VCDX

“VMTurbo"
This page is dedicated to my VMware Certified Design Expert (VCDX) journey which started back in August 2009.

This page will be divided in two sections since i have earned two different VCDX certifications:

  • VCDX-DCV (previously called VCDX)
  • VCDX-CMA (Cloud Management & Automation) previously called VCDX-Cloud


 VCDX3

This is something i’m really proud of and i hope that the VCDX certification will be more known and recognized in the future. Today, at least in Sweden, not many actually knows what is means and what it takes to become a VCDX.

The VCDX certification is an ongoing task since you can upgrade it whenever a new major release of the VMware software is released. I have updated my VCDX-DCV from Virtual Infrastructure 3 to vSphere 4 and to vSphere 5. I’ll continue trying to update my VCDX-DCV certificate and now the upgrade process will also include the VCDX-Cloud certificate.

Another thank you to my family for supporting me in my career.

VCDX-DCV – Data Center virtualization

The reason for giving it a try all comes down to the personal challenge to see if i got what it takes to:

  • Master the technical aspect of the VMware software, Virtual Infrastructure 3 at the time i started the VCDX journey.
  • Putting my thoughts and decisions on paper in a structured way.
  • Stand in front of a couple of very skillful persons and explain what i have done and why.

Other reasons for going down the VDCX path includes:

  • VCDX was a new certification which only a very few people in the world held for the moment.
  • This would be a great way to differentiate myself from other virtualization consultants.

So in August 2009 i decided to go for the VCDX certification, i filled in the form on the VMware web page and got the result back a few days later telling me i’m good to go for the VCE310 “Enterprise-Level Systems Administration Exam”. I’m living in Sweden and the closest certification centre where i could take the exam was in London (2.5 hours by plain away). I booked the certification and studied all the advanced configuration parameters i could find and took the certification 12:th of October 2009. The test was divided in two parts:

  • 50% multiple choice questions.
  • 50% hands on labs like today’s VMware Certified Advanced Professional – Datacenter Administration (VCAP-DCA) test. 

Overall i think it was a good exam, i did expect more hands on labs. A few weeks later i got the result which was a pass.

I changed my job just before the VCE310 certification which is the main reason i didn’t sign up to take the VCD310 “VMware Design Exam” until 22:th of June 2010. I followed the blueprint and studied all kinds of PDFs before i sat the exam, in London this time as well and passed. London is a nice place and specially during the summer so i had a good day before i got back to Sweden. As i mentioned in this VMware communities blog post i do not think the Design exam (the one for VI3) follows the Design course that much. The VCD310 consisted of 51 multiple choice questions and visio like drawings.

After passing the design exam i focus really hard to get my VCDX application together for the VMworld Copenhagen 2010 defense. The application includes many pieces:

  • A Basic Conditions document.
  • A Design document
  • An Operation Guide
  • A Validation document
  • A Next steps document

The design scenario i used was a combination of a real and fictitious one and all documents together we are talking about approximately 150 pages. Apart from your own documents you need to fil in the VMware VCDX application form which includes about 30 pages and this took me an additional 40 hours to complete.
I submitted the VCDX application but i needed to correct a few things before VMware accepted it. I had to put the Next steps in its own document instead of including a next steps section in all documents.

I arrived to VMworld in Copenhagen 2010 with a lot of expectations and the main reason was of course my VCDX defense. I have heard a lot about it e.g. you are getting really tough questions, how it makes people really nervous and that the panel members gives you no indication of if you are doing a good job or not. 

I really knew my design including:

  • What decisions were taken.
  • Why the specific decisions were taken.
  • The customer constraints.
  • The customer requirements.
  • The customer risks.
  • The assumptions i have made.
  • How things were implemented.

Even if i had all the above things under control i got nervous when having lunch at the hotel where the VCDX defense was about to take place. I prepared my presentation and timed it to approximately 13 minutes which was ok since time allowed for the presentation was 10 – 15 minutes. 20 minutes before starting the VCDX defense the exam moderator registered me and explained what to expect. The VCDX defense consists of 3 major parts:

  1. Present your design and answer panel members questions during 75 minutes.
  2. A design session which is like a role play during 30 minutes.
  3. Troubleshoot a problem during 20 minutes.

When i step into the room i shook hands with 3 really nice persons and after a few minutes introduction i started my presentation. After 10 minutes i had covered about 5 % of my presentation and i thought i was in real trouble because of the timing issue. I continued and finished the presentation after 67 minutes. Thought i was screwed but the panel members asked me their questions during my presentation so we were actually more or less finished after 67 minutes, just a few additional questions.
I can admit that some of the questions were really tough but i really enjoyed the session, apart from the timing issue which wasn’t an issue in the end. After the first session i had a 10 minutes break.

The two last sessions, design workshop and troubleshooting, were all about showing the panel members how you attack a problem or handle a customer discussion and did not focusing on the actual end result from my understanding.

Before leaving the room i shook hands with the panel members once more and thanked them for the VCDX defense experience. Back at the hotel i had some refreshments before having additional refreshments at the VMworld party:)

A few weeks after the VCDX defense i received the result.

Congratulation to your VCDX title, your VCDX number is 56.

VCDX-CMA

My VCDX-CMA journey started last year (2012) during VMworld in Barcelona when a passed the VCP-Cloud certification. I think it was a good exam and the two things i really focused on before taking the exam was vCloud networking and vCenter Chargeback.

In January 2013 i decided to continue the cloud certification path and in February i took both the VCAP-CIA (Cloud Infrastructure Administration) and VCAP-CID (Cloud Infrastructure Design) exams the same day!
I can ensure this was just something, don’t think i have been so tired after taking an (actually two) exam in my entire life.

I liked the my beta VCAP-CIA a lot and i think you need to demonstrate your skills in many of the areas required when managing a VMware vCloud environment. However, you need to work pretty fast and i did not complete all of the tasks.

The VCAP-CID consisted of multiple choice questions and there is no option anymore to mark any questions for review and go back and i really think this adds another layer of pressure. I like the visio like questions and they are very much like the once you’ll see in the VCAP-DCD exam but off course more focused on cloud infrastructure. There are usually a lot of text in the the design exams, both VCAP-DCD and VCAP-CID, and i always find it hard to complete all the questions. I didn’t take a single break during the entire exam and finished the last question when 1.5 minutes to go.

The past year i have delivered quite a few VMware vCloud projects and mainly focusing on the design part. In Q1 2013 i was tasked with a vCloud project where i had the chance to both create the design and perform the implementation. I thought these conditions were a good foundation for the VMware Certified Design Expert – Cloud (VCDX-Cloud) certification so by the end of Q2 i decided to give it a try. I spend quite a lot of time this (2013) summer to put together the VCDX-Cloud application and the 16:th of August i sent it to VMware for review. It included the following pieces:

  • A Service Description document
  • A Design document
  • An Operations guide
  • A Validation guide
  • An Implementation phases document
  • An Installation and configuration document

You can not build fictitious VCDX-Cloud design compared to the VCDX-DCV which allows for a fictitious design.
When going for your second VCDX certification you do not need to defend your design so after sending the application to VMware it was all about waiting.

After a few weeks i received the result.

It is with great pleasure that I confirm you are the second person to achieve the VCDX-Cloud Credential and at this point in time. 

This also means I’m the second person worldwide with both the VCDX certifications, VCDX5-DCV and VCDX-Cloud and this makes me really proud.
From now on i can title myself as a Double-X person meaning you might see the signature Double-X002 somewhere in the future:)

For more information about the different VCDX paths, visit the VMware web site. Read about the VCDX-Cloud certification here and VCDX5-DCV certification here.

13 comments

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  1. pedro

    Nice story, I home to carry on the next step ( VCDA ) before the end of this year, I want to prepare in a very deep way, any advice?

    Regards!

  2. magander3

    Hi, guess you mean VCDX, right? First you need to complete the both VCAP exams, have you finished those?
    No matter what test you are about to take the best document would be the exam blueprint which can be downloaded in each exam section on vmware.com/certification
    For the design VCAP i usually read up on things like “conceptual, logical and physical design”, how to determine risks, constraints, assumptions, requirements in document text. For the VCAP-CIA and VCAP-DCA i usually read up on advanced settings and PowerCLI (practice).

    For the VCDX it is kind of hard to give any suggestions since VCDX is all about the complete picture including management part all the way to the technical part.

    regards,
    Magnus

  3. kuver

    Hi Magnus,

    Thanks for this blog, it’s really very useful.

    kuver

    1. magander3

      Thanks Kuver. Glad you like the blog.

      //Magnus

  4. virtualizationgurudotorg

    Hi Magnus,
    First of all Congratulation to be dual VCDX,,, and thanks for sharing you experience.
    This is really helpful. I completed my VCAP-DCA and DCD and preparing for VCDX-DCV planning for 1st Qtr of 2014.

    1. magander3

      My pleasure, glad you liked it and good luck with the VCDX-DCV

  5. Jason Liao

    Hi,Magnus Andersson

    Does the VCDX requires original factory training?

    1. magander3

      Hi Jason,
      there are no training required for the VCDX specifically but the requirements for the VCP exam is valid since you need to start the VCDX path by taking the VCP exam.

      thanks
      /Magnus

      1. Jason Liao

        Thanks for your reply, Merry Christmas!

  6. vbry21

    Congrats on the double VCDX,will the VCDX-DT be your next target? Also I’ve found a lot of your articles really interesting and I’ve shared your blog site address with my delegates.

    1. magander3

      Thanks. No actually i have not been involved in a desktop project for over a year and i think it is best to use real case scenarios for a VCDX design. It’s good to have customer conditions, constraints and requirements to use as building blocks.
      Really glad you have found some articles useful.

      //Magnus

  7. Anurag

    Hello,

    Congrats for your great achievements.

    Please provide more details about VCAP-CIA, i am planning to go for this certification and need advise to prepare for this certification.

    Thanks.

    Anurag

    1. magander3

      Hi Anurag,
      thanks a lot. For the time being i do not plan to further update this page but i might after summer.

      //Magnus

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