VMworld 2014 Roundup: Day 0

The One About Number One

Number one, as in @vcdx001, John Arrasjid. Next up I’m heading to the VCDX Boot Camp, which John has put together for those pursuing or interested in pursuing VCDX. I’ll let you know how it was in the next paragraph. The VCDX Boot Camp was led by John Arrasjid, and supported by a cadre of additional VCDX’rs. A quick roll call and thank you to each:

  • John Arrasjid, VCDX #1
  • Mostafa Khalil, VCDX #2
  • Ben Lin, VCDX #45
  • Chris McCain, VCDX #79
  • Nate Raper, VCDX #85
  • Matt Vandenbeld, VCDX #107

The class was treated to some insight into the Network Virtualization (NV) track, which is now in progress. The VCDX-NV holders that were announced recently can be thought of as having gone through the “beta” of the VCDX part of the track. The final version of the track, including certifications, blueprint and course and exam requirements, are being worked on before being open up to the public and VMware will be releasing information about that. Some this week, some later. We then went through the boot camp curriculum which consisted essentially of discussion about the three sections of the defense, including discussion on do’s and don’t’s to optimize your time and maximize your opportunities to earn more points towards your assessment score. Some of seemed like common sense, however we were assured that many of the tips came from real world scenarios. For the “on the spot” design and the troubleshooting sections of the defense, the class went through some examples, again taken from real world defenses, with class members proposing questions they’d ask in support of the process and the VCDX’s providing high level feedback and guiding the class to more do’s and don’t’s. You can see the slide deck for yourself, including these examples on VMware’s VCDX site. All told I took 10 pages of notes. Enough to consider a dedicated post at a later time. In the interest of wrapping this up (this is supposed to be a summary, after all), here are a few key takeaways I ended up with:

  • The VCDX designation is beginning to be recognized within the industry as being about more than “product” architecture.
  • Once you’ve achieved a VCDX designation, there are a reduced quantity requirements to submit for and earn another VCDX. Quality become even more important however!
  • Your design needs to be focused on business requirements. In fact, say that with me three times: Business requirements, business requirements, business requirements.
  • If you don’t cover all areas in the blueprint, you’ll have a much tougher time passing.
  • Manage your time. Prepare your slide deck so you have references to answer questions with. Answer questions succinctly (ex. if it’s a yes/no question, answer “yes” or “no”). Think out loud as you work through challenges. Use the white board!
  • Completely fictional designs are going to be difficult to defend, however filling gaps in your design with fictional content is likely okay. At the end of the day, you have to believe in and truly understand your design.
  • Design partnership and teams, as well as study groups, are a very useful structure and approach for improving your design and defense. If others helped, make sure to give full credit in the design, and know that you still have to know all the components, even if you weren’t chief contributor to them.
  • Most important of all: You can earn a VCDX if you put your mind and will into it. This wasn’t so much said during the class as it was something I felt underpinned nearly the whole session.

The bootcamp has reconfirmed for me that the VCDX is a journey I’m very interested in. Post-VMworld I’ll be sitting down to draw out a plan to tackle the VCAPs and start paving the VCDX path.

The One About Community

Later this evening is the VMworld Community Kick-off, a “bring your own wallet” event arranged by the VMTN Community and Social Media team. Again, stay tuned to the next paragraph. I managed to stop in for a few minutes at Julian’s, where the meet-up was held. There were a few dozen folks milling about, enjoying some beverages and camaraderie. I ran into the Edmonton VMUG leadership team, and saw not a few familiar faces from the community. At this point, however I’d been up for far too long and on my feet for most of that, so I called it a night. After all, first thing tomorrow I’ll be joining the 5K Fun Run and need to give my dogs a rest.

The One About The Many

So that’s that. Saturday’s done. Accomplishment unlocked. Jumped the sha… well let’s hope we haven’t hit that just yet. Keep it locked to this channel for more daily Roundups throughout the week. And if you bump into me out and about, stop and say hi. I promise I’m just as introverted as the next nerd, so let’s just agree to break the ice awkwardly together.

Dee Abson

Dee Abson is a technical architect from Alberta, Canada. He's been working in the field of technology for over 20 years and specializes in server and virtualization infrastructure. Working with VMware products since ESX 2, he holds several VMware certifications. He was awarded VMware vExpert for 2014-2020. You can find him on Twitter.

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