VMware certification options and resources

Virtualization expert Rick Vanover shares some strategies and resources for IT pros who are interested in the journey to VMware certification.

I am frequently asked how to go about getting a VMware certification, yet there is not a simple answer to the question. If you're considering a VMware cert, you should at least know the basics: the available options and some resources that will help you achieve your goal.

VMware certification is a product of VMware Education Services. There are three certification levels currently for VMware:

The VCP entry-level certification (which was the only VMware certification available for a long time) is a pretty common distinction at this point. VMware certification is somewhat unique in that the VCP requires that a course is taken from an authorized VMware Education Services provider. The VCP certification has helped me in my career; it has also helped me broaden my virtualization skills as environments change.

Each certification has recommended (or required) courses, and an Exam Blueprint. The VCP Blueprint, for example, outlines the objectives on what is required for the products.

In terms of VMware cert resources, I recommend bookmarking Forbes Guthrie's vReference blog. On the site, be sure to look at the vSphere 4.1 poster, which makes for a great study guide.

Also, aside from everyday usage of vSphere, the best way to learn and test VMware technologies is to set up a lab. I maintain a personal lab, as my employer's resources are not the best place for virtualization science experiments. vSphere allows the ESXi hypervisor to exist as virtual machine, so you can configure a powerful desktop or laptop system to function as a "datacenter in a box." The single best resource to configure this is outlined in the VMware ESX 4 can even virtualize itself post on VMware employee Eric Gray's VCritical blog.

If you've gone down the virtualization certification path, tell us about your experiences and what resources were most helpful to you.