The VCDX certification is to many ‘validation’ of a skill set. To others its a ‘certification’ that gives them an area to study for and aim towards.
Personally, I think both are valid and there are blog posts are out there that discuss this very subject.
Once you decide you are on the VCDX journey, its time to address Is my project suitable for VCDX submission.
Can you hit all areas of the blueprint from your documentation? Is a common answer I have heard – but what does that mean?
- Is your project platform running applications that are in production and critical to the business?
- Does it need specific personnel roles for access or user variants?
- Did you have a specific SLA the platform was built to?
- Was there a DR plan?
- Did you have a specific speed / response or other metric to show performance was being satisfied?
- Do you have metrics or sizing calculations?
- Do you have an understanding of the business use case, challenges?
I am currently helping a few people with their VCDX preparation. Some are early in the process, others are about to go in the room next month.
One thing I have noticed, is the similar thoughts and questions from the candidates that have yet to submit.
So from the blueprint, my design is missing key criteria? Do I just make it up?
My design worked, it was running for a large enterprise. However, like most real life projects I had challenges and business accepted aspects.
This didn’t complete all the silos in the blueprint originally. So I developed the areas to make it a more complete design, the key aspect for me was the real life use case to frame this approach.
Isn’t this just making it more complex? Adding on items?
I have heard this a few times, I thought so too originally. Now after the process, I personally feel the VCDX does require a level of complexity to show the skills of a designer.
Unnecessary complexity, no. However, areas detailed within the blueprint are not unnecessary.
Does everything have to be VMware?
No, my back up design was using technology from another vendor, so was my syslog and operational management providers etc.
Do you need to have SME knowledge of said vendor , product etc.
SME no , however beware it is not a place to hide away key areas from questioning. You will need to know details of data flow, components and show how it integrates with the rest of the design.
I thought the VCDX was real-life! This means it is not.
Depends on how you think. It is in my opinion the way you should aim to design every project. Life and costs etc may get in the way and be deemed over the top, however the VCDX is also a showcase that you have the architect skills. It is still a certification though.
Also a real life design with its unique challenges may not be the best example for all silos.
Personally, I had a few designs to choose from. One was for a major sporting event, it was then turned off. Back up retention and DR wasn’t really a big deal.
Great use case, lots to talk about, but may not score well for recoverability areas.
Most projects will be driven in certain directions, architects have a variety of skills – projects may need more of one skill , less of another.
A VCDX must show they can hit all the silos.
What about my work , its all NDA?
Don’t break it, The certification is about a methodology and showcases skills. Not who you did it for.
Change the names , IPs and personnel to protect the innocent. The use case will show though and the experience will make it easier for you to defend.
I have never completed a full design before. What about completely fictional?
Personally, do you really need completely fictional?
I would have found the business use case, the little tweaks and areas of risk assessment petty tough with no use case.
Considering using a place you have worked at,
Review the platform, perhaps look at creating a refresh design.
Maybe look at the physical workloads remaining and consider making them virtual.
Any new apps coming in ? Consider virtualising them as a pod and use that to start your design process.
I have both VCAPs, lots of experience as an admin, but not really sure how to start the documentation?
Create a conceptual design 2 – 3 pager, fill out the below headings.
Vision / objective
Risks (at least 5-6)
Constraints (avoid hardware, money etc)
Conceptual and logical diagrams.
Send this 2-3 pager to a VCDX mentor and ask for an opinion.
In summary, If you have an interesting use case that can be used to display you have knowledge in architectural processes / datacenter technologies and can be discussed for at least 20 minutes – Go for it.
If you are not yet ready, up-skill and you will learn loads.
No one was born with this knowledge – get it down on paper and validate it.