Category Archives: Certifications

Hating Yourself: The VCDX Way!

So, here we are. It is Thursday, October 5th, 2017.

I was supposed to be a VCDX  by now…

After being called out by Ariel on Twitter, I called my shot. I said that I would be submitting by December 2016. That very obviously didn’t happen. Life, and the process, is hard. Never underestimate how much work goes into a design. I thought to myself, “I know everything about the design IRL. I can do this quick and easy.” Well, that’s just not how it works in the real world.

I have heard many stories of people who have gone into hiding during the writing process. Neglecting their family and friends for a while, etc. I’m sure this is a very effective way of completing quickly. I simply cannot do that. This certification is my one and only career goal at this current point in time. But, family comes first, and work comes second. As badly as I want this certification, I’m not going to cripple my life over it. Now, in reading and hearing some people’s experiences with this cert, some may say that because I don’t want to cripple my life over it, I simply just don’t want it bad enough. And, this isn’t the case. Professionally, it really is my ONLY goal right now. I’ve had talks with my managers over it. I always get asked “what do you want to be doing in 5 years” type questions. The answer is the same. I want to be a VCDX.

Over the past year or so, I’ve been ruthlessly pushed along the way by a merry band of lunatics… The #VCDXWolfPack. Very firm, but accepting. My kind of lunatics. All, but 1, currently have gotten numbers not counting myself. We swore we were in it to win it this round that ended in September. Yep, that didn’t work out.

Where am I going with all this rambling about my utter failures as a man, and a human being? It’s simple. That is OK. Sometimes, schedules don’t work out. As a wise woman once said, “Remember, your goals are allowed to evolve.” It’s a personal journey, and my want for the certification is 100% selfish. I just want it for myself. Just like my college degree. I had my career started LONG before I went back to school. I just got it for me.

So, eventually, I will be a VCDX. I stopped stressing myself out over dates, and am working on my design during my free time to ensure that I can try and knock it out first try. Whenever that happens to be. We’ll see how that goes. Best of luck to everyone who submitted September 22nd for the December defenses!

-vTimD

Achievement Unlocked: VCIX-NV

As some of you may have known, I did not successfully pass the VCIX-NV my first try. I sat it 7 days ago, and missed the mark by 8 points. Today, I re-sat the exam, and passed by 47 points. I am extremely excited to be up at the VCIX level now. I am part of a great group of people, and even further on my way to VCDX.

By now, you have all heard how awful the lab is. I did it on a weekend twice, and the performance was not terrible. Laggy, but could be dealt with. No major lab provision issues.

I want to put out a HUGE shout out to Martijn for the lab guide that got me where I needed to be. This is an invaluable resource for VCIX-NV (6.0). Note that this will be out of date when the VCAP6-NV Deploy comes out soon, but it can be updated and most is still relevant. Just buttons may be worded differently.

Thanks for all the support from friends, family, and community!

vcix-nv

-vTimD

Achievement Unlocked: VCAP5-DCD

My day has come! I am finally part of the VCAP club. Today, I sat, and passed, the VCAP5-DCD exam. I have to say, it was the most brutal 3 hours of my life. So many ups and downs. I had no idea how things were going to go when I clicked “End Exam”. It took me a few seconds of staring when I saw the score for it to sink in. I sat in the chair staring at the screen for a couple minutes. I even forgot to finalize the exam ending and walked out to the proctor to get the score sheet. When it didn’t come out, we realized that I didn’t click to close out. Then there it was. My score sheet. Pass.

The score was, in all honesty, better than I expected. I got a 337 out of 500. While you only need 300 to pass, making 337 not that impressive, I truly only had hoped for a 301. I am thrilled with what I got.

Let’s go for a little exam prep / experience. My exam prep was not what I recommend for someone wanting to sit down and crank out the DCD. I’ve been working towards this for a couple years now. I’ve been working on vSphere / VDI Design for a couple years. So a lot of it was practical knowledge. I also went over the VCAP5-DCD Simulator until I felt I was only answering from memory. Then I didn’t go back for months, then I did it again. It’s great. 100% use the blueprint and go through some of the PDF’s on consulting (risk, constraint, assumption, requirement type stuff). There is a Google Plus group you can join with a ton of great info / people / stories.

Also, I did the I really never sat back and said “Alright, lets do this!” and put my nose to the grindstone. I really only went for it because I had been kicking it along for a while. Decided today was the day. I don’t recommend this.

If you’ve never done a Design exam, or even a VCAP, I highly recommend you mentally prepare. Sleep well, have a good breakfast, take the exam early (unless you’re an afternoon kind of person.) I did not spend my evening before studying, as that bums me out, and I figured I wouldn’t get any better in 1 last night. The exam is 22 questions. Most are drag-and-drop style questions. There are 9 Visio-style design tool questions, 1 of which is a “Master Design.” My master design item came at like halfway through the exam. I immediately marked it and moved on. I highly recommend saving this for the end. They say to allow 30 minutes for it, I ended up starting this with 1 hr flat left. I truly can’t remember how long it took, I know I finished early.

As far as tips, I really have 1 big one. READ THE QUESTION. Did you read that? Did you get it? Read it again. Then read it again. Who knows, the question could give you part of the answer. You’d never know if you didn’t read it.

So that’s it. Not a lot of info, but enough. I just needed to tell anyone else that would listen that I passed. Best of luck for everyone else in your endeavors. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about it. I’ll be glad to tell you what I can.

vcap5-dcd

-vTimD

Long live VCAP!

GoodNewsEveryone

Good News, Everyone!

VMware has spent the past week releasing a 3-part blog series on the VCIX6 announcements. Tons of great info in here, including the news that VCAP’s weren’t going to be killed off after all. It was going to be a real bummer when you passed the Design or Deploy exam of the VCIX, only to NOT receive a certification credit without the other piece. In the same fashion as before, VCAP’s will exist in each track. The biggest difference here being nomenclature change from Administration to Deployment. So now you have Design and Deployment as the two VCAP exams. Once you pass both, you receive an extra designation of VCIX. VCIX is the only prerequisite for VCDX in each track.

v6_track_structure_left_to_right1

They also released the beta blueprints for the new exams! Note that these can and probably will change a bit during the beta process, as they work out bugs.

They also are offering courses with Design and Deploy all rolled into one, geared towards each track’s associated VCIX certification:

Here is a rough schedule of what is to come in January. Look to be ready to go by late January if you are wanting to sit the exam. Just remember that with Beta’s, you don’t get the pass / fail right away. You generally have to wait until the beta’s are concluding.

  • New Certification and Exam web pages (early January)
  • Beta exam registration (early- to mid-January)
  • First beta appointment test-date (late January)

Happy Studying!

-vTimD

Applied for vExpert 2016!

Well, the day I have been waiting for has come. I have submitted my application for vExpert 2016. I have been blogging, active on VMTN, active on Twitter, and so active on /r/VMware that I was appointed as a moderator. I have also reached out to the D/FW VMUG President about joining the leadership team. I really hope that was enough. I went the Evangelist route, and have an Employee reference. I am officially crossing my fingers, and holding my breath until February 5th. Good luck to all who applied!

-vTimD

My Nutanix Certification Experience (Thus far…)

So, let me preface all of this with something. I do not work for Dell Corporate, Dell IT, Dell Enterprise Support, Dell Computers, etc. I work for Dell Services (formerly Perot Systems.) I am a dedicated Virtualization Engineer on one of our largest contracts. While Dell pays my paycheck, I am basically an employee of the company I am on the contract of.

Now, why do I need to say that? I have a common problem (pet peeve?) that I run into when I go to large events with vendors, such as VMUG conferences. Every. Single. Vendor. has to tell me, “Oh, we’re partners of Dell, you should know all about us.” No. I know absolutely nothing about you. When you had that “meeting at my facility” last week, I wasn’t there. Nobody on my team was there. Nobody on my contract was there. And there is a slight possibility, it wasn’t even a person from Dell Services. It was someone from an entirely separate line of business that happens to have an office at the same (rather large) facility my desk is at. Is it that hard to comprehend that with a company of over 100,000 employees, that not everyone in employment is aware of every facet of the business, ever partnership, every vendor? This is not to say that all these vendors I talk to are not very nice to talk to and personable, it just drives me nuts that they assume I have any idea what they are talking about, or that when they name drop some exec that they took out to lunch, I will know who they are.

That is the end of my preface. Now I am going to move on to one of those vendors, and explain the other side of the coin. While it drives me nuts that all vendors assume I am 100% up-to-date with their partnership with Dell, it comes with its advantages. A TON of vendors are partners with Dell. Flashing my badge gets me into the back rooms of many Vendors. Do I mean the literal back rooms with the secret handshakes? No. The partner portals. The free training. The NFR software licenses. That is the bread and butter of what I enjoy about working for Dell, when it comes to external vendors.

One of the partners I have found the most interest in is Nutanix. They offer a hyper-converged solution that is pretty boss. They offer their own hardware, but also have a line of Dell branded appliances, based off the r720 platform. When talking to one of the sales folks at the last VMUG event, they did their normal talk about how I should know all about them, but of course, I had no idea. So I went looking. I came across Community Edition. This is a free version of their software for testing. While digging around there, I found more. Come to find out, I had access to the partner portal. What all is in there, you say? Well, lots of boring partner stuff. How to sell their solutions. Meh. What else is in there? Lots and lots of free training. And free Certifications.

I found the Nutanix Platform Professional certification to be something that would not directly affect my current job, but who knows when it may come in handy. Besides, I have recently come to the conclusion that I need to pile on certs. You know…for science.

I went through the NPP training modules. There is quite a bit of it. I have a OneNote notebook filled to the brim with stuff. Unfortunately, I don’t have a lot of hands on experience with the product. I feel this may help out with the certification. I have taken the exam once, and got a 68. This is a 50 question, multiple choice, and multiple answer test. A score of 80% is required to pass. I thought I was pretty well prepared, but I was not. Not having the hands on experience kinda screwed me, I think. I have 2 more try’s for the test, so I am going through all the sections that I missed (the test tells you what topic you missed, but not what questions you missed) and working to try and fill the gaps in my knowledge. It is really a cool platform and technology that they have going. I really hope I can get this hammered out and get the certification under my belt. I’ll be posting more on Nutanix as time passes, and hope to get Community Edition going in my lab soon, which should help with the hands-on. Well, I’ve ranted and rambled long enough. More for another day.

-vTimD

Passed the VCPD610 (VCP6-DT) Exam!

So, like my last exam (VCP5-DCV) I was scheduled to take the VCP6-DT exam at a certain date. I got anxious, and in a true testament to my impatience, I rescheduled the exam for the soonest possible time. I passed the exam with a 477 of 500 possible points. I am really glad its over. My goal is to hit the road to VCIX-DTM, and this is just a stepping stone. On to the next one!

477/500

-vTimD