Name: Rene Van Den Bedem
Twitter Handle: @SandyCloudKSA
Blog URL: sandycloudksa.tumblr.com
Current Employer: Bank AlBilad, Riyadh, KSA
VCDX #: 133
How did you get into using VMware?
When I joined Bank AlBilad in 2009, we had a fledgling ESX 4.0 environment that was running some test workloads. Our Data Center was bursting at the seams with 200+ physical servers and the CIO agreed on the strategy to virtualise all physical workloads where possible, instead of expanding the Data Center and continuing down the physical server path. So someone had to own it and that person was me.
What made you decide to do the VCDX?
In 2012, I convinced the Bank that a major investment in vSphere training (ICM, VSOS, Design Workshop) was required since vSphere was a critical platform for delivering infrastructure services. During that training sequence, I decided to lead by example and took the VCP and VCAP-DCA/DCD exams. From there I figured, “Is the design I implemented at the Bank good enough for VCDX? Let me find out.” Little did I know the time and effort it would take to get there, but I am glad I did it.
How long did it take you to complete the whole VCDX journey?
vSphere Training started in September 2012, final VCAP exam in December 2012 -> 18 months to VCDX.
What advice would you give to people thinking of pursuing the VCDX accreditation?
Do it, but give yourself time to develop the skills necessary to succeed. If you want to evolve as an architect and be the best that you can be, DO IT. However, it is tougher for people who are non-native English speakers, use a fictitious design and have poor documentation skills. If you hate documentation, then VCDX may not be for you.
If you could do the whole VCDX journey again what would you do differently?
Yes, during my first attempt, the biggest mistake I made was to not join a study group of VCDX-level candidates. Join a study group to push yourself and convince a VCDX to mentor you. Otherwise your chances of success will diminish to zero.
Life after the VCDX? How did your company respond? Was it worth it?
Too soon to tell. But personally, it feels great. I have two years of blog posts that I have been saving up to distribute online.