What does it take to achieve a VCDX certification?

There have been lots of articles on the defense and the process… so I will not waste space on that. This is going to be focused on 'What is a VCDX?'

It means that you are an expert at designing and architecting VMware virtual environments; more specifically vSphere environments. Of course to achieve this level of certification you had to pass a VCP test, a VMware Certified Advanced Professional Datacenter Design (VCAP-DCD) and Datacenter Administrator (VCAP-DCA) test.

Does it mean you are a master at the technical portions of vSphere (Networking configuration, storage configuration, computer configuration)?

No.

There are VCDX's that are CCIE level network engineers, but that is not their only skill set. They know of SAN design, layout, configuration, as well of compute limitations.

  • For example they know that a physical server with 4,096TB of RAM, with 64 socket's is just not realistic or cost effective.
  • They also know that a RAID 5 probably should not be used for a write heavy workload, but if they use a RAID 5 LUN, they identify this possible issue.

Sure it seems easy to install and design a vSphere environment, but consider that vSphere is a technology and suite of products that touches nearly every aspect of a corporations IT.

vSphere requires networking, storage, servers, power, cooling, a workload. This means that you will need to understand enough of those areas, including other areas that you may touch, to properly design the solution.

  • It means that you are able to gather requirements from a customer for their use cases.
  • It means that you are able to consider the impacts of such requirements, product limitations, product features, and most importantly… The impact of decisions that you make.
  • It means that you are able to identify the risks in your design, then mitigate or reduce that risk to an acceptable level.
  • It means that you are able to consider dependancies to the elements of your design, the customers existing environment, and the customers existing operational procedures.

You also need to understand the operational aspects of a design.

  • How do I implement it?
  • How do I test it?
  • How can I update it?
  • How do I maintain it?
  • What do I do when something breaks?
  • What is likely to break?

It requires a different mind set.

It requires the mindset of an architect, a consultant, and a system administrator.