Certification – Personal Picks – Virtualization
So now, we finally get to the point you all wanted: which certifications should you pursue? There are lots of lists out there that discuss the “hot certs”. I’m not going to do this. Instead, here are the certifications that I think would probably teach you the most, and therefore advance your career in actuality and not just on paper.
Everyone talks about virtualization like it is the new technology that is going to save the world. It’s good, but it’s not THAT good. It is, however, highly disruptive. First, it abstracts the operating system from the hardware. Different virtual technologies do this in different ways, and each one has its own advantages and problems. Learning about this and, in particular, learning how to troubleshoot in this environment will be huge for your future career. Secondly, virtualization merges the networking on the switch level with that of the server. This can be drastically more complicated and understanding how it works is essential to your future.
Consider virtualization another fundamental technology. If you do anything with system administration, you need to understand it. As the various operating systems become increasingly easier to use, the importance of understanding them deeply will wane and the importance of virtualization will increase. That said, the difference between a de-facto admin (deal with break/fix) and a professional admin (plan/build for growth) will continue, it’s just that the role of admin will grow to include the virtual environment as well as the operating systems.
At this time, the technology is undergoing a shake-up with the leading players being VMWare, Citrix/Xen, and Microsoft. The only player with a mature certification program is VMWare, so I would focus there. Keep an eye on Citrix though, as it is likely that they will add Xen to their highly-successful certification line.
(Disclosure: I do not currently possess a virtualization certification)