I wanted to make a public shout out to all the folks that contributed to my success by providing great resources for learning VMware and pursuing the VCDX. Thank you all–I wish I could host you all for a VCDX keg party and thank you in person. And there’s so many more people and resources out there besides the ones I listed that make this community so valuable.
Jason Nash – VCAP-DCA Optimize and Scale class
Chris Wahl – CCNA Datacenter classes
David Davis – Misc VMware classes
Scott Lowe – VMware Design Class Continue reading
After a year of prepping and taking VCAPs and preparing & submitting it now came down to 3 hours in a conference room at VMware HQ in Palo Alto.
Presentation for the Defense
You are expected to come prepared with a USB stick with a presentation to highlight the salient points of your design and the critical factors that influenced your decision making – all packed into 15 minutes. I ended up with about 16 slides for the presentation and 50 or so “reference” slides. The reference slides there to help you answer questions from the panelists and it saves you time from having to whiteboard. Continue reading
I passed my VCAP-DCA in late November right and dove right into the VCDX Design submission. Prior to this I combed through all VCDX defense tips and experiences I could find. I also had read John Arrasjid’s and Ben Lin’s Book:
VCDX Boot Camp: Preparing for the VCDX Panel Defense
From all of the experience and tips I read the most important ones for me were:
Follow the Blueprint – I have read this time and time again but it is so very true. In the end, I created an outline based mostly off the blueprint to layer my design into – a Framework that covered all the points in the blueprint.
Map your Business Requirements to the Conceptual, Logical and Physical Designs – A big part of the design and the “VCDX way” is demonstrating how your design meets the business requirements of your customer. Continue reading
With the VCAP-DCD down, the next challenge was the VCAP-DCA. I didn’t take a break between the two exams. While I was preparing for the VCAP-DCD, I was also prepping for the DCA. I usually have multiple irons in the fire when I’m learning new things. I find that I need a little variety and don’t like to focus on just one thing. Fortunately, at the time I was studying for the DCA, I was also in the middle of a hands-on engagement building two VMware/UCS Data Centers.
Since the VCAP-DCA is a hands-on lab exam, I needed to resurrect my lab. I had a lab using 3 Mac Minis and a Synology NAS which I used prior to me moving from Austin, TX to Ashland, Oregon. I ended up selling this lab as part of the move so now I was starting from scratch.
I choose to build a self-contained lab using a Dell T110 II (Quad Core with HT & 32GB RAM) and I installed ESXi 5.5 bare metal on it and then nested an ESXi Environment within it. I loaded the Dell up with some SSD’s and ran a FreeNAS VM to control and carve up my storage. I choose this setup for few reasons: Continue reading
Previous Post: My VCDX Journey Part I
Already having my VCP, the next step on the journey was the VCAP Exams. I chose the Design exam (VCAP5-DCD) first since it more aligned to what I do on a day to day basis. I’m an architect first and foremost and while I can do hands-on, I don’t do it as often as I would like. Some engagements I do hands-on, but most of them I am in a consulting and design role.
I studied off and on for about two months prior to taking the exam. It wasn’t intense study and was done mostly when I was traveling to client sites. I mostly re-read books and did some Pluralsight classes. I found these books especially helpful to review–I have read and re-read these and refer to them often.
2nd Edition – Forbes Guthrie & Scott Lowe
A really good design book on the “VMware Way” which was also helpful later in the VCDX design for knowing what should be included in Conceptual, Physical and Logical designs.
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. Continue reading