VMware CAL Advanced Architecture Course Overview

For the past two weeks I have been attending the VMware Center for Advanced Learning (CAL) Advanced Architecture course. This is a 9-day course with updates from each of the business units of VMware, including instruction on architecture design and presentation skills. It is intended to include VMware employees and VMware Partners.

The primary objective of the course is to “strengthen architecture & solution skills in VMware Senior Consultants, Architects and Partners by establishing a baseline and model to interact with VMware Customers, leading the discovery, design and effectively communicate VMware solutions”.

First, let me say, if you have the opportunity to attend (by invite only) then you should jump at the chance. I wish this course had been available when I started my VCDX journey in 2012. Hats off to the VMware team that is investing and developing this program, it is a monumental amount of effort.

If you are attending, be prepared for 14 hour days, every day ends with a knowledge test delivered via VMware MyLearn and homework that needs to be completed that day. Each day starts at 8am and officially ends at 6pm, but my team were typically finishing around 8pm. Long days drinking from the fire-hose, but well worth it.

Partners are required to sign an NDA, so you really do get the inside track of what VMware is thinking and where they are heading.

It is a competitive environment, you are grappling against each other as individuals and as teams (you are split into teams of four). The objective is to design a solution for a fictitious corporation and on Day-9, present your vision to the C-level of the customer (staffed by the instructors). You are scored on the presentation and your ability to collaborate as a team.

The course framework is constantly evolving, since they seriously consider the feedback of each class that attends the course. For CALAAC8 (8th delivery of this course in the USA), we were the first to see a beta financial module and a Day-2 Operations model.

The most impactful day for me was the Advanced Consulting and Presentation skills session (Day-6), where a consultant from Mandel takes you through the skills needed to be an effective presenter at the executive-level. It is amazing how 8-hours of training and practice can yield such massive gains. I should also mention the VMware Application Platform vision presented by Emad Benjamin which was thought provoking (Day-5).

For the people that are successful in passing the Advanced Architecture course, they receive CAL Alumni membership and a Digital badge in Acclaim. They are also included in WebEx updates for the VMware strategy moving forward.

Those of you interested in attending this course, these are the upcoming dates (contact your VMware Manager or Partner Manager to be nominated):

  • IG3 – July 9-19, 2019: Paris
  • IG4 – August 6-16, 2019: Hong Kong
  • CALAAC9 – September 9-19, 2019: Palo Alto
  • CALAAC10 – October 14-24, 2019: Palo Alto
  • IG5 – November 12-22, 2019: Hong Kong
  • CALAAC11 – January 13-24, 2020: Palo Alto

Here are some photos from CALAAC8 (low resolution – do not have the high resolution files), I was lucky enough to win the Individual Contributor award and to be a part of the winning Team.

Other Resources:

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