New credentials, new job, now what?
2014 was a great year for me. I had the privilege to be part of the “VMware NSX Ninja” program, aiming at preparing the first group of VCDX-NV. This led me to earn my second VCDX in July. I’ve also passed an early version of the VCIX-NV in the same period, as it was part of this program too. To be honest, that’s the first time I’ve seen such a will from a vendor to bring top level partners up to date for a brand new, disruptive technology. I was quite impressed with the process, with 3 weeks of training, plus going through use case designs and mock VCDX defenses. That was a real commitment from VMware and I’d like to thank Chris McCain and all the NSBU for giving us such an opportunity, this is pretty rare from a vendor.
While doing this NSX thing, I was also preparing for the Cisco CCIE Data Center lab, for which I had started to study early in 2014. I have to admit that it’s probably the longest period I’ve ever studied for an exam! As to the lab experience itself, I found that the difficulty wasn’t really around the technical topics if you’re used to Cisco DC portfolio, but rather about one’s ability to focus for 8 consecutive hours on a complex, non-likely architecture, and type a large amount of commands while maintaining your typo ratio to null. You also have to be very fast in troubleshooting if you want to keep the pace.
My 2 cents for a success: plan for some caffeine tablets just before lunch and eat as little as possible (Also did I mention the lab architecture is just sick??!!). I had about 3 hours left to check everything on my second try and this really helped me out as I spotted a few typos. It also allowed me to intensively and practically test all requested configs, not only trusting show commands. So March 2015 was a pass for me!
Last but not least, March 2015 is also a new turn for me. After a big involvement in SDN and the integration with Cloud and orchestration technologies, I’m joining Cisco as a Technical Solutions Architect within the ACI EMEAR team. This is really a great honour for me as I’ve always been a big fan of Cisco technologies, since that day in 2000 where I touched my first Cisco router during one of my practical labs at university.
But it’s not the only reason as you can guess. I mean there are several SDN solutions on the market, and I really think some are very disruptive, like NSX, but the ACI model better matches my personal Data Center vision and philosophy. Being an NSX expert and proficient with ACI (not an expert yet, but soon) I think I’m in the best position to talk about both to customers. And this is what I did for the past 8 months, developing demos (like my Disaster Recovery automation with NSX and working on different approaches for various uses cases. I’ve drawn my own conclusions for many customers scenarios, and I definitely think I’m in a very good fit to educate them about what they should do or not and how, not only for their SDN solution, but also for their whole Data Center transformation plan.
So I’m very excited to start this new journey and I’m also hoping I’ll be as valuable for Cisco as I’ll enjoy this new experience. Staying in the comfort zone is really not for me…