As I announced at most of my East Region IT Camp events, earlier this year I completed my VMware VCP5 Certification.  Even though Microsoft’s Hyper-V has been the fastest growing hypervisor for quite some time, VMware still has a notable install base that requires integration with Microsoft’s Private Cloud architecture, so this certification was a worthwhile accomplishment.

I sought this certification for a number of reasons, not the least of which was updating my VMware skills as it had been a while since I had worked closely with VMware vSphere and as I mentioned, I was needing the updated knowledge to integrate it into a Microsoft Private Cloud environment I was building.  I had passed the VMware VCP5 exam back in the March timeframe, but initially missed an email from VMware that outlined that I had to go to the VMware Learning site and complete a checklist of items for the VMware certification to become “official”.  Once I completed the checklist of items (confirmed my shipping address, consented to the transcript release, and accepted the VMware Certification Agreement), then I automagically got access to all the benefits this certification (free copy of VMware Workstation 8 among others.)  A few weeks after I completed this process at the VMware myLearning site, I received a package in the mail from VMware with my official VMware Certified Professional certificate.

VCP5 Certification certificate

Microsoft had funded the required training and certification as part of my job as an IT Pro Evangelist to ensure I maintained technical depth in VMware as Microsoft’s Private Cloud offerings integrate and manage VMware vSphere virtualization hosts.  I’ve used VMware on and off since the late 1990’s for various customer and training scenarios, as well as at customer sites through my years as an IT Consultant, so it was nice to get an update.  Microsoft had used VMware extensively internally years ago prior to the development of the long forgotten Microsoft Virtual Server and the latest and greatest awesome Hyper-V, our current hypervisor platform.  As a matter of fact, I still have the CDs/DVDs from the Exchange 2003 Airlift with all the VMware VMs on them sitting on a shelf somewhere in my office… 

In order to achieve certification, since I had no prior certification from VMware, I had to take the mandatory 5 day VMware vSphere Install, Configure, Manage class for a jaw-dropping $3495 in order to sit for the certification exam.  I leveraged a local branch of New Horizons for the class, namely the NH United branch in the Northeast and took advantage of their Online Live (OLL) class where I could sit the class in my house, rather than having to attend the class in NYC every day.  The class was extremely helpful in getting the knowledge I needed to pass the exam (in addition to my home lab.)

A short while ago, and certainly after the completion of this certification I posted an article on the components necessary for building a private cloud environment off of Slashdot’s SlashCloud site at http://slashdot.org/topic/cloud/building-a-private-cloud-lab-environment/ which touches on both Microsoft and VMware components necessary to build out such a lab.  I encourage you to check it out.

Also, many of you know that one of the main areas I focus on as an IT Pro Evangelist is community, so even prior to my VCP5 Certification, I’d been a regular attendee of local VMware User Groups or VMUGs in the New York, Connecticut and Philadelphia areas to stay in touch with the VMware community.  Unlike the many Microsoft-focused users groups that I support, these groups are generally funded by VMware and many sponsors, rather than just being run by a community enthusiast with interest or knowledge in the technology.  These groups have more of a “conference” feel with dozens or even hundreds of attendees, than the more intimate setting of the typical Microsoft users group. What’s interesting is that I have many former colleagues, employees, and customers who now work for or closely with VMware, so its like visiting with old friends when I go to some of these.

On a related note, Microsoft Private Cloud Certification is on the roadmap for many IT Pros these days and may be in my future as well.  Stay tuned for more information on that in the future.

Enjoy your July 4th holiday!