VCDX – VMware Premier Partner Level Requirement?

There have been observations within the VCDX community, that unless the VCDX count breaks 1,000 within 10 years, it will fade into obscurity. These anecdotal figures were derived from the CCIE program which Cisco built as the first elite certification program within the networking industry. We are approaching a decade of VCDX and the current count is 265, obviously very well short of 1,000. And of those 265 VCDXs, 38 are double VCDX and 5 are triple VCDX at this time. To date, no-one has achieved quadruple VCDX. It is also interesting to note, that only 8 companies world-wide have 4 or more VCDX on-staff (with VMware, Nutanix and Dell Technologies being the top three respectively).

List of articles in my VCDX Deep-Dive series (more than 80 posts)

With 24 years of CCIE, the latest CCIE numbers being issued are within the 57,nnn range including an estimated 38K active CCIEs at the moment (2013). What made the CCIE program so successful, was a mandatory requirement of CCIEs on-staff for Cisco Partners to attain and maintain their Gold Certification status. Currently, Cisco Partners wanting to achieve this must have a minimum of four CCIEs on-staff (in VMware Partner-world, only 8 companies would make the cut at this time).

For VMware to grow the VCDX program and gain the industry recognition it deserves, VMware needs to make VCDX on-staff a mandatory requirement for the VMware Premier Partner Level. There are currently 2,972 Premier Level partners world-wide at the moment, so the 1,000 VCDX barrier would be cleared quite quickly I think. Another possible option would be to create a new Platinum Partner Level with VCDX (or multi-VCDX) as a mandatory requirement. Either of these changes could also mitigate the complaint about the increase of VCDX cost in 2017, since partners would finance the endeavour for their staff (assuming the candidate works for a VMware Partner).

Last year the price of VCDX was increased from US$1,200 to US$3,995 and whilst I may not agree with it, I do understand it. VMware has decided the VCDX program needs to pay for itself versus the strategy Nutanix has taken, which is to completely fund the Nutanix Platform Expert program (NPX) and make it a free offering to all candidates. As a mentor, I have noticed a decrease in the number of mentoring requests from self-funded candidates and for those self-funded candidates I have mentored, the increased cost is recognised as a hardship, particularly when you add the T&E for international travel to attend the defence. This certainly does not help VMware in growing the VCDX program.

There are 12 VMware Partner Solution Competencies (soon to be 13 with VMC on AWS) and none of these competencies have VCDX as a mandatory requirement for partners to achieve it. For some, VCDX is listed as an option, but VSP, VTSP, VMware specialist training, VCP and VCIX, in varying combinations, are the base requirement for most. VCDX should be a mandatory requirement for the Software-Defined Data Center (SDDC), Hyper-Converged Infrastructure (HCI), Network Virtualisation (NV) and Desktop Virtualisation (DV) Solution Competencies; these technologies are complicated and validated expert-level design skills are required to be successful and minimize risk to customers. In addition, each VCDX track should be matched to the Solution Competency requirement (eg. VCDX-NV for the NV Solution Competency).

In addition, I watch the VMworld keynotes every year and I do not think I have ever heard the VCDX Program being mentioned or highlighted. Showcasing your flagship expert-level certification program makes sense, because if people know about it and understand the value, then it should increase the popularity of the program.

In summary, the VCDX program is being completely under-valued at the moment by VMware and the partner eco-system and the following actions would rectify this:

  • VCDX becomes a mandatory requirement for VMware Partners to achieve and maintain the Premier Partner Level
  • VCDX becomes a mandatory requirement for some of the VMware Solution Competencies (namely, SDDC, HCI, NV and DV)
  • VMware starts showcasing the value of the VCDX program in keynotes at VMworld each year

If you have any comments or feedback on things I may have missed, please feel free to comment below.

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

10 thoughts on “VCDX – VMware Premier Partner Level Requirement?”

  1. Thanks a lot for speaking out loud in that regard, if a triple VCDX needs to voice this as the current state of affairs it should put VMware to shame.
    The way I see it, the current VMware programs are sales driven (from a VMware perspective) and do not reflect any technical knowledge – so they do not offer the customer any value.

    I am looking at the VCDX as a goal (and have been visiting your site quite often for this topic over the last months), but as you stated – it is hard to make a valid point for it.
    Sure, I am learning a lot in the process, I have met great people (it is a great community) and overall I enjoy it – but at the cost of nearly 4000 € this is a luxury I am barely able to afford/justify when I cannot expect anything in return. A year ago I was a bit more optimistic as I expect some changes coming with the price increase (e.g. the money would be used to advertise the program, etc.) but nothing has happened that would justify any price increase as far as I can see.
    Recently I have heard a guy voice the opinion that he would be better off with an entry AWS certification for any kind of job offer – and I wouldn’t say he is lying. Certifications live from their reputation.

    So far I found next to zero acknowledgement for the “advanced” certifications from VMware (starting at VCAP) in the world of customers, recruiters and vendors and I do not see a tendency that things change.

    Sorry for the rant and thanks again for the great post.

    1. Hello Dominik, Thanks for taking the time to read and comment, you make some great points. And yes, even the VCAP/VCIX tracks are fairly undervalued; aside from VCP, you never see VCAP/VCIX or VCDX highlighted in the certification magazines as having value – so why would you invest your hard earned cash in achieving them? Cheers, René.

      1. Indeed a good question. I have already doubts about it, perhaps we reached peak-VMware-certs?
        Last year a discussion came up on twitter around which certs we are planning to achieve in the next time. As I am currently in a project where I am knee deep in NSX-v I voiced that I might take a shot at the VCAP/VCIX-NV.

        However, during the booking process the final price of around 500 Euro came up. Hefty price tag and so I postponed. If I wouldn’t care about the challenge and look at it from a ROI side: For this kind of money I can easily get an subscription plus one or two AWS certs. Or take another VCP exam – at least people know about it.
        Does it compare in tech or difficulty? Hell, no! But certs are for business/HR people and not for tech guys.

        On a personal note:
        For the VCDX I feel I have gone too far to stop now (under the assumption that I can manage to submit in the next round). It is no longer about me and my goals but about the people who offered advice and stood by my side as mentor. Stopping now would mean I did not only throw away my progress but they donated their time for nothing and I am not letting them down like this. One point I cannot stress enough is: VMware “offloaded” the mentoring to the community. Only because of the helpful people who filled the gap I was able to make any kind of progress (e.g. your blog series or Greggs slack channel and mocks in the UK, …). I am not sure if this is valued enough.

        I could write on but let’s stop here.

    2. Hello, Once upon a time I had the dream of being a VCDX one day, so I got my vSphere VCAPs (Design and Admin). For a few year every time I was in a recruiting situation or talking with a recruiter I specifically asked it. Almost nobody knows what a VCAP is, certainly not the recruiting shops and their customers, even in the VMware ecosystem they are barely know outside of die-hard vSphere geeks. So basically I stopped passing vSphere certifications, because they have basically no market value and are a huge investment of money and time with no career benefit. So sending 600 hours+ of my time and 4000$ and travel costs, is clearly an not interesting proposition… So I guess you are right to worry about the future of VCDX….

  2. Hi René! From a guy who does not have any VMware certification, I think you are absolutely right in your points. If anyone ask me which certification to choose, I would advise to get only the entry level ones – CCNA/MCSA/VCP and AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate. If you are not at a Premium partner, there is no point- besides personal achievements – to spend time and money to become CCIE/VCDX/etc because 90% of the companies out there does not have the need to such a skilled and costly professionals to spend the day closing tickets.

    Here in Brazil, for the last 2 years there is a BOOM of “Companies” advertising GET YOUR – PUT A BASIC CERTIFICATION NAME HERE – AND GET A JOB AND LOADS OF MONEY and people that are getting to the IT industry are believing and spending they money and get frustrated because there is no magic.

    Certifications are good, but they must have a higher entry barrier, not just the formula: Pay the course, read this books and take the test. Even for entry level ones, a amount of real world experience and dirt hands should be a prerequisite.

    I hope to do not sound disrespectful with my point of view.


  3. At the current price tag, it would be silly to force Partners to have VCDX on staff. The program would need to hold more defence session as well and it is quite evident this is not the case right now. To increase the defence session you would need more VCDX in the pool to share the load.

    VCDX needs to be more affordable if it is going to see wider adoption.

    1. Hey Nick, VCDX is recognized for the SDDC solution competency, but they also allow VCIX as well – which defeats the purpose of having VCDX on the list. Same goes for the Master Services competency, it is all based upon VCP, VCAP and customer references, VCDX is not listed at all. In my opinion, those 2 areas are the perfect place to make VCDX a mandatory requirement and provide a reason for VMware partners to have VCDX certified individuals on-staff. Then the VCDX program will actually grow. Cheers, René.

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