The Virtualization Room

Apr 5 2011   6:33PM GMT

VMware responds to VCDX certification concerns

Beth Pariseau Beth Pariseau Profile: Beth Pariseau

Some virtualization pros have been griping about how VMware awards its advanced VMware Certified Design Expert (VCDX) certification, saying the scoring process is not transparent enough. Last week, VMware responded to those concerns on the VMware Communities Roundtable podcast.

Brian Rice, VMware’s technical and certification architect, categorically denied several perceptions about VCDX: that the number of certifications is being kept artificially low to enhance the certification’s value, and that VMware employees and well-known bloggers are given preferential treatment.

However, there might be some overlap between the skills of a successful blogger and that of a VCDX, specifically, “the ability to explain ideas in a crisp and concise manner,” Rice said. In fact, Rice said a key misunderstanding about VCDX is that it isn’t solely about the design, but also about the ability to present the design effectively.

Presentation skills have career relevance for aspiring design architects and therefore are considered a key part of the VCDX program, Rice said.

“These are the people who are called upon to explain what they’re doing to the CTO of the design client, the CIO of the design client, the directors of IT,” Rice said. “They might even find themselves getting buttonholed in the elevator by a sysadmin. We think that their ability to communicate what they know is very, very important, and that’s one of the reasons that the exercise is structured as it is.”

But VMware does have to walk a fine line to get the right number of VCDX holders in the world, and Rice acknowledged there’s room for improvement. One of the common issues users raise with the process is that the feedback following a failed oral defense of the VCDX design is vague and unhelpful.

With the VCDX 4 program, first introduced in January, there are plans to improve the design “blueprint” and quality of feedback, Rice said, but he was vague on details.

“The defense itself is also a feedback mechanism,” he pointed out.

Rice also acknowledged other issues when it comes to VCDX defenses. For example, the defenses are limited right now to English-speaking applicants. A key goal is to better “internationalize” the program, Rice said. Some potential applicants are also peeved that no defenses will be heard at this year’s VMworld, but Rice said that could change next year.

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