Congratulations to the latest VCDX successes that made it in July 2014. You’ll find the VCDX Directory (www.vmware.com/go/vcdxdirectory) has been updated once again following the recent design defence round in Frankfurt this month. I’d just like to personally congratulate @harsha_hosur , @safouh75, @robertquast, @elgwhoppo, @sidbrydon, @vTerahertz, @agmalanco, @NiranEC, and @Gortees. This is an awesome achievement and it’s great that this once small group of experts is growing to a huge army of architects! [Read more…] about New VCDX successes make the grade!
Yes I have just drawn on my MacBook with permanent marker, but that’s due to the excitement of receiving the results of my VCDX-DT application which I applied for in early April 2014. I am the fourth (out of 5) Double VCDX certification holders, along with @vcloudmatt, @fojta, @magander3 and @SimonLong_, and I am proud to be the first to have passed the VCDX-DT certification.
I must admit my blog has been relatively quiet for the last few months due to various life events, mainly travel (jet lag!), rebuilding my home lab, family, work commitments and I guess the VCDX-DT application has also taken up my time.
If you are aspiring to become VCDX (Data Center, Cloud or Desktop) and by the mere fact you are reading this blog post, then you are already part of an amazing technical community that drew me into virtualization, EUC and VMware in the first place back in 2006. I’ve already posted my thoughts on preparing for the VCDX certification, and hope I’ll also be part of future VCDX panels so you haven’t heard the last of me yet!
In 2012 when I took on an EUC design for a car manufacturer here in the UK, I decided that I’d approach the entire process as a VCDX. Being able to do this gave me a huge advantage as I was practically living with that customer for the best part of 12 months, and beyond if you count much of the testing, validation and assistance I’ve provided since. I feel that given the way I like to work, which means I very much become part of the customer team, I was able to understand the intricacies of the project, politics, warts and all.
That much time with a customer and spending many nights in a hotel could be seen as a jail sentence for some, but I took this as an opportunity to refine the design and tackle the VCDX head on. I was able to use the same design for both the Desktop and Data Center Virtualization. Without that much time invested in the project I wouldn’t have been able to pass first time. Remember the VCDX is for consultants and architects that want to prove a high standard of design skills, and the VCAP pre-requisites will have already tested your technical skills. You don’t have to have the perfect design, and you certainly are not expected to recite all of the vSphere PDF manuals from the top of your head, well maybe one or two :). What you do need is a lot of time and evidence that you can approach a design with an architectural methodology and mindset that takes the customer requirements into the core of the design document and deliver a solution that meets those requirements. In fact, whilst mentoring other potential VCDX candidates I have actually picked up on design methodology more than technical errors. I’ve referred to a masters thesis from a Swedish university which covers risk mitigation in the conceptual design. It’s a really good read, and has nothing to do with VMware. This type of paper is really good preparation for the VCDX, especially since we’re so engrained in the technology every day. http://publications.lib.chalmers.se/records/fulltext/72484.pdf
Thanks to Mark Brunstad by the way, he is doing an amazing job managing the VCDX program at VMware and it really is appreciated given the travel, time and dedication you put into this.
On the morning of the defense I head straight for the coffee shop and order a double shot latte, then a biscuit and another coffee! I’m not a morning person, but my defense was due to start at 9am so a good intake of caffeine was much needed to get me through the day ahead. Following my last blog post about the preparation I thought I’d share the experience of the actual defense and the structure of the day. Due to the NDA I can’t reveal the specific content of the defense itself, but I can talk about the process and what you should expect.
When I arrived for the defense I was greeted by the VCDX moderator and I must add that he was fantastic in making sure I understood the schedule, had plenty of coffee and he’s such a cool guy I was able to relax. When it’s time to go into the meeting room you’ll get called in and given a brief of what’s expected. The first thing on your list is to present your design, and the clock starts counting down. 75 minutes remaining… [Read more…] about VCDX Preparation & Tips – Phase 2… Caffeine
Today I was delighted (for once) to be woken up by my children at 5am shaking me to get me out of bed. It’s a nasty habit, but it is the first thing I do when I wake up is check my phone for Tweets, Emails, Messages, and so on. Still in a semi-sleep state of consciousness I saw the email with my VCDX results. My hands were shaking, quite literally and it took me a good 20 seconds (which seemed like hours) to read the attachment and realise that I passed. I am VCDX #122.
Exactly one year ago I was in two minds whether to apply for the VCDX certification. Mainly because I had only one vSphere design under my belt, and I didn’t think it would be good enough. Working for VMware Professional Services as a Senior Consultant at the time gave me one HUGE advantage. I remember walking over to say hello to one of the engagement managers and she said “Oh by the way, we’ve got a design engagement for coming up which I’ve marked you for.”. It was then I decided that the effort I’d put into that design would have to exceed the customers expectations and deliver the quality the VCDX title demands.
I’m writing this blog post to help anyone that has the VCDX certification as a goal. Everyone has different reasons for wanting to achieve the title. For some it will help them with that next career move or promotion, whilst others simply see this as a personal accolade they wish to strive for. For me it was the latter but it soon became apparent, because I can’t keep quiet, that I put a lot on the line having told practically everyone in my team, people at VMworld, partners, and customers, that I was going to be defending in Barcelona. Suddenly Twitter was alive with my friends and colleagues wishing me luck. But what if I failed? After all this was my first attempt! To top it off, I have only just joined a new team at VMware so I felt that I needed to prove myself. [Read more…] about VCDX Preparation & Tips – Phase 1… Waking up
I must admit that I had very little time to prepare for this exam, but that said I do have a pretty good home lab environment with two good sized ESXi hosts, iSCSI storage, VLANs and most of the features deployed that are part of the exam blueprint for the VCAP5-DCA. Having previously done the VCAP4-DCA last year I expected much of the same this time around, but I was mistaken. Sure, many of the blueprint topics share common ground but this exam tests your experience with vSphere 5 and you are expected to perform many of the tasks with your eyes shut. Well, not literally although much of it needs to be second nature to you. [Read more…] about VCAP5-DCA Exam Passed, Experience and Thoughts