Name: Simon Long
Twitter Handle: @simonlong_
Blog URL: www.simonlong.co.uk
Current Employer: VMware
VCDX #: 105
How did you get into using VMware?
Around 5/6 years ago the company that I was working for at the time installed ESX 3.0 to use as part of their Dev/Test environment. The “VMware stuff” as we knew it then, was installed by a contractor as our team didn’t really know too much about it. Once the installation was complete, the contractor left and we were left to fend for ourselves. I nominated myself to look after the “VMware stuff”, and that’s how this love affair began.
What made you decide to do the VCDX?
It’s hard to put my finger on one thing. I think working closely with Frank Denneman during my time at VMware Professional Services certain contributed to me wanting to aim high.
I also like to make goals for myself and I made the VCDX one of those goals. However I didn’t put a time frame on it. I could have probably defended a lot earlier than I did, but I was never really completely ready for it until 2012.
How long did it take you to complete the whole VCDX journey?
It’s hard to say as I guess it includes VCP, VCAP exams as well. A lot of these exams I just took as and when I had time to take them, so there wasn’t a sense of, if I take the VCAP’s by this date, I can then submit for the VCDX. It just happened really. I had both VCAP’s, then one day I decided I was going to go for it.
What advice would you give to people thinking of pursuing the VCDX accreditation?
Don’t be scared. A lot of people who talk about going for VCDX are reluctant because they have heard “It’s really scary and the panellists are after your blood” etc, but this really is not the truth. The panellists actually want you to pass.
Pick a design you have architected yourself, and that covers most of the areas of the Blueprint. If you use a design that is not completely yours, you may find it hard when asked question on those sections.
Know that design inside out (read every word). Know why you chose each feature, understand what each feature you chose does and understand why you didn’t choose the other features.
The technology is not the only focus in the VCDX. Make sure you fully understand and have documented; Risks, Constraints etc that affected your design.
And don’t be afraid to say you don’t know to something. The guys who are asking questions will know if you’re making it up or not.
If you could do the whole VCDX journey again what would you do differently?
Nothing. It went pretty smooth I thought.
Life after the VCDX? How did your company respond? Was it worth it
My Company were pleased for me. No pay rise as yet….. 😉 But I think this is normal in the majority of companies.
I think it was worth it. It certainly improved me as an architect. I now have great attention to detail (when needed). This has come from the scrutinizing of my design over a period of months.
And if, in the future I decide to leave VMware, having VCDX #105 on my CV might improve my chances of securing another role.