Virtual Design Master – A Judge Perspective

Virtual Design Master is hands down, the coolest community project I participated in and not only that, I had the pleasure and privilege to act as one of the judges in this year’s season 5 panel.

For those of you who don’t know what vDM Is all about, jump into virtualdesignmaster.io, watch the episodes recordings and also follow the Twitter handle #VirtualDesignMaster (you are promised some good “LOL’s”). You will quickly find out what a cool project it is. It was created by Eric, Melissa and Angelo which I really want to thank to for giving me the opportunity to give back to the vCommunity, to teach, to learn and to meet some new people. They work, contribution, professionalism, commitment and devotion to this was great to watch. I really can’t thank you enough you guys!

A big shout out to all the sponsors and the people contributing real money, gift cards and books to vDM. Thanks for all the effort and the good will!!!

I also want to thank all the community members for all the twitting, episodes screenshots, memes and GIF videos on Twitter. Here are some examples of funny and might be disturbing photos ?

This year, I was part of a 3 VCDX judges panel including Rebecca Fitzhugh, Byron Schaller and myself. Working with both of them was easy, fun, energetic and we had some great laughter. They are true professionals in my mind and I know we will continue to work with each other in the future. Come to think about it, I have a joint vBrownBag session with Byron around Terraform in November around Terraform APIs.

The experience of being a judge was awesome. Get up at 3AM every Thursday (Israel Time), review multiple designs in two days, come up with questions and comments to the candidates, brainstorming with my fellow panelists and even explore new tech I don’t often get a chance to play with. All of this was super fun.

The challenges, created by Melissa were surprising, funny, complicated and comprehensive. Every time a challenge was dropped I thought to myself “it’s good to be a panelist” ?. They presented the “full stack experience” all the way from infra, through security, business continuity, automation, application design, DevOps process and now for the final challenge upon us, multi-cloud environments.

We had so many technologies and concepts presented to us which made be proud of the competitors. They did a fantastic job on getting out of their comfort zone and putting them self-expose out there in the wild in front of us and the entire community. Kudos to you guys!!!

Personally, I tried to focused with the candidates on how their infrastructure designs incorporate with the actual applications it needs to serve. Coming from a strong infrastructure and VMware background and then transitioning to focus on public cloud, applications, containers, automation, CI/CD, Infra-as-code and other DevOps related topics, I wanted (and still wants) for the candidates to get out of their comfort zone (like I did and still do every day) and explorer techs and process they never touched on. Seeing them do that was worth the entire experience and the main reason I joined this project.

This year, I was also presenting a new mascot every show. I am an ugh Pop figures fan and a collector and I thought it will be funny to introduce a new “Pop Panelist” every week. We had thus far Mega-Man, Brain, Leonardo and the Cookie monster while the last mascot is still out there, waiting to be revealed 😉

So, what’s next?! Well, while our finalists are still working on their design docs, we still have the final challenge upon us which will be defended in the season finale on August 3rd at 8PM ET and an open challenge for the entire community to work on. The final challenge was AWESOME and well, challenging! This will test more architecture capabilities and design concepts and will push our candidates even further. I can’t wait so let’s do this!

Although there can be only one winner, I truly believe everyone won!

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