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Oh, well hey there! OMG ITS VMWORLD! Hey guys! I bet you’re wondering WTF I’m talking about! It’s okay. Some of you were expecting this, or are saying, “Finally… I mean, Cisco has validated Designs, and they’ve been doing those technical design guides for DECADES…” But I digress… I mean because VMware hasn’t been half shabby with their NUMEROUS whitepapers on every single topic under the sun for application supportability, capability, design, you name it!
OMG SO WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?!
Alright, alright calm down…
The VMware Validated Designs now provide a Blue print for the whole data center instead of merely being an infinite series of reference architecture, Best Practices, and Guides based upon products in a bubble!
How does this differ from a validated architecture like VSPEX?
How this differs from a validated architecture is that an architecture will often be presented as ‘IM A VENDOR BUY MY STUFF’ whereas a design basically sets the table that, “Here’s a design… buy whoseever stuff or whatever things you want! (obviously ensure its on the HCL :))” I hear this come up a lot with friends, partners, colleagues, customers and the best initial comparison I can think of comes to having a house built, a design truly becomes the blueprint for your home. You pay an architect to produce that and you can then take that deliverable anywhere and have it be built, whereas in the technical sense an validated architecture is like track housing. You can have it look and feel any way you want, as long as its one of these THREE options. So you can pick and choose which framework or model works best for you, they’re not mutually exclusive and you can layer the capabilities of one atop the other. Also consider, HEY you can use this to apply the principles to your existing implementation to see what you might do to improve it!
OMG ARE YOU SAYING ITS WIN WIN?! Yes. I am. But I won’t use those words. You chose to use them. :)
Today there are a few VMware Validated Designs which have been released (with more to come)
What’s cool about the Walkthroughs is that it breaks down various business and technical elements of the VMware portfolio AND has direct links to take you to the hands on labs, so a little for the business and a little for the technical! It’s a nice bit of fun all packaged up together! :)
So you’re a long time virtualization user. You’ve worked with the systems, you love VMware! (You might even have a bumper sticker on your laptop stating as such) Yet… You never got your VCP.
What?! Why aren’t you a VCP?
This is a problem which plagues many an Admin who will often be multi-skilled and can justify the $225 price-tag to take the exam but whose employer will NOT pay for you to be away from the office, nor the hefty price tag often associated with the VCP course itself. Yea, we get that, so what?!
The VCP-NV will be your savior! (Until 28FEB2015)
So for those of you who are familiar, VMware has introduced the VCP Network Virtualization an exam which is focused heavily on the Nicira product (Named NSX, and occasionally vCNS related stuff for you vCloudy’s out there!) Also for a limited time they have introduced a unique ‘program’ with this which is…
If you have a Valid CCNA Data Center or CCNA Routing & Switching or CCNP Data Center or CCNP Routing & Switching certification you are eligible to take the VCP-NX without having to have a classroom requirement! Full details can be found at VMware’s site here on the VCP-NV.
Wait, how does this help me with my VCP-DCV?!
I knew you were going to ask that question. Well, take a journey with me, shall we?
Earn your CCNA Routing and Switching (It’s the cheapest of the options available)
(Unless you already have a CCNA R&S then you’re on the way!)
Now you’re officially a VCP, which grandfathers you into the ability to pass ANY VCP Exam and earn the VCP designation without classroom requirement!
Schedule and pass the VCP-DCV (and/or VCP-DT, VCP-Cloud)
If you schedule your exam BEFORE 1JAN2015 you can use VCPRECERT25 for 25% off! (See link)
If you schedule your exam BEFORE 19DEC2014 and are located in APJ/APAC get 50% off! (See Link)
BOOM YOU’RE CERTIFIED!
Some of you might feel this is a lot of work. I don’t think any of us didn’t say it WAS, however it is also NOT having to take the classroom requirement and get around this little issue which quite frankly is awesome! :) For a lot of us, it is really about principle and anything we can do to avoid an arbitrary classroom will work, that and in many cases it is quite cheaper AND expands your possible horizons! <3
Wow, so here we are… 500 days, it feels like just yesterday I was getting here. Okay, I’m only kidding, every day feels like every day before it, and every day after it. So let’s take a moment to roll back the clock and see what kinds of things have happened and perhaps some various accomplishments out here! (Like how I rocked that title like a branding whore? ;))
Avoided death by mortar, rocket, small arms fire, IED and any number of other VERY real threats for 500 days! (Woohoo!)
As you can tell that is quite a slew of personal things to accomplish (And I’m only scratching the surface), there are more things on the horizon some of which I honestly am not sure what else I want to pursue and other things which I’m always actively working on whether publicly or in secret to share later!
When it comes to what I do professionally I have to be a little obfuscated or in some cases I cannot even share any details due to the sensitive nature of the mission but there are some things which I can disclose and albeit a small list I’ll try to here (Essentially taken from my resume as it’s pre-scrubbed)
Afghanistan Senior Technical Director responsible for Operations, Management, Engineering, Implementation and Support of the US Operational Forces in CJOA-A mission command
Provide leadership and direction for team of 100+ engineers and architects geographically distributed across 30 Forward Operating Bases throughout Afghanistan
Subject Matter Expert for Virtualization, Storage, Data Center and Networking, lead coordinating efforts for the Dec 2014 US Troop draw down and architect of the sustaining architecture for post 2014 mission
Direct oversight and operations of enterprise infrastructure supporting over 100,000 users
Define policy, procedure and operational requirements to sustain OEF mission
This is equally a pretty awesome set of accomplishments, something I didn’t include in the bulleted list but I am particularly proud of, the fact that we have maintained 100% uptime. Yea you heard it, 100%, not five 9’s or three 9’s or one 8 and three 2’s, but 100%. I do not include as part of that as scheduled outages where we were intentionally taking something down for maintenance nor do I include when we have a catastrophic site failure which is out of my control (Let’s say a generator gets hit with a rocket, or HVAC goes offline because its 140 degrees out, or someone decides to sever the network link) Yea, those aren’t included as a cause of downtime because there’s nothing we can functionally do about it, but operationally, configurationally, all of that, we’re talking about 100% baby! I’m sure if we owned the Network and Data center layers we’d keep their numbers higher, but logistically out of my control!
What is next on the horizon
Well, the question of what is next can be a difficult one to exactly predict, I mean there are certain levels of uncertainty and unknown but there are some things which are absolutely certain.
I’ll be attending VMworld in San Francisco this coming August
Will I be throwing a #CXIParty? A question I get asked often… well, … Maybe. You tell me, the logistical effort can be a pain to do from afar…
I will be going on R&R to spend time with my awesome family who will be living in (after having moved) to Nashville!
I will be spending (another) Birthday here in Bagram, Afghanistan. Oh the greatest place on earth to spend your birthday. Seriously. Not. :)
I will be talking to folks at VMworld (and as I currently am) plotting and planning for the next stage of my adventure when I am done with my mission here and ready to invest my time elsewhere. I keep getting solicited and unsolicited offers from folks, keep it coming… I’ll find the right place to land my feet and make an epic impact like I have here (and everywhere else I’ve been)
Will I continue to be here in Afghanistan following November to see the final stage of the draw-down through and beyond into the Resolute Support Mission? That is really answered by the viability of finding where the ‘next stage of my adventure’ will take me. So that’s an unknown.
Will I keep being awesome? Definitely. You should too. :)
So there you go, a look back and a brief look forward. See ya’ll at VMworld! <3