Twas the night before my VCDX defense panel

Like many others my journey towards earning the VCDX certification has been a long one. I thought a short write up on the final phase was in order. These are some of the things that I did in the last day before to help me prepare technically, mentally and physically for what awaited me.

 

The night before the defense

This was my second try at the VCDX defense so I was a lot more comfortable with what would be taking place the next morning. But to work on improving my chances and confidence I wanted to make sure that there were no surprises. So the evening before I wanted to make a dry run on getting to the defense location. This was not a big deal because I was able to book a hotel room in the same location as my panel. But still, I did not want there to be any confusion. So I took the long journey down from the 30th floor to the 2nd floor of the hotel where the defense panel would be hosted.

vcdx sign copy

 

The location was easy to find with these posters letting everyone know what was going to take place here the next day. That lead me to the meeting room that I would defend in. I had the room name from my invite but the name did not strike me until I saw it in person. Olympic was the room name, at the time I felt like there would be an Olympic session happening behind those doors in less than 24 hours.

 

room name copy

 

After doing a dry run on finding my way to the meeting location I would need some food and then back to final preparations. So I found a local burger place and grabbed some food. There would be no food eaten that would make me sick or affect my performance in any way. Then it was back to the hotel room to continue preparing for tomorrow. The image below shows what I was facing for the evening. At this point I was just hours from my panel was not going to be learning anything I did not know already. But I needed to revisit some important topics and be sure that I was familiar with all the little parts of my design.

I will need to make sure I remember why I made decisions for or against certain methods or technologies. I should be able to intelligently talk about all options and understand the customer project and the constraints, risks, requirements and assumptions related to this project. Make sure I don’t get confused with other customer projects and then the most important part. GET A GOOD NIGHTS SLEEP!!

photo copy

 

Then the email arrives

If you have ever waited on good or bad news to arrive via email in the past you have some idea of what the feeling is like. You wait for the email to arrive then there is anxiety about opening the email to find out the results. Well in my case I was saved this anxiety. Turns out that I elected to sleep in the day after my defense and traveling back home made me exhausted. So to recover and start off the holiday weekend I grabbed some extra sleep. Little did I know that Mark and the VCDX team kicked butt and got the results out right away to everyone.

After awaking and looking at my phone, the home screen was filled with missed calls and texts congratulating me. Still being a bit confused I raced to my work email and checked, sure enough there was an email from Mark Brunstad. Could this be real and so fast? I opened up the email and then the attachment which the top portion is shown below. I had passed and was now awarded the VCDX certification, after some loud cheering and announcing to the family I was a bit in shock.

vcdx letter

 

Can’t say thanks enough

There a bunch of people that I need to thank for helping me at some point during this journey. But most of all my family and co-workers for supporting and helping with this goal.

 

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

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Book Review – VCDX Boot Camp from VMware Press

VCDX-Bootcamp 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.

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

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Swing and a miss my first VCDX defense failure

I was not sure if I would write up anything about failing to pass my first VCDX defense panel, but since you don’t hear much about misses. I wanted to let people know that it happens more than you think. Anyway these are some of the things that I encountered in my journey.

Location:

In effort to not waste any opportunities I applied and was accepted to defend my panel in Sydney. I did not want to waste any opportunities since there are a limited number of chances each year to defend your VCDX. This is a major goal for me in my job and a personal one to achieve VCDX certification. So I wanted to allow myself another opportunity this year in case I did not pass on this attempt.

Since I live in the US the travel to Sydney would take up a lot of time. It was 20+ hours of travel each way and a 15 hour time difference. I found that this did add extra stress to the already stressful process and I would definitely need to look at the options before making the same decision. I do not travel much and never internationally so many things were new and added to the anxiety that I was already feeling about standing in front of VMware experts to explain my decisions.

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

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New VMware certifications announced at VMworld 2012

As part of all the new product announcements at VMworld 2012 in San Francisco VMware has quietly released a few new certifications.I am pretty excited about some of these new certs and question one of them. But this clearly is showing that being an expert in all of these areas is going to be a very hard task as VMware continues to expand their product offerings and certifications. Just trying to take all these tests will be a serious undertaking.

The first change is the VCP that everyone has known for years is now renamed as VCP-DV for datacenter virtualization.

Cloud

To go along with the recently announced VCP-IaaS cert that VMware announced this summer is the new VCP-Cloud. This seems to be a step about the VCP-IaaS cert, but also seems very redundant in content. Would like to see more clarity from VMware on what the real difference is between the two.

Next up is VCAP-CID (Cloud Infrastructure Design) is the latest in the series of advanced certifications. This one will focus on the design of the various parts that make up a vCloud design.

Desktop

The newest cert in the desktop track is the VCAP-DTD (Desktop Design) and it focuses on the architecture and design functions around a virtual desktop environment.

VMware Certification Roadmap

You can see from the image below that VMware is working on expanding the 3 levels of certification to their 3 main tracks, datacenter, cloud and desktops. There will be specialty certs at all levels in these tracks someday soon.

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

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VMware VCP 5 study guide book review

I was contacted by Brian Atkinson to review his new VCP 5 study guide book from Sybex. They sent me a copy that I plan on giving away in some fashion now that I’ve examined the book. I was never a big fan of books focused just on helping you pass an exam. I tend to come from the school of work hard gain the knowledge through actual hands on experience and pass the test. I was surprised by the in depth content that Brian put into this book, its not an exam cram type book.

The study guide is 700+ pages of VMware content that would be very useful to admins even if you are not studying for the VCP. It covers a huge amount of topics from installs to setting networking and store. These chapters are not small high level ones, they really go into a good amount of info and spell out the details for you.

Each of the chapters has questions at the end to help you review the information that you just gained. This seems like a decent approach to learning tech info. Overall I would say that the book is worth the price to anyone studying for the exam and it is currently selling for around $30 on Amazon.

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

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The VMware VCAP-DCD Design Exam blueprint guide now available

The second of the new VMware VCAP exam blueprint’s is now available. This latest one covers the VCAP-DCD exam which is a Design related exam that is more theory based material. You can see a short description of the exam below.

The VCAP-DCD is directed toward IT Architects and Consulting Architects who are capable of designing VMware solutions in a multi-site, large enterprise environment.  They have a deep understanding both of VMware core components and their relation to storage and networking, and also of datacenter design methodologies. They also possess knowledge of applications and physical infrastructure, as well as their relationship to the virtual infrastructure.

VCAP-DCD exam blue print

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

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