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Certifications – Educational Aspirations ???

On twitter today, a medium where most conversations happen, I happened to post this tweet in relation to the companies not respecting and nurturing VCDX (including mine to some extent, although I am trying to change that).

What I didn’t expect was a deep dive into the ‘ability’ or inability to comprehend what a certification, a mere certification would enable. I try pursue excellence, I also fail more often than not, because I don’t have the opportunity or time to learn about everything that I want to.

I am trying to change a few things in my team, not because I now have a certification but because I think I can do a better job as an architect/ consultant/ hands and feet guy. Do I feel that my VCDX cert is not being appreciate in my company? Sometimes. Do I want to act on it? Yes, in a positive way.  I have already had conversations with people in my team who understand my abilities and my capability in doing more than what I am currently doing.

Let me make myself clear, I am proud of myself to have achieved VCDX certification. I have said time and again that the certification is a proof to myself that I can achieve anything I set my mind onto.  I also have a Masters Degree so I know what I am talking about when it comes to the realisation (both in terms of educational status as well as monetary value) of hard-work. But having a VCDX doesn’t guarantee  a job offer. If anyone is thinking of pursuing VCDX ‘only’ to get a better job offer or to get a pay rise then you are doing it for all the wrong reasons. It guarantees that you can present your case in front of 3 people who happen to have more knowledge about a particular subject that you do.

A very good friend of mine, someone who has helped me immensely during my pursuit of VCDX, Grant Orchard (@grantorchard) had this to say about making yourself worthwhile. I agree with every single word of his post. Achieving VCDX did open some doors in my mind that have been shut. I am now not scared of pursuing things I have no knowledge about or talking about what I do know in front of other people.

Having four letters in Signature and a number next to it doesn’t automatically qualify that you are an architect. It just validates that you have a basic understanding of the principles of VCDX. If you want to pursue true Enterprise architecture, try TOGAF. And that too is just another certification.

Do I consider myself above the likes of William Lam or Grant Orchard or Nick Marshall or thousands more who work in various industries around the world just because I happen to have gotten through VCDX, no , HELL NO. My father (A Doctor with 3 post graduate degrees) told me when I was in school, “If you are not learning something everyday, you are going backwards in life”. These words echo to me when I think about where I want to be in 5 years time.

My previous post was in support of having a fear of failure be it for VCDX or anything else. Yes I fear failure a lot more than I tend to be happy about the success.

VCDX or CCIE or MCM or even a PhD is not something that should be taken for granted. There is always something new to learn. There is always something that someone else will know more about, have more experience with and be able to master more easily than any given person in the world.

A piece of paper (Even a Masters Degree) is worthless if you cant apply the theoretical knowledge of what you learn. Certification without knowledge or experience is not worth the fancy ribbon around it.


Fear of failure should be a driving force

I read this blog from Chris Colotti about the VCDX fear of failure. So I thought I’d share my thoughts on that issue. As someone who has failed VCDX on the first attempt (Spoiler alert) Here is what I think

Failure is not the end

Fear of failure is what makes humans what they are. It builds character. It shows the kind of person you are. Ask any VCDX, they will tell you its about the path not the end result. When I failed my first defence I was angry, even ashamed. But that drove me to strive harder, study harder, practise harder.

I believe “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.“ is the best motto for anything in life. The only profession when failure is not an option is as a doctor but even they fail sometimes. (Both my parents are doctors so I know how hard they strive to save every single life).

I know a few people who can’t accept failure in getting through to VCDX defence or passing the defence. They think its a personal insult that they haven’t succeeded in getting VCDX. Its not an insult, if any it just means that you might not have had a great day in the office. Everyone has an off day or 2 or 3.

For me its still only a certification, though being a VCDX is definitely something to be proud of. But aspiring to be a VCDX or for that matter anything that validates you and your knowledge is worth the fear of failure.

Signing off with this..

Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.

Thomas A. Edison

VCDX Troubleshooting: Diagnosis and Solution

Following on from the previous post, this post will concentrate on finding the solution to the symptoms mentioned below:

Symptom 1: Cross site vMotion doesn’t happen on Metro Cluster.

Symptom 2: DRS doesn’t balance the load on either site (8 hosts at each site). Host utilisation varies from 50% to 90%.

Symptom 3: Management Network access is really slow.

Symptom 4: VM access is fine from RDP but console access from vSphere Client is unavailable or slow.

Symptom 5: DRS migrations have either failed or been waiting for services to be available.

Symptom 6: Manual vMotion is really slow too.

Symptom 7: All Management access is lost (last one).


When looking at a problem you have to cross off whatever doesn’t match the criteria. Lets take the pillars of virtualisation: Compute, Network, Storage & Cluster Config.


Based on the symptoms above, it doesn’t look like the compute layer is the problem. Lets deduce it further. We’ve confirmed the following:

  • VMs don’t appear to be hung (RDP access confirms it).
  • No performance impact because of the symptoms above.
  • VMs are responsive when connected to RDP. There appears to be no loss of connectivity to the VMs due to performance issues.
  •  50% memory and cpu failover capacity (stretched metro cluster) not reduced.
  • No HA events, failover events, network isolation events.


Based on the symptoms, storage might not be the culprit as well. We’ve confirmed the following to rule out storage

  • Distributed data stores presented by VPLEX. So no single point of failure on storage end.
  • VPLEX ISL intact. VPLEX Management intact (Separate VLAN to the ESX Management Network).
  • VPLEX Cluster status available
  • VMAX data stores are available and not under stress (plenty of space / ions available).


If there are no issues with network, we have to go back to the drawing board. But lets look at the networking in detail.

Here is a logical configuration of the network design (how it should be across all the hosts):

VIC 1240 CNA configured for 4 NICs and 2HBAs

2 NICS configured for Standard vSwitch – Running Management and Nexus Traffic

2 NICS configured for Nexus 1000v – Running VM Networks and vMotion.







The Management NICs are connected to the dedicated management uplink switch (Catalyst 3750) via Nexus 5k.

We grabbed a configuration backup that was taken using RVTools. We found the following issues across multiple hosts, some of them had the correct configuration as above, while others had the following mistakes:

  • vMotion and Management were selected to go over the same vmknic.
  • There was no QoS configured for Management or vMotion traffic at UCS / Nexus Layer.
  • Some hosts had a single uplink configured for each vSwitch (Standard and Nexus 1000). Yep you read correctly. SINGLE UPLINK.
  • No redundancy configured at the Fabric level for NIC Fabric failover.

So we remediate the issues above, this resulted in the the all the  symptoms being rectified except one. Symptom 1 – Cross Site VM migration (automated to adhere to site bias) is still off.. way off.

So off we go to look at the cluster config.

Cluster Config:

On checking the cluster config, we found the relevant host and vm groups for each site. The DRS rules were configured using “Should” rule to keep the “VMs at Site1” on “Hosts at Site1” and vice versa for Site2.

Manually run the DRS and it migrates a few VMs but still not to the correct sites for all of them. Delve deeper into the VM Group and Host Groups, we find that not all the VMs are part of the VMGroups. This explains it. So we “modify” the groups to have the correct VMs in the VMgroup.


vMotion traffic which was incorrectly configured to go over the management network vmknic flooded the network, thereby reducing the amount of bandwidth available for “Management Traffic”. And lack of QoS or COS setting, didn’t stop the vMotion or the Management traffic from flooding the link, thereby contributing to slow management network connection.

Incorrectly configured Cluster Settings also had a role to play in this. Once all the symptoms were dealt with, there were no more issues in the environment.

Disclaimer: Though this is an actual scenario, a few details have been modified and the client’s relevant details (if any) were replaced with fictitious ones. 


VCDX Troubleshooting Scenario: Metro Cluster problems.

Here’s a good way to get involved in Troubleshooting scenarios and think like a #VCDX. This is a real life scenario which has been fixed and NOT a part of the official VCDX Troubleshooting scenario

One of the clients I work with have had a massive outage and we are trying to find the culprit(s).

First lets look at the symptoms of the issue, we can then diagnose what the problem is (been watching the TV Series House lately).

Symptom 1: Cross site vMotion doesn’t happen on Metro Cluster.

Symptom 2: DRS doesn’t balance the load on either site (8 hosts at each site). Host utilisation varies from 50% to 90%.

Symptom 3: Management Network access is really slow.

Symptom 4: VM access is fine from RDP but console access from vSphere Client is unavailable or slow.

Symptom 5: DRS migrations have either failed or been waiting for services to be available.

Symptom 6: Manual vMotion is really slow too.

Symptom 7: All Management access is unavailable (last one).

Now lets look at the infrastructure,

  • CISCO UCS B230 series Blades (20 cores and 512 GB RAM)
  • 2204 XP FI
  • Nexus 1K Distributed Switch, Nexus 5k Edge Switches and Nexus 7k Core switches
  • Standard Switch
  • EMC Storage (VMAX, FAST enabled, Fast Cache Enabled)
  • VPLEX Metro for vMSC.

Diagnosis ???

Feel free to comment with the diagnosis.. I will post the diagnosis in the next post..

Performance Tuning VDI Environment – My Opinion

This year is the “year of the VDI” as was last year and the year before that. There are very few environments which are as simple but still complex to design and manage as a VDI environment. vSphere has provided a lot of ways to virtualise the server workloads over the years and VMware View (Horizon View) has definitely given it the edge for deploying VDI environments.

There are people who swear by Citrix and there are people who swear by View, I am in the latter group (no surprises there). But there is one thing common between Citrix VDI (Xen Desktop) and VMware View deployments, if not designed and implemented carefully, they can both cause more issues than resolve. Typically, VDI is used to simplify patching OS (Windows) and still have control over the Corporate Data for growing number of people moving towards Macs and iPads for Corporate use. This is a good thing, generally. You relinquish the resources used by “corporate” machines and let people buy the machine that they are happy to use and you still control how they logon to corporate resources and manage the permissions on what they can and cant do.

One thing that a lot of people mis understand is the use for VDI and how they design it. Needless to say, VDI can be slow and cumbersome if not tuned correctly which affect the users perspective of VDI as a technology. A few things to look out for when designing VDI solutions using either Citrix or View:

  • If there are large number of Persistent users, ensure that the resources are in local cache mode, so that they can use the resources on thier local machine instead of hogging resources from the pool.
  • Create multiple pools based on user requirements, Power Users, Heavy Graphic Users, Kiosk users. They all have different requirements and expect different things from the VDI.
  • One size (image) doesnt fit all. If you have a large number of applications, make sure you can virtualise them. Virtualising applications moves the processing of the back end to the servers leaving VDI footprint small and applications run faster.
  • Pre-install (Pre-push) the most commonly used applications in the pool on the base image, patching the application and rolling back from a bad patch becomes easier.
  • Have a seperate cluster to house Heavy Graphic Users. This will eliminate the noisy neighbour problem with other non heavy users.
  • Ensure that all the replica images and base images are on the fastest disk available (FLASH FLASH FLASH)
  • Linked clones can be on slower disk, but if you can use fast disk use it.
  • Persistent Images can be on slower disk, especially if local cache is used, freeing up faster disk for linked clones.
  • Ensure that your vCenter server is not a single point of failure for all your VDI users ( especially when more than 2000 users).
  • If you are designing VDI for branch offices connected by WAN, PCoIP is probably the best option especially if you dont have WAN accelerators between locations.
  • User Disks can be on slower disk but this will impact the user logon experience so use the fastest slow disk you can (see what I did there).
Last but not the least:Dont forget to include the VDI enabling machines (Composer, Connection Server, PVS, MCS, etc etc) in your calculations for resource utilisation.Please feel free to comment and let me know what I have missed and I will include them..


Things that need to be changed on vSphere for Xtreme IO

Xtreme IO is the newest and fastest (well EMC say so) All Flash Array in the market. I have been running this in my “lab” running a POC which is quickly turning into a major VDI refresh for one of the clients. Having run throug the basics of creating storage and monitoring alerting etc in my previous posts., I am going to concentrate on what parameters we need to change in the vSphere world to ensure we get the best performance from Xtreme IO.

The parameters also depend on what version of ESXi you’re using, as Xtreme IO supports ESXi 4.1 + .

Without further delay, lets start.

Adjusting the HBA Queue Depth

We are going to sending a lot more IO through to the Xtreme IO array than you would to the traditional hybrid array. So we need to ensure that the HBA queue depth is allowing a lot more IO requests through.
You can find out the module by using the command

Step 1: esxcli system module list | grep ql (or lpfc for emulex)

Once you find out the module that is being used. The command below can be used to change the HBA queue depth on the server.

Qlogic – esxcli system module parameters set -p ql2xmaxdepth=256 -m qla2xxx (or whatever is the module from the command in Step 1.)

Emulex – esxcli system module parameters set -p lpfc0_lun_queue_depth=256 -m lpfc820 ( or whatever is the module from the command in Step 1)

Multi Pathing

If you are not going to use Powerpath, since its an active active X number of controllers array (yeah, i know its got 2 controllers per disk shelf so as of today you can scale upto 6 disk shelves per cluster so 12 controllers), we will be using Round Robin if using NMP.

The engineers who work with Xtreme IO recommend that the default number of iops be changed from 1000 to 1, yes “ONE”. So essentially you are sending an IO request to each controller in the cluster. I haven’t really seen any improvement in the performance by doing so but it is only a recommendation at the end of the day. If you see that you are not going to achieve any significant performance by doing so, the onus is on you to make that decision.

First, lets get all the volumes that’ve been configured on Xtreme IO.

esxcli storage nmp path list | grep XtremeIO

this will give you the naa.id of all the volumes that are running on XtremeIO.

Now lets set the policy to RR for those volumes.

esxcli storage nmp device set — device <naa.id> -psp VMW_PSP_RR (5.x)
esxcli nmp device setpolicy — device <naa.id > –psp VMW_PSP_RR (4.1)

You can also set the default path selection policy for any storage in 5.x by identifying the SATP and modifying it with the command

esxcli storage nmp satp set –default-psp=VMW_PSP_RR —satp =<your_SATP_name>

To set the number of IOs to 1 in RR,

esxcli storage nmp psp roundrobin deviceconfig set -d <naa.id> –iops 1 –type iops (5.x)

esxcli nmp roundrobin setconfig –device=<naa.id> –iops=1 (4.1)

Of course if you dont want to go change all of this, you can still use Powerpath.

Host Parameters to Change

For best performance we also need to set a couple of disk parameters. You can do this via GUI or the easier way via CLI (preferred).

Using GUI, set the following parameters Disk.SchedNumReqOutstanding to 256 & Disk.SchedQuantum to 64

Note: If you have non Xtreme IO volumes on these hosts, they may lead to over stress on the controllers and cause performance degradation while communicating with them.

Using Command line in 4.1, set the parameters using

esxcfg-advcfg -s 64 /Disk /SchedQuantum
esxcfg-advcfg -s 256 /Disk /SchedNumReqOutstanding

to query that its been set correctly, use

esxcfg-advcfg -g /Disk /SchedQuantum
esxcfg-advcfg -g /Disk /SchedNumReqOutstanding

You should also change the Disk.DiskMaxIOSize from the default of 32767 to 4096. This is because XtremeIO reads and writes by default in 4k chunks and thats how it gets the awesome deduplication ratio.

In ESXi 5.0/5.1 you can set the SchedNumReqOutstanding by using

esxcli storage core device set -d <naa.id> -O 256

In vSphere 5.5 you can set this paramter on each volume individually instead of configuring on per host.

vCenter Server Parameters

Depending on the number of xBricks that are configured per cluster, the vCenter server parameter
config.vpxd.ResourceManager.maxCostPerHost needs to be changed. This adjusts the maximum number of full cloning operations.

One xBrick Cluster – 8 (default)
Two xBrick Cluster – 16
Four xBrick Cluster – 32

Thats the end of this post. Please feel free to correct me if I’ve got any commands wrong.


Recommendation (as per AusFestivus’ comment):  EMC recommend that PP be used for best performance. But it always comes down to the cost constraints and how much the client wants to spend.  In my opinion, PP is more like “nice to have for best performance without tinkering”. But if you can keep tinkering and changing things to get the best performance out, you can do without PP.

XtremeIO – Part 1 – Adding Hosts and Datastores

I’ve been running a new POC for XtremeIO AFA in the last couple of weeks. To say that its easy to provision storage and manage is an understatement. This hardware (and software) makes every other storage system I have ever used look ancient and sluggish.

The beauty of this All Flash Array is that everything is redundant staring with the number of controllers to the fabric connections or iSCSI connections and with the number of batteries for each xBrick.

We can have upto 8 (going to 16 in the future) xBricks in a cluster and have multiple clusters. But each cluster must be managed by a single XMS, aka Management Server. There is a very good blog post by Jason Nash about the architecture of the XtremeIO AFA.

Now lets move onto the real stuff.

Adding Initiators (Host HBA)

Assuming that you’ve zoned everything correctly and properly (single initiator zoning), you should be able to add the host initiators in less than 2 steps for each initiator.

1. Logon to the XMS using the admin credentials

2. Click on the Configuration Link. Click on the Add Initiator Group link.

3. In the window that pops open, enter a name of the Group. I’ve called it ESX_VDI.

4. Enter the details of the Initiator, give it a name and select the appropriate Port Address.


5. Follow the same steps to add the other initiators in the group.

6. Click Next and then Finish.

You’ve added the hosts. Now lets give them some storage to play with.


Creating Volumes 

There is no RAID to configure, no spindle numbers to calculate, no calculation required for creating a volume in XtremeIO. Each xBrick gives us a usable capacity of 7TB of physical storage. Logically thanks to the de-duplication capability of the XtremeIO software, we can get at least 7:1 logical to physical storage. So you can create volumes at least of  50 TB size. I have successfully run VMs on 10:1 logical to physical before I saw performance hit on the VMs, want to know how much that hit was .. 1ms. Yes you saw it right. On a over commit of 10:1 I got a latency of 1ms on my VMs.

OK enough rambling, now lets see some pictures.

1. On the LHS of the Configuration pane, Click on Add.

2. Give the volume a name and how big you want the volume to be.

AddingStorage 1


3. Click Next. Choose a folder name and Click Finish.

4. Thats it. In my example below, I created a 4TB volume.

AddingStorage 2

5. You can also add multiple volumes with same size and naming convention. Click on Add multiple and follow the same steps.

Now lets give these volumes to the hosts.


Masking Volumes to the hosts

1. Select the Initiator Group you want to add storage to.

2. Select the volume you want to mask.

3. Click on Map All Button.

Mapping 1


4. Give it a LUN ID.



5. Click Apply. You’re done.


There it is. Now logon to the vCenter Server and rescan the cluster(s) to see the new storage. You can then format it as VMFS or whatever you want to.

Next part will cover a little bit of security and monitoring within XtremeIO.



Whats next after VCDX ?

This was the question asked the most in the last couple of days. Whoever thinks that getting VCDX is the end of the road is delusional. I am sure most of the current VCDXs would agree that VCDX is the first step in a long way towards excellence. It doesn’t necessarily demean or reduce the value of VCDX, on the contrary, it makes you realise that there is so much more that you don’t know.

My next immediate aim would be to be a double VCDX and may be work towards getting a TOGAF certification (may be close to end of this year, beginning of next). I will try to get into a study group already formed by Josh Odgers (@josh_odgers), Grant Orchard (@grantorchard) and a few others in Melbourne (They are already well on their way with VCAP-CID successfully completed). One thing that pursuing VCDX has done is opened up a few doors (that’ve been sealed shut since 2003) inside my mind.

I still don’t know anything about NSX or NVP. I will be starting to download and read through the very impressive content as usual by Scott Lowe (@scott_lowe) here. Grant Orchard has a lot of information on his blog about vCAC and its design considerations here. I will also try to be more active and give something back to the community that has been so helpful and supportive.

My VCDX Journey (and stumbles along the way) # 2

If you missed Part 1, here it is.

So I was in SFO for VCDX defence. My wife and kid joined me on the trip. She has family in Cali, she went to see them, I stayed back. I was nervous, didn’t know if I will make it. After sleeping through most of the day, decided to catch up with people whom I’d known only on twitter and via webex. It was late, so I caught up with Brad, Kalen, Garette and Mark. Had a couple of beers and went back.

Nutanix (@nutanix) had offered to provide us with a meeting room where we could do mock sessions. We did some mocks when quite a few VCDXs dropped in and gave us a lot of tips. We attended the VCDX bootcamp. Next day we did the same, only change was that we did design scenarios and TS scenarios. We had fun, Kalen Ardnt gave us TS scenarios from his experience at VMware Support. A word of caution, he is mad, absolutely mad. So if you see him in TS scenario you can be rest assured that he is going to fry your brain and have it with some sauce (along with a few laughs for sure). That was the Sunday, Monday came and went, I was holed up in a hotel room studying.


Tuesday morning and I was a nervous wreck, couldn’t breathe or stay put. I was pacing up and down the hotel room. It was time to leave and I walked to the Hilton where the defence was scheduled.

Mark Brunstad and John Arrasjid met with me and took me to the holding area. There were 2 panels happening at the same time. Also in my defence room were an observer and 2 new panelists in training. John introduced me to everyone in the room. And it began. I was nervous, my hands were sweating and I was fidgety at best for the first 5 mins. Then I began to enjoy myself in the defence. It went reasonably OK, though I was still disappointed with my effort. I enjoyed the defence and TS scenario a lot more than the design scenario.

I couldn’t answer some questions that the panelists asked me and skipped over a couple with vague answers. It was done. I came out, met Magnus Edh (@vTerahertz, #140) and we exchanged how it went etc. I wasn’t happy with my design scenario and thought could’ve done better in design defence. That evening, I was smuggled into the VCDX/vExpert Party by Brad and had the chance to rub shoulders with the giants of industry present there. Also saw VCDX-Alpha being presented to CEO Pat Gelsinger for his vision and contribution to the program.

Thursday evening, went to visit my wife’s family and got a text from Brad asking if I had made it. All along I thought I would get the result when I was back in Australia. I opened the email and it wasnt good news. I was furious with myself and couldn’t enjoy the family time. I still had to do Vegas, LA and Disneyland. I wish there was a hole for me to curl up into and not come out. Next day, I thought ‘you know what, I am going to try again. Its not the end of the road’.

VCDX Attempt #2

I enjoyed the rest of the trip to US, didn’t really like Vegas, loved Disneyland and spending time with Family. I came back pulled up my socks, starting working on my design again. I submitted the same design incorporating the feedback given by the panel. I got accepted to defend it in Singapore, July 7.

Sleepless nights began again. Mocks with Josh Odgers, Grant Orchard week before defence. I gave it a final push. Saturday 5th July, I injure my big toe in a stupid accident and had to get half the nail taken off (yep it happened).

Flying out Sunday Morning I was completely under the influence of pain killers and could barely walk. That 9 hour flight was the longest and the most painful flight of my life. After landing, I caught up with Andrew Brydon (@sidbrydon, #139) and had McDonalds for dinner.

D-Day #2

I woke up in immense pain and took the pain killers again. It was time to get ready. I tried to put shoes on and it was impossible to take a step or stand with shoes on. I decided to go in Sandals. It took me 25 mins to walk to the defence location and it was less than 5 min walk. It wasn’t looking good.

I defended the design well and was ok in TS scenario,  and in my opinion didnt do as well in design scenario. I was limping all the time, walking up to flip chart to draw something back to the middle. It was painful, so much so that after my design defence I took 4 more pain killers to numb the pain. I couldn’t think straight for the first 10 minutes in the design scenario. I felt stupid taking those pain killers, I cursed myself in my brain, I couldn’t bring words to my mouth that my brain was processing. It was Hell. I thought ‘If I don’t make it this time I am done. I am so done’.

I walked back, changed the blood soaked dressing on my toe, had a drink with Andrew and distinctly remember saying “I f****d up the design scenario as I couldn’t think for the first 10 mins”. We did a quick design scenario mock and I went back to Changi to catch my flight back. My flight was delayed by 3 hours. So more painkillers cos of the walking..

2 days later, I woke up and glanced at my phone blinking green. I saw Andrew Daunce’s tweet congratulating me. I check my email on the phone..NOTHING. Check it on my mac..NOTHING. I felt as if there was a knife in my chest. I sent a quick message off to Mark Brunstad asking for an update. Then someone posted the VCDX directory snippet with my name in it. I’d done it. Yes it is an achievement..

For everyone and anyone who thinks failure is a step back, no for VCDX its not. You’ll learn better from it and not make the same mistakes.

Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.

A special thanks to all the people below in no particular order

My wife (@harneet_brar) and my 4 year old son (Pillars of my life), Josh Odgers (@josh_odgers), Grant Orchard (@grantorchard), Arron Stebbing (@arronstebbing), Andrew Brydon (@sidbrydon), Derek Seaman (@vDerekS), Brad Christian (@bchristian21), Josh Coen (@joshcoen), Jeff Mercier, Sean Howard, Richard Arsenian (@richardarsenian),  Kalen Ardnt (@kalenardnt), James Charter (@Davesrant), Tim Antonowicz (@timantz), Mark Gabryjelski, Michael Webster (@vcdxnz001), Manish (@mandivs), Mark Brunstad (@markbrunstad), John Arrasjid (@vcdx001), Duncan Epping (@duncanyb), Frank Denneman (@frankdenneman), Andrew Mitchell (@amitchell01), Rene (@vcdx133) and everyone in the VMware community.

This is your victory too 🙂



My VCDX Journey (and stumbles along the way) # 1

After a long and arduous journey over a few months starting november 2013, I finally achieved what I wanted to do since 2009.  I am VCDX-DCV #135.

This blog post is to help those push through the initial hesitation and also help those who’ve stumbled in the first go. It’ll be a bit long so bear with me. Here we go …

I got my VCP4 in 2008 when I was working as a Senior Wintel Engineer. I had worked on ESX 3.0 and 3.5 initial releases. I was really awestruck by how simple it was to setup a basic cluster and the advantages that it gave the workloads. I still remember my first vMotion experience and it was awesome. I wanted to know more do more with this awesome technology. So began my journey to do the VCAPs. I got my VCAP DCD4 first and then followed it up with VCAP DCA4 a year later. Early 2009 the thought of doing my VCDX came to my mind, I’d just attended my first VMUG and the session was with the first VCDX in Australia, Andrew Mitchell (#30).

A lot of time passed between 2009 and 2013 when I finally got enough courage to put my VCDX Application through in December 2013. I had requested some feedback from Will Huber (@huberw, #81), Josh Odgers (@josh_odgers, #90) and Manish (@mandivs) with my documentation. I got positive feedback from them so I felt OK. Then got the reply from Mark Brunstad (VCDX Program Director) in Jan 2014 that my application was successful for defence at Partner Exchange, SFO on Feb 11. I was so happy that I was one step closer to getting VCDX.

I immediately logged onto twitter to see who else had been accepted. I found quite a people who’d tweeted that they were doing the same, Derek Seaman, Kalen Ardnt, Mark Snook, Garette,  Brad Christian, Jeff Mercier, Josh Coen, Sean Howard & Safouh. Also known as #VCDXPEX14CREW

Brad Christian (@bchristian21) was kind enough to start a group mock defence each night for 2 weeks and I attended a few, missed a few (including mine thanks to my 4 yr old) but overall learnt a lot.

I also contacted Josh Odgers, who in my opinion is one of the best guys to know and work with, and asked him to help me out with a couple of mock panels so as to know where I stood. Little did I know that there was one more candidate, whom Josh was helping out, Richard Arsenian (VCDX #126). Richard and I did one mock panel each and I was terrible. I convinced Josh and Richard for one more go the next day. I redid the whole presentation, still couldn’t answer a few questions properly. The day was here to fly to SFO..

Its long enough.. lets take a break.

To be continued..


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