VMworld 2015 – VCDX Unwrapped #SDDC5027

I attended the session VCDX Unwrapped at VMworld in San Francisco this year.  This was a panel discussion type session, which are always laid back, and provide abundant time for questions.


  • Aiden Dalgleish #010


  • Matt Vandenbeld #107
  • Simon Long #105
  • Duncan Epping #007
  • Jason Nash #049

Aiden started off by asking the panelists what are some of the qualities of a VCDX?  While the answers were all short, they were all in agreement: Confidence (in your design, and yourself), and be a continuous learner.  The comment was made that “if you think you know everything, chances are you don’t know much.”

When asked about partner benefits, Jason elaborated on the recognition that being a VCDX can bring to a VMware partner; and how that recognition is one thing that will set that partner apart when customers are looking.  It was also commented that VMware may look to add a top tier type partnership level, with having a VCDX on staff as a requirement.  I think this is a great idea.  Not only will customers benefit by having this metric to define (hopefully) top tier partners, but the demand for VCDX’s should increase in the marketplace.

After a couple other questions from Aiden, questions were opened up to the audience.  The first question asked was if a fictitious design could be used, or if it had to be real.

Duncan started the responses stating that his design was fictitious, although it took from multiple different real designs.  He expanded on the question by saying that when you create a fictitious design, don’t make it “perfect.”  Don’t have a design with a perfect budget, great top level support with no concerns, no constraints, etc.  Make it as real as possible.

Jason was next in responses, and added that complex designs are needed for submitting to the VCDX panel.  His design was smaller, but was unique in that it had very interesting constraints, due to it being a design for a healthcare facility.  He emphasized that what really matters is how your design is deployed within the stated requirements and constraints, not size and complication.

Duncan agreed, stating that he has seen designs with 4 hosts pass the VCDX defense, and some with 50 hosts fail. He emphasized that you need to be familiar with all aspects of the design, including storage and networking.

Simon and Matt agreed with everything that was stated and said that the panel is not looking for the whole vSphere suite to be in your design; only what is needed.  Simon didn’t even have HA and DRS in his design, due to constraints; adding that he had 8 hosts in his design.

A handful of other audience questions were asked about what to include / exclude in the deisgn as far as other VMware products go.  The panel all agreed that the design is the most important aspect.  If your design requires a product, or that product helps the design – include it; otherwise, don’t throw in additional products to make the design more complicated than needed.

The last question was about the climate in the defense room, with the varying panelists.  Matt started off with the responses talking about the physical environment – at least 3 panelists, and a monitor, and a whiteboard.  Jason then responded that the panelist are not there to tear into you – that they are there to pass you, not make you cry.  Each one of them has at one time been in your same position, defending a design, so they try to create a relaxed environment for you.

Duncan then responded that it is critical to have a slide desk to help with the first 10-15 minutes, to get things started.  This will help the defender get relaxed and into his or her flow.  Jason added that the slides are for you, and not the panel.

This was my favorite session at VMworld, and the 4 panelists were quite excited to answer everyone’s questions.  This certainly put me at ease as I travel closer to my goad of VCDX.


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