Making The Case For Network Virtualization Certification

(Dwayne here! I would like to introduce you to Paul Mancuso – Technical Enablement Architect at VMware who I greatly respect for his technical acumen – We have worked together on some recent partner events and internal projects.)

I am excited to be invited by Dwayne Sinclair as a guest blogger on BeyondCLI.com. I work in the same business unit as Dwayne and discussed with him some ideas we thought would make for some interesting reading concerning certification in Network Virtualization.

In this short read I would like to discuss reasons as to why now is the time to get certified in this transformative area of networking…

First, I would like to set the table on Network Virtualization certification for VMware’s NSX. VMware’s network virtualization certification track has gotten off to a great start. The track consists of the following certifications:

  • VMware Certified Administrator 6 – Network Virtualization (VCA6-NV)
  • VMware Certified Professional 6 – Network Virtualization (VCP6-NV)
  • VMware Certified Implementation Expert 6 – Network Virtualization (VCIX6-NV)
  • VMware Certified Design Expert 6 – Network Virtualization (VCDX6-NV)

Since kickoff for VMware NSX certification beginning around VMworld 2014, there have been thousands certified as VCP-NVs, hundreds certified as VCIX-NVs and dozens as VCDX-NV. The certification track is led by Chris McCain who is the Director of Technical Certification within the Networking and Security business unit.

These certifications like many other highly sought after networking credentials, require an investment in time, some money and lots of intellectual effort. So why go down this path and why now?

Let’s look at what I consider the main reasons. I have aligned them with real world objectives. The first three reasons will deal with the state of and use of Network Virtualization. This provides a basis for an IT professional putting in the time to certify oneself on Network Virtualization. For our final reason, we look at the top use cases for VMware NSX as a combined reason to undertake Network Virtualization certification.

Without a doubt, Network Virtualization is the new mindset for enablement of rapid application deployment facilitated through automation. It has become quite apparent that most solutions utilizing network virtualization target the issue of costly and lengthy application deployment. Whether a specific solution provides the proper path toward a reduction in time and effort, and ultimately cost, can be measured as meeting these goals by looking at the entirety of the solution. Thus a certification for Network Virtualization should take into consideration the following three aspects in the educational process:

  1. Learn what micro-segmentation provides and why it is necessary in laying down a network foundation. All VMs must be secured from an attack from one another whether they are on different application tiers or of the same tier and subnet. Securing intra data center traffic because up to 80 percent of traffic for many applications occurs east to west in the data center. A zero-trust boundary must exist for all entities in the communication path. Securing the entryway into the data center no longer suffices. The network community has accepted this concept as an implied truth. Qualifying solutions as truly offering micro-segmentation is necessary to ensure a system is not pasting over a bad solution with terminology designed to disguise the holes.
  2. A certification in network virtualization should educate the candidate that is not probable for a single vendor to provide the complete solution without the necessity to include partner add-ons. Not only should there be an understanding of what is needed to supplement the vendors solution, but how these services must be provided seamlessly. This elevates the partner services to a first level of prominence so that the partner services are given the due value of their function. It must provide a non-intrusive manner of integration so that the cohesion between all facets of the solution drive toward a single end goal; simplistic and timely application deployment with ubiquitous security and services.
  3. The certification should provide the understanding of what truly qualifies as a Software Defined Enterprise. Hardware has been the leading aspect of the past leading IT certifications. Hardware will always be a necessary component in all solutions. But the key to driving scalable and adaptive services will be in the software services of that network. Network Virtualization certifications will train the IT professional to look beyond the chipset to discover the hidden value of dynamic software services.

As I mentioned I would discuss the basic aspects a certification in Network Virtualization will provide along with a final aspect driven by real world use cases as a whole. Driving Network Virtualization forward is the desire to offer unrestricted access to network services from any place and any device. VMware refers to this as One Cloud, Any Application, Any Device as the key concepts to understanding ubiquitous access. VMware has been the leader at showing how compute virtualization revolutionized data center compute consumption. VMware is now leading the way in Storage Virtualization. This is easing the burdens and costs of data center compute consolidation from a storage perspective. Network Virtualization is the final and necessary contribution completing the story. With Network Virtualization, compute and storage virtualization becomes more adaptive as workloads can truly leverage any service at any location with limitless boundaries. All of the above, including the previously described reasons for a Network Virtualization certification are part of VMware’s overall Software Defined Data Center concept.

Another large consideration is the fast uptake of NSX as a Network Virtualization platform. There are many reasons such as one being the ease of deployment into an existing network infrastructure. VMware NSX does not require a rip-n-replace of the present network hardware environment, as do several products from other contenders in the Software Defined Network arena. VMware is seen as the leader in data center virtualization whether it is compute, storage (VSAN now has over 2000 customers!) and now Network Virtualization. VMware NSX has added 700 customers already with over 100 in production in a short time. These numbers are accelerating upward weekly.

I am proud to have lead dozens of classroom trainings in architecting and designing data center networks using VMware NSX network virtualization. Combining the initial three aspects of a quality certification in Network Virtualization also serves as qualified reasons as motivating factors to sharpening your Network Virtualization skills. Earning a quality certification on VMware NSX as the leading vendor for the software defined data center is the icing on the cake.

Check out http://mylearn.vmware.com/mgrReg/plan.cfm?plan=48389&ui=www_edu for more information on VMware Network Virtualization Certifications!

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