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Ask the expert: What does the new VMware cloud certification mean?

A new VMware cloud certification, the VCP-IaaS, could have big implications for IT professionals and signal a larger trend of VMware focusing on its cloud products.

This June, VMware announced a new addition to its certification pyramid: The VMware Certified Professional – Infrastructure as a Service credential. It's VMware’s first cloud certification, and it may not be the last.

In this Q&A, we talk with Jake Robinson, a systems engineer at Indianapolis, Ind.-based data center provider Bluelock LLC., to find out what he thinks of the new VMware cloud certification and how interested IT professionals should prepare for a future exam.

What do you make of this new cloud certification, and what is VMware trying to accomplish?

Robinson: My first impression is that the VMware Certified Professional - Infrastructure as a Service (VCP-IaaS) certification could certainly use a name makeover, but I think it’s a great move for VMware. For those that do not have any vCloud Director installation experience, this may give them the motivation. VMware is placing heavy bets that the vCloud product line is the future of infrastructure management, and I will speculate this certification is a step in that direction.

How do you think VMware’s certification will compare with other cloud certifications already out there?

Robinson: I don’t claim to know all the details of the EMC or Microsoft cloud certifications, but the new VMware cloud certification is primarily focused on the implementation and configuration of the vCloud family of products, and centers around vCloud Director. The VCP-IaaS is not a replacement of the EMC and Microsoft cloud certifications.

Is a cloud certification important for employers?

Robinson: Cloud certifications are beneficial to providers, but those consuming cloud resources don’t have certification options at this time. From a Bluelock standpoint, job hunters with a VCP-IaaS certification would certainly be considered before those without the certification. Bluelock has been working with vCloud Director since the Redwood days, and we still see value in VCP-IaaS certified Bluelock engineers. VCP-IaaS certified Bluelock engineers will bring continued confidence in our vCloud expertise to our clients, as well as VMware and the ecosystem.

How would you suggest someone interested in pursuing this certification should prepare?

Robinson: The vCloud Director Administrator’s Guide and Architecture Toolkit are good places to start. VMware offers trials for everything in the test, so having a hands-on study lab right on your laptop is a great way to get experience. Courses from VMware and TrainSignal are also packed with information that will help you pass the certification.

What type of questions do you expect the exam will cover?

Robinson: I suspect there will be the obligatory “maximums” memorization questions, such as “How many VMs will vCloud Director run?” But I’d also suspect some questions around the setup of vShield Edge and some questions about the actual usage of vCloud Director.

What’s next for VMware? Do you see them rolling out another cloud certification?

Robinson: I believe a VMware Certified Advanced Professional - IaaS is a realistic possibility. If VMware eventually creates that advanced certification, I can envision it becoming a requirement for the VMware Certified Design Expert certification.

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What do you think of the new VCP-IaaS certification?