After the VCDX defenses Boston I had a chat with Craig Risinger, also known as 006 ;-). We discussed some of the things we’d seen on the panels and came to the conclusion that it wouldn’t hurt to reiterate some of the tips we’ve given in the past.
- It’s OK to change your actual project documents. See the following points for examples. This isn’t really about what you actually happened to do on a particular project with its own unique set of circumstances. It’s about showing what you can do.This is your portfolio to convince potential customers you can do their design, whatever they might need. It’s about proving you could work with a customer to establish requirements and design an architecture that meets them.
- Include everything the Application says is mandatory. Don’t be surprised if you have to write some new documents or sections. For example, maybe a Disaster Recovery plan wasn’t important in your project, but it will be to another customer or in another project, so you should show you know how to create one.
- Explain any bad or debatable decisions. Did your customer insist on doing something that’s against best practices? Did you explain what was wrong with it? Say how you would have preferred to do things and why. Even if you just made a mistake back then, that’s OK if you can show that you’ve learned and understand the error you made. If you are using VMware’s best practices make sure you know why it is a best practice and why it met your customer’s requirements.
- Show you can design for large scale. It’s OK if your actual project was for a small environment, but show that you can think big too. What would you have done for a bigger customer, or for a customer who wanted to start small but be able to scale up easily? What would you need to do to add more VMs, more hosts, more storage, more networking, more vCenter servers, more roles and division of duties, a stronger BC/DR plan in the future? How would that change your design, if at all?
- Architect = Knowledge + Reasoning. The VCDX certification isn’t just about knowing technical facts; it’s about being able to apply that knowledge to meet goals. In the defense session itself, be prepared to discuss hypothetical scenarios and alternative approaches, to decide on a design, and to explain the reasons for your choices. Show you know how to consider the pros and cons of different approaches.
There are also many other useful collections of advice for pursuing a VCDX certification, we highly recommend reading them as they will give you an idea of the process. Here’s just a sample:
- John Arrasjid’s VCDX Tips
- VCDX Workshop Presentation
- Duncan Epping’s VCDX Defense Experience
- Jason Boche’s VCDX Defense Experience
- Maish’s VCDX Defense Experience
- Frank Denneman’s VCDX Defense Experience
- Kenneth van Ditmarsch’s VCDX Defense Experience
- Scott Lowe’s VCDX Defense Experience
- Rick Scherer’s VCDX Defense Experience
- Fabio Rapposelli’s VCDX Defense Experience
- Jason Nash’s VCDX Defense Experience
- Harley Stagner’s VCDX Defense Experience
- Andrea Mauro’s VCDX Defense Experience
- Chris Kranz’s VCDX Defense Experience
Craig Risinger (VCDX006) & Duncan Epping (VCDX007)