Name: Eric Shanks
Twitter Handle: @eric_shanks
Blog URL: theITHollow.com
Current Employer: Ahead
VCDX #: 195
How did you get into using VMware?
I was at a Chicago Microsoft Users Group and a company called Altiris was speaking about virtualizing applications with their solution. The whole idea was pretty eye opening to me so when my boss suggested some enhancements to our infrastructure the virtualization concept was brought up again. After some testing we decided that VMware was the clear leader in the space so we virtualized our infrastructure on 4.0.
What made you decide to do the VCDX?
The VCDX certification was a challenge I wasn’t convinced that I could achieve, but I had to know for sure. A few other co-workers already had the credentials and I decided it was the time to find out what I was capable of doing.
How long did it take you to complete the whole VCDX journey?
The whole process took me about six months to complete. I already had my VCAP-DCA and VCAP-DCD before I decided to try the VCDX so that helped, but I left myself plenty of time to work out my design before submitting it.
What advice would you give to people thinking of pursuing the VCDX accreditation?
Talk with your family first about the endeavour. The VCDX is challenging, but more than that time consuming. Expect to spend nights and weekends working on it. The VCDX journey is personal achievement but can’t be done without some support from family, friends and co-workers.
Aside from talking with your family first, the second piece of advice I’d give is don’t be afraid to fail. This isn’t an easy challenge and many really qualified people have stumbled on it. It doesn’t mean you’re not awesome, it just means you need to tweak your design or presentation skills a bit.
If you could do the whole VCDX journey again what would you do differently?
I would have made sure to understand the defense blueprint better from the start. I felt that there were specific sections of the blueprint where I didn’t have enough things in my design to present. Specifically my design didn’t have a lot of “Security” related items so I wasn’t able to talk in depth about it in my defense. If I could have done it over I would have added an additional security requirement and supported it with my design so that I could talk about it in the defense.
Life after the VCDX? How did your company respond? Was it worth it?
After the process was over I was recognized at our company’s Tech Summit and given a bonus for the achievement. The feeling of a sense of accomplishment from meeting a personal goal made the process worth it.