Name: Chris Fendya
Twitter Handle: @ChrisFendya
Current Employer: World Wide Technology www.wwt.com
VCDX #: 96
How did you get into using VMware?
I first started using VMware back in the GSX days when researching a way to save data center space for a global supplier to energy products I worked for. I remember hearing about this “vMotion” thing which pushed me to look into ESX. I built a small environment, staged the scenario, issued the vMotion command, and was hooked. I will never forget that moment and what followed by relaying the good news to our CIO. He promptly challenged me on what I just described to him. The demo date was set, I again built the scenario, and in a small conference room showed our CIO the power of vMotion. He just smiled and said “Continue forward and get this stuff in our data center!”. I haven’t stopped with VMware since that day and that was over eight years ago. It’s been an amazing adventure seeing VMware grow and watching the changes and impact it has made to all our lives and how we work.
What made you decide to do the VCDX?
I was challenged by an old boss to go after it a couple of years ago back when it was in its infancy. I began reading up on what all was required, the process, and reading others blog about their experience of the journey. Saying I was intimidated is an underestimate but the funny thing was I was inspired and challenged all at the same time.
How long did it take you to complete the whole VCDX journey?
My journey lasted a couple years. I did not pass my first defense. That first defense was an eye opening experience for me and drove me to go after it a second time. When I received notice I failed after my second defense, I had a range of emotions and for a long time decided the certification wasn’t for me. When VMware announced a final defense for VCDX4 at VMworld 2012, I had many within the community contact me and encourage me to give it another attempt. Had it not been for them, I don’t believe I would be writing this right now ;)
What advice would you give to people thinking of pursuing the VCDX accreditation?
Take their time! It’s not a race to get the certification. Learn all you can about every aspect of an entire solution. Where the certification is obviously centered around VMware, it will challenge you on every aspect of a design and a total solution (Networking, Storage, Compute, Business impact, etc) and how each and every one of those relate to VMware and the end design. I found I was questioned on things I never thought of during my preparation and honestly, sometimes things I didn’t know. The panel isn’t there to make you look dumb or prove that they are smarter than you. They will help you through it as much as they can, so as much as it’s about challenging you on what you know, it’s also about your thought process and how you approach a problem and work through it.
If you could do the whole VCDX journey again what would you do differently?
I believe things happen for a reason so to say I would do it differently or have it happen differently…No. I obviously would’ve loved to pass on the first or even second try but not doing so had it’s own rewards ;)
Life after the VCDX? How did your company respond? Was it worth it?
I work for a pretty amazing company! Throughout the entire process they embraced my journey, encouraged me along the way, and in the end were extremely proud when I shared the good news. They wrote this blog article to celebrate the news which I was honored to have done.
I get the “Was it worth it” question a lot. Mostly from customers who have heard of the certification and want to know about it and my journey but also from others in the community. I always respond ABSOLUTELY! I learned an immense amount about designing solutions and myself as an individual. In addition and probably most important, I became a better Architect, Engineer, and Consultant. The people I met and interacted with throughout the entire process has been amazing… Many of those who I know will be a part of my career for a very long time!