VCDX – Modern Solutions

In the last month I have been involved in a few VCDX mocks. One of the things I have been explaining to VCDX candidates is the importance of being knowledgeable about modern infrastructure design and being able to articulate the business value.

List of articles in my VCDX Deep-Dive series (more than 90 posts)

The way the VCDX blueprints are written, you are encouraged to design a “Build Your Own” solution, which is the antithesis of cloud and the SDDC. Which leads to VCDX candidates following the “BYO” route without considering and understanding how automation, cloud and the self-driving SDDC functions and adds value to a customer.

Am I saying you need to be an expert in VMware Cloud Foundation and VMware Cloud? No, but I am suggesting that you need to be aware of it and be able to describe how it works and articulate the business value realized.

What “modern” VMware solutions am I referring to? Solutions such as the entire suite in VMware Cloud (vRA Cloud, Log Insight Cloud, Cloud Health, Tanzu, etc.), VMware Cloud Foundation (including VCF on VxRail), VMware Cloud on AWS (and all other hyperscaler VMware variants: Oracle, Microsoft, IBM, GCP, etc.), VMware vRealize Suite Lifecycle Manager, Horizon 7 on VMC on AWS/Azure, etc. And understand how the VMware Validated Design (VVD) framework relates to these solutions.

In my opinion, here are some suggestions on how you can weave this into your VCDX submission and the panel defense:

VCDX – Your Voice

As you go through the VCDX process, you will get a lot of feedback from your study group and the VCDX mentors you have mock sessions with. That feedback is a gift, you need it to evolve and grow the skills to be successful as a VCDX and an Architect. The trick is to take that feedback and incorporate it into your style of talking and presenting and make it yours. This includes filtering that advice and discovering what is best for you and what is not. I think of it as finding your “Voice”, the thing that makes you unique and is at the core of your identity as a person. And we are all different, what works for me, may not work for you.

List of articles in my VCDX Deep-Dive series (more than 90 posts)

Finding your voice takes time and effort. And making major changes to how you do things at one time should be avoided. You want to improve your game one step at a time. If a minor change works, keep it, if not, discard it and then move onto the next improvement.

During the mocks I was involved with in the past month, one of the candidates was asking me about how much information to share during the defense to reduce the “attack surface”. On this subject I have changed my mind over the years. My current thinking: if you know a particular subject or technology in-depth, you should talk about it and showcase your knowledge to the VCDX panel. Let them ask all the questions they want and if you do not know, then say so; you are there to demonstrate your skills and knowledge. For me personally, I have always found the process of “stepping around” certain subjects interrupts and impedes my flow, so it is better to just go for it and let the chips fall where they may.

VCDX – The Zone

Have you ever been walking up a set of stairs and when you think about what your legs are doing, you stumble and have to grab the handrail to save yourself from falling? Defending VCDX is the exact same thing, on the day of the defense you want to be in “the zone”, going with the flow, thinking on your feet and making it happen. You want to let your subconscious take control and perform the task at hand.

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VCDX – Levels and Focus

There are levels to this game. There is a significant amount of effort that goes into achieving your first VCDX, but I would argue that the level of effort and skill required for multi-VCDX is significantly more than the first. In addition, the amount of time for multi-VCDX is approximately 9-12 months of effort per track and it takes a laser focus to concentrate on the task at hand and ignore the “noise” around you.

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VCDX – Remote Defense

If you fail your first VCDX panel defense (in-person), you will be given the option of a VCDX Remote Defense if you resubmit. The same is true for Multi-VCDX. This was added to the VCDX program to reduce the travel expenses for VCDX candidates and to provide a more flexible VCDX defense schedule. This post is about my experience with the VCDX Remote Defense for the VCDX-DTM track.

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