I was trying to think of a title for this blog post, numerous thoughts crossed my mind, VCDX Boot Camp, VCDX Mentoring and VCDX Frimley. However ‘VCDX Paying It Forward’ seemed the most appropriate.
Yesterday I attending the VCDX Boot Camp, ran by John Arrasjid @vcdx001 and Mostafa Khalil @MostafaVMW at VMware Frimley
It was clear as soon as I heard John speak, that he is articulate, passionate and dedicated to enabling the VCDX programme. The boot camp for those that don’t know is free, ran at the cost of VMware to enhance the potential success rate of candidates embarking on the elite certification.
of the 15 candidates who attempted VCDX, the 9 who attended the VCDX boot camp passed first time
John went onto explain why VMware runs the boot camps for free
pay back for VMware is having architects who can understand business needs and meet there requirements, creating infrastructures that need less support and enhance VMware product placement and sales
VCDX Mentoring Programme
On the 1st April 2014, VMware launched the VCDX Mentoring Programme. This is designed to help candidates by aligning a current VCDX to be a mentor throughout the process. John went on to mention that this is being undertaken by a limited number of current VCDX who are giving up their own personal time to help so priority will be given to candidates who are further along the process.
To find out more details contact @vcdx001
These are in no particular order, but I hope they help anyone who is embarking on the journey.
- VCDX is about finding the minimally qualified candidate
- If your application is accepted to defend, then you have a chance of passing VCDX
- Applications are given a higher or lower weighting
- Each question is an opportunity to score points, increasing or decreasing your overall score
- Questions are asked to clarify knowledge and understanding of an area
- Improve your week areas, understand all aspects of the design and be clear on solution areas – no ambiguity
- If you have a really detailed physical design, show this from a birds eye view. Have other diagrams that zoom/focus in on key areas
- When troubleshooting, ask general questions about storage, networking, compute and then dive down deeper based on answers given
- Respect time constraints, keep answers clear and to the point
- The minimum architecture design is around 150-200 pages, however quality not quantity matters
- Business requirements drive the design. Which must be suited for business critical applications in a managed environment
- VCDX designs are reviewed twice, once on application and then again before the defense. The original reviewer might not be the panelist
- VCDX candidates show mastery of implementation guidance, risk identification and mitigation and are complete, clear and concise.
- In the VCDX design scenario defense you can ask the panelist to look up server make/model if you are unsure of what they are
- In the VCDX troubleshooting defense you can ask the panelist to be the calculator for you (let them do the math!)
- In the VCDX troubleshooting defense you can ask the panelist to reboot an ESXi Host and they can tell you the results
- In the VCDX design scenario defense use the whiteboard to sketch ideas and make notes
- In the VCDX design scenario defense ask the question ‘what are your priorities’ to understand which requirements are the most important
- Don’t assume all information is correct in design scenarios, check and validate the data
- When troubleshooting, think about your back out plan if something goes wrong
VCDX Design Process
The boot camp is used to explain the process of the overall design process which can be summarised as:
- Design Process Inputs
- Interviews with stakeholders
- Capacity Planner
- Security & Compliance investigation
- Out of scope
- Design Considerations
- Diagrams Tables
An example of a VCDX design can be found in vCloud Architecture Toolkit vCAT 2.0. Examples are shown at the bottom of the page, look for Private VMware vCloud, Public VMware vCloud and Hybird VMware vCloud
Apart from understanding the VCDX process, it was great to meet up with so many individuals who had traveled from around Europe to attend the boot camp. We have a strong community who are willing to give up their own time to help others. If you are thinking about or are starting on the VCDX journey I strongly recommend you follow these individuals blogs or Twitter stream: