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As part of my VCDX preparation I’ve read lots of books, blogs and other documents to expand the knowledge and fill the gaps. That was partially one of the most valuable parts of the journey where I learned a lot. Without that I wouldn’t probably even read half of those great books.

I can’t say this is something that every candidate must read, but I decided to share this list as a VCDX BoM as I found it valuable for my VCDX-DCV prep.
At some point I used the list to define priorities and also track the timing but lost count at some point 🙂
The list presented here is in pretty much random order.

  • IT Architect: Foundation In the Art of Infrastructure Design: A Practical Guide For IT Architects
  • IT Architect: Designing Risk in IT Infrastructure
  • IT Architect: The Journey
  • IT Architect: Stories from the field vol.1
  • VCDX Bootcamp by John Arrasjid, Ben Lin, Mostafa Khalil
  • Storage Design and Implementation in vSphere 6: A Technology Deep Dive, 2nd edition
  • VMware vCloud Architecture Toolkit 3.1
  • VMware vCloud Architecture Toolkit 5.0
  • Clustering Deep Dive
  • vSAN 6.7 U1 Deep Dive
  • vSphere 6.5 Host Resources Deep Dive
  • Mastering VMware vSphere 6 by Nick Marshall
  • Mastering VMware vSphere 6.5
  • VMware vSphere Design 2nd edition by Forbes Guthrie and Scott Lowe
  • Networking for VMware Administrators by Christopher Wahl, Steven Pantol
  • Managing and Optimizing VMware vSphere Deployments by Harley Stagner, Sean Crookston
  • vSphere High Availability deep dive 6.0 by Duncan Epping
  • VCAP5-DCD Official Cert Guide by Paul McSharry
  • Site Realiability Engineering – O’Reilly
  • Disaster Recovery planning – preparing for the unthinkable by Jon Willtiam Toigo
  • Enterprise Systems Backup and Recovery: A Corporate Insurance Policy by Preston de Guise
  • Designing a Storage Performance Platform by Frank Denneman, Todd Mace, Tom Queen
  • Virtualizing SQL Server with VMware – Doing IT Rght by Michael Corey, Jeff Szastak, Michael Webster
  • Mission critical applications on VMware PDFs – Oracle, SAP HANA, SQL, Exchange, etc.

I also attended tremendous amount of training, here are a few that I studied ebooks for quite extensively.

  • vSphere Optimize & Scale 6.7 & 7.0
  • vSphere Design Workshop 6.5 & 7.0
  • Optimize and Scale 6.5
  • SRM, Install Configure Manage 8.2
  • NSX-T ICM 3.0

A few useful genereal links:


And can’t forget about Rene’s spectacular list of resources:


If you have any other books that are worth to add to the list, please put them in comments!

A wrap-up of my own VCDX Jurney #291

A wrap-up of my own VCDX Jurney #291

This is a post I was about to write already 2 months ago as a summary of 2020 as it’s imporant to wrap-up a long time I spent preparing for VCDX and also say Thank You. However, due to other tasks, engagements, etc. I just managed to complete it right now!

So first things first – finally, after a very long and extremely informative journey at 15 Dec 2020, I finally received probably the best e-mail ever.

Hi Pawel,
Congratulations! You passed! It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to the VMware Certified Design Expert community.
Your VCDX number is 291.

Initially I was about to write a long story here about my VCDX journey, but then I decided to just make a few points that can be treated as advice, that hopefully might help someone.

  1.  Don’t blindly trust everything you read on the internet about the VCDX process -> it’s like an assumption and if you already started the process already then you know what’s wrong with assumptions 😉
    -> E.g. for me back in 2017 after passing both VCAPs when I decided to set the next goal to be a VCDX.
    Along with my colleague we just completed a very good project which at that time seemed to be a perfect fit for the VCDX. I’ve read also some stories about VCDX jurneys taking 150-200 hours in total to prepare for that exam. That was almost like nothing after dozens of overhours spent with the project we just completed to get it on time. So the decision was made 200 hours is not much after all. So we took the docs we prepared for the Customer, translated them into english, submitted and apparently we were invited for the defense during which we immediatelly and brutally realized we are not even close to make the cut.
  2.  Don’t try to be a hidden hero and brute-force doesn’t work here.
    -> At the beggining I completely ignored the community aspect. I wanted to make it on my own and then just shine with the number. I didn’t participate even a single mock session, didn’t have a mentor, nothing. I’ve read lots of blog posts stressing the importance of it, but I just ignored it. Everything I knew about the defence was from blogs without the real experience with any mocks. I did work with customers at that time so I belived it’s enough. It was wrong, though. If you plan to go that way – just don’t. VCDX community is amazing, you don’t need to be an expert in each area. The community can help you – same with peers at work. If there is someone who can explain you some networking, storage, backup or other aspects – just take that ask for help. There is no need to re-invent the wheel! And this is still an exam which has a formula, that you must be aware of.
  3.  Be realistic and honest with yourself about the time and schedule.
    -> The truth is that along with my peer we went for the first defence completely not prepared. It was back in 2017 and our defence was scheduled just 2 days after my own weeding. It was definitely wrong. Consequently, we started working on our slide deck for the defense in the evening before the defense in the hotel room after landing in UK. It was just unnecessary waste of money, our time as well as panelist time, not good for life balance too!

It was a long jurney and I could find much more examples like those but in my opinion that were the key mistakes I did.
However, there is always a positive side. In reality thanks to those failures ( I know it’s a cliche 🙂 ) it was a huge learning curve for me, that help me not only to pass the exam eventually but most importantly learn the methodology and how to be methodological, soft skills and be comfortable in uncomfortable situations. That’s something I can use right now on the daily basis while working with customers.

I also owe a public kudos to everyone who I met and who directly or indirectly helped me during this long jurney! (Following list is in alphabetical order based on the first name :)).

Abdullah Abdullah
Asaf Blubshtein
Bilal Ahmed
Chris Noon
Chris Porter
Daniel Zuthof
Fouad El Akkad
Gerard Murphy
Gregg Robertson
Igor Zecevic
Inder S
Jason Grierson
Faisal Rahman
Miroslaw Karwasz
Paul Cradduck
Paul McSharry (before becoming a panelist)
Paul Meehan
Pawel Omiotek
Phoebe Kim
Rene van den Bedem
Shady ElMalatawey
Szymon Ziółkowski
Wesley Geelhoed

Everone who attended my mocks to provide feedback and I forgot to mention above!

+ All panelist of course 🙂

Hope I didn’t miss anyone! If I did – sorry it wasn’t intentional I do appreciated all help and hints that helped be expand the knowledge and develop.

VCIX6-CMA – another goal achieved

VCIX6-CMA – another goal achieved

It is almost a tradition or habbit for me to share my experience about VMware exmination taken so far.

Well, it happened, I eventually passed the VCAP6-CMA Design exam which together with previos passed VCAP6-CMA Deploy exam gave me VCIX6-CMA tiltle and badge. It looks like this:vmware_milestone_CMA_expert-e1502128382899Nothing special, it was not an easy way to get it, though!

The biggest problem with that IMHO is that it is and old version which is based on vRA 6.X, whilst we currently have 7.3 available since sometime already..

Besides that I experienced a few additional problems with Pearson Vue/ VMware certification engine which made me to take it each exam more than once.  And still it’s version 6 and a few days ago VMware announced new versions of VCAP certs, however that’s only Design ones.

There is nothing more to do right nowe, just prepare for new version 🙂 which as a certification addicted I will for sure try to gain.

P.S. to be honest VCAP6-CMA Design exam was the most tricky one I have ever took so far.