How hard is AWS Solutions Architect exam?

Amazon Web Services launched its certification program a few years ago. There are several tracks available for certification, the most common being the architect track.

The exam for Solutions Architect Associate is the first of the line, although there is currently also the Cloud Practitioner exam, which has become the most basic of all AWS certifications. However, there is no prerequisite to first getting the Cloud Practitioner certification to do the Architect Associate certification next.

What to study?

AWS provides what is standard for IT certifications: the blueprint of the exam, which contains information regarding topics that you, as a candidate, should study to be prepared to answer the questions.

In the case of the AWS Solutions Architect – Associate exam, there is a topic worth 60% of the score: “Designing highly available, cost-efficient, fault-tolerant, scalable systems”. This will have to be your main focus, as most of the questions will fit into this topic.

For this topic, it’s worth taking a look at the documents on the AWS Well-Architected page, as they give AWS’s insight into services, high availability, resilience, and so on.

As the blueprint states, you should also read at least some AWS Whitepapers. Some of them are very complex and extensive, but it is a unique preparation tool at your disposal.

I also recommend reading the troubleshooting steps and F.A.Q. of each service (in the service documentation), with special focus on the most used services (EC2, RDS, ELB, etc).

Avoid “dumps”

There is a lot of temptation to “bypass” the system, and summarise our study to the practice of remembering the exam questions and answers available on the Internet. Well, for those who plan to study by this method, they can rethink the strategy for two main reasons:

  • It is practically impossible to find “AWS Solutions Architect” exam dumps;
  • Even if you find these dumps, be careful, since the answers are generally wrong;

What about the “practise” exams? Do they worth it?

You can access practise exams, provided by AWS itself (through its online examination center), that allow you to test your knowledge. In my opinion, it is not worth paying the $20 for a practise exam, which has only 20 questions. That is, you are paying $1 for each question on this practise exam.

Online courses

I am adept of digital platforms as a way of studying. On the road to AWS SSA certification (and also SysOps), I used CloudAcademy to study. In addition to providing videos for study, they also provide some Hands-on Labs – practice is very important, not just theory – and some online Quizzes to test the knowledge at the end of each part of the courses.

There are other platforms with good content to study for AWS certifications, such as LinuxAcademy, or I confess that I have not used either one or the other, but from what I saw on the Internet the feedback from both is positive. Maybe in the near future I’ll take one of the courses, and I’ll put my feedback here.

What score do you need to pass the exam?

The required score is not provided by AWS. There are reports of candidates who passed with 56% scoring, and other candidates who missed the exam with 63% (or even more).

How is it possible? AWS uses an “artificial intelligence” mechanism that detects patterns in the answers given by the candidates to each question, and the required score is determined by this mechanism through the questions that were asked throughout the exam.

Exam questions are never the same for candidates – for example, candidate A may have only 5% of questions equal to candidate B -, which is why the required score varies. It may even happen that no question is the same, but I would say that this very rarely happens.

Amazingly, AWS does not convey the score you need to pass or miss the exam. They just provide your score, and how much you scored on each of the exam topics. That is, you do not even know how many answers you missed (unless you have 100%, which obviously indicates that you failed none of the questions).


Responding to the main question of this article: yes, the exam is difficult. But not as difficult as it seems. You should have a basic understanding of what each AWS service does, and more advanced knowledge of the most commonly used services (eg EC2, RDS, IAM, ELB’s, etc.).

All the best.

vSphere Web Client – Fix Flash error in Chrome

As you might know, most vSphere Web Client versions run in Flash, witch is a bit annoying. Chrome has an embedded Flash version that works fine most of the times.

Although, some times you may be presented with the warning “To view this page ensure that Adobe Flash Player version 11.5.0 or greater is installed” even using Chrome web browser with an icon below to Get Adobe Flash Player:

Flash error when accessing vSphere Web Client

You can allow Flash to run if you click the “Get Adobe” image, but I have found some situations where even when you click the image, Chrome will not ask you to allow Flash to run.

By default, Google Chrome asks you if you want to enable Flash, but you con configure Chrome to run the plugin automatically. To configure flash settings, open Chrome Settings, and search for “flash” in the search field and click “Content settings…“:

Search for Flash settings

In Content settings, you will find Flash section:

Chrome Flash Settings

From here, you can choose to allow all sites to run Flash, or you can configure exceptions, witch is the way I prefer to do this, because you just configure the URL you need.

Let’s now click “Manage exceptions” and add our domain name – in this case the domain is “vcap6.lab”, and we configure it with a wildcard ([*.]vcap6.lab):

Chrome – add Flash exception

After this configuration, you need to restart Chrome. The next time you access your Web Client, Chrome will automatically run the Flash plugin.

New VMware certification exams announced (6.5 version)

VMware has announced today the introduction of the new certification exams for version 6.5 (Datacenter Virtualization track).

Please refer to this blog post for information.

There are three new exams:

  • vSphere 6.5 Foundations (#2V0-602) – Foundation exam, that leads you to several higher certifications; See the exam guide here.
  • VCP6.5-DCV elective exam (#2V0-622) – VMware Certified Professional exam, for those that do not have earlier VCP certificatios; See the exam guide/blueprint here.
  • VCP6.5-DCV delta exam (#2V0-622D) – Delta exam, for those having VCP6 certification; See the exam guide/blueprint here.

It’s a bit confusing that exam guide both for 2V0-622 and 2V0-622D are the same.

While there’s yet no information about VCAP 6.5 (VMware Certified Advanced Professional, version 6.5), some comments on the blog post refer that the Advanced Professional certification will be available “latter this summer”,¬†Karl Childs said.

We’ll soon start new study guides for the announced exame. Hope you enjoy.

Determine use case for Stateless vs Stateful installs

VMware’s auto-deploy have two options for ESXi hosts provisioning. This feature was introduced in vSphere 5.1.

Stateless installation option will cache the ESXi host image locally,

Stateful installation is used when you want to install the host from Auto-Deploy. After the initial installation, every time the host boots it will boot like any other host that you installed manually.



Please refer to this links for further information about Auto-Deploy and Stateless vs Stateful installations:

Understanding vSphere Auto Deploy

Mastering VMware vSphere 6, Page 39