Name: Nick Bowie
Twitter Handle: @nickbowienz
Current Employer: ViFX Ltd.
VCDX #: 202
How did you get into using VMware?
I’d had exposure back in the earlier days with GSX and ESX Server through David Manconi (@dmanconi), when we worked together previously. I remember he was pretty excited about it, so I figured there must be something to it ;) But I didn’t really have the opportunity to pursue it professionally until late 2009 when I became involved in a large data centre migration project which included establishing an SRM enabled ESXi 3.5 infrastructure.
What made you decide to do the VCDX?
I had heard about it through my go-to places like Yellow-Bricks, as I tried to soak up as much as I could about virtualisation. It wasn’t until I was fortunate enough to spend some time with Michael Webster (@vcdxnz001), who had just achieved his and, later in 2011, Travis Wood (@vTravWood) who was so excited to be pursuing it that I started to understand the level it represented. When I joined ViFX I realised the calibre of people I was fortunate enough to be working with and felt I really needed to lift my game.
How long did it take you to complete the whole VCDX journey?
It’s been such a gradual, incremental process it’s hard to pinpoint exactly when it started in earnest. If I measure from obtaining the VCP5-DCV in September 2012, it took almost three years. It became a realistic goal after joining ViFX in August 2013 though.
What advice would you give to people thinking of pursuing the VCDX accreditation?
It’s not a race :) Each qualifying exam (VCP, VCAP DCA/DCD) are challenging in their own rights. Focus on the immediate, realistic goals and you’ll find your capabilities grow significantly through those achievements. When you’re at the point where you can submit the design: read the blueprint. Everyone says that, and I must admit I’d get a little frustrated at hearing it so often, but it’s true. Read it, understand it as best you can and make sure you touch on all the points.
If you could do the whole VCDX journey again what would you do differently?
I’m not sure I would do it too differently. The design I based it on was light on some components of the blueprint requirements, due to certain constraints and challenges, which meant some extra work was required on my own time. While working on that project I completed a few others in between that were more “blueprint-friendly”, in BC/DR and vBCA Oracle based engagements, but this was the one I had invested myself into with the goal in mind so I was determined to use it all the way through.
Life after the VCDX? How did your company respond? Was it worth it?
It’s only been a week, so it’s early days yet ;) ViFX are extremely proud to have the 2nd VCDX in New Zealand, and the only one in the VMware partner space. We definitely have more VCDX’s in progress – watch this space!