It took two tries, but I completed the Veeam Certified Architect (VMCA) certification exam. While taking it twice was not my ideal way to pass the exam, I found the newest version of the exam much easier to handle, including the setup and much better than the initial exam release for v1. Below are my thoughts on the exam itself and things you can prepare before you book it.
If you are new to Veeam exams, there is a requirement for taking the courses before you site the exams for both VMCE and VMCA. While I had the VMCAv1 already, and I didn’t need to sit in the class, I did nonetheless. I am thrilled I sat the course as it was a complete overhaul of the v1 course and a much better way to learn is primarily hands-on. You can read my course review here -
Further, each is now a “versioned” exam for each year - in this case, VMCA 2022, with versioning done on an annual basis. Each exam will need to be independently renewed. As long as you pass each year, you will not be required to retake the class to upgrade, but if you miss a year, you will need to retake the course. This process can be challenging for many, and paying for each class and exam can hit the wallet if your company does not.
That said, if you are like me, you may have employer requirements to maintain the credential, so this is for you. Where I work, we are a Pro Partner and VASP Platinum. You can find us on the VCSP Reseller Ready website - VCSP Reseller Ready Companies
My VMCA Journey
I have worked with Veeam for close to 10 years now, and as I got deeper into the program, I started looking at certification. My first attempt at a Veeam certification was on the VCMEv9 one, which took me two tries to pass as well. Once I got past that, I started to look at the VMCA side of things on how it could help me do the Architecture components and design a new solution for my company. Here comes the v1 course, which I took back in the Summer/Fall of 2019 and was able to write the exam and pass on the first try. The exam for VMCA went better than the VMCE exam that I wrote on the same version.
The exam was very heavy on memorizing formulas for things like Proxy and Repository configurations and how you arrive at the CPU/RAM values. This was much harder than the current VMCA 2022 course and exam, which was not the case.
Starting in 2021, Veeam retooled the course to be more approachable and more hands-on, working with classmates to develop all the input and designs needed. The course was not heavy on lecture but rather hands-on working on an actual case study scenario to help you collect all the data. I work at ThinkOn Inc., where I am now the Lead Infrastructure Architect doing all our Datacenter designs and documentation. This course fitted right into my role and was something I am glad that I took before writing the exam.
The Exam Methodology
While the VMCE exam is multiple-choice based and requires your knowledge of the Veeam products, the VMCA exam gets based on a single scenario similar to the class. There are more than one of these, so if you have to retake, it won’t be the same, so don’t bother with trying to memorize any of the questions or answers; however, in my case, I did happen to get the same case study which I found odd. Also, the practice exam found in the Veeam LoChoice site will not be part of the exam either, so use that as just practice. The exam itself is split-screen, and the scenario is broken up into several tabs (5) and will always be present on the left side of your screen as you take the exam to refer back to it as needed for questions. I recommend for those questions that you have a more challenging time with refer back to the case study and use the Find feature (CTRL+F) for quick searches.
Even though the case study is available as you progress through the exam, be sure to take the first 10-20 minutes to read through the entire thing. Hence, you understand what they are looking for, especially the Business and Technical Requirement tabs.
Once you get through the scenario, there will be 40 multiple choice questions that all relate to the case study, but one thing to note directly from the exam guide notes -
This makes taking the exam slightly easier where each question you get asked is irrelevant to the previous one, so you don’t have to worry if you got the last wrong question making the current question harder - that is not the case as noted!
As noted above, you can read my course review on my blog, but I highly recommend taking the course before the exam as it helps to cement the foundation of what being a VMCA means and how to think through the process.
For my preparation, I completed the following -
- Reviewed the Exam Guide as it outlines things like the number of questions and the part about each not being related to the other
- Reviewed my course notes, and you get a completed Word document at the end with all the answers to each part of the lab with the scenario, which is invaluable
- Completed the practice test on the Veeam LoChoice website several times
- Reviewed the questions with Rasmus Haslund (@haslund) on his YouTube channel, which he shared from the practice test - he walks through each question, and it is not the answer to the question that is the most valuable; it is how he looks at the question, relates it to the scenario and then goes through the answers to help select the correct ones --> This was probably my most valuable asset after failing the first time by only a couple questions was to review his YouTube channel - A MUST!!!
Rasmus YouTube channel for VMCA 2022 review - Rasmus Haslund - VMCA 2022 Question Review
Rasmus also does excellent review exams for the VMCE 2021 exam as well which you can find on his website - VMCE 2021 Practice Exams - Rasmus Haslund
Another highly recommended resource you consider is the Veeam Best Practices guide - Veeam Best Practices. This content is created and managed by the Veeam Solutions Architecture group. It is exceptional for understanding how you need to consider things both for the scope of this exam but also for right-sizing and designing your environment.
While the VMCA (or even VMCE, for that matter) is not for those who want to get another credential to add to your list, you need to have the skills and hands-on with Veeam to pass these challenging exams. But if you are looking to work with Veeam daily, I highly recommend at least the VMCE 2021, and if you are an Architect doing designs or customer implementations with Veeam, then taking the VMCA 2022 will help you on your journey. I also cannot say enough about taking the course, which should be a MUST for anyone looking to go the route of VMCA. And last but not least - take the practice test and review Rasmus’s YouTube channel for the VMCA 2022 questions as it will prove to be invaluable as it was for me.