vSphere Design Workshop v5.5 Review

So after doing all that studying, I thought it was time to delve deeper into the design side of things!

Coming with very little design knowledge, I decided to take the official design course.

I did a lot of research and read a lot of reviews with regards to the course, as I would be paying for it myself. Point to note every course I have ever been on……I HAVE PAID FOR MYSELF. All the studying has been in my own time, the best any company has done for me is pay for my exam.

So when people tell me they don’t have the time, or cant afford it, I call bullshit! It takes sacrifice, all this effort I have put in has meant I have been unable to party as much, and I have barely had time to train any BJJ……..but I see it as short term loss for long time gain!

I have been on courses and done exams, and other people have been like “oh if I don’t pass it, the company will pay for me to do it again”. I am like you lot have no idea how lucky you are, I simply can’t afford to have that attitude about it!

The course was down in London, I booked myself into a cheap hotel. There were 3 other people on the course and they had way more design experience than me. Having them on the course was brilliant, I seemed to be the only one who had done the DCA and had more admin experience. It is true what they say about the course, its more to do with the other people on it and how you pool your knowledge.

The instructor was very knowledgeable and had worked in various admin/consulting roles before becoming an instructor, so he was able to delve into his real world examples. it was good to have someone who didn’t just know how to teach the course and nothing else! He was able to explain and correct some misconceptions I had regarding resource pools and HA.

There were 2 case studies, although we really only went in depth into 1 of them, as they both had a lot of cross over. We broke off into two teams for the labs and then explained our design decisions to everyone else, and the instructor then explained what VMwares standpoint was and what his own standpoint was too. Since I had just done my DCA, I made some slightly different design decisions to the rest of the guys, esp with regards to VDS and LBT.

One of the most interesting aspects for me was that, there is a wrong answer/design…..but there are multiple correct ways to do it. At the end of the day it depends on if you build a design the customer likes that fits their scenario, dealing with the constraints and assumptions you have to make. The design scenarios provided, didn’t give you all the information you needed, so you had to go with what you thought was the best idea. Since there was no customer to probe for further information.

I was originally looking for like a fixed way of doing things, but its all about guidelines. We came to some similar ideas but in other ways we approached things totally different, neither was wrong. You just have to be able to justify your decisions and explain why you made the choice you did.

There was a in-depth discussion on how SQL/Exchange need to be dealt with and how they are the two main things that break the rules with regards to VM sizing etc, and how you need to deal with them really on a case by case basis. The guys related their real world experiences with it, for me listening to these types of discussions is what made the course worthwhile, as I knew nothing about it really!

It doesn’t really prep you for the DCD exam, although the 3 other guys on the course were all planning to do the exam in the next few weeks/months. It doesn’t really have a direct relationship to the DCD exam. There is going to be a whole load more stuff that needs to be done to pass the exam.

There is a lot of calculations that need to be done, and having people there to explain the thought process behind it was good.


The online ebook material….is just plain crappy. You can only print out 10 pages at a time?! I like having a physical copy to highlight etc. The lab paperwork I had printed out which made doing the labs easier, the other guys had issues doing the labs and having to keep referring to the ebook to work from.

Overall I am happy I went on it, it was worth the price as far as I was concerned

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