Getting certified during the pandemic 2020

Since I’ve been on this Professional Services path, as a sub contractor for VMware, I’ve normally been pretty busy. In fact, the majority of last year I spent on the road visiting customers, and so my Monday through Thursday was spent away from home. This made it incredibly difficult to find the motivation to continue my education. This year I’m making use of all the home time during the pandemic to level up. I really love working from home!

In May 2020 I was able to re-certify and pass the VMware Data Center Virtualization Exam for 2020. I spent weeks on prep, and it paid off as I scored 357 out of 300. This was also my first certification at home, rather than going to a testing center.

In July 2020, I decided to go after my first VMware Specialist class certification – Cloud Provider 2020. This certification centers around VMware Cloud Director, and its associated components VMware Cloud Availability and NSX. I’m no longer in the VMware Cloud Provider space, however that’s really where I cut my teeth on VMware technologies, and spent 2014 to 2018 designing, deploying, managing and upgrading five different vCloud Director based cloud environments. I’ve been told that this is a rare skill in VMware’s Professional Services, and have been able to work on a few vCD engagements for VMware as a result, so I felt it was important to have this. Oddly enough assignments I’ve had were not with Cloud Providers, but I’ve gotten to see some pretty unique ways the platform is used outside that space.

I am focusing on prepping for the vSphere VCAP design and deploy certifications. This Cloud Provider specialist cert was a nice distraction. I also have a class scheduled for NSX-T in the fall as I hope to get certified on VCP-NV 2020 as well. I might try and go for the vROps specialist exam this year too, but I really want to get at least one VCAP out of the way first.

Update 11/18/2020

I forgot to post here, but in August I finally completed my certification for the VMware Advanced Professional – Data Center Design 2020.

I was hoping that the VCAP- Deploy 2020 would also be made virtual, but I will have to schedule something at a testing facility.

I was able to attend a NSX-T 3.0 Data Center: Install, Configure, Manage course. However the week that I scheduled it, my customer had an outage, so I wasn’t able to focus 100% on this.

I was also able to take an NSX-T 3.0 live fire course, but this too came second to my customer’s needs. Such is Professional Services life I suppose. I was hoping to get the NSX cert this year, but it’s looking like I will need to push that off until 2021.

With a new role, a new adventure awaits.

I am excited to share that as of today, I have accepted a position with Rackspace, as a VMware product engineer.

In this new role, I will take my hands on experience as a VMware Cloud Engineer, and apply it towards this new role, getting deeper into the designing, testing and documenting systems architecture, and getting to work with the latest technologies in the cloud space.   I fully expect new blog posts in the future to revolve more around VMware based cloud solutions, and I cannot wait to get started.  I appreciate those of you who visit my blog site, and I will be back with more technology blogs in the coming months.  I also plan to purchase another node for my Home Lab, so that I can have true hosts supporting my environment.  Nested is fun, but nothing beats the power of a dedicated host.  Stay tuned!

Traveling. First vmug Usercon in Denver Colorado.

In my quest for finding a new role in Colorado, I decided to travel there for the vmug (VMware User Group) Denver usercon last week.

As this was my first ever VMUG, I don’t really have anything to compare it to other than a pocket sized VMworld. Some pretty cool sessions by the community, for the community.

Checked out as many sessions as I could, but quickly found that VMware lead sessions and community lead sessions were happening at the same time. I did manage to catch Jase McCarty’s session on VSAN.

Met up with my good friend and community leader while at the Denver UserCon: Ariel Sanchez Mora.

Ariel gave a pretty dope presentation on automating vSphere with Ansible for beginners, and really broke it down to the basics to help people take their first steps. (photo credit: @joeypiccola)

Afterwards we got together with other folks for Denver vbeers at this killer German inspired pub called Rhein Haus over on Market Street.

Shout-out to @jasemccarty and @AntonNApril and others for putting together a killer vbeers, and a special shout-out to Rhein Haus, for their friendly staff, and killer German inspired food. This place was on point, and it will certainly be on my list for places to eat when I am out that way again.

I met these awesome people while attending #DVVMUG; what an amazing community! Don’t tell Ariel but I stole some of his photos from the event:) Twitter shout-outs: @vMollyHewitt @MaginMills @mattheldstab @AlexDanMorales @avila_la @thatvirtualboy @seanbwhitney @vGonzilla @vMbanusi @JonOnDaCloud @AntonNApril @RebeccaFitzhugh @jasemccarty @vScottSeifert

Afterwards the mass of community geeks departed vbeers, Ariel, myself and Jon Harris checked out this cool dinner called Sam’s No. 3 over on Curtis Street to talk shop, and eat some great food. I’ll spare you the food pics, as you’ll just have to experience the place for yourself 🙂

Ariel and I got together the next morning for some breakfast. Side note, if Ariel ever asks if you’re afraid of heights, it’s a trap! All kidding aside this was a pretty cool atrium shot.

Afterword, Ariel and I hit the road to travel North to Fort Collins Colorado, where I spent the weekend with a good friend of mine.

I can’t say it enough about what a boss Ariel was that day. I had only expected him to take me to the Denver airport so that I could catch the bus to Fort Collins, but this dude just drove me up there himself. That’s the vCommunity in action right there.

Before Ariel and I parted ways, he showed me one of his favorite restaurants in the area, where we got lunch. I’ll finish the post up with some other photos I took that weekend.

 

Go west young man! Looking ahead towards an exciting 2018, as I search for my next career opportunity.

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2018 VMware vExpert Award Announcement | My Community vExpert Profile

First of all, I would like to say that I am honored to be among some of the brightest VMware community technologists for a second year. Secondly I would like to personally welcome the new additions to the vExpert family.

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I’ve honestly debated using this platform to blog about things currently underway in my personal life, but the first step in solving any problem, is recognizing that there is one.  If I am being completely honest, 2018 started pretty rough for me. Shortly after returning to work after being out for surgery, I was informed that the company that I had been working for, for the past three plus years was shifting its priorities, and downsizing due to our parent company’s merger. Unfortunately my position with the company was affected. The past three years, and eight months had been some of the most exciting in my career, both from a technology standpoint, and a people standpoint as well. In those three plus years, I quickly had to ramp up on VMware technologies and concepts that I had never used before in a large cloud service provider environment.

My time spent with this company has afforded me with hands on expertise in managing multiple virtual environments that exceeded 500 ESXi hypervisors, several vCenter server appliances, NSX appliances, vROPS clusters, and several vCloud Director environments, in data centers all over the world.  I battled the on-call boogeyman in intense hand-to-hand combat, restored three production data centers affecting over a thousand vCloud Director and Zerto tenants, and got to work on several fun POCs including working with VMware engineering on deploying VMware’s vCloud Availability. It was an amazing ride, with some of the best teammates I ever had the pleasure to work with.  In those three plus years, I found time to obtain my VCP6-DCV certification, start my own tech blog, and become an active member in the VMware community sharing my experiences, and learning from others. But when one door closes, another will eventually open to greater opportunities.

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Recently I have been thinking a great deal about moving west for my next adventure in cloud computing, and I would be lying if I said Colorado wasn’t on my mind. My goal now is to continue contributing my passion for VMware technologies to the VMware community, to help others, and learn from others, while I search for my next career to elevate my skills even higher, and to help business adopt virtualization and cloud technologies.

As such, I am making plans to attend the Denver VMUG usercon in April.  Hope to see you there.

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