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With the release of vSphere 6, VMware has changed the requirements to get certified for this release. To obtain a VMware Certified Professional (VCP) title, you have to take the vSphere 6 Foundations Exam.
The exam, which will be available on August 30, tests the skills of candidates in their ability to deploy a vSphere environment. The VCP is a relatively new basic technical certification that covers all the essential vSphere skills, including the following:
- Installing and configuring vCenter Server and ESXi
- Configuring vSphere networking
- Configuring vSphere storage
- Deploying and administering virtual machines and vApps
- Establishing and maintaining availability and resource management features
- Performing basic troubleshooting
- Monitoring vSphere implementation
Candidates who want to prepare for this exam can take the vSphere: Install, Configure, Manage (ICM) course. Previously, just the ICM course was enough to go for the VCP exam. Following the Foundations Exam, candidates can then take one out of four VCP6 exams that fall into VMware's four certification tracks. For data center virtualization, a candidate would take the VCP6-DCV exam. For cloud management automation, there is the VCP6-CMA exam. For network virtualization, there is the VCP6-NV exam. For desktop and mobility, there is the VCP6-DTM exam.
By applying these changes to the VCP track, VMware seems to be adding more value to the certification. The vSphere 6 Foundations Exam is clearly positioned as a technical exam, whereas VMware Certified Associate exams that were introduced in the era of vSphere 5 -- and reside in the tier below the VCP -- are more oriented towards an overall knowledge of VMware products for sales people and other functions that are not as technically oriented.
The recommended courses for each of the four tracks of the VCP exams also indicate that it requires more work to get the VCP certificate. For example, it is recommended that a candidate seeking the VCP-DCV title take the vSphere: Optimize and Scale training course.
Another difference: the track to a VCP certificate requires only one course to be taken. This means that experience can be built up through self-study as well, which will make it more affordable for candidates who want this certificate.
Responding to changing times
The changes in the VCP certification offering don't seem too surprising, considering how vSphere isn't just solely for server virtualization -- and companies are investing in the company's other products. Businesses with large infrastructures are building onto vSphere with other VMware offerings such as vCloud Suite or VMware vSphere with Operations Management as well as software-defined storage with Virtual SAN -- and don't forget NSX for network virtualization. As the virtualized data center gets increasingly complex, there is a larger demand for skilled professionals who are well-versed with more of VMware's portfolio.
Once the VCP certificate has been obtained, VMware offers more advanced certifications as well. Previously, there was the VMware Certified Advanced Professional which is now the VMware Certified Implementation Expert, which also exists for the data center virtualization, cloud management and automation, network virtualization, and desktop and mobility tracks. For those aiming for the highest possible level of certification for each of these tracks, there is the VMware Certified Design Expert certification.
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