My VCDX journey started back in 2006 when I was at IBM and saw a demo of vMotion. I was blown away with the technology and knew instantly that I wanted to learn as much as I could about VMware ESX. At the time I was a Windows & Novell SME (2X CNE) and was looking for a new path to pursue. Despite my day job being all about Windows & Novell migrations for the State of Texas migration project I was determined to re-brand myself as a VMware SME.
So I took the VMware 3.0 ICM class at New Horizons in Austin, TX using my own money since I couldn’t get my employer to pay for it. That would be my first and only formal VMware Class, a subject of a planned post on learning resources. From that point on, I sought out every VMware opportunity I could at work and slowly shifted my focus away from Novell. I taught several others how to do Novell migrations so I wouldn’t be the only person who know how to migrate Novell servers which allowed me to sneak away from Novell completely.
In my free time at home, I would read books, forum posts, documentation and fiddled in my home lab which consisted of two very loud dell 2650’s. So happy to now have a nested lab without all that hardware!
My job slowly but steadily revolved around VMware and virtualized solutions and my responsibilities shifted from Engineer type roles to Architect roles. My primary focus was on Data Center Migrations – How do I best get virtualized applications from a source to target datacenter in the minimum amount of time, with the least risk and with the smallest downtime window? Many times both the source and target environments were already designed and I had to come in after and find a solution that accommodated those constraints. Of course the best & most successful projects were the ones that took migration into consideration as part of the design since it opened up migration possibilities and gave me opportunities to influence & architect the designs.
My career and life were humming along then Boom! I got married and then I had a son. I made some big career and life changes shortly after my son was born; I left IBM (and goodbye to 60-80 hour work weeks!) and moved from Austin, TX to Ashland, OR. We moved for lifestyle reasons as we wanted to raise our son out of the fray where my wife grew up and also be blocks away from his grandparents. Ashland is a pretty special place and I’m proud to call it home now.
The choice was also a career shaping move—there are very few jobs in technology in the Rogue Valley and it would commit me to working remotely. I felt I needed to do something bold to distinguish and establish myself in the event I needed to go looking for work. And more importantly from most of the accounts I read, the process would require me to step up my game, knowledge and put me out of my comfort zone.
Enter the VCDX. I saw who were currently VCDX—I have their books on my shelves, on my kindle and I watch their classes on Pluralsight. I looked at the requirements (VCP, VCAP’s, Design Submission and Defense) and read about VCDX’s experiences. I Iiked that it wasn’t easy and that many indicated that it was a learning journey and that they had greatly benefited by enduring the process. News Flash! They are so right about all of it!
So that was it, I would now embark on what would ultimately become a successful VCDX defense. During the next 15 months, I focused what little of my free time I had on obtaining the VCDX. This was hard balance between my home life with my wife & two year old son and work. I would make the most of the time that I had. If I was on a plane or on a layover, I was reading, studying or writing. When I was on a work trip away from home and family, I would use my free time towards the VCDX.
Next up….My VCDX Journey – Part 2