VCDX #271! Thank you for your help!

First, I would like to give some context to this blog post. I wrote part of this one day after my first VCDX-NV Defense at Palo Alto in Dec 2017 but decided not to post it because I wasn’t successful then. Well, its another 9 months where I submitted again and this time round I was successful (Yeah! VCDX #271!) and therefore, its time for this post. Its a long journey, looking back to 2013-2014 where I first decided to make VCDX my goal. All these would not be possible without the support of the people around me. As Brett Gaurino #256 mention in his 2017 VMworld tech talk about his VCDX Experience – “It takes a village to help you to become a VCDX!”. I totally agree with that. Main idea of this blog post is to thank the people who has help me in the journey to VCDX.


Little in the online world especially those people who reads my blog, knows that I am going for my VCDX because I had never blog about it. In VMware, there are also a handful of people who knows about it. The reason why I have kept it low profile is to avoid all the noise and pressure.


No 1 on my list of people to thank is my family for the support they had given me – my wife, 2 kids and especially my wife and my mother in law who restlessly help to take care of my kids while I am away from home, either to study, mocks or the actual defense. Seriously, it would impossible to achieve VCDX without the help of my family, the understanding and the patience they had given me, over the last 2 years where Im seriously working on the design and documentation set.


Next, my study partner – Kian Wah, the 3X CCIE #14929. He was with me all this journey, almost coming to 3 years now, when I decided to go for the NV track instead of the DCV track. We started from little help, there were no VCDX-NV in APJ to be our mentors, not sure where to begin with and he wasn’t even thinking about submitting at all when we started. All he knew, was to help me as much as possible. I knew I had to have him as my study partner because we both have VCIX-NV, CCIE and we join VMware almost the same time. The plus point for me is that he is part of VMware PSO. Although VCDX does not require you to be of any organization, but the methodology and process were well embedded in the PSO practises. Having him as my study parter would provide me a better understanding how the PSO processes work and ultimately helps in my VCDX journey as well. The time he given me either to whiteboard designs, review my design documents and willingly to take up NSX projects so that we could have real customer experience together is countless. Therefore I would like to thank him for the time and effort that he has given. Im really glad, his design has also been accepted and he also defended twice. Way to go man, Kian Wah, go get the number as well!
* BTW, when I get to know you got 3X CCIE, number smaller than me and some more younger than me, I am jealous. Now, I beat you on the VCDX! LOL. Anyway, don’t give up. Try again!


Next in line would be my mentors and study group. I have never really like formally ask them to be my mentor but its more of like a friend asking for another friend help.


First Defense (Dec 2017)

Faisal Hasan #254, Luis Chanu #246 and Kiran Reid #225, these are the guys who review my documents and done my presentation mocks with me and the feedback and advise these guys provided were so invaluable.


Additionally, various study groups such as the following:-
 – 2017 Aug defense group with Steven and Kelvin. Steven who did an impromptu mock with me at VMworld this year.
 – 2017 Dec defense group with Abudullah and Sijith where we ran through tough Q&A at late hours like 12AM Singapore time.


Iwan (6X CCIE) and Kian Wah that ran through our decks together weekly but they decided to postpone their defense to Mar 2018. Come on Guys, go for it!
Bayu who review my 1st version of my design and gave me harsh feedback that my documents would not cut it. That really forces me to rewrote the design documents like 1 month before submission date. Thankfully, it was accepted on the first submission in June 2017.
Sjors Robroek #237 (before he became panelist) and Brett Guarino #256 who I adhocly message them on twitter for advise.
Gregg Robertson #205 for the slack channel so that I could reach out to other candidates and past VCDX.


Second and Third Defense (Feb and Sep 2018)
This time round to ensure that I’m going to be successful, I reach out to more VCDX Mentors. Faisal became a panelist and therefore I cannot reach out to him for mocks. Super big thanks to the following mentors.
– Steven Slocum #262. My gratitude to this gentlemen is beyond words. On the weekend before my defence, he flew all they way down to Palo Alto to have face to face mocks with Kian Wah and myself. This mentor really exceed the commitment to help out among all the VCDX that I had.
– Luis Chanu #246, again came to meet me outside his busy schedule to discuss on my feedback after my 1st and 2nd defense and provide high level guidance on how should I approach on my third submission.
– Abdullah Abdullah #270, very willing to help out even though its last minute arrangement couple weeks before my defense. He wrote a blog post on design scenario and I approach him to mock with me for scenario.
– Bal Birdy #269, able to remote mock with me the week and provided feedback on my presentation before my defense.
And many others who I might not have listed here help me in a way or another. Sorry, if I miss your name.


Also, my fellow colleagues in VMware Singapore office such as Hee Teck, Andrew Tan, Gerhard, Surendra, Bee Huat and Sree for taking time out from their busy work schedule to mock with me during the weeks before my first defense. These mocks with various teams with different background pushes me to acquire the diverse knowledge such as vRA, vCD that I need to have, especially when doing design scenarios.


Last but not least, my fellow team mates in Singapore such as Tock, Arup and Dennis who have to stand in for me while I am away busy with VCDX preparation. They also mock with me, especially on the design scenario and provided invaluable feedback from NSX experts point of view and Tock questioning me especially on the business objectives of the design scenarios.


Lastly, VMware for providing the opportunity and my management such as Tim, Tock, Bruce and Paul who has always been very supportive in terms of giving me time, trainings and the financials towards my VCDX goal.


Closing this off, the achievement of VCDX does not just belong to me alone, it belong to all of US. Its the contribution of the above mentioned and myself working together to make this happen. I’m really thankful for that and I will try my very best to make sure I give it back to my families and the community that made this happen!


Thank you all once again!


Just in case, if you are thinking why do I want to go for the VCDX. Big part of the VCDX is on answering the WHY questions and so occupation hazard, alright, I will share with you the why. 4 years back, when I was an infra architect in SITA, I decided to go for the VCDX for 2 reasons. First is to improve on my writing skills and second improve on my presentation skills. Those are the skills required by an architect but I felt I was lacking in those areas and since by doing VCDX, which require you to write as well as present for defense, that would forces me to work on improving on those areas. I was thinking, yeah, why not and by the way, I always like designing anyway. And thats how I got started.