VMware Design Exam Experience & Study Materials

I have taken my VMware Design Exam few days back, which I almost missed as my hotel totally forgot about my wake up call & my mobile (which I use as my alarm) ran out of battery. After taking the exam, I can not agree anymore with others who took the exam, its more of an administration than a design exam. Further, few questions did not have the right answer or did not work correctly. Two question where you do the matching did not have the proper answers rather had duplicate answers, which I have seen many posts about it from up to 1 year back. Its amazing that it has been not functioning for that long and never been fixed.

The last question which was the design drawing question was too short on time. I mean the amount of reading you have to do to answer the question & getting used to the drawing tools would really require more time than the amount provided on the exam. Yes, as many others the exam has timed out on me while I was only half-way done with my design.

Though after all I am glad its all over & I have successfully completed my VMware Design Exam & now got to start preparing my application. I heard that is when the real work start, so I will start preparing for that. Any recommendation or hint you will leave in the comment area will be highly appreciated.

I thought I will leave a few tips of what to study for the VMware Design Exam. To be honest after taking the exam I have discovered that no matter how many materials you will study before the VMware Design Exam, if you have no real life experience you will suffer through the exam. VMware have done a good job at this part at least.

Though below are what I have reviewed for the exam:

Storage Study Guides:

3994_RAID_WhichOne_v112.pdf: Help you understand the different raid levels, the differences, & when to use each.

esx_san_cfg_manage.8.17 & esx_san_cfg_manage.8.18 & vi3_35_25_npiv_config.pdf :  These three guides include good info of NPIV in VMware enviornment.

iSCSI_design_deploy: Its a must for covering iSCSI Design in VMware enviornment.

VI3 SAN Design Deploy: Great SAN Design in VMware environment document.

vi3_35_25_u2_san_cfg: SAN Configuration in VMware environment document.

High Availability & Business Continuity Guides:

07Q2_dr_solution.pdf: Disaster Recovery Solutions VMware white paper

disaster_recovery.pdf: Making Your Business Disaster Readywith Virtual Infrastructure white paper

practical_guide_bcdr_vmb.pdf: A Practical Guide to Business Continuity & Disaster Recovery with VMware Infrastructure

vi3_35_25_u2_mscs.pdf: Setup for Microsoft Cluster Service in VMware environment guide.

VMwareHA_twp.pdf: VMware High Availability Concepts, Implementation, and Best Practices.

Duncan HA Deep Dive:  A great VMware High Availability Deep Dive by the VMware 007.

Resource Management:

drs_performance_best_practices_wp.pdf:  DRS Performance and Best Practices White Paper.

performance_char_vmfs_rdm.pdf: Performance Characterization of VMFS and RDM Using a SAN

vi3_35_25_u2_resource_mgmt.pdf: VMware Resource Management Guide

VMware Backup:

esx_backup_wp.pdf: Using VMware ESX Server & VMware Infrastructure for Backup, Restoration, and Disaster Recovery White Paper.

vcb_best_practices.pdf: VMware Consolidated Backup: Best Practices and Deployment Considerations

vi3_35_25_u2_vm_backup.pdf:  Virtual Machine Backup Guide


connections-ports-esx-v3.pdf: Connections & Ports in VMware ESX & VMware ESXi.

vi3_security_architecture_wp.pdf:  Security Design of the VMware Infrastructure 3 Architecture White Paper.

vi3_security_hardening_wp.pdf: VMware Infrastructure 3 Security Hardening


vi3_vum_10u2_admin_guide.pdf:  VMware Update Manager Administration Guide

vi3_35_25_u2_3_server_config.pdf: ESX Server 3 Configuration Guide

vi3_35_25_u2_config_max.pdf:  VMware Infrastructure 3 Configuration Maximum

I believe the above list shall be helpful for anyone preparing for either VMware Enterprise Administration Exam or VMware Design Exam. Though as I mentioned earlier, real production experience is very crucial for doing well in either exam. I have collected the above documents recommendations from scattered places including blogs & VMware community & though I will consolidate them in one list that might be useful for anyone else planning to take these exams.

At least I would like to thanks everyone who shared their VMware Design Exam experience on their blog or on the VMware community forum as that was of a great help to me & hope my post in here will be regarded as a thank you for the community.


  1. As badly setup as that diagram question is and with errors in the text and notes for correction my guess is that isn’t even scored. Congrats!

  2. Thanks Jason, & good luck on your defense. Let me know how it goes & any tips after that will be appreciate it.

    The dead line for my application is August 30th & I am still just gathering information of the process. Is the defense process still include only VI3 Design or shall it include vSphere features? I know everything else I have completed yet toward my VI3 VCDX was totally VI3, but as the defense process is a live one they might be updating it faster or forcing vSphere into it.


  3. Currently you can do your design based on VI3 or vSphere. I did mine on vSphere…but it’s up to you. When they do get the new tests rolled out you’ll have to do vSphere.

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