The VCDX “not quite Design” exam

The VMdamentals blog has moved!

This blogpost has been moved


Please update your bookmarks!


Tags: , , , ,

12 Responses to “The VCDX “not quite Design” exam”

  1. Nicolai Sandager Says:

    Hi Erik,

    I completely agree!! I had the same expirence of having way to little time to comment, and just rushing the last part through…And i even did the same comment on the T1 question :-).
    As you state there was a lot of questions that i would have stuffed in the Enterprise Exam(and a lot of questions in the Enterprise Exam that i would have stuffed in the VCP Exam). I alsp thought that there where WAY to many questions where they just changed a few words to alter the question. In my opinion this proves nothing other than your ability to read english.
    The idear about making the exam a “not multiple choice” exam appeals to me. It would make sense since i do not really see that you can have an “ultimate-solution” for designing. And when VMware states that they intend for under 500 VCDX worldwide, the workload of doing that could not be that high.

  2. Mikael Winther Says:

    Hi Erik.
    I took the “Design” exam last month in Frankfurt, and i could not agree more.
    The “Design” exam had almost nothing to do with designing.
    It should focus on the designing, which is possible to do!
    (I have year long experience in designing exam questions for HP)
    Instead of this exam focusing on enterprise administration, like this one did.

    I hope this exam gets pulled, and a real design exam emerges from it’s ashes!

    With Regards!

  3. Madjid Saeedi Says:

    Hi Erik,

    I completely agree!!! I hope VMware reads this blog….

    Anybody got score report for VCDX Design exam yet?


  4. Jon C. Hall Says:

    Hi all,

    First of all, we appreciate feedback regarding the exam, even negative feedback can be helpful. Regarding some of the feedback though, I wanted to point out a couple of things regarding the exam. Because the exam you took was a Beta exam, you were exposed to all of the questions on the exam. This means that:

    a. Although it was hard for you to get all of the items complete in the available time, the actual exam will have a reduced number of items and adequate time to complete the items, based on timing information we receive from the beta results
    b. Items that are similarly worded are variants, which would never be on the same exam form, but would be used on different versions of the exam.
    c. Although all of the questions on the beta were written by VMware Architects, some may not be appropriate for the exam. The beta results help us make the determination for what goes on the final exam form(s).

    The other comments are quite helpful to us. I will go through the exam items and look for any that have country specific information and modify them accordingly.

    Making the exam open in nature is challenging. Not so much for us, because we could create such an exam, but for the exam to be legally defensible, it has to have clear answers or solutions backed by documentation. All of our exams have to be legally defensible, and in this particular case, that imposes some restrictions on how flexible we can be.

    The final part of the VCDX process is a little more open for interpretation, as it is not an exam but a design you are defending to an Architect panel. I think this last step may meet some of the concerns you have at this point.

    In any case, we appreciate all of your comments and for taking the time to write the Beta exam, which I know is time consuming. Thanks!

  5. VCP, VCDX… what’s next? » Yellow Bricks Says:

    […] those who read Erik Zandboer’s blog on the VCDX Design Exam, Jon Hall also commented on the blog… take a look if you scheduled the Design beta exam or if […]

  6. erikzandboer Says:


    Thanks for replying. I too just want the best for this exam. VCP is simply too easy, and not distinctive any more (“study for a day and become VCP”). I have seen some terrible VCP examples (“No I don’t know anything about networking to ESX; you will have to tell us what can be done with all this VLANning stuff“). Sigh. VCDX can and should make a difference.

    I am aware of the beta having all questions instead of a subset. On the other hand, the final exam will not take 4 hours to complete I guess… Just a thought.

    I understand the issues concerning open questions. It’s a shame really, but as you mention, the final part of the VCDX exam can and hopefully will make up for this.

    I attended the bootcamp in Barcelona way back, where I did the “testrun” for this part of VCDX defending ESX design choices we got to make on that same day. It is a very nice way of completing the VCDX certification I think and will definitely make a difference. As often as I have done such things, it is still more stressfull because the attending crowd actually knows their business… Still I guess I will have to do this “design-defence” again for getting my VCDX completed right? 😉

    Still, awesome to complete this certification that way, especially since I assume you get rounded up and get VCDX-branded directly afterwards which makes it kind of errmmm…. Different I guess 😉

  7. VCP, VCDX….now a Master VCP?! | VMwareTips Says:

    […] C. Hall, from VMware’s Certification department posted a comment on Erik Zandboer’s blog today with regards to the VCDX Design Exam.  If you haven’t read Erik’s post, I would […]

  8. Nicolai Sandager Says:

    Hi Jon,

    I was not aware that we where supposed to get all the question. Then it of cause makes sense with the small variations on some of the questions.
    I very much look forward to doing the last part of the exam.
    I do hope that you will put more questions, like the rather large drawing question, into the exam.

  9. Madjid Saeedi Says:

    Hi Jon,

    Thank you very much clarification. I was not aware that we were supposed to get all the questions either. I took the exam in March.

    I think the information prior the beta exam from VMware was maybe insufficient.

    When do you expect the first score reports to be ready from VMware? I am really waiting for the results…. 🙂

    Best regards,
    Madjid Saeedi

  10. John Arrasjid, VCDX, Principal Architect Says:

    Very good feedback indeed. As Jon Hall mentioned previously, we have taken the beta results (that tested all questions in the pool) and have been working through the necessary cleanup for first official release. The process is long and tedious but is very necessary to go through the stages to create an enterprise, architect level exam and, as this is the first stage, we look for feedback to move this into the next stage of maturity of the test.

    If you are interested in assisting, we will take feedback to help with evolving the test. One of the areas that we found very useful, although requiring some modifications, is the simulation of creating a architecture blueprint (similar to a Visio or OmniGraffle diagram) using a set of design requirements and constraints. The feedback was very good. The feedback provided valuable feedback on improving the process of handling the question and the response. This type of question addresses one of the feedback items above.

    In another area I believe that feedback on the type of design problems addressed in the field, that are not covered on the test yet, can assist in building out a more comprehensive and representative evaluation.

    Also, for the released VCDX certification process you will notice that there are four stages listed once the prerequisites of VCP and Enterprise test have been completed:
    1) Evaluation quiz – if you fake it to show a higher score on the evaluation, keep in mind that you may end up spending money before you are ready to complete the certification.
    2) VCDX test – updates to mistakes, localization, and question rework have been completed.
    3) VCDX application – reverse engineer your design to provide decision trees for major areas of your design such as storage, networking, clusters, DR, and security. This includes the reasons for a design choice as well as potential impact to the rest of the design. Something very valuable in an enterprise architecture. ie: Choice of having the distance between sites influence the type of replication, may influence changes in other areas of the design (what type of replication, is the distance supportable for the amount and type of data being replicated, etc.)
    4) VCDX defense – this is where you sit in front of a panel of at least three (3) other VCDX individuals, walk through your design, and defend the decisions you have made. I believe this, in conjunction with the application, is where the final and detailed examination of skills is validated. Imaging this part as where you present your design to a customer (or your own company) and defend it. This is designed to represent what we typically face in the field as consultants and some of the common questions that validate that the design meets the requirements and constraints while reducing risk.

    When you put all components together, and you experience the ‘journey’, I think you will find the value is there. As I said before, feedback will help significantly!


    • erikzandboer Says:


      I think the final defence will have the most weight in determining whether someone is to be VCDX or not. Of course, the better the design exam is created, the less work will there be for these panels, and less people who flaw the final (not passing an exam is one thing, not passing the live defence is much worse and time consuming for everyone). Keep up the good work in creating a killer set of exams so that people who make a difference in the world of VMware will be rewarded for their hard work!

      And ys, I would definitely like to participate in making these exams as much as they can be!

  11. Richard Damoser Says:


    do not underestimate part 3 with the application. This is where you document one of your designs including all decisions and impacts.
    I had been thinking false and tried to pass it with simply spending few hours of work. I was rejected even as an employee. Luckily, I was given a second chance to correct the application.

    You also have to hand in all sorts of documentation you have created during your project. Believe me, it is going to be studied. I was asked some very detailed questions.

    On the other hand part 3 is really important for us sitting in the panels to separate the wheat from the chaff, i.e. folks that managed to get through part 1 and 2 with some kind of magic.

    After having passed the certification I think part 3 and 4 are the most challenging and the most fun. It’s like standing in front of a good customer 😉


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: