Posts Tagged ‘Brocade Distinguished Architect’

500 Days in Afghanistan, a #vExpert retrospective from an #EMCElect

June 30th, 2014

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? ;))

Personal Accomplishments

  • Published two books
  • Completed a massive slew of Certifications including (But not limited to)
    • Cisco
      • CCNA (Routing and Switching, Security and Data Center)
      • CCNP Data Center
      • CCIE Data Center (Written… Can’t exactly take the lab out here can I :))
    • Brocade
    • VMware
      • VCP 5.0
      • VCP 5.5 (Beta and then the “Pass”)
      • Yet, due to the ‘class’ requirement I’m technically still NOT a VCP, yay right? :)
  • Finished 92 credit hours in a Bachelors of IT Security degree program (in a month) before I had to take time away to tackle other matters
  • EMC Elect for 2013 and 2014
  • VMware vExpert for 2013 and 2014
  • 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!

Professional Accomplishments

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

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Posted in Afghanistan, Brocade, Certification, Cisco, EMC Elect, Storage, vExpert, vmware, VMworld | Comments (0)

The Definitive Guide to the Brocade Distinguished Architect

April 12th, 2014

If you’ve been in the FICON, Data Center SAN, Internetworking or Converged networking tracks at any point in your career then the Brocade Distinguished Architect is the ultimate pursuit available within the Brocade family, and it is by no means easy, frankly quite the opposite!   That said though, hopefully this can help steer you in comfort in the direction of a pursuit of this designation or the tracks leading up to it!

Brocade Distinguished Architect

The Brocade Distinguished Architect is a series of exams. Oh, a series indeed! It is actually achievable by finishing 3 of the 4 tracks listed below.  These tracks are broken down into FICON, Data Center, Internetworking and Converged. 

The Brocade Certified Professional – 3 out of 4 tracks!

Brocade Certified Professional FICON Track

  • Brocade Accredited Data Center Specialist Exam 160-130
    Brocade Accredited FICON Specialist Exam 160-140 
    Brocade Certified Fabric Administrator (BCFA) Exam 143-410
    Brocade Certified Fabric Professional (BCFP) Exam 143-070
    Brocade Certified Architect For FICON (BCAF) Exam 143-120

Brocade Certified Professional Data Center Track

  • Brocade Accredited Server Connectivity Specialist Exam 160-020 
    Brocade Accredited Data Center Specialist Exam 160-130 
    Brocade Certified Fabric Administrator (BCFA) Exam 143-410
    Brocade Certified Fabric Professional (BCFP) Exam 143-070
    Brocade Certified SAN Manager (BCSM) Exam 143-360
    Brocade Certified Fabric Designer (BCFD) Exam 143-260

Brocade Certified Professional Internetworking Track

  • Brocade Accredited Internetworking Specialist Exam 160-120
    Brocade Certified Network Engineer Exam 150-120
    Brocade Certified Layer 4-7 Engineer Exam 150-320
    Brocade Certified Network Professional Exam 150-220
    Brocade Certified Layer 4-7 Professional Exam 150-420 
    Brocade Accredited WLAN Specialist Exam 160-170
    Brocade Certified Network Designer Exam 150-510

Brocade Certified Professional Converged networking Track

  • Brocade Accredited FCoE Specialist Exam 160-160
    Brocade Certified Ethernet Fabric Engineer Exam 150-610
    Brocade Certified FCoE Professional (BCFCoEP) Exam 143-510

You do not have to pursue all 4 tracks to accomplish this, in my particular case I pursued the FICON, Data Center and Internetworking as there was a decent amount of overlap between those, and I have an extensive background in working with Data Centers, Internetworking and experience with FICON which made that particular pursuit significantly easier.   That said though, after I did a cost benefit analysis I also found those three tracks combined to allow for taking only 13 exams to achieve the end result!

Accredited vs Certified

You may notice some of the exams are listed as “Certified” and others listed as “Accredited” The differences of those two is simple; Certified Exams are delivered via a Pearson Vue testing center and cost $150 a piece.  Accredited exams are delivered via Kryterion, are non-proctored and delivered online via a Web Browser.   To be honest, the Certified Exams were SIGNIFICANTLY easier than the Accredited exams, but none of these by any means are a walk in the park, unless you have extensive experience working with the technologies.

How do I even begin to prepare and study?!

Brocade as a family makes it both easy and difficult to prepare as most certification tracks often do.  That is to say, it is not so easy you can go into it without any knowledge, experience or training; But also not such an enduring task that your real world experience and knowledge are discarded in favor of arbitrarily complicated questions!   Each of the Certifications have available in the Brocade Certification Information pages links to reference materials, pre-requisites and Study Guides for each respective track!   In addition to this, each track also has a series of web-based, online and classroom type training to prepare, educate and take you to the next steps!  

Leveraging these tools and some real world experience will prepare you to take these certifications and take your career to the next level!

Making the Honor Roll

As you proceed through the ranks of the many who’ve taken Brocade exams (They hit 30,000 exams taken this past weekend 4/5/2014) once you’ve achieved this rigorous and arduous process though, you make it onto the Brocade Distinguished Architect Honor Roll which is an official list of everyone who has achieved Brocades Highest Certification Credential  Going back as far as January of 2011 until today April of 2014, there have been 88 people who have achieved this credential.   Just like other highest credentials, VMware’s VCDX, Microsoft’s MCM and MCA, and Cisco’s CCIE, this certification track is not for everyone but it is an achievable and reachable target!


Brocade Certification and essential links!

Doing your Part

This track may not be for all but this is definitely a way to set you a part from the rest.   Brocade has been a staple of the Data Center for a very long time, and are the market leader in their particular industries.   If you’re looking to enhance your resume portfolio, grow your capabilities and really stand out, this is definitely a good way to do it!  Good luck and good pursuits!

Brocade Banner

Ooh and here I am on the official Brocade Page, awesomeness :)

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Posted in Brocade, Certification, Storage | Comments (0)

OMG! Free Brocade Certification Exam and Training (150-810) Good ‘til May 2014!

April 12th, 2014

So there I was going through my Brocade Certification track in pursuit of the Brocade Distinguished Architect (More details in my next post ;)) and I came across this little gem!   Free Voucher, Free Training, free-all to knock out one of these exams! Awesome, right?!?

BCEFP - Brocade Certified Ethernet Fabric Professional

This is broken down into a few key steps;

Ooh, Ooh! So they asked I pull down the code itself because they’d like people to register, get the training and also sign up to win $500 Amazon Gift Card in a drawing held TWICE per month! (Baller, right?!) So I obliged! Be sure to check out these two links!

And then there you go! Free training, Free Voucher and that’s one step done including additional resume building power!

The drawings remaining are running April 14th, April 28th, May 12th and May 30th!!!

Check it out and certifiiiiiiiiiy! :)

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Posted in Brocade, Certification, Free, Storage | Comments (3)

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