Thoughts on the new VMware Certified Associate-Cloud certificationPosted: October 31, 2013
Throughout October 2013, VMware offered $60 off all of their new VCA exams as a campaign kickoff promotion. There are three exams available today covering Datacenter Virtualization (DCV), Cloud, and Workforce Mobility (WM), what I gather to be desktop virtualization et al. (can you tell I’m not a desktop dude?). A Network Virtualization exam covering NSX should be available soon. I was trolling the Twitter the other morning when I followed a link to Mike Preston’s (@mwpreston) blog. There, I found his post Is October the month of certification? – The price is right! in which he shared a promo code that takes off the final $60 from the original $120 price of the certification test. Last time I checked, $120 minus $120 was a heck of a good deal. So I decided to drop what I was doing and take some tests!
I actually signed up for all three available tests, though at the time of this writing I haven’t taken the VCA-WM. I’d like to study a bit for it. I took the VCA-DCV outright and passed, though. I would hope so! Reading Eric Sloof’s (@esloof) blog post on the VCA tests before I took the chance of failing the VCA-Cloud, I took his advice and took the time to take VMware’s Cloud Fundamentals e-learning class. It turns out that class was very useful. I passed the VCA-Cloud with a 360! Ha, but passing is passing, I guess.
What I wanted to share, though, is what I think this certification means when someone can claim it. After having seen the types of questions asked, I feel I have an understanding of what VMware wants from someone with the VCA-Cloud title. If someone passes these exams, I feel they should be able to have an intelligent conversation about the topic. They should be able to identify cloud use cases and match them up with VMware solutions. Without a doubt, though, one should already have a foundation in virtualization before moving forward with tracks like Cloud or Workforce Mobility. The general benefits of virtualization permeate and underscore discussions into the more specialized topics.
Of the solutions VMware has added to the VCA-Cloud questions, vFabric Hyperic and Application Director were new to me. Oh, I’d heard the names, but whenever I came across them on the web, once I realized what they were for, I quickly turned my attention to other matters. I have never come across a use case for these in my career so far and in my current role, we don’t target clients whose use case would benefit from these products. But perhaps that’s where the VCA exams shine. At least now, I can say that if I come across a client that needs, say, resources to process big data or other development platforms for multi-tier applications, vFabric Suite might be a fit. Or if a client wants better insight into errors in a cloud environment with root-cause analysis, vFabric Hyperic might be of use.
Same goes for other products. Need to connect a private and public cloud? vCloud Connector. Need multi-tenant, secure access to your cloud? vCloud Director. Need better management and provisioning of networks in your cloud? vCloud Networking and Security. Do users keep asking for the same workloads over and over again? Get a service catalog. Need better visibility into resource consumption and performance? vCenter Operations Manager.
The questions on the test are essentially presented as interactions with clients, management, or other technology professionals, and you’re asked to identify the VMware solutions that fit or to describe a particular product. After learning about the products in each suite and understanding the use cases, a VCA candidate should be able to discuss the benefits and the challenges addressed with each.