On December 13th, 2018 I received an email:
For me this marks the end of a chapter which I would call the VCDX journey and I have to thank many, many people for supporting me along the way up to this point.
Easily the longest supporter of my efforts has been Bilal Ahmed. In his always good natured way he managed to guide me since VCAP design-days with solid advice and motivation. Alone in the last weeks before the defense he did go out of his way to connect me with mock panelists so I could refine my presentation over-and-over in the final days before going in.
Yet another important person is David Pasek whom I contacted right after joining VMware to ask if he would mentor me. I guess without him I would still be editing and redoing my document. David is not only a sheer endless source of knowledge but has also the great gift of cutting through the noise and focus on the important parts, always able to get me back on track.
Also, thanks a lot all to other VCDX mentors who helped me along the way, like Paul Meehan, who is not only a great guy but has tons of knowledge to share and always motivated me to keep pushing. Paul McSharry who, before becoming a panelist, did a ton for the VCDX community. Per Thorn had always high quality and in-depth answers. Gregg Roberston for doing all the work with in-person mocks in the UK as well as the slack channel which both are vital for future VCDX candidates. Update: Damn, I forgot to mention Ben Mayer, in the time after submitting the docs he helped me with multiple scenario-sessions and valuable advice for the presentation.
A special thanks to Manny Sidhu for getting up at 5 a.m. (!) to attend one of my mocks and many more who donated their spare time (like Shady). The “closing call”, the last mock defense I had, was actually only about 12 hours before going into the room featuring a panel of Kiran Reid, Jason Grierson, Bilal and the future VCDX #273, Kenneth Fingerlos (to be honest, this session left me a bit shaken but it was great with some valuable lessons).
Also, here is one shout out to my favorite slack group with guys like Bilal, Kyle Jenner Chris Porter and Mat Jovanovic. It is always a great mixture of banter and solid knowledge exchange with you guys. Chris also organised a mock session during VMworld Barcelona which was a dire-needed wake-up call for me to get on with my presentation (thanks everyone who attended that session in BCN).
During all the time I was fortunate enough to have support from my employers (current and past). At VMware from Matthias Diekert, who without batting an eyelid, offered me full support by taking over travel and expenses. At my former workplace the CEO and team lead supported my efforts, too.
Last but not least … the family. Man, they say you can’t do VCDX without the family and they are right. With a second kid in late 2017 and a job change in mid 2018, VCDX was no fun in the spare time, often leaving me only the hours between 10 p.m. and 1/2 a.m. for my work. My partner supported my all the time, either by “kicking my ass” to get up and start writing/studying again or by taking the kids for a weekend out on the days before the deadline ended – just so I could work all day (and night) to finish it.
VCDX was a time and resource-intensive process, at least for me. Getting back to a more normal work/life balance with the notion of picking up some sports again is one of my goals for 2019.
But being in IT, you cannot stay in one spot and from a professional perspective I fell behind on my training schedule (yes, I keep one for myself as part of the goals I want to reach. If you don’t do this, perhaps Melissa might change your mind). Next priorities are to catch up with public cloud, some sort of automation and also very specific with NSX-T.
Perhaps I make it to a VMUG and find a topic to present. I always wanted to do it but so far I do not know what to talk about. Also some more blog posts wouldn’t harm, so there is another thing to do.