VCP-CMA 7 – Section 5 – Configure and Administer Fabric Groups and Endpoints


  1. vRA and NSX Integration Series – Jad El-Zein (1 hour)
  2. vRealize Automation Documentation:


  1. vRA Detailed Implementation Guide – 08 (38 mins) – Jad El-Zein
  2. vRealize Automation 7.3 – Part 13 – NSX Integration – (23 Mins) – Mike ZG
  3. vRA and NSX Deep Dive – (49 mins) – Jad El-Zein


  1. In HOL, use the search function to find and complete these labs:
    HOL-1921-01-CMP: Module 2 – Infrastructure as a Service Administration (30 mins)
    HOL-1921-01-CMP: Use Cloudadmin login to follow steps in DIG (40 mins)
  2. Prepare to explain 3 things you learned about Installing and Configuring vRA this week

Return: VCP-CMA 7 Study Group Participant Guide

Next: VCP-CMA 7 – Section 6 – Extend a vRealize Automation Implementation (Coming soon) …

VCP-DCV 6.5 Study Group Participant Guide

If you are considering joining or starting a VCP-DCV 6.5 study group, visit the overview post Tech Exam Study Groups. It covers why study groups help with exam preparation, who can benefit from them, what happens in a study group and some tips for making the most of your valuable time.

Details of the VCP-DCV 6.5 Exam can be found here. If you are looking for materials to study for the VCP-DCV 6.7 (VCP-DCV 2019), note that while the exam structure has been overhauled, much of the technical content in the 6.5 guide is still relevant. The recommended 19xx Hands on Labs are on vSphere 6.7 as of February 2019.

Where study groups fit in:

The study group structure outlined in the post Tech Exam Study Groups is designed to complement (not replace) the official Instructor Led Course and your own study. Figure 1. summarises the time commitment to prepare for the exam based on my own experience and working with others in study groups.

Study Group
Figure 1. Estimated investment in time and $ to achieve certification

If you are putting in the hours, make sure to get the most out of the study groups by participating fully and doing the pre-study.

Discussion Leader – Expectations

Your study group facilitator will ask you to be the discussion lead for at least one session. For the week that you are the lead:

  • Commit to completing the entire set of content for the week you are leading so that you can guide the discussion
  • Prepare to give a short (5 minute) overview of the topic – keep it short and casual. Whiteboarding works better than slides
  • Share 1 thing you learned first then go around the group and ask each person to share 1 thing

If the discussion gets off track it is your job for this topic to bring the conversation back.

VCP-DCV 6.5 Study Group Resources:

1.The below study plan is not endorsed by VMware, but is collected from free resources found online. In particular, Simon Long, Shane Williford, Chris Porter and Vladan Seget have comprehensive study guides on their blogs – the materials are linked to throughout.

2.The Exam Blueprint and the reading materials listed within are the ultimate source of truth. It is recommended that you read the official documentation linked in the blueprint and refer to the study materials in this document to assist with your learning.

3.The official VMware exam prep materials are available here.

4. Nothing beats hands on experience! If you don’t have your own environment, use the Hands on Labs to practice the steps outlined in the study guides (by Vladan Seget and Shane Williford) and in the videos in each module.

Day Zero – Before your Study Group Kick-Off

Section 1 – Configure and Administer vSphere 6.x Security

​Section 2 – Configure and Administer vSphere 6.x Networking

Section 3 – Configure and Administer vSphere 6.x Storage Part 1

​Section 3 – Configure and Administer vSphere 6.x Storage Part 2

​Section 4 – Upgrade a vSphere Deployment to 6.x

​Section 5 – Administer and Manage vSphere 6.x Resources

​Section 6 – Back up and Recover a vSphere Deployment

​Section 7 – Troubleshoot a vSphere Deployment

​Section 8 – Deploy and Customize ESXi Hosts

​Section 9 – Configure and Administer vSphere and vCenter Availability Solutions 

​Section 10 – Administer and Manage vSphere Virtual Machines

Additional Resources:

  1. Official VMware Exam Preparation Resources
  2. Official Certification Guide
  3. vBrownbags Series vSphere 6 and What’s New
  4. 3rd party courses online – make sure to check certguard
  5. Study Progress tracker by Chris Porter

Protecting the Value of Your Certification

​Please don’t use Dumps:

You will agree to an NDA upon entering the Exam center:


Tech Exam Study Groups

It can be difficult to keep tech certifications current. Even if we use a technology in our day to day work, often the exam content covers topics beyond our specific use case or the version of the product we are using. I have found it much easier to prepare for exams while being a part of a community focussed on the same goal.

In the last 4 years I have been involved with running study groups for VMware Professional (VCP) and Advanced (VCAP) level exams. In Singapore I worked with Wee Kiong Tan, Tim Robinson and Sebastian Szumigalski to run VCAP-Design study groups. Since moving to New Zealand six months ago I have been working with Steve McLeod on VCP study groups in Wellington and Auckland.

The below guide summarises what I have learned about running effective tech exam study groups so that anyone can run one with their peers or in their community. While this Study Group format was developed based on my experience with VMware exams, the same principles apply for other IT certifications.

Why Study Groups help with Exam Preparation:

  • Improved Return on Invested Time:
    • Active participation gives you an opportunity to cement understanding by comparing notes explaining lessons learned to others, and white-boarding
    • This is more valuable than passive reading/ watching
  • Structure:
    • Having a defined study plan creates structure and reduces procrastination
  • External Commitment:
    • The value of study groups is amplified when everyone actively participates
    • If the group has a culture of everyone coming prepared, it can help keep you on track even more reliably than when you are just accountable to yourself

Who are Study Groups for?

Systems Engineers or Architects who are new to a product/service or do not use it every day will need to do extensive self study (50-70 hours) on top of the official course to pass most tech exams. This is based on my experience with VMware VCP and VCAP exams as well as AWS Solutions Architect Associate. However, the same is likely to be true for most vendor certifications.

​This includes:

  • IT Administrators in Operations roles working infrequently with the product or service
  • Architects pursuing Design or Architect level certifications such as VMware VCIX/VCDX or AWS Professional level exams who need to pass the more operationally focussed VCP or AWS Associate level exams but don’t use the product every day
  • Technical Pre-Sales/Solutions Engineers working for Vendors or Reseller organisations who need to maintain a deep level of technical knowledge but who aren’t involved in implementation or operations


  • Study groups aren’t for everyone. Experienced administrators or implementation consultants who use the product on a daily basis may find that sitting the exam within 1 week of taking the official course is their best option

What Happens in a Study Group?

​Run Time: 1.5  Hours per topic – groups may choose to do one topic per session or longer meetings covering multiple topics. It’s up to you as a group how quickly you want to get through the content.

Topic: After experimenting with different formats, it seems to be best to just go through the sections in the exam blueprint – see one of the study guides linked below for an example.

Facilitator: A facilitator sets up the study group, recruits members, finds somewhere to run the meetings or delegates that responsibility within the group, ensures that there is a discussion leader for each topic.

If you are interested in setting up and facilitating a study group, see my post Guide for Study Group Facilitators.

​Discussion Leaders: Lead the topic for the session and facilitate the discussion. This responsibility is distributed across the group. We are all busy with our day jobs and it is not fair to leave the facilitator to do all the work.

Bonus – If you have career aspirations to become a Team Lead, Tribe Leader, Architect or Manager this is a good opportunity to practice the skill of facilitating and mediating a group technical discussion in a safe and supportive environment.

The Action:

​1. Each person to teach (not just share)

  • One thing (prepare for 3*) that you learned about the topic that you didn’t know before going through the pre-work– 3 mins
  1. Open discussion: key learnings not covered by the group, questions, challenges


  1. When I facilitate a study group I ask that everyone in the group prepares 3 things as it means that we don’t run out of items to discuss as we go around the group. Also, you will find you remember the three things you picked more clearly than other discussion topics!
  2. What I mean by “teach (not just share)”:
    • Share sounds like this: “This week I learned about encrypting VMs in vSphere. Okay, next please.”
    • Teach sounds like this: “This week I learned that there are two types of keys used in vSphere Encryption. A Disk Encryption Key or DEK that is issued by ESXi. This in turn is encrypted by a Key Encryption Key that is issued by a Key Management Server. Does anyone have anything to add to that?”
  3. There is no need to spend time preparing presentations unless it helps with your personal exam prep.
  4. Do use the whiteboard if there is one available.

Choosing Content:

As a group, it helps to prepare using the same study guide or content. There are official guides for most tech exams that are released by the vendors and I recommend you use these for your personal study if you want to be sure to pass first time.

Unless everyone in the group agrees to spend the money, it can be easier to use blogs, white-papers, product documentation and other free content for the study group pre-work. I have consolidated study materials for a few exams below.

If you want to run a study group for an exam that is not listed, work with your group to decide on a study guide that you will follow week by week. A reminder to ensure you protect the value of your certification by sticking to legitimate exam prep materials avoiding ‘dumps’. If in doubt, can help to work out if you should avoid a site. Do note this is a community run and does not guarantee that resources are legitimate.

Your Time is Valuable

In a community meet up it’s counter productive to enforce too many rules. Having facilitated several discussion groups over the last 4 years, I can share that those who passed committed to the below. At the end of the day, it’s up to you but if you want to make the most of the time you spend at these groups, I suggest making the below commitments to your self:

​1. Sit the relevant course before the study group schedule begins

​2. Read through the exam blueprint and book your exam up front so you have a date to work towards

​3. Commit to doing the pre-work

​5. Make every effort to come to all sessions, and let the facilitator know if you can’t attend

​6. Lead at least one discussion. Leading a discussion will help cement your learning

​7. Join your local User Group community for support beyond the study group. You can find your local VMware User Group here. Other vendors have similar associated organisations.

But What if….

It’s hard to stick to those commitments, especially when your day job gets busy. Here are a few tips to help you see it through and pass the exam:

  • What if I’m too busy?
    • The study groups are only valuable if a critical mass of people come prepared. A little bit of preparation is better than not showing up – can you manage just one hour this week? Or 20 minutes?
    • At minimum, prepare 3 things to contribute to the session, even if you can’t get through all the material.
  • What if I find the content to be of low value/slow/boring/confusing?
    • Do your own study on the same topics, share good materials you find with the group.
    • If you can spare a moment, share them with me too on the contact page and I will update this guide.

Related Posts

Thanks for reading! If you are ready to start a study group in your organisation or community, check out the Guide for Study Group Facilitators.

If you joined an existing study group and are looking for the study guides, here they are:

Best of luck with your exams!

Welcome to

My name is Tessa. is my attempt to unravel the complexities of IoT, RPi, Python, QC, Cloud Automation and other fun things, like Tech Exams!

I live in New Zealand and currently work for VMware as a Partner Solutions Engineer. This is a personal blog about my experiences working with technology and in the IT industry. Any opinions expressed on this site are purely my own and do not represent the opinions of VMware.

Over the past 4 years I have been involved in running VMware Certification study groups in Singapore (where I lived for 7 years) and more recently in New Zealand. I will share study group facilitator guides and links to study resources on this blog so that anyone who wants to can run one in their own community.

I love learning about new developments in Science and in technology. Before joining the Tech Industry I studied Physics at University and worked as a Science Communicator, demonstrating physics concepts to High School students. I am passionate about Science Education and Communication.

My favorite sub-fields in tech are where the boundaries of Physics, IT Architecture and Software Development meet. I will be spending time developing skills in these areas – in particular IoT and Edge Computing, Machine Learning and Quantum Computing. I plan to post about my adventures in this space in the coming months.

I have maintained a current VCP-DCV certification through 4,5, and 6. Other certifications that I hold include VCP-NV, VCAP-DCV 5, TOGAF Foundations and AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate.

You can learn more about me on my LinkedIn profile

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