So far, my research turns up a resounding “Maybe!” Let me explain: Virtualization technology is white-hot, and is carving out a space for itself in data centers and IT operations around the world. There’s no denying that VM tools and technologies are changing the ways that IT and individual practitioners do their jobs, set up servers and clients, and make things work from the desktop all the way into supercomputer territory.
But the issue with many certifications, especially those that focus on mass markets(read: sizable enough to be economically “interesting”) , is their ability to be used effectively as cookie-cutters. That is, they must be able to stamp out umpty-ump copies of themselves in a form and fashion that both IT professionals seeking certification and IT managers and HR professionals, seeking to fille open positions, make promotions, and create new job roles can all agree is useful, relevant, and productive in the workplace. Thus, the real question with VM technologies is “Are we there yet?”
Certainly, the appearance of the VCP certification argues that steps toward sufficient commiditization and standardization are underway. Even more encouraging, there’s MSTS exam 70-243 System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008, Configuring available as well.
Although the contents and coverage of the VCP are perfectly reasonable and respectable, I’m still a little leery of this credential for the simple reason that VMWare also requires candidates to complete (and more important from the perspective I’m about to elucidate, pay for) a VMWare authorized training class on related subject matter. At $3000 a pop, the vendor’s incentive to sell classroom seats all too easily gets confused with (or overtakes) their desire to create a sizable population of certified professionals.
Microsoft’s entry into this space–where authorized training is not required (though it is recommended) to earn certification, and where many pathways to credentials always exist, including self-study–helps to lend more credibility to VMWare’s efforts than may be comfortable for both parties involved. One thing’s for sure: VM technology is here to stay, and more and more of us IT professionals are going to have to master its wiles and ways. Hopefully, these certifications will help that process along.