I had the privilege of being part of an exclusive training event as part of the Veeam Vanguards program. Specifically, one of the first conducted Veeam Backup & Replication v11: Architecture and Design courses. In this post, I will give you an overview of the structure of the course and why I think it is definitely worth your time and money. The second post in this series will focus on the associated exam and will be published once I have taken the exam.
I attended the „old“ Veeam Certified Engineer – Advanced: Design & Optimization v1 (VMCE-ADO v1) training in January 2019. It was actually my last in-person training before the whole COVID 19 situation. The training was an intensive two-day instructor-led session focused primarily on best practices in designing new and optimizing existing Veeam infrastructures. While being a great course with a lot of interaction between the participants and the trainer the whole course was heavily focused on numbers. What do I mean by that. Everything in the course was build around a fictional customer scenario and throughout the two days you designed a solution for this customer down to the lowest Veeam component. How many CPU cores, how much RAM and how much storage space is required for which Veeam component and how many instances of each component are needed where the essential learnings provided by the training. Sizing these components is one of the basic skills required for every physical design (I come back on that later) but best practices change over time and so the requirements for ever component change. Thats why I personally think it is more important to know where to find the correct numbers for the current version of the software than to have all the numbers in your head.
I don’t want to say that I was disappointed with the two days but in the end I was a bit lost and didn’t really know what to do with the training. This and the version change from 9.5 to 10 and the changing best practices were reasons why I never did the certification.
In December 2021 I was presented with the opportunity to attend the online Version of the new Architecture and Design course as a benefit of the Veeam Vanguard program. The training was exclusively for Veeam Vanguards and Veeam Legends and was led by Preben Berg who did an amazing job. Presenting a new training to first class Veeam nerds is everything but easy. Huge kudos to him! Just after a few minutes and hoping over the agenda I was surprised and excited on what was planned for the two days.
Instead on focusing on numbers and best practices the new Architecture and Design course was doing what the name says: Going through a design process with a certain methodology while always working around important design principles. For everything which has to been calculated there were preconfigured WolframAlpha formulas which simply had to be filled with the right inputs. So no number crunching and looking into the best practices guide or the helpcenter to find out if you had to calculate 1.5GB of memory of 2.0GB per task.
After a short introduction of all participants and a few slides on the methodology and design principles the intense part started. Using the breakout session feature of zoom we split into three groups and started to work on the design scenario. Only interrupted through some short theoretical sessions where the new phases of the methodology were introduced the whole course was planned around the practical exercise to work out a valid Veeam design as a team and defend your findings and decisions in open discussions with the other teams and the instructor.
Time flew by. We gathered responses from our fictitious customer, mapped requirements, constraints, assumptions, and risks to design decisions, including Veeam components and their rationale. All these steps took a lot of time, but were also very challenging and instructive.
If I had to criticize one thing about the course, it would be the short time from about halfway through the second day. The last phases of the methodology were very short and theoretical, so that in the end there was not even a finished physical design on paper. I think you could have reduced the calculation part even despite the use of WolframAlpha once again and used some time for the creation of, at least, a first throw of the physical design. But that’s all there is to criticize.
As you may have noticed I’m a big fan of the new Veeam Backup & Replication v11: Architecture and Design course. I really like the evolution away from best practices and numbers to design methodology and design principles, and I think it’s the right way to go. Numbers and best practices can change. A workable methodology and applicable design principles lead to repeatable and reproducible designs that can be used in any situation. That is why I would recommend the new course not only to anyone who works with Veeam, but also to anyone who wants to learn new ways to improve their design and architecture skills even though you would not like to take the exam.
I myself have not yet taken the exam, but I definitely plan to do so this time. More about the exam and my experiences with it then after, hopefully successful, taking the exam.