TheSaffaGeek

My ramblings about all things technical

VCDX Spotlight: Larus Hjartarson

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Name: Larus Hjartarson

Twitter Handle: @lhjartarson

Blog URL: http://vmice.net

Current Employer: Nyherji hf.

VCDX #: 192

How did you get into using VMware?

In 2010 when I worked as an IT technician a co-worker showed me vSphere 4.0 and vMotion. I remember asking him repeatedly: “So you moved the server between hardware servers while it was running and it only missed a single ping?”. After that I was hooked. Soon after that I had a chance to finish installing a test environment running vSphere 4.0, and changed jobs to a Server/VMware technician for a large (on an Icelandic scale) IT Solution Provider (Nyherji).

What made you decide to do the VCDX?

As soon as I finished the VCAP-DCA in 2013 the plan was always to go for the VCDX eventually but with no planned date. In the end of 2014, my wife finished her law degree so I presented to her a detailed plan of work required to stick to the VCDX deadline and was accepted 🙂 (might sound strange but I can’t emphasize enough on getting your spouse on board before starting)

But the main reason was to challenge myself and get better at a job I really love doing.

How long did it take you to complete the whole VCDX journey?

It depends on when the journey started; 20 months after the first VCAP, but 4.5 years from the first VCP. But the hard work started on the home straight, when doing the VCDX documentation and defence preparation, and that took 537.5 hours in a 6 months period.

What advice would you give to people thinking of pursuing the VCDX accreditation?

Several come into mind:

-Just do it. This journey is worth all the extra hours after work, all the weekends spent drawing design diagram, all the hundreds of blog posts and installation guides read. But this will have an impact on the time you spend with your spouse, kids, family and friends. But in the end you will end up a much better architect.

-Read the blueprint and make sure to have your documentation represent the subjects from the blueprint as best you can.

-Plan each day until the defence. Plan for at least 25-30% overhead. There will be days you will not be able to tell your brain to do diagrams or work on presentations. Make sure the time off is either spent with your loved ones or to decouple from the process.
-In the last 2-3 weeks before the defence start building confidence for the things you know and your defence and presentation.

-Do not stress going into the defence, the panellist are only architects like you and are there to help you.

-Form a study group. I wouldn’t have been able to do this without a study group. And start joining a study group one VCDX defence in advance. I joined a study group for October defences in 2014 before going for the June deadline in 2015. You will learn a lot just listening to mocks and talking to like-minded people.

-Find a mentor. They will probably differ, but their feedback is invaluable.

-Know your design. I mean everything, every decision, every justification, and all alternatives to each decision and reasoning why that wasn’t taken.

If you could do the whole VCDX journey again what would you do differently?

Absolutely nothing. Things somehow fit into place perfectly and went almost exactly to plan.

Life after the VCDX?  How did your company respond? Was it worth it?

Nothing really changed in the few weeks that have passed. A pat on the back from my company but they were also very supportive during the whole journey. Yes it was worth it. 🙂

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