VMware pros who don’t update their VCP credentials to version 5 before Feb. 29 have to take an additional training course. For some busy users and cash-strapped companies, the education requirements are a tall order.
Course requirements break down as follows:
- If current VCP 4s have not taken the VCP 5 exam before Feb. 29, they are required to take the VMware vSphere: What’s New 5 course. This course costs about $1200 and lasts two days.
- Course requirements change for VCP 3s on Feb. 29 as well: Before Feb. 29 they have to take the two-day vSphere: What’s New 5. After Feb. 29, they are required to take ICM 5 or vSphere Fast Track 5. Both are five-day courses; ICM costs about $2800, and Fast Track about $4400.
- Course requirements before and after Feb. 29 are the same for anyone with a VCP 2 or certification. Course options are vSphere ICM 5 or vSphere Fast Track 5.
VMware gave IT pros a six-month grace period since the release of vSphere 5 last August to take the VMware Certified Professional 5 (VCP 5) exam, but for some, this wasn’t enough time.
Leonor Martins, systems and networks manager for Wellesley College, just took the VCP 4 exam, but won’t have time to take the VCP 5 before Feb. 29. That means she’ll also have to take the What’s New course, despite having already taken vSphere Install, Configure, Manage (ICM) . “I wish they would extend the deadline a bit longer,” she said. “It really doesn’t merit taking another course right away for VCP 5.”
Ed Czerwin, a systems engineer for a large medical devices company near Zurich, Switzerland, also wants more time.
“Some of us have hectic travel and working schedules that don't always allow us to fit the exam in so quickly,” he said. “I think we should at least have until April.”
Those without VCP 4 certifications are under even more pressure because their training is longer and more expensive.
“I now need to get my employer to pay for a five-day training class, which also means that I will not be able to do any billable hours in the same timeframe,” said Christian Mohn, senior infrastructure consultant for EDB ErgoGroup in Bergen, Norway. “Basically, VMware is kind of punishing my employer double by requiring the training class.”
The requirements come at a time when companies are cutting back on training budgets, said Chris Harney, an independent consultant specializing in virtualization. “Certification is really a barrier to entry. It’s just another revenue stream for VMware, as far as I’m concerned.”
VMware could alleviate some of the education requirement burden by letting users apply some education credits toward the VCP from vForums and other events held around the country each year, Harney said.
This year’s requirements are similar to those imposed between VCP 3 and VCP 4 exams. VMware says it gave VCP 3s and VCP 4s a six-month grace period after the release of vSphere 5 to upgrade before more education was required, and points out that pricing may vary depending on where the course is located and who’s teaching it.
“That requirement is in place to maintain the integrity of the certification. If people could pass the VCP 5 without exposure to and hands-on experience with vSphere 5, it would devalue the certification,” a VMware spokesperson wrote in an email.
But not all vendors impose education requirements before an exam.
VMware pros yearn for Microsoft exam model
David Davis, a vSphere video training author with the professional computer training company TrainSignal, Inc., already has his VCP 5, but a two-day course would still require thousands of dollars, if travel expenses are factored in, as well as time out of work.
“Look at Microsoft upgrades from, say, Windows 2003 to 2008,” he said. “You have a public beta for almost a year and then a long time to upgrade, and even if you didn't do it in that timeframe, you just have to start the certification over again – a class is never required for any Microsoft certification.”
Mohn said that “VMware should drop the classroom requirement, and like Microsoft, be happy if people pass the exam without training.”
Microsoft says its pre-exam courses are “highly recommended,” but not required.
Beth Pariseau is a senior news writer for SearchServerVirtualization.com and SearchDataCenter.com. Write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.