vExpert 2016 and VCDX Preparation

VMW-LOGO-vEXPERT-2016-k

January is already over and I did not have a single post for the entire month. Yesterday, the vExpert 2016 awards were announced and I was happy to see my name on the list for a second year in a row. There are an amazing group of people in the community contributing to such a wide variety of topics and I am grateful to be considered a part of that. I really want to step up my game this year and cover in even more detail the Hadoop/Big Data and Cloud Native Apps topics happening within the VMware ecosystem and beyond!

The preparation for my VCDX defense is winding down — with a little over 10 days before I defend, there really isn’t much more I could try to learn beforehand. I feel pretty confident in how well I know the design itself and I’ve gone to considerable lengths the past few weeks to highlight areas where it is lacking and/or what I would do differently had some of the constraints not been in place. I am blessed to work with some amazing people and they have given me some great advice over the past few months on what to do and what not to do as I have journeyed down this path. The VCDX community is really strong and there are a lot of differing opinions on what a candidate should do to prepare — part of the experience for me has been which voices to ignore and which to place value in.

The part that has been the most stressful have been the slides themselves. I talked to several people, and I am grateful to each for taking the time, and the best advice I received was the following:

  1. Keep the deck short and to the point.
  2. Use it as a warm-up to get comfortable in the room.
  3. The defense is how you communicate and not on how many slides you have or how pretty they look.

All that said, I believe I took a unique approach to how I prepared my slides which play to my strengths. I am already comfortable talking in front of crowds both large and small, and my current position at VMware affords me the opportunity to defend design decisions to a really strong group of architects, including three double-VCDXs. I anticipate the experience as one to afford me an opportunity significant growth personally and professionally.

February 16th @8:30AM really could not come soon enough for me!

vExpert 2015 – now what?

First off, I want to say thank you to VMware for selecting me as a vExpert for 2015. I will be honest in stating that it was a stretch goal for me last year to feel qualified enough to fill out the application for vExpert. I am honored to be included with so many worthy individuals who contribute back to the community and get me excited for the challenges we face daily!

The great part for me is the challenge I have set for myself to do even more this year — both professionally and personally on the virtualization front and in the community. I like to challenge myself, and working on the things that excite me (Hadoop, Mesos, Docker, etc.) help me to always be improving. Right now I have my head down in studying for the VCAP exams, automating operational tasks through PowerCLI and evangelizing Big Data Extensions internally to teams who are trying to work through many of the challenges facing them with intelligent cluster deployments. It is pretty easy to keep myself busy for 16+ hours a day right now.

One of the things I am working through in my head right now is how to extend Big Data Extensions further — by making it possible to initiate cluster deployments through the OpenStack API. What does that look like and how challenging is it to accomplish?

This was the first year I applied for vExpert and the first time I was selected. I plan to continue to challenge myself to keep this going for several years and give back to the community that has given me so much!