Name: Sachin Bhowan
Twitter Handle: @sbhowan
Current Employer: VMXperts
VCDX #: 38
How did you get into using VMware?
My first use of VMware was back in 2004 when we were investigating bare metal recoveries for Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM) and were experimenting with WinPE and GSX. I was looking for a way to standardize the recovery hardware platform for recovery as at the time there was no bare metal recovery option for TSM. It was after that then I started exploring and testing the ESX platform for server workloads and with the onset of Version 3, as the cliché goes….rest became history!
What made you decide to do the VCDX?
An interesting question in that there are two reasons for this; the main reason was for the challenge to prove to myself that the solutions I was actively “preaching” and delivering on were on par and on the right track. The second reason was simply being at the right place at the right time as we were having a meeting with our VMware Partner Manager and our CEO was complaining about the lack of elitism within the VMware certification portfolio and then they announced the VCDX program. I was then “volunteered” to make this happen!
How long did it take you to complete the whole VCDX journey?
I started this journey in September 2008 and tried to track and get as much information as possible, however being in the geo that I was, the most helpful information I got was from the active blogs run by Duncan Epping, Rick Scherer, VCDX001, and twitter tips, as exam information and details were only given out after successful registrations. The process was also impacted by the fact that I had to take all my exams in Europe or the US as there was no authorized testing centre in South Africa at that time. Therefore I had to wait for exams to open as well as align them with the major VMware events to reduce costs. This also forced me to be prepared at very short notice when I was given the availability of the exams! That said I completed my defence in February 2010 giving a total time of about 18 months.
What advice would you give to people thinking of pursuing the VCDX accreditation?
My advice is to be passionate about what you are doing and if you feel that doing the research and working out the solution interdependencies and limitations is mundane and tedious then this might not be the right track for you. Working towards the VCDX in my experience involved a lot of patience, dedication, passion and not to mention discipline as this is a method for working studiously and diligently on an everyday basis because not all solution requirements are the same. It also means investing a lot of your time over and above of your daily responsibilities and duties (work and family included); so commit for the long haul.
If you could do the whole VCDX journey again what would you do differently?
I do not think I would change much aside from the fact that with exams now available locally it would have meant a shorter timespan to get the accreditation.
Life after the VCDX? How did your company respond? Was it worth it?
Life for me has pretty much been the same since I achieved the VCDX accreditation and simply so because I chose for it to be that way as there were some tempting offers and I opted out for personal reasons. However I am now responsible for heading up a new business called VMXperts, that is a subsidiary of my former company Aptronics. (You can guess what platform this company’s focus will be). As for the response from my company everyone was simply elated and it also went well that I was the very first person in Africa to achieve this. This made their investment in the VCDX program a worthy one!