Book Review – VCDX Boot Camp from VMware Press
If you working on your VCDX design or thinking about taking a shot at it, you will want to consider reading VCDX Boot Camp from VMware Press. This is a short focused book that gives to a little bit of a look at the process leading up to and on the day of your design defense.
The whole VCDX certification and process is still a bit of a mystery to many. VMware has been working harder lately to promote the VCDX certification and have additional opportunities for candidates to attempt the defense process. In the past there were only a few blog posts and limited details in the VMware forums about the program. This has grown over the last year as more people have earned the VCDX cert.
VMware has been holding VCDX sessions and mock defenses at VMworld, PEX, VMUGs and even one online via the vBrownBag podcast. These sessions are hosted by several VCDXs from VMware that look to educate the community on the process and increase their chances to passing. This does not mean they are going to teach you how to architect VMware solutions or tell you exactly what you need to know. They are there to help you understand the outline of the defense process and provide some guidance on the design submission process.
Now onto the book review:
The book is just over 100 pages and is focused into two sections. (Preparation & Design and Defense) These sections provide information to help guide you through your VCDX journey.
This part of the book is focused on helping you prepare for both your design, VCDX application and Defense panel. Once you have decided to work towards the VCDX cert documenting your design is your first big step. To help you with direction on your design VMware publishes a Blueprint that lays out details that you need to consider in your design. In the book the authors talk about methodology, what makes a good design and ways to cover the different types of designs.
Once you have your design you will need to complete the VCDX application to submit. This is a request to have your design reviewed by VMware to see if the design you submitted is of a high enough level that you have a fair chance at defending the design.
The last part of the preparation would be preparing for the defense panel. So depending on what you do for a living each day, others are more prepared for this type of thing. Whether you are an Architect, Consultant or Engineer this information will be helpful. Because you make talk to customers each day, but the people sitting on your panel are going to ask you questions you might never hear come out of a customers mouth. So they talk about holding mock defense panels with your peers and other methods.
This part of the book takes up at least the 2nd half of the book. The authors talk about what you might be able to expect during the three different sessions that make up a VCDX defense. You’re not going to get the secret handshake, but you can expect some helpful tips that you will need to consider when preparing for your panel.
I recently attempted to defend my VCDX design submission in Sydney in April 2013 and was not successful. I did have an advanced copy of this book that I was able to review. It was helpful in preparing me for my defense day. In looking back the reason I did not pass had nothing to do with being prepared on what to expect that day. It was not being able to communicate to the panel in a concise manor on a few topics. I continue to prepare for my next attempt and hope to have better luck the next time around.
Full disclosure: I did purchase an advanced Rough Cut copy of this book. But I was also sent a free copy to review after my defense was done. I will be looking for an opportunity to pass my copy onto someone else on their VCDX journey in the near future.
About Brian Suhr
Brian is a VCDX5-DCV and a Sr. Tech Marketing Engineer at Nutanix and owner of this website. He is active in the VMware community and helps lead the Chicago VMUG group. Specializing in VDI and Cloud project designs. Awarded VMware vExpert status 6 years for 2016 - 2011. VCP3, VCP5, VCP5-Iaas, VCP-Cloud, VCAP-DTD, VCAP5-DCD, VCAP5-DCA, VCA-DT, VCP5-DT, Cisco UCS Design