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).
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.