VCDX workshop notes

Below are the notes I have taken during the NJ/NY VCDX workshop at @iamAntonZ  ‘s place. We had a great opportunity to have 2 VCDX panelists giving the VCDX workshop, Niran Even-Chen ( @NiranEC) and Agustin Malanco (@agmalanco).  You could find more info on this at http://nycvmug.blogspot.com/2016/06/re-cap-of-njnyv-vcdx-workshop.html 

 These notes are by no means to be used or relied on as primary source for your VCDX preparation.

Your design must include all the VCDX blueprint points.

Don’t use any kind of blogs as an official source for your references . Official VMWARE docs are the only sources that you can quote or reference to in your VCDX design.

One of the main changes to VCDX is removal of the “Troubleshooting” scenarios from the defense.

One design can be submitted 2 more times, if it did not get accepted the 1st time around. This means that you will need to make some modifications to your design, before resubmitting it again. You won’t get any detailed information on why it failed the submission, but you might get a generic response such as ” Storage or Networking needs more info”.

Same design could potentially be submitted by 3 different people, and they must submit it at the same time for the same VCDX track. Also, each and every applicant must know the design inside out, not just the portion he or she design.

It takes an average of 4-7 month to prepare the design and validate it. Once you got accepted for defense, get yourself an official VCDX mentor. The mentor will not be fixing your design for you, but rather guide you and advise you on proper documentation. Lookup the directory, and work with him to help you out on this. Just keep in mind that they are ( VCDX mentors) are not being paid for it and do it rather on their own time.

You can have a fully fictitious design, but you must cover it just like if you would do the real one. You must explain why specific storage, or connection, or protocol is chosen. It might be worth to base your design on something that you have already done before, and then expand it with additional fictitious details accordingly.

Design must be interesting to talk about, something that could be discussed and have conversation about it. Did your design solve a problem, or provide a solution, or improved and increased the infrastructure performance. Something that shows how you solved a problem or provided and interesting solution for.
It’s great to have critical applications incorporated in the design. It makes your design “live” and interesting, but make sure to cover it accordingly: HA, fail over, storage, IOPS, etc..

VCDX Interview consists of 2 parts;

  1.  The VCDX defense (75 minutes) and
  2. The Design scenario (45 minutes)

For the VCDX defense part:

  •  You will need to deliver about 10 mins presentation introducing your design.
  •  You have to identify and justify ; constraints and risks, impact on design, inherent risks, architecture strategies, and business requirements.
  •  Focus on business requirements, and customer needs, and reason for the design the way it’s done.
  •  If you been asked a question and you don’t know the answer just say so. There is no reason to BS panelists. They are, “panelists” are customers at the moment, treat them accordingly.

For the Design scenario:

  •  The panelists will be taking the role that of a “customer”, and will be questioning you on each and every part of your design. You must be able to answer their questions and convince them why your design is the best for them (customers) given the requirements and constrains and risks involved. Given the above, don’t go into a infinite loop (rabbit hole), keep track of your time, deliver your design points.
  • Think out loud while trying to identify “customer’s ” needs, requirements, constraints and risks. Ask the questions, identify “customer’s” priorities.
  • Whiteboard is the key. Design as you clarify the requirements and identify each part of design, networking, storage, VMs, HA, hosts required(failover capacity)
  • More skills on design

One thing to remember: Time is money, in your case it’s a VCDX or go bust. It’s in your best interests to keep track of your time, 75 minutes ( includes 10 or less minutes for design presentation) and 45 minutes for the above mentioned Design scenario a.k.a “customer” visit
You better train yourself on using the VCDX timer, link is provided below.

Must have the proper guides so customer can take it and do it without any issues.

Your Architectural design Must include:

  1. Installation guide
  2. Implementation plan
  3. Validation plan
  4. Operating Procedures

Successful VCDX candidates are :

  • Usually seek out solutions for the problems, and don’t just ask what needs to be done
  • Self-driven
  • Have clarity of thought process

Links and Sources

VCDX Timer : http://timer.vcdx.es/

VCDX Policies and Procedures: http://vcdx.vmware.com/policies-and-procedures

VCDX mentors could be found on the VCDX page, check mark the Mentor under “Optional Flags”: http://vcdx.vmware.com/

VCDX Preparation books:
http://www.pearsonitcertification.com/store/vcdx-boot-camp-preparing-for-the-vcdx-panel-defense-9780321910592