Preparing for the VCDX Defense Panel – Timeline

During the last week of July 2014, I delivered the VMware NSX: Install, Configure, Manage [BETA] class in Austin, Texas.  One of the students in class was a VCDX and two others were on the path to becoming one.  The charismatic James Bowling @vSential was attending the class and he asked challenged me, “How come you haven’t attempted the VCDX?”.  For me the answer has always been simple, “Time & Money”.  As an independent consultant I am only paid when I am working.  I knew I would have to take time off to properly prepare for the VCDX Defense Panel.  Taking time off would mean that I wasn’t earning an income.  With the application deadline quickly approaching I had decided that I didn’t have enough time available and wouldn’t defend.  Sometimes life makes decisions for us though, at the last minute a customer moved an engagement from Q3 to Q4 and suddenly I had time.

This quick bLOG post focuses on my VCDX timeline and does not include the time required to prepare to pass the VMware Certified Professional (VCP) and VMware Certified Advanced Professional (VCAP) exams.

I wasn’t sure how much effort was required to become a VCDX, however I knew that it was a significant investment in time.  I was able to complete the process in about 10-weeks.  In all honesty, I wish I would have had more time.  During preparation I was only getting a few hours of sleep and there were far too many all-nighters.

Here was my timeline along with a list of all of the amazing people that helped me along the way:

Date Event
24-Jul Decide to become a VCDX
24-Jul Download the VCDX-DV Blueprint
24-Jul Reach out to John Arrasjid to secure a Mentor
25-Jul Use a recent VMware Implementation as the basis of the design, start scrubbing the document.
26-Jul Download the VMware SET Documentation to identify missing design elements in existing document.
31-Jul Register for 1-day VCDX Bootcamp hosted by John Arrasjid
3-Aug Purchase and Read entire VMware Press VCDX Bootcamp Book
3-Aug Assigned Mentor Eiad Al-Aqqad
8-Aug At Midnight Submit Application and all corresponding documentation
21-Aug Phone Call with Mentor
21-Aug Receive notification from VMware Application is Administratively Complete
23-Aug Attend 1-day VCDX Bootcamp at VMworld
24-Aug VMworld Catch up with former students Jason Boche and Josh Coen solicit preparation feedback, common theme “Study Group & Defense Mocks”
3-Sep James Bowling Defense Mock WebEx
8-Sep Receive notification from VMware Design was Accepted
11-Sep Start the VCDX Success Study Group with 5 other candidates
16-Sep Frank Bueschel VCDX Troubleshooting Mock
16-Sep VCDX Study Group Meeting: Peer Design Review
20-Sep Peer review: Shannon Jackson – Storage Design
20-Sep VCDX Study Group Meeting: Mock Defense
21-Sep VCDX Study Group Meeting: Mock Defense
22-Sep VCDX Study Group Meeting: Mock Defense
23-Sep VCDX Study Group Meeting: Mock Defense
24-Sep VCDX Study Group Meeting: Peer Design Review
26-Sep Peer review: Jeffrey O’Brien – Presentation
28-Sep Peer review: Tim Wright – Security Requirements
29-Sep Peer review: Michael Albright – Backup Design
30-Sep Frank Bueschel VCDX Troubleshooting Mock
2-Oct Phone Call with Mentor
3-Oct Peer review: Emad Younis – Compute Design
5-Oct Arrive in Palo Alto, CA 3-days early to focus on Defense Preparation
5-Oct Nutanix Sponsored VCDX Study Group Mock with Derek Seaman
6-Oct Peer review: Tony Bourke – Network Design
6-Oct Peer review: Dana Trimble, Jason Powell – Security Requirements
6-Oct Peer review: Jason Shiplett – Presentation
6-Oct Peer review: Derek Seaman – Presentation
7-Oct Peer review: Sarah Holden – Business Requirements
7-Oct Peer review: David Leonard – Business Requirements
8-Oct Defense
15-Oct Receive Results (Success!)

Does this mean you can become a VCDX in 10-weeks?  No.  The purpose of this post was to illustrate the amount of time it took me to get ready for the VCDX Defense Panel.  Prior to my defense I had worked with VMware products in Enterprise Environments for more than eight years and have attended 686.75 hours of VMware Training.

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One Response to Preparing for the VCDX Defense Panel – Timeline

  1. Pingback: VCDX Spotlight: Todd Simmons | TheSaffaGeek

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