Tag Archives: vcdx

My VCDX Journey – Part 3 – VCAP-DCA

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.

The Lab

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

My VCDX Journey – Part 2 – VCAP-DCD


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.

VMware vSphere Design 2nd EditionForbes 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.

Networking for VMware AdministratorsChris Wahl and Steve Pantol
Must read for any VMware Engineer or Architect. Very useful on knowing functions of all the different ways of setting up and configuring vSphere Networking. I also used for reference in my VCDX design.
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My VCDX Journey – Part 1 – Motivations


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