Even as Microsoft rolls out ever-more-refined beta versions of its hypervisor, VMware is emphasizing technical knowledge about virtualization in general and facility with its own products in particular as a way to maintain its market dominance. Its most recent evolution is a certification program designed for the architects behind virtualization deployments, a move that is generally applauded by IT managers.
The VMware Certified Design Expert (VCDX) for VMware Infrastructure 3 is an extension of the company's VMware Certified Professional (VCP) program. Candidates for the VCDX must be certified as VCP's on VMware Infrastructure 3 and pass the VMware Enterprise Administration Exam, which is currently available and take a Design Exam, which VMware expects will be available late this month. Candidates must also submit, present and defend a VMware Infrastructure design, configuration and implementation plan.
The VCDX program is being met with some acclaim by IT architects and other personnel.
"I am interested in this certification as it does show professional development in the field," says Brett Shavers, president of e3Discovery, a computer forensic and electronic discovery company in Seattle. "This particular certification would be important for my job skills as for the implementation and use of VMware-it is important for my clients to know that what I do is done right, and that my knowledge has been certified by the manufacturer."
Some assert that in addition to being of value to clients, certification is also important to an employee's advancement.
"VCP certification has been very beneficial to the role I play in my organization, in addition to the knowledge I share with my peers who work with VMware products," according to Jason G. Boche, a systems support analyst for a large financial services firm in Minnepolis who has two VMware Certified Professional certifications and is a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer and Administrator, and is a Citrix Certified Administrator.
"I would be interested in pursuing the advanced VCDX/architect certification," says of the new credential. "In addition to the value added to my career, my marketability and earning potential, the certification process helps me stay technically sharp, as well as providing value to my employer for whom I apply my knowledge."
Not all IT experts though view certification as a requirement for the job, preferring experience instead.
"As a manager, I've had a few poor experiences relying on certifications over experience," says Art Beane, IT enterprise architect for IFCO Systems in Houston.
"While I support certification by paying for the exams and providing on-the-job time for the people getting certifications, it helps morale and definitely is a good way to verify training, its on the job performance that is the true measure of knowledge," Beane says.
VCP certification and testing is available from a number of sources. The first portion of the VCP certification includes:
VMware Infrastructure 3: Install and Configure - it costs about US$3,000 from a licensed training center;
VMware Infrastructure 3: Deploy, Secure and Analyze - costs about $3,300;
VCDX training and certification will also be available through VMware's education partners.