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Why vCloud Architect will be the next must-have cloud certification

Today there is no official VMware cloud certification called “vCloud Architect” but that certification can’t be far away.

VMware has publicly stated it is developing a vCloud Director certification.

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At the VMware 2012 partner exchange conference, it offered a beta exam of a new vCloud Director partner competency, so a vCloud Director certification for end users (regular vSphere admins) is likely soon to follow. Plus, VMware currently has a beta course available on deploying and managing the VMware vCloud. All this points to an inevitable cloud certification and the proliferation of private and public clouds.

For too long the IT department and the data enter have been siloed – broken up into the server group, network group, storage group and support group. It's like a giant government bureaucracy – with lots of red tape. If an organization wants to provision a new server, the server group takes care of the server operating system and apps, the network group takes care of provisioning a network port and IP address, the storage group takes care of creating a LUN and Fibre Channel switch port, and the support group has to have some level of understanding of it all to tell what is up and what is down.

Besides the siloed approach to IT, too many IT departments are out of alignment with the business they are supposed to serve. When IT is seen as a bloated cost center for the business and an obstacle to profitability, IT budgets get slashed and IT admins are devalued.

One solution to these problems is cloud computing, which provides an agile IT infrastructure linked to the needs of the business.

Why use VMware for cloud computing?
VMware has set its sights on becoming the leader in the world of cloud computing. VMware offers platform as a service (PaaS) with Cloud Foundry. For infrastructure as a service (IaaS), VMware created vCloud Director (vCD) – which sits on top of vSphere – to create private, public and hybrid clouds. VMware has signed up more than 100 service providers to sell their vCloud infrastructure and they’ve created easy options to connect public clouds to private clouds.

With numerous cloud offerings out there, why bet your company and your career on VMware? VMware is the only company that has created a real ecosystem around virtualization and the cloud. VMware is creating a complete cloud suite and users love their products. I’d be willing to bet that VMware’s passionate ecosystem will win out over the challengers. Any product whose users are its salespeople will win in the end (look at Apple).

Get ready for a VMware cloud certification
So what are you doing to prepare? Here are the three steps you need to take to prepare for a VMware cloud certification:

  1. Become an infrastructure engineer. Forget about the legacy silos of IT and strive to become an expert in all areas that make up the infrastructure. Gone are the days of just working on one area. We, in IT, must adapt and work to make all of the infrastructure work to provide the apps the business needs, when they need them (after all, that’s why we have a job). For more information, see my blog on becoming an infrastructure engineer.
  2. Know vSphere 5, inside and out. VCloud Director requires ESXi servers, vCenter, shared storage, vSphere enterprise plus, DRS/HA clusters, distributed virtual switches, and extensive vSphere knowledge. To be successful with vCloud Director, you must have a solid understanding of vSphere and its advanced features.
  3. Build a vCloud Director lab. On top of your vSphere lab, add on vCloud Director (there is a free 60 day trial for vSphere and vCD) and learn it inside and out. VMware has a nice evaluator’s guide to help you get started or you can use my vCloud Director video training. No matter what training option you choose, make sure that you create a vCD lab to gain hands-on experience!

The most valuable step you can take for your career (and for your company) is to continue to learn and expand your knowledge. You can apply what you learn at your company to ensure that IT becomes a business differentiator instead of a cost center. By being a business partner, the entire IT department will be more valuable to the company and everyone can reap the rewards. Get started preparing for a VMware cloud certification today!

This was first published in May 2012

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