Name: Michael Webster
Twitter Handle: @vcdxnz001
Blog URL: https://longwhiteclouds.com
Current Employer : I own IT Solutions 2000 Ltd
VCDX #: 66
How did you get into using VMware?
In 1998 I started with the first early versions of VMware workstation on Linux while I was working at a large ISP. This allowed me some great options for supporting customers on multiple OS’s without having multiple machines. I started using ESX in 2002, and even with the very early versions could see the potential.
What made you decide to do the VCDX?
I wanted to achieve VCDX as a competitive differentiator from other consultants and consulting businesses and I wanted to prove to myself that I could be one of the best in the world at what I do. I also wanted to prove to VMware that I was a serious partner.
How long did it take you to complete the whole VCDX journey?
At least 10 years, if you include the work experience that leads up to it. I think the previous work experience I had was one of the factors that helped me be successful the first time through. If you’re just interested in the certificate path it took about 12 months in total from the time I passed VCP4, VCAP4-DCD, VCAP4-DCA and VCDX defence. Most of the time was spent waiting for the exams to become available.
What advice would you give to people thinking of pursuing the VCDX accreditation?
Read the blueprints and application documents very carefully and do exactly what they say. Re-read them multiple times and make sure you cover everything. Make sure you know your design inside and out like the back of your hand. Be prepared to answer any questions on any aspect of it. Make sure you know where you made mistakes and can point them out and make sure you know where you deviated from best practices and why. Read all of the blog posts from the other VCDX’s about their journey and the tips that they give. Everything you need to know to be successful in VCDX is already publically available if you’re ready. Be prepared to invest hundreds of hours and a significant amount of money (yours or your companies). Do a mock defence with people that can ask pointed questions as a customer would so you have to explain and justify everything. Make sure you are comfortable presenting and can think and design and troubleshoot on your feet.
If you could do the whole VCDX journey again what would you do differently?
I don’t think I’d change anything.
Life after the VCDX? How did your company respond? Was it worth it?
Regardless of how my company and customers responded the process was definitely worth it. I loved the process and I learned a lot from it. Even if I wasn’t successful at the defence it would still have been worth it, just for the learning experience alone.
It has opened a lot more doors since I achieved VCDX and I have had the opportunity to work on a few more exciting projects that I may not have had otherwise. Some customers are specifying a requirement for VCDX in their RFP’s. So being one of such a small group really is worth it.
I get the opportunity to contact and work with quite a few other VCDX’s and this is very valuable, as everyone has different experience and there is always opportunities to learn more.
One thing that I constantly have running through my mind is “With great power comes great responsibility.” I think with having achieved VCDX people pay a lot more attention to what I say and do and I have to be a good role model. The number of followers and connections I have has certainly increased a lot. So there can be a lot greater consequences for what I say in public and I try to be mindful of that. But it’s not going to stop me speaking my mind. But I do consider the impact a lot more before I take a position on something.
But everybody is human, even VCDX’s. We can’t know everything, but we do try and know what we don’t know, and if we don’t know something say so. Integrity is of the utmost importance.
This is always nice also: