VMware VCP certification is now valid for max 2 years

VMware introduced a new recertification policy at  March 10, 2014. If you are VCP-certified you must pass any VCP or higher-level exam within two years of earning their most recent VCP certification.

If you do not certify within 2 years, your certification will be revoked, and you will no longer be entitled to use the certification logo or represent yourself as VMware certified. Your certification will be shown as no longer valid on your MyLearn account. Any employer who contacts us to validate your certification will be informed it is no longer valid.

This blog at vNetWise titled VMware Certification Expirations–Good or Bad? has some links to reactions of other bloggers on the news  and shows the uproar in the community. The author also gives his opinion on why this recertification is a good thing.

More info in this VMware post: Recertification Policy: VMware Certified Professional

Register for free VCAP bootcamp at NLVMUG event

The first ever NLVMUG event will be held at March 6 in Den Bosch, the Netherlands. The agenda and information on registration can be found here.


Besides breakout sessions this year will have a free VCAP bootcamp. VCDX Joep Piscaer, Martijn Baecke (VCDX #103) and Viktor van den Berg (VCDX #121) will help you prepare and certify for the VCAP exams and VCAP-DCD in particular.

Time: 15.15 till 17:30 during the NLVMUG event.

More information and registration for the bootcamp here.

Veeam announces new certification : Veeam Certified Engineer VMCE

Veeam will launch a new program in January 2014 (launching first in North America and EMEA) that will educate and certify partners and end-user engineers as Veeam Certified Engineers (VMCE). The designation of VMCE establishes a level of expertise required to implement and configure Veeam software correctly and most effectively. The designation also verifies the engineer has the necessary knowledge and experience to be hired as a Veeam Expert.

Distribution partners of Veeam will be selected as Veeam Authorized Education Centers (VMAEC) to deliver fee-based education courses with a curriculum developed by Veeam. For those who cannot attend the three-day instructor-led live training, Veeam is piloting a Video on Demand Learning (VODL) module in North America. Every class includes both lecture and hands-on elements that allow the students to learn about the technology and its configuration, and then experience the configuration in labs based on real-world customer scenarios. All VMCE candidates must pass a proctored exam as the final step in earning their certification. Veeam expects 1,000 – 2,000 engineers to earn the VMCE distinction within the next year.

“Our new training and certification programs will create a more empowered and enabled channel and end-user ecosystem,” said Ratmir Timashev, CEO at Veeam Software. “We expect our ProPartners to see growth in revenue as these certified Veeam experts become more engaged, motivated and knowledgeable. This training will support our partners’ ability to offer additional services to their customers and establish an extra revenue stream, while also offering a higher level of support to their customers. As a channel-centric organization, our regional teams will work alongside our partner community to help them take advantage of the hot growth opportunities Modern Data Protection™ is creating in the enterprise market.”

This new certification program is designed to support the systems engineers of Veeam customers, as well as the pre-sales engineers of Veeam’s network of ProPartners, with high-level technical competencies through delivery of technical courses required to achieve VMCE certification.
Veeam will empower its North American and EMEA engineers specifically by providing education on Veeam product capabilities, their interaction and alignment with compatible technologies, and both onsite and online instruction on how to most effectively implement Veeam to achieve maximum functionality. This training will include certification programs that will enable the reseller to offer and deliver highly profitable professional services, and enable the customer to further optimize its investment in Veeam solutions for a much higher ROI and improved SLAs (Service Level Agreements).

Microsoft retires its top-level certifications MCM, MCA and MCSM


-added link to with response of Tim Sneath (tims@microsoft.com)  who writes he is “the person ultimately responsible for the decision to retire the Masters program in its current form”

-added a link to an article by Tony Redmond of WindowsITPro

BANG. The message  which Microsoft delivered Friday  August 30 10 PM must have shocked many Microsoft certified man and women. Microsoft will retire its top certification Microsoft Certified Master, Microsoft Certified Solutions Master, and Microsoft Certified Architect certifications. No more trainings and exams per October 1, 2013.

For those unaware of these certifications: it is the most highest level of certification on Microsoft solutions you can get. It is compareable to the VCDX program at VMware. However I believe becoming Master or Architect is even more difficult. People have to pass a couple of exams, and do a  qualification lab (things are broken and the Master wannabee needs to fix) and attend about 3 weeks of internal trainings at Microsoft (not required but very much needed to pass). Microsoft has Masters on Active Directory, Exchange,  Lync, SQL Server and Sharepoint. The number of Masters on for example Exchange is around 250 worldwide. Michael van Horenbeeck writes about his experience while doing the MCSM:Messaging Certification.

Microsoft explains in this blog the reason for retiring:

We are contacting you to let you know we are making a change to the Microsoft Certified Master, Microsoft Certified Solutions Master, and Microsoft Certified Architect certifications. As technology changes so do Microsoft certifications and as such, we are continuing to evolve the Microsoft certification program. Microsoft will no longer offer Masters and Architect level training rotations and will be retiring the Masters level certification exams as of October 1, 2013. The IT industry is changing rapidly and we will continue to evaluate the certification and training needs of the industry to determine if there’s a different certification needed for the pinnacle of our program.

So there is no clear reason given besides ‘the IT industry is changing rapidly’ . Wait a minute, haven’t we heard that before from Redmond? Yes, at the start of July Microsoft announced the retirement of its TechNet subscription; a low cost offering of software to IT-professionals for study and demo purposes.

I can think of two reasons for both retirements:

  1. cust costs and/or earn more money. I believe the TechNet software being available quite cheap made it easy for illegal usage of the Microsoft software. I am note sure about the financial benefits of retiring the top certifcation. To attend the employee of the participant needs to pay a lot of money (travel, hotel, the Microsoft fee for three weeks of training (somewhere around $ 20k), lost of revenue because employee is three weeks on training etc.). It could well be the number of attendees for the Master and Architect training was at such a level Microsoft does not make money.
    Did Microsoft also count the loose of image, bad press, an upset community, conspiracy theories?
  2. Pointing the IT-professional to a direction. Microsoft is changing from a company making products to one delivering services over the internet. Azure is designed, Office 365 as well etc. The demand for smart people in architect roles needed to help organizations design their on-premise infrastructure will decline in the coming years. Although this will take quite some years.

Another possible  reason for retirement of the top-level certification is that HR people do not know this program very well . Lack of request is lack of demand for training is reduced revenue for Microsoft.

The timing of bringing this news out is a bit weird! Microsoft sent out an email message on Friday evening  22:00 Redmond time. One of the members of the MCSM:Messaging and Microsoft employee Neil Johnson (who is also an instructor on the Messaging 3-weeks training in Redmond) then broke the news by writing a blog post about it. On Monday the US is on holiday because of Labor Day. Maybe some complot thinking buy why would Microsoft sent out this sad news just before a three day weekend? To get under the radar, hoping on Tuesday the news will be less noticed?

It becomes even more weird: Microsoft blogged  at August 12 2013 this post titled You asked, and we listened! Increased number of Prometric Test Centers for MCM / MCSM Exams

With the recent de-coupling of training and exams for the other technologies (SQL Server has been de-coupled for some time now) we anticipate a much higher volume of candidates taking the exams.

We realized that the limited number of Prometric Test Centers in the past limited our ability to get the exams to you. We have just completed an exciting expansion of Prometric Test Centers that are eligible to administer our exams. The list now numbers over 500 test centers.


The Microsoft community is very upset. One of the best of many posts  is this one written by Bhargav Shukla, a Microsoft Certified Master on both Exchange 2010 and Lync 2010.

More examples of reactions from the community are here , here , here  and here.

The UC Architects which make a regular podcast about Exchange, Office 365 and other UC topics spent an entire episode on this matter. It was recorded on Sunday September 1 and will be available soon here.

There are many more blogs written.

There is a Microsoft Connect item where the community can discuss here.
Lots of responses already in the Connect forum, one of Tim Sneath (tims@microsoft.com)  who writes he is “the person ultimately responsible for the decision to retire the Masters program in its current form”

The truth is, for as successful as the program is for those who are in it, it reaches only a tiny proportion of the overall community. Only a few hundred people have attained the certification in the last few years, far fewer than we would have hoped. We wanted to create a certification that many would aspire to and that would be the ultimate peak of the Microsoft Certified program, but with only ~0.08% of all MCSE-certified individuals being in the program across all programs, it just hasn’t gained the traction we hoped for

It is a long explaination and a must read to understand why Microsoft decided this.

Something is not right: Microsoft communicates first “we anticipate a much higher volume of candidates taking the exams” and three weeks later Tim Sneath writes:”it just hasn’t gained the traction we hoped for”

During Saturday many more people expressed their feelings in blogs.

Tony Redmond of WindowsITPro picked up the story and wrote a long story about this news

Radi Atanassov The fall of the Master
Martin Rinas Retiring the Microsoft Master certifications and training’

The press picked up the story as well:

The Register:  Microsoft cans three ‘pinnacle’ certifications, sparking user fury
ZDnet Microsoft abruptly pulls ‘masters’ certification; hints a replacement may come

There are many questions to be answered. One thing is sure; many very knowledgeable & passionate people are sad.

Bottom line there are only losers in this story:
-those who achieved the Master certification might see a reduced value and recognizition of the certification
-those who prepare for the exams and qual lab scheduled for the next months, taking a lot of hours, see their effort being useless
-the high level of knowledge delivered by Masters will be brought by a non-growing group of people
-Microsoft will have reduced support/evangelism from Masters,

I think this is a penny wise, pound foolish decision.

2013 vExperts, come get a free one-year subscription to TrainSignal!

TrainSignal has a great offer for those who are awarded the VMware vExpert 2013 title.
TrainSignal is a Chicago-based company that makes award-winning computer training for IT professionals.  They work hard every day to produce premium quality computer training designed to give IT pros in-depth knowledge, build hands-on skills and promote career advancement.

For those who ARE on the list of the 581 vExperts named in 2013, TrainSignal’s special gift for you is one year of free, unlimited IT video training. This includes:

  • Over 1,500 hours of IT pro video training
  • Over 200 hours of VMware video training
  • 30 VMware courses that include topics like vSphere 5.1, vSphere Advanced Networking, vCenter Operations Manager, vCloud Director 5.1, vSphere Performance, vSphere Troubleshooting, vSphere Design and new courses on the way (including VCAP-DCA5, EMC Storage Essentials, and more)
  • Certification practice exams (including the VCP)
  • Offline viewer (Win/Mac)
  • iPad compatible streaming

More information and the form to register here. Thank you TrainSignal!

VMware VCP5 certification

VMware published information on the new VCP5 certification. Untill February 29 2012 there is no requirement to do a course on What’s new on vSphere 5 for VCP4 certified persons.

Earliest available booking date for VMware Certified Professional on vSphere 5 VCP 5 is 29th of August. See this posting for more details.

The exam blueprint can be found here.

vExpert annoucement further delayed and vExpert program news

To start with the most important news: the announcement of the vExperts for 2011 will be postponed for another two weeks. So around June 24 the results are finally there!

Thanks to he guys of vSoup which were able to interview John Troyer of VMware about the vExpert announcement.

Some info on the vExpert program: Each year, VMware designate several hundred individuals from around the world as VMware vExperts and invite them to participate in our yearly program. The vExperts are people who have gone above and beyond their day jobs in their contributions to the virtualization and VMware user community. 

This year a record  number of people filled in the nomination form. I believe around 1000. John Troyer of VMware introduced a new way of judging this year. 16 employees of VMware will look into the vExpert nominations and give their opinion. The problem is that VMware employees are usually very busy and some did not deliver their results to John in time. In fact three of four weeks after the planned announcement date still not all results are in. John needs at least three results for each nomination. So the announcement of the vExperts 2011 has been postponed for around 4 weeks. Also John has some Perl script which is used to compile the results of the jury. Getting to remember how the Perl scripts works is a bit difficult. Also some talk needs to be done with some judges about those nominees which are not a clear yes of no for their vExpert status.  Last but not least John has been away for work related trips like to Tech Field Day in Boston this  week.

So the announcement will be postponed for another two weeks from now. The results will for sure be out before VMworld 😉

There will be a special event/party for vExperts the day before VMworld USA and Europe. VMware is also working on a kind of MVP summit like Microsoft has. During a MVP summit attendees are being briefed over the latest technologies still in beta and under NDA. Some tools available for VMware partners will be made available for vExperts as well. There will be more regular events like briefings also

Listen to the Podcast here.

VMware VCAP-DCA links

In this blogposting I will collect interesting links to more information on preparing for the VMware VCAP-DCA exam.

The exam is very new. It has been available since January 2010. At the time of writing arounf 65 people have passed the exam.

The exam is done by using a simulation. There are no multiple choice questions. You have to click your way through vCenter Server and command lines to finish around 40 tasks.

Most people find the exam one of the most difficult they ever did although with lots of hours of study it can be done. Very important is to train yourself using a home lab. Just reading documents will not be enough.

During the exam VMware documentation is available but probably you will not have much time to find certain information.

Below are links to sites and videos. Have fun and good luck!

VCAP4-DCA Exam Blueprint Guide. VMware document which describes all the information you need to know to pass the exam!

Exam demo of VMware. This demo shows the user interface of the exam. Very usefull!

vExperienced.co.uk Lots of good info on various objectives

VMware VCAP-DCA Study Guide MindMap by Chris Dadswel

 VMware vSphere Troubleshooting Training. Has some good training on parts of the objectives for DCAP-DCA. Presented by David Davis.

vExpert David Davis: My VCAP-DCA Exam Experience Very comprehensive overview of the VCAP-DCA exam including experience. Written by the presenter of the TrainSignal video .

Sean Crookston VCAP-DCA. Overview of a lot of objectives

VCAP-DCA Objective 1.1 : Implement and Manage Complex Storage Solutions by Sean Crookston

video: VCAP-DCA Objective 2.1 : Implement and Manage Complex Virtual Networks

A long list of links to various information by vSphere-land.com

Information on VCAP-DCA on virtual-vargi.blogspot.com

VCAP Datacenter Administration Exam Landing Page VDCA410. Lots of information and links at http://www.kendrickcoleman.com/index.php?/Tech-Blog/vcap-datacenter-administration-exam-landing-page-vdca410.html

TheSaffaGeek . Lots of information on both VCAP-DCA en VCAP-DCD

VCAP-DCA exam  experience by Eric Sloof
video: VCAP-DCA Prep Video – Configure SNMP for ESX/ESXi by Eric Sloof

vExperienced.co.uk   VCAP-DCA Study notes–5.2 Complex Update Manager environments
ProfessionalVMware brownbags

Certified Cloud Architects (EMCCA) and Data Center Architects (EMCDCA)

Cloud computing will involve new roles for IT-staff. EMC Education will soon start offering coures  targeted at cloud computing. The new trainings are very popular as they are booked full till October 2011.

 The EMC-proven professional certification tracks for Cloud Architect (EMCCA) include virtualized infrastructure and IT as a service. The Data Center Architect (EMCDCA) tracks focus on storage networking, information availability, information storage security and storage service manage-ment. These latter courses reflect EMC’s storage heritage, but are still key in helping domain architects flesh out ideas that the cloud architects will bring to them.
Courses are expected to take about a week each and cost roughly $5000.


This is a brochure on  the training. More info can be found on the EMC Education website.

Interesting information about the course and video testimonials here

VMware Certified Professional on vSphere 4 VCP4 info


Link to VMware certification info

It seems in the exam quite some questions are asked on maximum configuration settings. Make sure you read the  vSphere 4 Configuration Maximum

Simon Long published a practise vSphere 4 exam on his website. The questions are not taken from the original exam but are very helpfull to prepare for it. Check also the study notes on the same blogsite! It has a lot of links to more info on becoming VCP4.

VM/ETC has an overview of links to sites publishing info on VCP4 certification.

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