VMware has recently released a new certification matrix which incorporates the breadth of their solution offerings. No longer does one certificate cover it all. Your “regular” VCP is now a VCP-DV, DV as an abbreviation for Datacenter Virtualization. Datacenter Virtualization is but one track now; Cloud and Desktop (DT) tracks have been added and include VCAPs (VMware Certified Advanced Professional) and VCDX (VMware Certified Design Expert) designations. Certification junkies rejoice! There is no end of exams to write and with aggressive software release schedules, keeping up across the board is going to be a challenge. Thankfully there is some amount of crossover which is diagramed below as well as the ability to inherit basic certifications.
If you are a current VCP5-DV holder you can cross in to the Cloud matrix. It’s detailed by the red line below. Once you achieve VMware VCP-DV you can write any of the following exams:
The added bonus of writing your VCAP-CID as a VCP is that you inherit your VCP-IaaS from it. This is very similar to how existing VCAP holders could write new VCAPs and obtain the VCP-DV upgrade as well. This was for a limited time and I assume VMware will follow suit – although no end date is listed on the website. There is an advantage to taking on exams early to benefit from the “freebies.”
The desktop track currently requires you to obtain the VCP-DT before progressing into its respective VCAP exams. The VCAP-DTD (Desktop Design) was very recently announced and the DTA (Desktop Administration) is on the roadmap. The VCAP-DTD is very similar in flavor to the VCAP-DCD. It is a design exam. More than just technical skills will be required to achieve this certification. The design exams require understanding business requirements, constraints and assumptions – something somewhat difficult to “study.” If you are not currently in a design role this exam will be very difficult – but not impossible, just don’t treat it like a VCP exam. Scott Lowe’s VMware vSphere infrastructure design series is perfectly geared towards these certifications, as well are VMware vCATs (vCloud Architecture Toolkit). I will go in to more detail around vCATs when we talk about the Cloud track.
The VCAP-DTA will also be similar in feel to the VCAP-DCA, but obviously centered on View administration. To be successful at the administration exams you really need a lab. This doesn’t need to be something big – this is a perfect time to use that free copy or three of Workstation you have laying around. Start playing with all aspects of virtual desktop administration, to the point of doing any task in a short amount of time. Progression from the VCAP-DTs to VCDX-DT plans have not been announced, but one can assume both VCAPs will be a requirement.
The cloud track contains the most exams which are in line with the complexities of the cloud suite. The VCAP-CID (Cloud Infrastructure Design) is just finishing beta and should be available soon. The CG (Cloud Governance) and CIA (Cloud Infrastructure Administration) exams have only been announced with no details associated.
The VCAP-CID should be publicly available soon so start preparing if you are interested. We all want those low VCAP certificate numbers, (well maybe some do, or just me). As with the DV and DT tracks, this is a design exam so yes, it will test you in technical ways – but also in the design process. Again Scott Lowe’s series will help immensely here, as will the vCATs. As promised before, let’s explain the vCATs a bit. The vCAT, now at version 3, is an architectural guide to how to successfully design a vCloud environment. It’s written by some incredibly smart people within VMware, who also happen to have a great deal of input into VCAP certifications. I’m sure we all can see the advantage of reading this material. I think it weighs in around 900 pages, but it is well worth the read and this isn’t cram material.
The VCAP-CIA will follow in the DV/DT trend of a live lab type exam, this time centered around vCloud Director and all its components – which encompasses a great deal of different components. Again, hands on is the only way to prepare for this one – well, hands on with guidance helps.
The CG exam should make for an interesting one; it really is an oddball in the certification mix. I really have no idea what to expect from this exam at this time. There has not been much buzz about it and I will update when I hear more about it.
The cloud track does seem to be one of the more challenging ones that VMware offers; it encompasses a large amount of the VMware product suite. Cloud is still a relatively new thing as well. Not many are lucky enough to be able to design, implement, or administer it. However, soon enough it will be a required skillset for the “VM guy” so it’s better to prepare – that’s why you’re reading this, right? I’m also curious if all 3 VCAPs will be required to achieve VCDX-Cloud; in reality it would be easier to achieve VCDX-DV/DT and then crossover if that is the case.
While we are on the VCDX topic, the separate VCDX tracks have been announced but the process has not been finalized. It has been stated that a VCDX holder in any track will not need to go in front of a VCDX panel subsequent times for each track. This is great because those panels are not fun. They have not expressly qualified what they mean by that statement and I believe they are still finalizing it.
I would assume that there will be more certifications added to the suite in the near future, most likely centering on virtual networking. Until then we all have our work cut out for us. There is a definite advantage in the industry to obtain these certifications – especially VCAP and VCDX. With 150,000 VCPs out there, having a VCAP can help differentiate you – or even having multiple VCPs.