I’ve just spend 3 days at Arrow ECS attending this course. It was taught by Alistair Sutherland, and I must say I was very impressed by it.
The main goal of this course, by my guess, was to make us question our design choices, and be able to defend every choice we made. This was done by teaching us a methodology, that can actually be used on other things than VMware design.
In short this was AMPRSC, Availability, Manageability, Performance, Recoverability, Security and Cost. And if you rate each design choice by this its easy to do comparison.
An example could be dvSwitches. Going through AMPRSC we could rate this as
- Availability could decrease a bit as a single error could tear down the entire dvSwitch.
- Manageability would increase a lot due to only 1 place to manage your switch, and the more hosts you have the more this increases.
- Performance I would rate as neutral
- Recoverability would be positive as you’re able to back up and restore dvSwitch configurations.
- Security I would also rate as neutral
- Cost would be negative as this needs an E+ license.
If you then also document your assumptions all the time, in this case it could be that the costumer already had E+ licenses, then the choice becomes clear.
This also means that when someone reviews your design document 6 months from now, and asks “Why on earth did you do that!?!?”, you can easily point to your rationale for choosing something.
One other thing that set this course apart from any other VMware course I’ve taken is the Lab Exercises. Instead of each student sitting by himself and solving labs on his or her computer, we were split up into 2 teams and given a scenario and told to do their design for example on storage. So we went through the AMPRSC cycle for each choice we made in designing the storage for that scenario. When completed 1 team presented their design to the other team, who then challenged the decisions that had been made. Through the 3 days the teams got very good at defending their choices.
This is a very good course to take, especially if your job includes designing solutions for costumers. Even I as an internal IT-Architect had great benefit from this course, and i would give it my recommendations.