VCDX – Journey to Triple VCDX (with NPX)

This was a multi-stage journey I started in September 2012 with the VMware vSphere 5 ICM course and the subsequent VCP/VCAP exams for VCDX-DCV. Part of that expedition was to provide a roadmap to VCDX, which resulted in the VCDX Deep-Dive series. We all have opinions on what works and what does not; this chronicles what worked for me – if it adds value, use it, if not, ignore.

List of articles in my VCDX Deep-Dive series (more than 70 posts)

Phase-1: VCDX-DCV

This was a tough journey where I learned a lot through making many mistakes.

Phase-2: Double VCDX (NV)

This was a relatively painless path, the VCIX-NV exam was available and I put in the hours, submitted, waited for 10 weeks and passed. This was a joint submission with two of my STC colleagues, Sijith Maniyappan and Kashif Rashid, and we had the entire document set ready within 2 months. At that time, the Multi-VCDX remote defence was not a requirement.

Phase-3: NPX

I managed to squeeze NPX into the fourth quarter of 2015.

Phase-4: Triple VCDX (CMA)

This section of the trip was painful and it started in November of 2015. Initially, things went very smoothly, since I partnered with a really great team for a joint submission with Gregg Robertson and Andrea Siverio. We had the entire document set completed within four months, including a detailed Test Plan and detailed Standard Operating Procedures.

The whole VCAP/VCIX story was one big headache, where the VCAP-CID/CIA exams had been cancelled in October 2014 and the VCAP waiver for CMA/DTM expired in December 2015.  I sat the VCAP6-CMA Design Beta exam in March 2016 and then waited 6 months for the result. In addition, the VCAP6-CMA Design exam is seriously flawed (I hear corrections are happening at this time), so I had to take that test three times and try to guess what the correct answers were since the questions did not reflect the reality of vRA – very frustrating. The VCAP6-CMA Deploy exam is now GA and I will be taking that test at the end of the month.

There was some confusion amongst VCDX-CMA candidates submitting vRA designs with the current VCDX-Cloud (2013) blueprint which was written with vCD in mind. That will be rectified with the VCDX6 blueprints being updated (for all tracks) and coming online sometime soon, and this will provide clarity to candidates on the requirements for VCDX6-CMA.

In 2016, the Multi-VCDX remote defence (60 minutes) was added to protect the integrity of the VCDX program. I think it is a great idea and when my VMware SDDC PTAB event aligned with the Palo Alto defence schedule, I quickly requested a face-to-face mock which was granted. Really enjoyed this panel defence with an “All Cloud” cast, including: Matt Vandenbeld, Mandy Botsko-Wilson and Harold Simon.

In recent months the VCDX program has improved the SLA for delivery of results to VCDX candidates; kudos for streamlining the process. The Australian and UK rounds received their results almost immediately and the Palo Alto results were delivered within 3 business days.

Is there a Phase-5?

My original plan was to go for Cisco Certified Architect and maybe circle back for Quad VCDX with the DTM track. However, with my recent promotion from Chief Architect to Practice Manager, I really do not have time for elite certifications anymore. My focus will shift to mentoring and building the RoundTower Cloud, Automation and DevOps practice.

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Chief Enterprise Architect and Strategist, 4xVCDX#133, NPX#8, DECM-EA.