My VCDX Remote Defense Experience – Part 1

As some of you may already know, VMware has started to offer VCDX remote defense for “returning players”. Being able to pass it, few questions came at my direction regarding the process and the experience so I thought why not to share.

For now, at least to my knowledge, this option is yet to be available for first timers but we will get to my opinion about it in the next defense experience post.

After some emails exchange with the program, we were able to set up the defense time and date for August 8th at 19.00. For me, that was hard as I had to waited the entire day for it while being extremely edgy. I was so nervous that on this day off I bought movie tickets (Suicide Squad), entered the theater for the 11am show but couldn’t enjoy it so I left home.

Since I wanted to test that everything is working, the certification team was kind enough to set up a “dry run” WebEx few days before the defense day. We tested audio and video, they wanted to see my home office where I was defending and test the whiteboarding experience as well.

For whiteboarding, there are few web applications out there that you can use such as “A Web Whiteboard” or “RealtimeBoard”. For me, that wasn’t good enough so I offered the team a different way which they happily accepted – Bear with me for a second here and I’ll explain.

Since I own a Microsoft Surface Book laptop I wanted to leverage it for whiteboarding because of its high pen and screen (detachable) quality and accuracy. Problem was that I also wanted to take advantage of my 3 Dell 27” screens (although I only used two).

In order to work around it, I have installed TeamViewer on both my PC and the Surface. During the defense, the Surface (client) was connected to the PC (server) via my home wireless (so the connection was fast and reliable). Whenever I needed to do whiteboarding I detached my Surface screen and started to whiteboard– Pretty slick, right? I think so!


As the whiteboard application, the team also agreed that I will use Microsoft OneNote which is far way better for this use case. The good thing about it is that it works great with the pen, you can switch line width and colors very quickly and you also can scroll down the tab and open additional tabs. In my “Design Scenario”, I filled up 3 OneNote tabs! That helped me a lot as I had enough room to map my design goals and success criteria, requirements, constraints, risks, assumptions and draw out 4 or 5 diagrams in 45 minutes.

In the next post, I will talk more about the actual defense and some of the things happened during it (Spoiler alert – my PC restarted 10min before the 75min buzzer). Stay tuned…

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