Thursday, April 17, 2014

VMware vs. CompTIA vs. Microsoft – Choosing the Right Virtualization Certification

Currently, the two most prevalent certification organizations are CompTIA and Microsoft. Both organizations offer a wide variety of certifications for different specializations within the technology field, offering certified professionals a variety of career opportunities.

For IT professionals looking for the right certification to take, the choices can be overwhelming. When it comes to the IT subspecialty of virtualization, candidates are faced with several choices. In this article, we’re going to be comparing the three most popular certifications that involve virtualization: Cloud+ from CompTIA, MCSE and its Cloud-focused programs from Microsoft, and the VMware Professional Certification from VMware.

Almost every IT professional is familiar with CompTIA. Designed to provide vendor-neutral information technology certifications, CompTIA certifications focus more on hardware and core IT concepts than individual programs. The Cloud+ certification focuses on the infrastructure that makes virtualization possible – setting up the servers and hardware required for an effective virtualization environment. While CompTIA Cloud+ does touch on software systems and utilizing them for managing virtual machines, datacenters and services; it does not cover the specifics of any one program in great detail, which can lead to knowledge gaps.

Being by far the largest software company in the world, it’s no surprise that Microsoft offers a vast array of certifications, including several which cover various aspects of virtualization. With the Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) certification, professionals can choose from various specialties focused on Microsoft products. Certification specialties include Server Infrastructure (which would be comparable to VCP programs focused on ESXi); Desktop Infrastructure (comparable to VCP-DT – Desktop Virtualization), focusing on network architecture and incorporating some cloud components; Private Cloud, focusing on intranet cloud storage and services at the enterprise level; and individual programs such as SharePoint and Lync managed out of a virtual platform. While providing many options and subspecialties, no one certification pathway provides the full set of knowledge needed to become a virtualization expert. Microsoft’s programs cover a lot of different aspects – making them great for those working with various systems – but outside of Microsoft programs such as Windows Server, SQL Server and SharePoint; there’s not a lot of specialization involved.

VMware Certification only focuses on virtualization and the infrastructure and software needed to effectively run virtualization environments on the VMware platform. Much like Microsoft, there are many sub-specializations available for those seeking the VMware Certified Professional certification such as VCP-DV, focusing on datacenter virtualization; VCP-DT, which focuses on desktop virtualization and delivery of services; and Certified Professional on vSphere 5, which focuses on managing virtualization environments using the vSphere hypervisor. Since these tests focus exclusively on the VMware platform, they cover all aspects of using VMware and give knowledge on utilizing specific programs such as vSphere 5 hypervisor, vApps, and how to integrate programs such as Microsoft SQL Server 2005 into VMware environments. Considering that VMware is the world’s leading virtualization platform, this is typically the certification of choice for those wanting to really drill down into the specialty of virtualization. 

At VMware Certification Marketplace, we aim to help every customer achieve their career goals by earning virtualization certification. Visit our books selection not only for VMware books, but materials which cover all aspects of virtualization. If the VMware certification is right for you, visit us for exam vouchers and everything you need to earn your VMware Certified Professional designation.


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