the VCP on vSphere 4 exam

Attended official VI3 course, but not yet taken VCP on VI3 exam

1. Pass the VCP on VI3 exam (only available until early 2010) OR attend the vSphere 4 : What’s New course

2. Pass the VCP on vSphere 4 exam

Current VCP on ESX 2.x (until 31st December 2009)

1. Pass the VCP on VI3 exam

2. Pass the VCP on vSphere 4 exam

Current VCP on ESX 2.x (from 1st January 2010)

1. Pass the VCP on VI3 exam (only available until early 2010)

2. Attend the vSphere 4 : What’s New course

3. Pass the VCP on vSphere 4 exam

None of the above

1. Attend the vSphere 4 : Install Configure Manage or vSphere 4 : Fast Track courses

2. Pass the VCP on vSphere 4 exam

VCP4 Exam Blueprint Study Notes

VMwarlogo Section 1 – Plan, Install and Upgrade VMware ESX/ESXi

Objective 1.1 — Install VMware ESX/ESXi on local storage Knowledge


Objective 1.2 – Upgrade VMware ESX/ESXi Knowledge


Objective 1.3 – Secure VMware ESX/ESXi Knowledge


Objective 1.4 – Install VMware ESX/ESXi on SAN Storage Knowledge


Objective 1.5 – Identify vSphere Architecture and Solutions Knowledge


Section 2 – Configure ESX/ESXi Networking Objective 2.1 – Configure Virtual Switches Knowledge


Objective 2.2 – Configure vNetwork Distributed Switches Knowledge


Objective 2.3 – Configure VMware ESX/ESXi Management Network Knowledge


Section 3 – Configure ESX/ESXi Storage Objective 3.1 – Configure FC SAN Storage Knowledge


Objective 3.2 – Configure iSCSI SAN Storage Knowledge


Objective 3.3 – Configure NFS Datastores Knowledge


Objective 3.4 – Configure and Manage VMFS Datastores Knowledge


Section 4 – Install and Configure vCenter Server Objective 4.1 – Install vCenter Server Knowledge


Objective 4.2 – Manage vSphere Client plug-ins Knowledge


Objective 4.3 – Configure vCenter Server Knowledge


Objective 4.4 – Configure Access Control Knowledge


Section 5 – Deploy and Manage Virtual Machines and vApps Objective 5.1 – Create and Deploy Virtual Machines Knowledge


Objective 5.2 – Manage Virtual Machines Knowledge


Objective 5.3 – Deploy vApps Knowledge


Section 6 – Manage Compliance Objective 6.1 – Install, Configure and Manage VMware vCenter Update Manager Knowledge


Objective 6.2 – Establish and Apply ESX Host Profiles Knowledge


Section 7 – Establish Service Levels Objective 7.1 – Create and Configure VMware Clusters Knowledge


Objective 7.2 – Enable a Fault Tolerant Virtual Machine Knowledge


Objective 7.3 – Create and Configure Resource Pools Knowledge


Objective 7.4 – Migrate Virtual Machines Knowledge


Objective 7.5 – Backup and Restore Virtual Machines Knowledge


Section 8 – Perform Basic Troubleshooting and Alarm Management Objective 8.1 – Perform Basic Troubleshooting for ESX/ESXi Hosts Knowledge


Objective 8.2 – Perform Basic Troubleshooting for VMware FT and Third-Party Clusters Knowledge


Objective 8.3 – Perform Basic Troubleshooting for Networking Knowledge


Objective 8.4 – Perform Basic Troubleshooting for Storage Knowledge

  • Identify storage contention issues
  • Identify storage over-commitment issues
  • Identify storage connectivity issues
  • Identify iSCSI software initiator configuration issues
  • Interpret Storage Reports and Storage Maps


Objective 8.5 – Perform Basic Troubleshooting for HA/DRS and VMotion Knowledge

  • Explain the requirements of HA/DRS and VMotion
  • Verify VMotion functionality
  • Verify DNS settings
  • Verify the service console network functionality
  • Interpret the DRS Resource Distribution Graph and Target/Current Host Load Deviation
  • Troubleshoot VMotion using topology maps
  • Troubleshoot HA capacity issues
  • Troubleshoot HA redundancy issues


Objective 8.6 – Create and Respond to vCenter Connectivity Alarms Knowledge


Objective 8.7 – Create and Respond to vCenter Utilization Alarms Knowledge


Objective 8.8 – Monitor vSphere ESX/ESXi and Virtual Machine Performance Knowledge


VCP on vSphere™ 4 Certification Overview

VMWare VMware offers world-class certification programs to ensure and validate the technical competencies and expertise needed to install, manage, deploy and support VMware software. Recognized by the industry, VMware certifications are available for three distinct skill levels on the current version of our software VMware vSphere 4 and VMware vCenter Server 4.

Whether you are advancing your current position or looking for new opportunities, to be competitive in today’s IT job market, you will want to develop and demonstrate your technical expertise in virtual infrastructure. Read about our different programs and take your first step towards gaining the in-depth skills and industry recognition offered by VMware Certifications.

Now we see the VCP on vSphere™ 4:

How can I become a VCP on vSphere™ 4

There are four possible paths to acheive VCP on vSphere™ 4

  1. If you are NEW to VMware
    • Attend the VMware vSphere™ 4: Install, Configure, Manage course; attend the VMware vSphere 4: Fast Track course or attend the VMware vSphere: Troubleshooting course.
    • Take and pass the VCP on vSphere™ 4 exam
  2. If you are currently a VCP on VMware Infrastructure 3
    • VCPs on VI3 must attend the VMware vSphere 4: What’s New class, then take and pass the VCP4 exam in order to upgrade.
  3. If you are currently a VCP on ESX 2.x
    • Follow Path 1.
  4. If you are not a VCP on VI3, but have attended one of the prerequisite classes (Install & Configure; Deploy Secure & Analyze; or Fast Track).
    • Attend the VMware vSphere™ 4: What’s New course.
    • Take and pass the VCP on vSphere™ 4 Exam.

View File for Additional Details (VCP on vSphere 4 paths 4.29.09.pdf)

How many questions are on the exam?

There are 85 questions on this exam.

How much time will I have to complete the exam?

The exam is 90 minutes long. Your total seat time will be 105 minutes. 15 minutes are used for a survey and agreements.

For those in countries where English is not a national language, an automatic 30 minutes time extension will be granted. Please confirm this with Pearson VUE before beginning your exam.

What if I don’t pass the exam?

You can attempt the exam again. There is a 7 day waiting period between attempts. Each attempt will require a new payment. Once you pass the exam you will not be able to take it again.

What is covered on the VCP4 Exam?

Please review the exam blueprint.

View File for Additional Details (VMware Certified Professional on vSphere 4 Blueprint 8.13.09.pdf)

What is the passing score for the VCP4 exam?

The passing score for the VCP4 exam is 300. The exam is scored on a scale of 100 to 500.

When will the VCP4 exam be available?

The exam is now available through Pearson VUE!