Name: Rick Scherer
Twitter Handle: @rick_vmwaretips
Blog URL: http://www.vmwaretips.com
Current Employer: EMC
VCDX #: 21
How did you get into using VMware?
I first heard of and started using VMware Workstation in late 1999. I was a UNIX Administrator that was forced to live in a corporate Windows world. Workstation allowed me to have the best of both worlds. After thorough use and testing of the GSX and ESX products, by 2003 I was able to convince my (then employers) management that virtualization was a must for our datacenter. The rest is history.
What made you decide to do the VCDX?
Since day one I’ve been convinced that virtualization was a huge benefit for organizations large and small. Obtaining my first VCP (VCP2 #7315) in 2006 I’ve been following the work of the education team closely. When I was invited to be a beta participant in the then newly created VCDX program I saw it as an opportunity to validate my dedication, knowledge and experience. By making a candidate jump through as many hurdles that the VCDX program has, it really shows that VMware users are dedicated to the cause. This is a great way to give VMware additional validation to the industry.
How long did it take you to complete the whole VCDX journey?
From start to finish, an extremely long year, it was extremely rewarding being part of the beta program process though. Being able to assist in the shaping of the program, how the Design and Administration exams were written was really fun.
What advice would you give to people thinking of pursuing the VCDX accreditation?
Know your stuff, inside and out. The VCDX is really a mixture of everything, knowing not only how to fully design and architect a virtualized infrastructure (not only from a VMware perspective but the associated compute, network and storage), but also how to implement that design, manage that design, upgrade that design and operate that design.
Get as much hands on as possible. Learn as much as possible about how compute, network and storage relate to virtualization. Learn how applications relate to virtual machines. Know your design. That’s probably the most important thing, for your defense do not design your dream architecture, keep it simple and keep it to something you’ve done before. Know it inside and out, know what failed and how you fixed it. Don’t say you designed a specific thing to meet Best Practices, know why it’s the best practice.
Also, if you’re married… get your spouse’s buy-in on the journey as well. You’re going to spend a lot of time away from them while you’re on the journey and you’ll need more support than you’ve ever needed before.
If you could do the whole VCDX journey again what would you do differently?
No regrets, I loved every single part of the process. I wish I didn’t rush through it as fast as I possibly did, but I was so excited to be part of something new, something fresh and something fun! How awesome is it to be VCDX #21! J
Life after the VCDX? How did your company respond? Was it worth it?
I think obtaining the VCDX certification opened a lot of new doors and opportunities. Since obtaining my VCDX I’ve joined EMC as part of their vSpecialist organization, here I’m able to put my knowledge and experience directly to use as I evangelize companies about all of the amazing benefits of virtualization, application modernization, end-user computing and now cloud computing.