Name: Tim Antonowicz
Twitter Handle: @timantz
Blog URL: whiteboardninja.wordpress.com
Current Employer: Mosaic Technology
VCDX #: 112
How did you get into using VMware? In early 2004, I was a SysAdmin at Bowdoin College in Maine. Running out of datacenter footprint, we consolidated our servers with ESX 2.01 retiring 50 physical servers and leaving us 80% virtualized. After Katrina in 2005, we worked with LMU in Los Angeles to co-host each other’s VMs for DR purposes. This project was one of the inspirations behind the development of VMware’s SRM solution.
What made you decide to do the VCDX? After moving into the Partner space, I began seeing and designing for several different customer environments. The VCDX program not only recognized those at the pinnacle of our profession but also advocated those skills and abilities needed to become the best at what we do. If I wanted to become a successful Architect, I should aspire to be a VCDX.
How long did it take you to complete the whole VCDX journey? Overall, the process was almost 3 years in length. I spent over a year getting my VCAPs and had a few attempts as a design, but nothing serious until about a year ago. My first design attempt didn’t make the deadline for submission, and I had to wait for PEX13 for my first official submission and defense invitation. While unsuccessful at PEX, I learned from my mistakes there and applied my experiences to my successful defense at VMworld13.
What advice would you give to people thinking of pursuing the VCDX accreditation? Don’t attempt this unless you really want it. The VCDX process is not something you can go into half-committed. It will tax and test you all along the way, both technically and mentally. It is not for the faint hearted. With that in mind, if the VCDX is something that you want to do, and you are committed to becoming the very best you can be in your field, go for it. It is a journey that pays back 1000 fold what you put into it. By going through the VCDX, I am a better Architect than I was before. I’ve changed the way I approach each project, and my company, my customers, and I are better off as a result of my work and dedication. Aside from the actual certification, I am better at my job today for just going through the process. Holding the VCDX after it all is just the validation that I was on the right track all along.
If you could do the whole VCDX journey again what would you do differently? Looking back, I wouldn’t have waited so long between getting my VCAPs and actually working on a design for submission. I should have started the process a year earlier than I did. Also, I only did one ‘Mock Defense’ for my first attempt. To all prospective VCDX applicants: “Mock, Mock, Mock!” Realtime, live interaction can do nothing but help you with your preparation for your defense.
Life after the VCDX? How did your company respond? Was it worth it? Since it has only been a few days since I received “my number”, nothing has changed for me professionally at this time. Personally… For the first time in over a year, I haven’t woken to thoughts of my design, potential flaws, and defense preparation scenarios running through my mind. It’s nice to hear the birds outside my window.