VMware Expert at Rackspace Pens the Ultimate Certification Guide

Rackspace Product Architect John A. Davis has just published “VCP6-DCV Official Cert Guide,” a thorough test preparation guide for technical experts seeking one of VMware’s coveted certifications. Published last month, the manual is near the top of Amazon’s “Hot New Releases” list under Computer Operating Systems.

John Davis

Working in Rackspace’s VMware practice area, John is currently focused on designing products powered by vSphere, Site Recovery Manager, vSphere Replication and vRealize Operations. His deep expertise in VMware is illustrated by the breadth and depth of his own VMware certifications, which include:  VCP6-DCV, VCAP5-DCV, VCAP5-DCD, VCP5-Cloud, VCAP5-CID, VCP5-DT, VCAP5-DT, VCP6-NV, and VCIX6-NV.

He’s the author of vLoreBlog.com and has been a vExpert since 2014. He’ll speak on “Leveraging vRealize Operations for Capacity Planning” at VMworld 2016 in Las Vegas and Barcelona.

We caught up with John to learn more about his new book and his work as a VMware expert.

Tell us a little about your background.

Prior to joining Rackspace in April 2015, I worked for a VMware partner as a VMware Certified Instructor and a Senior Engineer. Since 2004, I split my time between delivering official VMware courses and delivering professional services on behalf of VMware. I was fortunate to be able to bring actual field experience to the classroom and deep technical knowledge to customer engagements.

I have always lived in Louisville, Kentucky, but my VMware-related travels have taken me throughout the USA and into Canada, Singapore, Japan, New Zealand and Australia.  I am known as Grampy to my three grandchildren, Madison Hope, Emma and Jaxon. I dedicated the book to Madison.

You can follow me on Twitter at @johnnyadavis.

Why did you decide to write this book?

For the past 12 years I have presented on VMware topics at VMware User Group meetings, regional conferences, VMworld USA and other events. I enjoy showing executives and IT experts how they can improve their businesses using VMware products.

Two years ago, I co-authored the Official VCAP5-DCA Cert Guide (VMware Press, Pearson) with Steve Baca. I enjoyed the experience, but realized the book’s audience would be rather limited, since it covered an advanced exam. So when Pearson contacted me to write the guide for VCP6-DCV, I immediately accepted, as I recognized community interest would be much larger.

Although I no longer teach official VMware courses, I still want to help professionals in the VMware community achieve their certification goals.

Who should read your book?

Since the book is a guide to helping IT professionals prepare to take and pass the VMware Certified Professional – Data Center Virtualization (VCP6-DCV) exam, the typical reader is a person who either holds a current VCP certification or has passed the vSphere 6 Foundations Exam and now wants to prepare to take the VCP6-DCV exam. It covers each exam blueprint objective in detail and provides tools to measure your knowledge, such as questions and memory tables.

Why should aspiring VMware experts seek certification?

Many professionals earn certifications to distinguish themselves from others in the community and validate their technical capabilities for career advancement. Likewise, many organizations, such as VMware Partners, strive to have a team of certified professionals to distinguish themselves from competitors. Other benefits include access to exclusive portals and logos, invitation to beta classes and discounts from VMware Press and to some VMware events.

What was the most surprising thing you learned in the process?

My co-authors and I discovered that a lot of tasks and concepts we presented effortlessly in vSphere 5 have changed in vSphere 6. We spent a significant portion of our time learning the low-level changes and new features in vSphere 6 which are covered in the exam. We began writing the book during the summer of 2015, while the exam was still in beta. We learned the hard way the exam blueprint would change significantly once the exam became generally available. The changes mostly affected the order and structure of the book rather than the content, but it did cause us to redo all of the chapter drafts we had already submitted.

What was the most challenging aspect of writing this book?

The main challenge was making time to complete the work. The timing was not great, as I was working hard to learn my new position at Rackspace and working on a design to submit and defend to the VCDX panel.

To address this challenge, I recruited two colleagues and VMware certified instructors, Owen Thomas and Steve Baca, with whom I co-wrote my first book, to work with me on this one. We spent many hours writing each chapter, analyzing feedback from VMware technical editors and polishing the final product.  We also spent a lot of hours writing the “Do I Already Know This?” questions at the beginning of each chapter, and the review questions at the end of each chapter. We also had to create a set of practice exams for readers to use after reading the entire book.

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