In order to better understand virtualization certifications, it's essential to understand the rise of server virtualization in India. Over the years, Indian organizations have become dependent on server virtualization solutions—needless to say, VMware is a leading contender among the choices. In this scenario, it is imperative to note that virtualization certifications (especially VMware) do hold a serious attraction to data center professionals in terms of desirable skillsets.
Indian companies primarily opt for server virtualization to reduce IT costs. This drive is supplemented by advantages such as reduced costs related to power, cooling and physical space. Thus, deploying virtualization solutions and creating virtual IT infrastructure is high on their agenda. But the task is not as easy as it may seem for an organization, since it also needs to look into workforce issues such as whether prospective (or existing) employees require virtualization certification as an eligibility criterion. In this context, it's felt that virtualization certifications will help professionals to better manage a virtual server setup.
The certification process also ensures that a candidate has clear concepts when it comes to server virtualization. This is because virtualization certifications confirm the candidates' understanding of products, along with their credibility in terms of solution deployment and maintenance. Additionally, the user goes through a dynamic education process to establish himself as a certified professional with qualifications and product knowledge. Vouching for the utility of such server virtualization certifications, Umesh Nambiar, the service manager for IT Service Delivery at ING Vysya Bank (himself a VMware-certified professional) states, "By getting server virtualization certifications, the user has more leverage than a person with an ordinary background or someone who has no certifications."
So does it mean that your real world capabilities on the virtual server management front are bleak if your CV lacks a certification? The jury's divided on this front, since Indian data centers have more instances where company employees have managed VMware virtualized environments without any certifications whatsoever. For example, Wipro Infotech's recent Phoenix Project dealt with migration from VMware ESX Server 2.5 to VMware ESX Server 3.5-based clusters. This project was monitored by Soinik Das, the data center and server management incharge of Wipro Infotech, who managed the migration without the backing of a VMware virtualization certification. Similar is the case with ANSYS India, which relies on VMware ESX clusters. "I have undergone VI 3 training, but not got a VMware virtualisation certification. However, my colleagues are VMware certified, and they support the production clusters," says Nitin Raina, the IT manager (India) at ANSYS Software Private Limited.
At this point it's essential to clarify that Das and Raina advocate the need for server virtualization certifications for personnel looking at managing the environment on a full-fledged basis (rather than just small migrations). This is because an employee with VMware virtualization certifications is likely to have in-depth knowledge about these products, and will be able to offer better service. "Ideally, when a person is managing a total VMware set up from the console, getting virtualization certifications from VMware will surely help," says Das.
Understanding the certifications process
As a pre-requisite for virtualization certifications from VMware, the user needs to undergo VMware Infrastructure training with a certified training partner. Then, he has to gain hands-on experience with VMware vSphere. Following this, he will get a registration number which has to be provided at the center where he intends to take the exam. The online test lasts for an hour.
While the exam costs less than Rs 10,000, the VMware Infrastructure training is expensive (at around Rs. 40,000). In India, more than 3,000 aspirants have taken the VMware virtualization certifications examination in the last 12 months.