The road to VCDX, Part 5: Waiting, waiting..

It has been a while since the last post around my Road to VCDX-DTM. After the last post, the waiting began. Waiting for that email that says “Please come over to Palo Alto and defend the phonebook-sized-pile of stuff you sent in”. And so it happened..

But let’s begin with what happened after the submission. I flew to Las Vegas to attend VMworld in the US. As soon as I arrived in the hotel, I opened up my laptop and discovered that there was an email from the VCDX program already! Could it be that fast? Unfortunately not. Apparently one of the two zipfiles that contained the complete set of documentation couldn’t be opened. So I sent the complete thing again. And this time with succes. My advice: use a proper compression tool to compress your set of documents.

But back to VMworld. One of the great things of VMworld is that a lot of VCDX’s were there (including some of the 13 VCDX-DTM’s worldwide). Some of them I already knew, but most of them I didn’t. Most of those guys I talked to were really helpful and gave me great advice. Most of them offered mock-defences and mentoring and that shows again how great the VMware community actually is. I also visited the education booth to meet Karl Childs and asked him some more around the defense and timelines and stuff. A real friendly guy!

After VMworld I took a couple of weeks off (of VCDX-related stuff) because as you may have read in the blog series, becoming VCDX has a low WAF.

Since the last 2 weeks I have been working on my presentation for the defense. Just in case I would be invited. The defense itself consists out of 2 parts:

  • Defending the submitted design
  • A design scenario

The presentation that I was working on is used for the first part of the actual defense. There are 2 sort-of methods of creating slide decks. The first is to only create a set of main slides (around 20). If topics get questioned that aren’t covered (deep enough) in the slides, you hit the white board.
The other way is to also create appendix slides that cover most topics in quite a detailed way. If the panel question a topic that isn’t covered (deep enough) in the main slides, you dive a level deeper in the appendix slides. An example could be capacity sizing. In the major deck you show the outcome of the capacity sizing. In appendix slides, you could also cover the calculations made to come to that sizing. To get a good idea of what a slide deck could look like and for other great tips and tricks I would recommend reading: IT Architect: Foundation in the Art of Infrastructure Design by John Arrasjid, Mark Gabryjelski and Chris McCain. You can find it on LuLu.

I decided to go for the main slides with appendix slides. Just based on a gut feeling. If I don’t have to use the appendix slides, it’s ok. But when only having main slides and in need for more detail in you design without having it top-of-mind could be a challenge.

In the meantime, I went to VMworld for the second time this year (lucky me). And if this week wasn’t awesome already, it became epic when I finally received an email from the VCDX program:

VCDX application

That confirmation basically did two things. The first and far most important: It gave me the ability to actually defend the thing that I have been working on for the past year. I don’t think I have ever had a goal in which I have put more energy in or worked that hard for than this. And now it may be heading to a climax. And that is a nice  bridge to the second thing. It made me nervous as hell. And I don’t see that as a bad thing. Because being nervous keeps you sharp and focussed (in my case at least).

At this moment I am still working on the slides and preparing for a couple of mock defenses that are planned in the next couple of weeks. And after that I will be traveling to Palo Alto for the (hopefully) final stage in my road in becoming VCDX-DTM.
More to follow soon..

Continu reading: Part 6: Judgement Day

Johan van Amersfoort