Why I became a VMware Certified on vSphere 5

I know this sounds strange, but this week I became a VMware Certified Professional on vSphere 5.

I am sure your reactions are HUH??, What?, Why on earth would a Microsoft Employee do that?  Well let me try to explain.

First let me provide a little background. My job here at Microsoft is to help IT Professionals understand Microsoft products. My title is Evangelist, something that is becoming more common in the technical field. I am part of our sales and marketing organization, but my goals are NOT based on sales of licenses or products.   My goals are around creating awareness, excitement about our products.  Specifically this year I am focusing on our Private Cloud offerings of Windows Server Hyper-V and System Center.   When I talk to customers either in person at events, community activities, or in any of my on-line activities, I want to be known as a trusted advisor.   Before joining Microsoft I was a consultant for many years, the key to success is that people trust you and your recommendations about technology.  Part of being trusted is knowing your competition, not just your own product you want to sell.

Microsoft is an amazing company and understands the value of learning about our competitors.  So here was the challenge. How do I learn VMware? How do I prove that I know it. If I downloaded the trial software, played with it.   I could say “I know VMware I have used it” who would believe me?  It’s not likely that I will get any real world consulting work on VMware while working at Microsoft.  So how do I Prove I know it?   Well we came up with a plan.  If I became certified, then people would believe me when I tell them I know VMware, and I can honestly tell them how our products compare.  Now that comparison isn’t the purpose of this blog entry (that’s later). 

So back in January I attended a week long in person training on VMware vSphere 5, their latest product.  It is interesting that VMware requires you to attend the training to become certified. Just taking and passing the test isn’t enough.  I took the VCP510 exam right after the training and did NOT pass.  I studied some more, practiced with the software, and took the VCP510 test again this week and Passed!  It was a hard exam.  I can say that, because I have passed over 40 Microsoft Exams in the past 18+ years.   Does this mean I am going out to do VMware work, no.  That wasn’t my goal. But now I am Certified!

So now when you come to one of my events (www.technetevents.com) and I talk about System Center 2012 or Windows Server 8  and I compare them to the competition, I hope you know that not only do I know our products, I REALLY know our competitors products and hope that I can earn your trust.  I am always involved in the IT Pro community. I even try to attend the VMUG user groups when my schedule allows. 

Thanks again to my manager and Microsoft for investing in me and allowing me to get certified on VMware.

Comments (7)

  1. jweston says:

    I am posting all comments good and bad.  I welcome all comments.

    To Anonymous, I disagree about Paper Microsoft exams.  I took the 40+ Microsoft exams to teach the coures on most of them. I get most of my knowledge from hands on experience. Yes I have taken many classes over the year, but just because you take a class doesn't mean you know it, or can pass the test.  No I didn't pass all the MSFT ones on first try either. I don't think me failing the VMware the first time says anything. I took it right after the class, I didn't have much hands one time. I did before the second attempt.

    To Frank the Tank:

    That's cool, you don't have to trust me, I think it adds value if nothing else. It shows I know more than just what I "sell"

    Again thanks for everyone's comments.  I welcome more of them.  I think the discussion is very healthy.

    John Weston

  2. Kevin Remde says:

    Congratulations, John!  When will you be holding your first training session for your coworkers?  🙂


  3. Mitch Garvis says:

    Hey Kevin I have been teaching vSphere 4 for three years and am now ending my first week teaching vSphere 5… you guys let me know and I'll gladly bring you all up to speed! 🙂

  4. Aaron Levey says:

    Congrats my friend.  Now go sell the world on displacing VMware 😉

  5. Andrew Mauro says:

    Congrats… and I agree on your point of view… in fact I'm certified on VMware, Microsoft and Citrix virtualization related products

  6. Anonymous says:

    Perhaps the reason you failed the first time says something about the quality of the testing that VMware hs for their certifications and is also the reason they make it mandatory that the class is taken. Unlike MS who hands out paper based certifications without any hands on experience, VMware does value taking time to learn the product.  As you stated, you had to go and learn the product on your own as well as the class you took in order to pass the Exam.  I am curious as to how many of the 40 plus exams at MS you have passed without taking a class?  Does this say more about the stellar student you are or the fact that the tests are easy enough that hands on is not necessary.

  7. Frank the Tank says:

    Sorry but as long as you're wearing a Microsoft badge I can't really "trust" what you say about the competition's products, no more than I can trust the competition to tell me about Microsoft's products…

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