How did you get into using VMware?
I have started my IT Career with IBM partners specializing in System X(IBM x86 Servers) & Storage. As Virtualization was a part of most other platforms in IBM (Main frames, iSeries, pSeries), I felt it was finally the chance to join the Virtualization boat when VMware came with Virtualization that run on System X. It was like bringing equality to the System X team (Wohoo we finally got VIrtualization too!) . I have started working on VMware since ESX 2.5 building POCs for customers. When ESX 3.5 came out resources were scarce, so more Virtualization projects start being put on my plate by day. The magical features of VMware Virtual Infrastructure at that time, & the response of customers made me feel as its the technology of the future and was glad I joined the boat of Virtualization back then.
What made you decide to do the VCDX?
I always was a certification junky, but after a while I got tired of attempting multiple choices certifications where the value of them were quickly diluted. When the VMware Administration & Design exams came out, I thought that should be a challenge that can be worth a while in a field that is invading the technology world at that time. Then when VCDX came out, it seemed like a very unique certificate in the market where you really have to proof your knowledge/skills in the front of the experts before obtaining your magical number, & here the journey started. Glad I was up to the challenge at the end of the Journey.
How long did it take you to complete the whole VCDX journey?
Almost 3 years, as I started on VI3 where I got to the stage of my design being accepted for the last VI3 defense, but was not able to attend due to travel constraints(Getting Visa on time as well cost). Afterward, I have upgraded my design & certification to vSphere 4 and waited to get a VCDX defense in a close proximity where my employer was ready to sponsor the cost. Its important to note though things are much easier from logistics perspective with VCDX4/5 as you can do the VCAP exams at any local Prometric Testing Center, where it was only available at particular times and in few centers around the world for the VCDX3 with none being near me at that time.
What advice would you give to people thinking of pursuing the VCDX accreditation?
If you are passionate about Virtualization & VMware in particular, then VCDX is the journey you are looking for. There is currently no other Virtualization certification in the market that get even close to VCDX. VCDX is not the easiest certificate to obtain, but its well worth the challenge so get your act in place and enjoy the ride. The knowledge gain of the journey itself is as valuable as the certificate itself. My biggest advice would be to plan well ahead. Make sure you have enough time for the full journey where you have enough time for each part of the journey with the least amount of time pressure possible. Time shortage pressure trying to achieve your VCDX before the last defense will never be on your side and can raise your frustration & stress. Save yourself from being burned out during the VCDX trip and plan a head. By the way there is no better time to start your VCDX 5 journey than now, as there is still plenty of time and many defense opportunities left out. At last make sure you get advantage of other VCDXs in the community and blog sphere who share their VCDX trip experience and great tips all over the web. Wish everyone good luck on their VCDX event! Never give up!
If you could do the whole VCDX journey again what would you do differently?
I would probably delayed the start of my journey to the VCDX4, as I did not plan enough time to be able to manage all the logistics to attend the VCDX3 defense on time. I believe many others have fallen for the same trap as well.
Life after the VCDX? How did your company respond? Was it worth it
Was it worth it? 100%. The joy of obtaining my magical number after a long challenge was well worth it. The knowledge I have obtained during my VCDX trip is influencing my design decisions on daily basis, as well ensure I look into more details than I ever did before.
As far how my company responded, obtaining VCDX was greatly greeted by VMware as the first response go, as I got nice congrating e-mails from the management as well my colleagues. Further, VCDX seems to get much more attention lately in VMware & seems more events and awareness will be surrounding the VCDX certification and it feel great just being a part of it. I hope I will be on the second part of the fence one day as a VCDX panelist. I had the VCDX as one of my career goals for the year, so I am hoping for a nice pay rise too!