As most people reading this know, VMware recently announced its vSphere 5 product release. Although certifications based on vSphere 4 retain their value, we must march onwards; for instance, VCP5 has already been announced. To this end, today I am announcing the final opportunity to attempt the VCDX certification based on vSphere 4 designs.
The city will be Frankfurt, Germany, and the dates will be February 6-10, 2012. Applications for this session will open on November 14, 2011, and will close on December 5, 2011.
Sharp-eyed readers will notice that this schedule is somewhat compressed: if a candidate attempts VCDX4 in Singapore during the week of November 14, 2011, and is unsuccessful, he or she will not have a lot of time to build an improved VCDX4 application for Frankfurt. This was a deliberate choice. We need to balance the needs of VCDX4 candidates with those who are eager to embark on the vSphere 5 version of the program. Candidates who defend in Singapore and feel strongly that they will want to reattempt in Frankfurt would be advised not to wait for their results before enhancing their applications. Instead, they should use the feedback provided by their Singapore panel to begin improving their application right away.
As before, applications must be submitted in English, and the Frankfurt defenses, by default, will be conducted in English. However, we would like to run a trial program under which Frankfurt candidates could choose to defend in German (in front of a panel of German-speaking VCDXes). If you'd be interested in this, send a message to email@example.com. (Bitte schreiben Sie auf englisch. Mehrere VMware-Mitarbeiter können nicht deutsch lesen.)
We're looking forward to a group of great candidates joining us in Palo Alto next week for their VCDX4 defenses, and we wish them the best of luck. Applications for Singapore are due on September 19, 2011.
OK guess I missed the boat for 4 then.
Frustrated as I spent my own money gettting DCD4 and have been waiting a long time to take DCA4 (not your fault I know, but very few slots for an exam that long near me).
So at this point I understand I need to wait for DCA 5, and pass that to attain both DCA 5 and upgrade my VCP to 5. Then also take DCD5. Then I'll be able to submit a design?
Any idea of a timescale for the two VCAP 5 availabilities? Will there be any discounts available for those of us with version 4?
Sad because I'd hoped to attain my VCDX this year, I have to say this process makes the CCIE seem easy, at least Cisco only rejigged the thing every 18 months.
I should make it clear that people are not required to stay in their own regions to defend. The facts that Frankfurt is well-connected by air, and that it is not an expensive destination, were the major factors in its selection. I myself recently flew round-trip (nonstop!) from Seattle to Frankfurt for US$650.
VCDX candidates who reside in the Americas (and the Asia-Pacific region, too) are more than welcome to take part in the VCDX4 defense activity in Frankfurt. I can assure English-speakers that Frankfurt is very easy to navigate without German skills. (Singapore, our next-to-last VCDX opportunity, is also an air-transport hub that is very welcoming to English speakers.)
Anyhow, we do try to "rejigger" VCDX infrequently, certainly no more frequently than major VMware software releases. I wish we could announce much earlier, for a given VCDX-"n", its last defense opportunity, but since VMware itself typically announces vSphere "n" no more than a quarter in advance, we are somewhat constrained.
I'm not in a position to say anything about the VCAP upgrade paths right now, other than that we strive to make them not too onerous, and that your concerns are heard.
Thanks. Yeah in the many minutes since I posted I realized that too - LAX to Frankfurt isn't that hard either.
The tradeoff between the travel cost and the exams is minor, more important for me is that I used to work for a partner where I got to design and implement vSphere a lot, whereas now I work for a technology partner my work is all in the lab. Therefore it may be some time before I'm as confident on 5 as I am with 4 /4.1. I have several months to decide, during which I suspect the upgrade path will become apparent. Meanwhile I look forward to the VCDX prep session at VMworld...
I'm not upset but this is kinda nuts. Ya'll have only had a handful of VCDX4 defenses. The VCAP4 certs aren't even a year old and now we have to start from scratch if we can't make Frankfurt.
Considering VCDX3 was still available for 18 months after the release of vSphere 4, this is not right. Not only do we have to go through new certification exams prior to VCDX5, but gain the necessary experience on the platform.
There needs to be another defense located in North America, how am I support to justify a $3000+ (CDN) flight to Germany to management? Especially since work policy is "no pass no pay."
I think no pass no pay is pretty standard, and it bit me when I failed my first CCIE attempt. In the long run though the CCIE was well worth the time and effort of my own I invested, and I was lucky my employer paid for my second, successful attempt. I think the VCDX will similarly end up being a valuable attainment, and worth some personal expense.
I agree with Simon regarding the worthyness and common reimbursement policy.
However, as a single-earner family, the cost is driven up substantially with this announcement happening after I just missed the deadline for the California defense. Had it been made public knowledge that it would be the last North America defense I would have taken vacation time to meet the deadline.
Considering the heavy investment in time, home-lab gear and defense costs (I'm up in Ontario, Canada), it would have been considerate to include an additional NA defense or make this announcement months ago.
Hey Brian -
Maybe you guys could issue an injunction that says "if you have taken and passed the VCAP4-DCA in the past XX months, take the VCP5 and VCAP5-DCD and defend."
This would be similar in my mind to waiving the requirement of taking the training to upgrade to VCP5.
Just a thought...
Thanks, all, for these helpful and insightful comments. Here are some responses to the issues people raised.
First: yes, it is correct that VCDX3 was available for a long time after vSphere 4.0 shipped: more than 18 months, as a matter of fact. What we learned from that experience: that was too long. Well before the end of that interval, it was extremely common for VCDX3 designs to contain vSphere 4 components. So we won't have an overlap that long again.
It is noteworthy that, in spite of this long overlap, people were upset when the end of VCDX3 was announced. People were particularly angry in Europe, because the last VCDX3 defense opportunity was held in the Americas. There were accusations of favoritism towards North Americans. As I've explained elsewhere, we try to rotate the last opportunity to attempt VCDX-N among the geographies: the Americas, Europe-Middle East-Africa, and Asia-Pacific.
You could certainly still argue, however, that 6 months is too short even if 18 months is too long. That's a perfectly reasonable stance to take. So what's the right answer?
One policy we've considered: after vSphere N+1 is announced, hold one more VCDX-N defense in each geography. But even that apparently reasonable policy has flaws. For example: Brazil is a huge market for VMware products, and growth there is very strong. What if the extra defense opportunity for the Americas was in São Paulo? Many disappointed people I've heard from recently, I suspect, would continue to be disappointed.
Before anybody asks: treating the United States or North America as special for any reason is a non-starter. VMware aims to be a global company, and VCDX aims to be a global program. Neither aspiration is fully met, but that's our constant goal.
Another possible policy: we could publish a list of defense opportunities for at least 9-12 months into the future at all times. This policy is also imperfect: we would not be able to warrant that all of these would be VCDX-N opportunities, because the company does not give advance notice of when vSphere N+1 is to be announced.
Anyway, I am not writing this note just to swat away objections. Quite the contrary. There are certainly some problems with our existing systems that affect VCDX candidates negatively, and their negative impact is greatest at the time of switchovers from VCDX-N to N+1.
1. It is difficult to get exam slots for the VCAP exams, especially outside North America.
2. At switchover times, people need visibility into certifications' upgrade paths, so that they can make a sound decision about whether to get the current version and then upgrade or else attempt the new one. But we usually can't announce the upgrade path at the same time as our announcement that defenses for the current version are coming to an end.
Anyway, I am sure there's a way we can provide better guidance for VCDX candidates, and I am going to find it, with your help. In the meantime, what about the current situation?
I think people are being too quick to rule out Singapore and Frankfurt. Someone suggested that it would cost Cdn$3000 to fly to Frankfurt. A Kayak.com search for me just turned up fares from Toronto of US$1000 or so. Admittedly, I chose my dates to include a Saturday-night stay. If anybody is considering a VCDX defense in which you fly intercontinentally to the site and then defend without first adjusting to the time change: for the love of all that is holy, please don't do that.
Kayak.com also finds fares from Toronto to Singapore in time for our defenses for US$1400 or so.
Incidentally, we try to accommodate people traveling far for defenses with appointments at the beginning or end of the defense week, to help them with travel issues.
Beyond that: will there be VCDX4 opportunities beyond Frankfurt? Don't assume it. But it will be fruitful for me to hear from people who would definitely attempt VCDX4 if there were... and where. PM me or send us email at vcdx at vmware dot com .
To sum this up: we are inevitably going to disappoint people when we announce the end of a VCDX-N era. We do want to minimize the number of people we disappoint and to ensure that they're not disproportionately resident in one region of the globe.
To begin, thank you for the reply, it is important to see that concerns are being acknowledged. I understand that you cannot appease everyone, however it goes a long way to prove a thorough rationalization behind a decision and I cannot see that being proven just yet. Making an end-of-life announcement that includes _all_regions_ regardless of who is last seems like sound method. The argument of incurring backlash if this turns out to be NA sounds like a weak way of saying, we won’t add another NA defense even though we are SOL for anymore defenses.
Unfortunately I do not live in Toronto.
If there were another defense in the States for VCDX4 next year I would definetely be interested in defending then.
I am interested in learning if there have been any decisions made for candidates who are part way through the VCDX preparation for example I am looking to take VCAP Design exam in September so I can qualify to submit a sesign for my VCDX defense which looks like it will have to be in Frankfurt but if my employer is not willing to send me ou there what will the options because I cannot self fund the trip - will I have to restart the whole process?
It is funny to see this reaction, as most of you know I've been a panel member at most events over the course of the last 2 years. During most of these defenses we had less candidates than we could handle. This is great for the panel members as doing 12 defenses per week is tough it is also a missed opportunity for possible candidates.
Now I understand why this happens as it takes a lot of time to complete your design and prepare, I've been there and spent my full holiday writing my design an prepping. Hence the reason it has always been my recommendation to complete the design ASAP, even before you know when you are scheduling it and schedule it when you feel comfortable and you have the time. That way you atleast don't need to spent weeks writing it and find yourself under extreme pressure.
By the way, I am glad that in Europe it is common for employers to pay regardless of the outcome of the exam. Maybe it is time for employers who don't have that policy to realize that the cost is peanuts compared to the investment in knowledge / expertise and ultimately your most important assets: employees!
Good luck to all of you in one of the upcoming defenses, and be warned... we might meet at some point :smileydevil:
Is there any chance to schedule a VCDX or maybe VCDX5 session in Latin America (for example Brazil, Argentina, Chile and so forth)?
There are a lot most valuable people who understand vmware infrastructure and design but is too expensive to travel even to USA to get this certification. Brazil right now is a big market in IT virtualization and we have one of largest VMWare Project in the World (the largest company in brazil which one I'm proud to work in). We are now the third largest computing marketing below Japan and USA.
To us, Brazilian people is very hard get the company sponsorship and budget to this certification. Let me put the expenses here
Travel to Frankfurt - US$ 1300 - I am not counting Sigapore because the travel is more than US$2000
Expenses in frankfurt (hotel, food) - US$700
VMWare Expense - US$ 1200
VCAP-DCA Certification - US$400
VCAP-DCD Certification - US$400
To Brazilan people and Brazilian company US$ 4,000 for a certification is not a great deal. Here our salary is US$ 2000 a month and is hard to a profession get certified by himself.
The picture of only VCDX sessions in North America, Europe an Asia are there is only one VCDX in Whole Latin America which is a friend of mine. Please give us a chance to show our valuable skills without "give one of our arms" to get certified.