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Infrastructure Architect and VCDX Candidate Enablement

Ed. Note: For the latest resources to prepare you for VCDX, please visit this page. Some of the things discussed below may be out of date.


VMware efforts to enable you 
by John Arrasjid

VCDX merch

Over the years many have experienced and benefited from the VMware Certified Design Expert (VCDX) Boot Camp and VCAP Boot Camps. We are now entering the 8th year of the program and I’d like to share what VMware is doing to help you as an existing or aspiring architect.

Although the ‘V’ in VCDX stands for VMware, the certification goes beyond VMware technologies. Individuals at this level are recognized for taking a vendor agnostic approach during conceptual and logical design phases, then applying the appropriate technologies to the physical architecture.

In my work I meet with two types of architects; those who develop a design that is a subset to a full infrastructure, and those who develop a complete infrastructure design. For comparison we could compare this to designing a house versus designing a city.

The following are the 2014 programs we are offering for VCDX candidates and Infrastructure Architects.

VCDX Boot Camp Capture
These boot camps have been offered since 2008 and have been used to train several hundred candidates a year, including those not yet achieving VMware Certified Professional (VCP) certification. Students are a mix of people planning to apply for the VCDX certification in the future, and those interested learning more about the program and the expectations of a candidate.

These Boot Camps are free and are supported by volunteers around the world through official offerings and independent study, such as those run by VMUG teams globally.

The next VCDX Boot Camp will be offered at EMC facilities in San Francisco the weekend before VMworld. Registration is filling up quickly, but there are spaces available if you sign up soon.

Due to this being a weekend offering, students must arrive no later than 1pm sharp. There is no receptionist so we will staff the front door and let individuals in, then locking the outside door at 1pm sharp to support the class. If you know you will be late, please contact me as soon as possible with your planned arrival time and your cell phone number. If sending an email please use ‘VCDX Boot Camp SF 2014’ in the subject line. If sending me a direct twitter message, include ‘#VCDX-SF-2014’.

VCDX Mentoring Program
We are now in our second round of the VCDX Mentor Program. Originally planned for 10-12 weeks, we have discovered that this can be completed in 5-8 weeks and are adjusting the program with that schedule. The deadline for October defenses (September 8) is the cutoff for mentoring sign up due to the limited number of volunteers.

This program includes a Design Review Readiness Assessment (DRRA), Design Decisions Workbook (DDW), example survey questions, and example table of contents. During the course of the mentoring program, mentors provide a maximum of 1 hour per week and candidates spend 1-6 hours per week. The mentors will NOT do your work but will guide you through what you need to do and respond to questions.

At the end of the mentoring we include a mock defense and scenarios similar to what we do in the VCDX boot camp.

This is a free offering by VMware and by the volunteers. Please respect their time and follow their advice. Many candidates assume they know what is expected, but many also discover that following advice of an existing VCDX is extremely valuable and can be the difference between pass and fail.

Invitations are sent to those who register for a defense. I also will post how to register on Twitter at the start of each mentoring window.

VCDX Fast Track
This is a new program that I spent several years developing. It includes components of the Boot Camp, the Mentoring Program, and the work I’ve done at VMware Partner Exchange (PEX) for infrastructure design workshops (vSphere, SRM, and vCloud).

VCDX Fast Track will be launched with special pricing the week of September 15. This will run from Monday afternoon to Friday at noon, with opportunities for a few extra hours of Q&A in the afternoon on Friday. This initial class is reserved for VMware partners and customers. Internally we will offer this course at specific locations aligned with VMware corporate offices and local team schedules as appropriate.

In addition to the tools listed in the VCDX Mentoring Program outline above, this course also includes training on the VCDX methodology for Infrastructure Design. This is meant to compliment other enterprise architect training, methodologies, and frameworks. Infrastructure Design has similarity to System Design, but is based on the role of the VCDX for developing infrastructure solutions.

Students will assess their designs for readiness, will construct a workbook of discovery phase questions, design decisions, design patterns, and create a presentation.

We highly recommend including a design as every working session is tied to that. We will NOT be providing an example design.

  • If you work with others that have a design and will be attending, you are welcome to attend as well. In this case you will need to understand the full details of the design and will work on the exercises using this design.
  • If you do NOT have a design, you will not achieve full benefit but are permitted to participate if you have colleagues who have a design you can also use for class. You will need to study this design before class.

The initial class has a list price similar to that of a 5-day training class, or $4595 [Correction: Price is $4495].

Infrastructure Design Workshop
This workshop is designed to be a half-day session. I have used previous workshops I’ve done for VMware Partner Exchange (PEX) including vCloud Design Workshop, SRM Design Workshop, and vSphere Design Workshop. If you are a partner that attended these sessions, you will see a lot of similarity in the structure.

A case study is provided with customer requirements, constraints, risks, and other details on the existing company and infrastructure. Students learn the VCDX methodology for infrastructure design and also work with tools like the Design Decision Workbook (DDW). This is an accelerated way to learn what the methodology is about and to work through an exercise with a team of other students.

Art of Infrastructure Design Book
This book is for existing and aspiring IT architects focused on infrastructure design and for VCDX candidates. I co-authored this book with Mark Gabryjelski (VCDX 23) and Benjamin Troch, to include the perspective of a partner and a customer, one a VCDX and one a candidate for VCDX. This will be released in 2015.

Art of Infrastructure Design compliments existing classes and training on design. We include methodology, example design documents for a VCDX defense (or for a customer), and a set of tools to help both existing architects and architects in training.

This book compliments the VCDX Boot Camp book from VMware Press.

Next Steps
If you haven’t looked at the VCDX program, I encourage you to consider it as the industry needs more architects focused on building infrastructure with integrated technologies. Converged infrastructure continues to grow but there are still integration considerations that are critical for success.

I encourage candidates and architects to consider attending the VCDX Fast Track offering the week of September 15-19. We will have Mostafa Khalil (VCDX 002), Ben Lin (VCDX 045), Martijn Baecke (VCDX 103), Linus Bourque (desktop specialist), Deji Akomolafe (datacenter virtualization and business critical applications specialist), and Joe Sarabia (cloud and vCenter Operations specialist). There is special pricing for this first offering of the class with an extra team to drive success and to help scale out this program to multiple regions in the future.

My goal is to develop infrastructure architects, or IT systems architects, through these and other programs in development.

John Yani Arrasjid
Principal Architect, VCDX 001 at VMware
Vice President USENIX Association Board of Directors

2 thoughts on “Infrastructure Architect and VCDX Candidate Enablement

  1. Pingback: vCoffee Links #9 – VMworld 2014 Countdown – 8/20/2014 » vHersey - VCDX Two to the Seventh Power (#128)

  2. David Pasek

    Hi John,
    I really like your metaphor with house and city architect. However, there always can be some architect on higher layer, right? In your example there can be state or country architect. And skyscraper architect can be between house and city architects, correct?

    In enterprise architecture there are software architects, data architects, business architects, network architects and nowadays, when datacenter infrastructure becomes more complex and un-siloed also infrastructure architects.

    When I’m discussing this topic with others I often refers to IBM’s video from 1977 called “Powers of ten”. It is available on YouTube so you can see it at

    I believe it is worth to watch it.

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