Reason for Change
1 Executive Summary
Aviatrix ACE Design Expert (ACE-DE) validates the candidate’s command on understanding and leveraging Aviatrix Architecture and its design methodology to build public cloud networks. The program checks candidate’s technical, design, consultancy, presentation, and articulation skills on core networking principals in public cloud based on Aviatrix Multi-Cloud Network Architecture approach.
The validation has two steps
a. Submit a complete design as per specifications
b. Attend an in-person design defense in front of a panel
c. Defend your submitted design
d. Build a design impromptu based on given requirements
e. Demonstrate hands-on proficiency on the Aviatrix platform
ACE-DE certified Architects demonstrate
a. Proficiency on Aviatrix platform
b. Excellence in using technical solutions to achieve business outcomes
c. Deep understanding of multiple cloud provider’s networking offerings
d. Consultancy skills to gather required information from clients and use them to design a future proof architecture
e. Ability to articulate platform capabilities
Aviatrix Certified Design Expert (ACE-DE) is an advance level certification track built to provide cloud network, security, and operations architects to demonstrate and validate their deep understanding of public cloud networking environments.
This document outlines the general topics as guidelines for the content likely to be included in the evaluation but is not an exhaustive list. Candidates are expected to be able to cover adjacent topics and technologies typically well-understood by a cloud architect.
To better reflect the contents of the program, the guidelines in this document may change at any time without notice. Please make sure you are reviewing the latest version by visiting Aviatrix website.
2.1 Purpose of ACE-DE Program
· Validate expert-level cloud networking and security knowledge.
· Allow the candidate to demonstrate their expertise in gathering and clarifying network functional requirements. Develop network designs to meet functional specifications. Develop an implementation plan, convey design decisions and their rationale.
· Provide a platform for the certified individuals to distinguish themselves in front of their employers, customers, and peers as someone who has a deep understanding to design, implement, operate, and troubleshoot an Aviatrix based public cloud infrastructure.
· Provide a way for enterprises to find talent that meets the highest standard of qualifications in the public cloud networking and security space.
· Offer organizations that design, implement, and operate Aviatrix based infrastructure the ability to demonstrate their expertise and proficiency to end clients
3 Why choose to become an ACE-DE
· Public recognition of your expertise in complex public cloud environments with focus on networking, security, and operations.
· Elevate the stature of your team and organization for the quality of talent.
· Increased confidence of organizations in their talent pool and for delivery organizations, the ability to demonstrate high confidence in their design and delivery capabilities.
· Become part of an elite group of professionals.
· Multifold increase in your personal profile and opportunities in the marketplace.
4 Who should become an ACE-DE?
An ACE-DE (Aviatrix Certified Engineer - Design Expert) carries the primary responsibility in their organization of designing and deploying an optimal and secure cloud network environment which enables an agile platform for applications and customers to consume.
Understanding Aviatrix platform and being able to configure an environment are only part of skills being validated as an ACE-DE. Successful candidate will be an individual who shows leadership qualities in enabling their organizations via their technical, consultancy and business awareness skills to achieve end business objectives.
· You have successfully completed ACE-Professional certification exam
· You need minimum of 1 year of experience on Aviatrix Platform
· You don’t have to be part of a specific geo or vertical
· You don’t need a certain higher-education degree
· You don’t need to carry a pre-approved list of titles
5 Applying for ACE-DE
The application for ACE-DE is centered on an Aviatrix platform-based cloud project that the candidate has either led or has been a major contributor to. The submitted project and its associated documentation may be based on a real project, fictional or a combination of both. In any case the design must be
· Driven based on real business drivers, outcomes and objectives which have demonstratable value to an organization
· Built for a production grade, mission critical infrastructure with clearly defined SLAs
· Complex enough on scale and performance, and must make use of multiple critical Aviatrix use cases
· Innovative to creatively achieve business goals while minimizing cost and maximizing benefits
Note: Each candidate is submitting their own application. Same design may be used by different applicants only if they were major contributor on the design. The Design Submission Document and all associated submission must be unique to each candidate.
The details of what needs to be included in the application will be covered in the later section on ACE-DE Certification Processes.
The application must be submitted in accordance with the dates published on ACE-DE website. Once the application has been submitted, it will be reviewed by ACE-DE panelists. You will be informed of the final decision weeks before the in-person defense event to allow for travel and lodging arrangements.
The application may be rejected for several reasons including but not limited to
· Insufficient or incomplete application such as with insufficient supporting documentation
· Simplistic design that is not complex enough to demonstrate candidate’s command on the platform
· Focusing only on technology and not explaining the business requirements
· Design that does not fulfil the business requirements
· Incorrectly submitted application
· Application does not follow the template provided
· Documentation is too long, vague, lack conciseness, lack details to understand correctly
· Application is primarily reusing the samples published and does not reflect original work
· Plagiarism of any kind
· Technical inaccuracy or incorrect design
· Impractical design
6 ACE-DE Certification Processes
6.1 Aspects to be covered in the ACE-DE exam
Following sections briefly outline the areas that must be covered throughout the ACE-DE program including Design Submission Document, Defense, Impromptu design etc.
6.1.1 Business Objectives and Drivers
Clearly cover what are the business objectives that need to be achieved by this project. Why the project is important for business and what role cloud networking and security by Aviatrix will play in achieving the outlined business objectives.
6.1.2 Technical Requirement Gathering
Identify the technical requirements of the project that pertains to cloud networking and Aviatrix MCNA solution. Explain the salient points outlining the Must Have and Nice to Have aspects of the requirements. Outline if there are any parts of the project that will be handled in a later phase and why phased approach is needed to meet the business and/or technical requirements.
6.1.3 Solution Design
In this section, share the actual design aided by appropriate topology diagrams, tables, flow charts, packet walks etc., across network and security design.
6.1.4 Adhering to MCNA Design Pillars
MCNA Design Pillars are collectively referred as AMPRSC. Demonstrate using design decision tables or diagrams the decision choices that bring the design in-line with the below mentioned design pillars.
Cover the high availability aspects of the design and its components.
How the environment will be managed including automation, integration etc. Ease of use and reducing management overhead are key objectives.
Cover the performance requirements of different components and how the design is flexible to cover current and future performance and scale requirements
Cover the DR planning of the environment. How and what steps will be taken to ensure consistent and smooth operations in case of disruptions. Share the SLAs agreed in case of partial or full DR scenarios.
Cover how the Aviatrix Infrastructure is secured including access to control and management plane. Discuss how the network security design is done for virtual cloud networks and connected external entities including on-prem, extranet, internet ingress/egress, remote users etc.
Discuss how the design is made cost effective from scale and sizing perspective. What considerations were made to ensure the environment is right-sized and stays within the budget.
6.1.5 People, Process and Technology Readiness for Day2
Most of the discussion in any design conversation is focused on build exercises, often termed as Day0 and Day1. A successful design is one which also considers how the environment is going to be easily managed Day2 onwards by operational teams, reduces risk when changes must made, is easy for auditors to validate etc. This needs consideration around
- People (training, enablement etc.)
- Process (SoPs, Change Management, IaC, upgrades etc.)
- Technology (Integration with NGFW Policy, SAML, Ticketing, Alerting, Reporting etc.)
6.2 Submitting the ACE-DE application
In addition to the required fields in the application form, the application package will include a Design Submission Document following the sample provided on the ACE-DE website. The document must be submitted in both Word and PDF formats strictly following the formatting, page limits and table of contents outlined in the sample.
It is candidate's responsibility to read and understand the sample document provided and present all the required information in a concise and summarized manner. Use of diagrams, tables, graphs are highly recommended to communicate effectively to the panel. Vague and large quantity of material do not necessarily serve candidate’s best interest.
The document is expected to provide prescriptive details in three key areas
a. Business perspective: Business drivers, business goals, requirements, problems being solved, and benefits anticipated
b. Technical perspective: Technical requirements, challenges, logical designs, networking, and security topologies. Highlight the AMPRSC design pillars (Availability, Manageability, Performance, Recoverability, Security, Cost).
c. Operational perspective: Day2 operational readiness, training, enablement, SOPs, integrations etc.
Aviatrix reserves the right to require candidate to resubmit the document the does not follow the sample and/or do not demonstrate candidates' authority on the subject in a concise manner.
If the document refers to any external link or resource, it will be treated as a nice to look at for review panel, but candidate must summarize all the pertinent information in the document itself.
The Design Submission Document will be scrubbed using 3rd party anti-plagiarism platforms. Any application confirmed as containing non-original material in parts or whole will be automatically disqualified.
6.3 Defending the submitted design
When coming to the Design Defense Day, candidate should have prepared a short power point presentation using the sample provided on the ACE-DE website. Candidate will be able to use the power point presentation and the PDF version of Design Submission Document during the defense.
The Design Defense will be 45 mins. During defense, the candidate will present short overview of the design and will be evaluated against the AMPRSC design pillars. The candidate is expected to demonstrate his/her command on the platform and accurately explain the different components, traffic patterns, design choices made etc.
The entire process is built to emulate the type of conversations, challenges, documentation, demonstration, ownership, and authority an architect must demonstrate in real world scenarios.
It is candidate’s responsibility to complete the design presentation in allotted time with enough room for questions and discussions.
6.4 Impromptu design
In addition to defending the submitted design, the candidates will be required to take requirements and build a design and present it back to the panel. The session will be in three phases
- Candidate will be presented with a few slides containing customer design requirements. There will be approximately 15 mins allocated to review this and ask any questions about the requirements.
- Candidate will have approximately 20 mins to come up with a design on a whiteboard.
- Candidate will then have 30 mins to present this design back to the panel and defend their design choices in accordance with MCNA design pillars (AMPRSC) and requirements provided.
6.5 Characteristics of a Successful Design Exercise
Communicate in concise manner to the panel assuming you are presenting to an enterprise customer’s architecture board. Be educative, polite, and interactive. Make safe assumptions and validate as appropriate. Display your authority on the subject while being humble and understanding of customer’s sentiments and constraints. Maintain high level of professional attitude and produce a design that meets the given requirements while making sure it is future proof.
All communication, presentation and defense will be conducted in English. There is no time extension due to language barriers.
Result will be provided within 7-14 business days after the exam process has been completed. The result will be in the form of Pass/Fail and in case of failure, some high-level recommendation for the candidate to improve upon will be provided. Aviatrix will not share specifics of the result with the candidate and the result cannot be challenged.
· 1 year of experience designing and operating the Aviatrix cloud network platform
· ACE-Professional certification
· Attend ACE-DE Design Pillars Session or watch the recording
8 Recommended Review Material
· YouTube videos of tech-talk discussing design on the Aviatrix YouTube channel
· Aviatrix product documentation at https://docs.aviatrix.com
· Aviatrix Resources Library: https://aviatrix.com/resources
· Technical articles and blogs published at: https://community.aviatrix.com
9 Scheduling an ACE-DEDefense
ACE-DE will be held around the globe in large cities periodically. The dates and locations will be announced on the ACE-DE website. You must submit your application and all the required documents including the Design Submission Document in accordance with the published dates for each ACE-DE defense event.
10 Retake Policy
A candidate must pass all stages of the ACE-DE certification to be considered pass. Failure in any one of the stages will constitute failure of the entire certification attempt and will require candidate to go thru all the stages again. Candidates can only have one application under submission at any given time.
Candidates may retake the certification after 90 days of last attempt. Every new retake will be considered a new attempt for process and exam fees perspective.
Candidates may defend the same design in the retake unless the design itself or its documentation was not adequate. In that case, candidate will be provided enough feedback to improve the design and resubmit the application.
Candidates will be provided feedback on the area where they need improvement, but exact scoring details will not be disclosed.
Aviatrix takes plagiarism very seriously and will not certify any person who violates the integrity of the program by plagiarism of any form. Aviatrix also retains the right to bar an individual from ever applying if they are found to be in conduct of any action considered against the integrity of the certification program. Following are some of the examples that are considered breach of policy
- Using someone else’s work without proper reference and citation
- Presenting, wholly or in part, someone else’s work as your work
- Using material which is directly taken from an external source and presenting it as your work without proper reference
- Using an organization’s non-anonymized design without their approval and consent
- Sharing your design and submitted application with others to be used by them as their work
- Sharing the exam specifics from design session including scenarios, questions, presentations with others
- Using false identity or intentionally using a different name then yours
- Misrepresenting experience using Aviatrix platform and/or prior ACE certifications
This blueprint is intended to provide applicants information about the goals, objectives, process, and expectations by the Aviatrix Certified Engineer – Design Expert (ACE-DE) program. It is not expected to be an exhaustive document rather a guideline to be used by Architects when submitting the ACE-DE application. The topics covered here do not guarantee that candidates will pass the exam. Candidates are expected to bring their own expertise, experience and original thinking when going thru each step of the process.
Aviatrix recommends the candidates to review the material mentioned in the Recommended Review Material section, Aviatrix Websites, YouTube channel and other sources while preparing for the ACE-DE exam.