Shorts: discount codes for VMware certifications

28 08 2013

I just received word that because of VMworld, there are some discount codes for the VCP and VCAP certifications. To use the discount, you need to register for the exam at the Pearson VUE website. Don’t forget that the VCAP certifications requires you to register for the exam on the VMware website before scheduling the test on the Pearson VUE website. Just click this link here, go to the certification you want to take, and click the “Register for the exam” button at the top.

Once you receive the clearance, there will be an option at the top of the Pearson Website (where you input your payment details), where you can apply the discount code.

The discount code “VWSF50” will work for the following exams:

  • VCP-DCV
  • VCP-DT
  • VCP-Cloud
  • VMware IAAS
  • VMware View

The discount code “VWSFADV50” will work for the following exams:

  • VCAP-DCD
  • VCAP-DCA
  • VCAP-CID
  • VCAP-CIA
  • VCAP-DTD

To be eligible for the discount, your test must be scheduled by August 29th 2013, and taken by October 31st 2013.

Good luck on the tests if you decide to schedule one! 🙂





vSphere Design: CARR – How do you know if you have them correct?

10 12 2012

Image linked from http://justcreative.com/2009/10/11/classic-elegant-serif-fonts/I’m a techie. I like technology, and ask me to solve a problem that involves something with a computer, and usually I’ll get it solved. My boss seems to know that, and it’s one of the reasons why I get pulled in to projects that require hands-on.

I like to talk about technology. It’s one of the reasons that I enjoy being in my current pre-sales role so much. I enjoy taking a technology, trying to simplify what it does, and then talking to a customer to see if a technology can add value in their setup, or solve one or more specific problems they might be having.

The one doesn’t work without the other for me. I need stick time with something before I’m really able to effectively communicate about it. I’m not the kind of guy to go over a PowerPoint presentation and then deduce how a product works in real life. I can do that up to a certain degree, but I won’t feel really confident without having some form of hands-on.

In comes the design part

In one of my previous posts, I asked how you learn to speak design. There are design methodologies that can help you uncover goals, and it will be up to you to identify the CARR, or written out:

  • Constraints
  • Assumptions
  • Risks
  • Requirements

And this is where the hard part is for me. I don’t deal with this terminology, in a design environment, on a day-to-day basis. And it makes it hard to actually categorize these in a correct fashion, without a lot of practice.

There is a good document on the VMware Community page that goes in to detail on “Functional versus Non-functional” requirements. The document states the following:

Functional requirements specify specific behavior or functions, for example:
“Display the heart rate, blood pressure and temperature of a patient connected to the patient monitor.”

…..

Non-functional requirements specify all the remaining requirements not covered by the functional requirements. They specify criteria that judge the operation of a system, rather than specific behaviors, for example: “Display of the patient’s vital signs must respond to a change in the patient’s status within 2 seconds.”

Which makes it relatively simple. Those are simple examples, and when you keep in mind that a non-functional requirement usually is a design constraint, you should be all set to identify constraints and requirements, right?

Maybe not so much?

Along comes something in a different form, and then the over-thinking starts:

  • “You must re-use existing server hardware”.
  • That’s great. I “must” do something, so it’s a requirement, right? But does this change the way that “my heart rate is displayed”? Well, since I’m a techie, depending on the server model, this might influence the way it’s displayed. Do I need to change my design because I’m re-using the hardware? Well, you may need to. But normally your design shouldn’t depend on the hardware you are re-using. But what if it’s not allowing me to create a cluster, or run certain workloads, or is so old that it won’t allow me to use certain features?

And the rambling goes on, and on, and on.. At least, I think this is where a lot of folks can go wrong. My gut feeling is that we perhaps over-think what is being said/asked. If we know nothing about the environment at all, but the customer tells us that we need to re-use the hardware that is already in place, then that is a?

  • Requirement? We are after all required to re-use the hardware?
  • Constraint? We are constrained from bringing in any other hardware?

What would be your take on this? And what do you use to actually differentiate and remember what is what?





How do I get to be “that good”?

26 10 2012

This is a post that I’ve been struggling with for quite some time now. Did you ever get that feeling, seeing folks around you achieve things that you envisioned for yourself? People seeming to reach a certain level of knowledge, and you strive yourself to get to that level? Asking yourself the question, how can I reach their level, how do I get to be “that good”?

I’ve joined EMC just over 2 years ago in my current role as a vSpecialist. When I actually joined the team, I always felt like I was the dumbest guy on the team. Since then, I’ve learned so much about all kinds of topic, and I think I achieved a pretty decent level of knowledge surrounding virtualization and a lot of the encompassing technologies. I’ve been lucky enough to get the vExpert title awarded twice, and I was able to work on my certifications (VCP, VCAP, EMC Cloud Architect, EMC IT-as-a-Service Expert).

Still, you see folks around you working on stuff, and the more you learn, the more you learn about what you don’t know. As for myself, I still need to work on my networking knowledge. I realize more and more that it needs brushing up. The role of vSpecialist inside of the company is evolving, and while we still support the basic virtualization stack, we are now starting to focus more on what we do, now that a lot of folks are starting to realize that the hypervisor itself isn’t that “thrilling” anymore. Most hypervisors will perform their basic function at a good level. That means, that we need to start looking at what we can do with the technologies that build upon the features and functions that were enabled by using a hypervisor.

And then, there is the part about where you would like to go as an individual. I don’t perform designs on a daily basis for my work. I’ve been involved in roughly 4 very large design projects in my time as a vSpecialist, but that doesn’t qualify me as a landscape designer or architect. I still have a personal goal though, to attain the VCDX certification.

Why? Yeah, the title sounds nice and all. But I feel like it’s an important skillset to have. And it’s a confirmation from a select group of peers that you have attained a certain level. You understand how things interconnect, are able to obtain a holistic view. It shows that, given/taken the time needed, you are able to understand the customer requirements, map those to a blueprint that will actually help the customer in achieving a set goal.

For me the challenge is the way I learn (I absolutely need hands to make stuff stick in my head and make the logical link), and finding the time to actually learn what I both need and what I want to learn.

In the end, I guess that we get to be “that good”, by looking at examples of people who we see as being “that good”, trying to learn from them in ways that help us enable ourselves. We spend the time because we don’t have any other choice. I want to learn, it’s in my DNA. The biggest problem in actually achieving the next level is more of a mental challenge as I see it, since that next level is a moving target. Usually we reach that next level without even knowing, just by being dedicated and motivated.

I know this isn’t a real technical post, and I’m not even 100% sure this post is of use to anyone besides myself, but it’s something that I needed to write down to clear my own head. So here goes, off to the next level, and maybe one day I’ll actually be that good. And I promise, the next post will be more technical in nature again. And if you should have any comments, I’m looking forward to reading them. 🙂





The thing about certifications and flowers

2 12 2009

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A discussion on Twitter got me thinking about certifications.

The discussion itself wasn’t that new, but this was at least the second time I’ve seen the subject pop up, and more interestingly it were the same people talking about the same subject.

Things kicked off with a tweet from StorageMonkeys asking the following:

“Just curious… why would anyone get a storage certification when employers really don’t care about them?”

storagebod and CXI responded and gave various opinions on the pro and contra of being certified.

This whole discussion probably boils down to two main questions, namely:

  • Will a certification add value for me?
  • Is a certification a proof or acknowledgment of my capabilities?
  • Now, to answer those questions, we need to put some things in perspective. I managed to become a certified ISO 9001:2000 lead auditor some years back. For those who are not familiar with this standard, it’s about quality management.

    Now, let’s use the example of a shipping and forwarding company that transports fresh flowers from Russia to China by truck. Said company is looking to get an ISO 9001:2000 certification.
    That’s not that big of a problem.

    So, let’s take it one step further and say that this company actually ships these flowers in three months in a heated truck. The flowers probably won’t survive the trip you say. But can they still get or keep their certification?

    Yep, no problem at all. As long as they meet the requirements described in the standard and keep to their quality management procedures they will have no problem getting certified. It doesn’t mean that business will be booming, or that they deliver a quality product or service. It just says that they keep certain standards for the way they work, and that they try to improve on those defined standards.

    It’s the same thing for certifications in general, or for IT certifications that were discussed in the start of this blog post. So, to come back to my two basic questions:

    Will a certification add value for me?

    Let’s not be shy here. It can! But your mileage will vary.
    For one, your certifications mainly show that you are able to learn the answer to some questions, and you are smart enough to click on some buttons in a test. Some test will actually need you to have had some hands on. For example the Microsoft tests changed a lot from the NT4 age to the Windows 2000 or Windows 2003 era. The new tests require a lot more hands on experience, and the chances that you are able to pass the test by just studying the correct answers has decreased quite a bit.

    But that does not mean that all certifications will require hands on. There are plenty of institutes out there that will have you take a test, and they will only show you that you are able to memorize facts. And usually memorizing facts only works for a while. Talk about the same things again in three months and most of it, if not even all of it, will be long gone.

    Then there’s the fact that most certifications will only be valid for a certain amount of time. Technology evolves and things change. It’s good that way, but a certification doesn’t always have an expiration date and a certification will not show if people actually updated their knowledge to reflect those changes. Stuff you learned five years back might not be what you need to know on that topic now, which brings me to the other point:

    Is a certification a proof or acknowledgment of my capabilities?

    No way! Yes of course! Pick one…

    There are a lot of people who will have the knowledge required for a job, that haven’t even seen a test center on the inside once in their life. These guys and galls are just as able as the certified person. And the same can be said the other way around, where I would not even let a certified person near my systems because their certification isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on.

    This situation is largely based on the institute or company that actually created the curriculum and the test, and is largely dependent on the acceptance of the certification. The MCP program that Microsoft has is well-recognized and will most likely increase your market value when applying for a job. People take one look and recognize the program. And even if it won’t upgrade your value, it can help you get picked out of a bunch of applications since the people over at Human Resources usually scan for these type of things.

    Something like a Cisco CCIE certification is hard! It’s probably one of the toughest certifications out there and can add quite a lot of value to your resumĂ©. But it will also help that Cisco is well-known and a very commonly used IT supplier.

    As far as I know there is no such thing as for example a 3PAR certification. And if one were to be created now, it probably won’t increase your value one bit, except for the possibility of gaining new knowledge.

    So what’s it all about?

    Well, that one is pretty easy to answer.

    For one, you will always learn new stuff when aiming for a certification. Independent from the fact if you perhaps want to know which questions you answered wrong during your test. Or perhaps even trying to find out why someone wants you to give incorrect answers (based on your experience) in a test. Or by learning because you want to prepare for a certification.

    Secondly, you will always see that you increase your value. Be it because you have more knowledge than before, even when you should flunk a test, or be it because they just might pick up your resumé when they look at certifications.

    I don’t think that anybody out there will know how much a certification is worth, and that won’t change. It’s something dynamic and will usually only give you a certain amount of recognition among those peers who have the same accreditation. But you will benefit from getting certified either way.








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