Despite how often I go on and on about why certification matters, it may surprise you to learn that I almost missed the deadline to get re-certified for my VCP (VMware Certified Professional) certification. I wish I could say that it wasn’t due to procrastination, but then I would risk getting called out by my fellow IT professionals.


Needless to say, when the email came from VMware notifying me that my certification was about to expire, I had to get to work-fast. With less than 2 days before the expiration date, potentially thousands of dollars on the line to re-take a course if I let it lapse, and of course, my VCP Professionals membership at stake, I pulled it off on a Saturday afternoon that I would have much rather spent relaxing with my family.


So, you might be asking why I did it. What’s so important about virtualization that I felt so compelled to get recertified and put myself through the pain and anguish to do it on such a quick deadline?


The short answer is this: there’s never been a better time to become a VMware expert. And there’s never been a better company to do VMware with than NetApp.


NetApp and VMware, Better Together

NetApp has partnered with VMware for the past ten years, starting with VMware being a reference platform for NFS. Over the years, NetApp has grown its relationship with VMware, bringing several key innovations to market like the virtual storage console, which allows you to provision storage right through a VMware plugin. Where we are today with the development of virtual desktops and virtualized applications is due in large part to the continued NetApp and VMware partnership. And of course, the logical extension of virtualization in the entire stack has become part and parcel of how we do IT today, namely, the cloud-something NetApp and VMware have pioneered for years.


Of course, I’ve been a virtualization fanboy for even longer, going back to when IBM first introduced the concept on the mainframe. VMware’s claim to fame at its inception was taking the concept that IBM developed (what became partitioning) and taking it from the mainframe to the x86 market. That revolution is what made VMware a leader in the market, where it still stands today.


But when you take VMware’s virtualization goodness and mix it with NetApp’s storage efficiency secret sauce, you get a whole new confection that’s a leader in its own right. Take deduplication, for example. When you upgrade Windows on a virtual machine, it’s easy because each version runs the same code. Virtualization allows you to map those blocks and save money. With deduplication on NetApp storage, you can eliminate the identical blocks and remove up to 70% of that duplicate data to save you even more money.


It’s this type of virtualization and storage innovation that the competition has no idea how to do. While our competitors continue to create silos in their virtual environments, NetApp gives you the ability to unify that architecture while saving on storage expenses and floor space. It nets out to serious bang for your buck that the competition just can’t match.


The Value of VMware and NetApp Certification

By becoming a VMware Certified Professional, you can be your customers’ go-to virtualization expert, giving them the tools and guidance they need to virtualize their entire environment. With no need to worry about running out of space in their data centers, customers can focus on building value for their business, and you, as their virtualization expert, can help them prepare for the future of IT. With NetApp certifications being in the top 7 highest-demand certifications in the IT industry, the combination of NetApp and VMware certification is sure to set you apart in a job search.


NetApp University and its authorized learning partners (ALPs) provide a variety of ways for you to get educated on virtualization. I recommend the NetApp Certified Data Administrator exam, as it gives you a good foundation for NFS storage protocol concepts. I also recommend the NetApp Certified Implementation Engineer – SAN, ONTAP exam as it covers FC/FCOE and iSCSI storage protocols. Since storage is a big component of VMware virtualization, both of these exams give you valuable background for your VMware VCP exam. NetAppU also partners with Fast Lane and Unitek to provide courses in Hyper-V, giving you insight into the full spectrum of virtualization solutions available today.


Check out the links below for more information about different courses that you can take to become your customers’ go-to virtualization professional. NetApp and VMware, it’s like Oreos and milk-a winning combination!


Don’t wait until the last minute! Register now, get certified today!

Pete Ybarra

Pete is a field technical consultant for NetApp solutions at Tech Data. Based in Chicago, Pete is responsible for enabling and educating Tech Data’s partner community on selling NetApp solutions. He is also a member of both the NetApp A-Team and the Cisco Champions.

Pete occasionally helps his wife with her children’s entertainer job. So if you see him driving around with a clown on a weekend, don’t be alarmed, that’s probably Pete's wife.

Years of NetApp experience: 9
Certifications: Cisco and NetApp - FlexPod Design SE, Cisco Data Center Unified Computing Design Specialist (DCUCD); Cisco Data Center Unified Computing Implementation (DCUCI); Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE), Private Cloud Windows Server 2012; Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA), Windows Server 2012; NetApp Certified Implementation Engineer (NCIE SAN), Cluster Mode and 7-Mode; NetApp Certified Data Administrator (NCDA), Cluster Mode and 7-Mode; NetApp SME, VMware Certified Professional (VCP), Data Center Virtualization 6.0. For a full list of certifications, visit his LinkedIn profile.

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