Virtualization career path

techfiendtechfiend Member Posts: 1,481 ■■■■□□□□□□
For those that are/were vmware/xenserver techs/admins what was your career path?

I'm trying to decide between MCSE and Cisco at WGU. I think my ultimate goal is virtualization. I really enjoyed setting up and managing a simple xenserver for a few years and setting up a simple esxi server at home.
2018 AWS Solutions Architect - Associate (Apr) 2017 VCAP6-DCV Deploy (Oct) 2016 Storage+ (Jan)
2015 Start WGU (Feb) Net+ (Feb) Sec+ (Mar) Project+ (Apr) Other WGU (Jun) CCENT (Jul) CCNA (Aug) CCNA Security (Aug) MCP 2012 (Sep) MCSA 2012 (Oct) Linux+ (Nov) Capstone/BS (Nov) VCP6-DCV (Dec) ITILF (Dec)

Comments

  • ajs1976ajs1976 Member Posts: 1,945 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Tough call. Do you want to work in a small place or a large enterprise?

    Small place / Microsoft tracks - I think xenserver is mostly out of the picture and the server visualization is between VMWare and Microsoft. Due to the licensing costs involved, I think Microsoft has the edge over VMWare in the small to mid sized companies.

    large enterprise / Cisco tracks - With converged datacenters and vlans, the networking components of storage, nexus, virtual switching, etc, etc the Cisco background may be more helpful in the bigger places.
    Andy

    2020 Goals: 0 of 2 courses complete, 0 of 2 exams complete
  • EssendonEssendon Member Posts: 4,546 ■■■■■■■■■■
    Agree with ajs1976, if I were you I'd go with Cisco. Leave the OS to the server admins.

    Knowledge of (Networks + Virtualization) = GOLD.
    NSX, NSX, more NSX..

    Blog >> http://virtual10.com
  • xenodamusxenodamus Member Posts: 758
    I agree with the above - go for the network focus first. You can pick up the M$ skills later if you need/want to.

    I work in a medium sized organization (2000 useres) as a VDI/Citrix administrator and both sides of the equation are necessary, though. Personally, I started studying both when I was a desktop support tech. I finished the MCSA and CCNA and then started hunting an admin position of some kind. A spot came available in my current organization and my experience on the desktop side made me a shoe-in for the VDI role.

    The larger the organization, the less you will need the M$ knowledge, from my experience. In my office I'm responsible for the datacenter hardware, hypervisor (XenServer), Brokers (XenDesktop), image management (PVS), group policy, Netscalers (CCNA comes in handy there), etc. Whereas in a larger environment you would be responsible for one of the above pieces in some cases.
    CISSP | CCNA:R&S/Security | MCSA 2003 | A+ S+ | VCP6-DTM | CCA-V CCP-V
  • techfiendtechfiend Member Posts: 1,481 ■■■■□□□□□□
    The feeling I have is going for cisco may be a lot slower progression then mcsa, being on the outside looking in. Very few positions looking for cisco certs but maybe those positions are promoted internally. Ideally I'd like to work in a data center.

    It's unfortunate xenserver is so low in demand, it may not be as powerful as esx(i) but it has better organization (or organized to suit me). I've seen it on a few job listings though.

    After the desktop support/help desk entry level, what job titles should be looked for? I'm guessing it's not sys admin and the only job openings I've seen looking for vmware/xen require 5+ years of experience.
    2018 AWS Solutions Architect - Associate (Apr) 2017 VCAP6-DCV Deploy (Oct) 2016 Storage+ (Jan)
    2015 Start WGU (Feb) Net+ (Feb) Sec+ (Mar) Project+ (Apr) Other WGU (Jun) CCENT (Jul) CCNA (Aug) CCNA Security (Aug) MCP 2012 (Sep) MCSA 2012 (Oct) Linux+ (Nov) Capstone/BS (Nov) VCP6-DCV (Dec) ITILF (Dec)
  • joelsfoodjoelsfood Member Posts: 1,027 ■■■■■■□□□□
    My experience across multiple companies is that virtualization is still in the purview of the Server teams, not the network teams, so I'd probably go with the MIcrosoft route if you have to choose between the two.

    That being said, I'm on server/storage team at current job, but I know my boss loves having my Cisco experience when we're troubleshooting issues. With multiple sites across the world, networking and wan is always a critical part of troubleshooting work.

    So I'd probably start on the server side, but definitely get the networking knowledge too. I took a job in Kuwait just to improve my networking knowledge. I also started on the server side, but there was no virtualization back then. The gray hairs are even showing these days. ;)
  • VeritiesVerities Member Posts: 1,162
    It sounds like you want to be server side since virtualization is commonly handled by server teams. There are smaller companies where you may wear multiple hats, but more often than not a systems admin will be doing virtualization over a network engineer. MCSE aligns more with where you want to go long term and may land you in a position where you can get your hands on some virtualized servers.

    My path started with VMware Player, using it for everything while I was working on my A.S. at ITT Tech. Then I got an internship at the tech support level, but was able to work on projects like upgrading ESXi 4.1 to 5.0 and spinning up VMs. Eventually an opportunity came along for a VMware Sysadmin position and I landed it. You really need hands on with VMware to become proficient, however you can accomplish that is up to you.
  • TomkoTechTomkoTech Member Posts: 438
    Definitely go the MS route. If you are looking at it in the sense that you want to set up XenApp/XenDesktop type server farms, and manage them it is not a cisco type network job.

    On top of that in most cases you are going to be using Hyper-V and VMWare to a much greater extent than you would setting up the routers/switches.
  • techfiendtechfiend Member Posts: 1,481 ■■■■□□□□□□
    The WGU MCSA route is Windows 8/2012. I've looked at some windows 8 examples and it seemed like a lot of start screen, ick, also read on here windows 8 certs aren't very useful, which is understandable with the low adoption rate. Is 2012 more useful?

    To be honest I'd like to stay as far away from powershell as possible. XenServer and ESXi cli seemed to be more like cisco syntax then powershell. Gui wise it also seemed to be more like cisco then windows. Windows gui seems to get more indirect with every version but I can see how hyper-v in 2012 certs would be a great benefit.
    2018 AWS Solutions Architect - Associate (Apr) 2017 VCAP6-DCV Deploy (Oct) 2016 Storage+ (Jan)
    2015 Start WGU (Feb) Net+ (Feb) Sec+ (Mar) Project+ (Apr) Other WGU (Jun) CCENT (Jul) CCNA (Aug) CCNA Security (Aug) MCP 2012 (Sep) MCSA 2012 (Oct) Linux+ (Nov) Capstone/BS (Nov) VCP6-DCV (Dec) ITILF (Dec)
  • TomkoTechTomkoTech Member Posts: 438
    Windows 8 is irrelevant. The MCSA Server 2012 is what really matters for you. As for powershell that really isn't the point either. The fact is that going into virtualization what is it that you are planning to virtualize? More often than not you are going to be virtualizing Windows Servers/Desktops. That is why the Microsoft Track is the better option.

    For example. I just went to indeed and looking for "Citrix". The following lists show that Microsoft is a companion skill you should focus on for it.

    Job 1
    -Knowledge of virtualization management technologies (Quest vWorkspace, VMware View etc.)
    - Active Directory
    -Knowledge of Windows Server Design – SQL Server 2005, 2008
    -Group Policies
    -Terminal Services
    -Knowledge of AppV – Application Virtualization
    -Thin Client
    -Working Knowledge of HP Server hardware, clustering and HA technologie

    Job 2
    • Extensive experience designing, deploying, and supporting Citrix XenDesktop and Citrix Provisioning Services.
    • Support forward planning and upgrading of Citrix environments
    • Extensive knowledge of Citrix technologies: XenApp, XenDesktop.
    • Experience with VMware products.
    • Strong knowledge of Windows Server 2008/2008R2
    • Experience with design, build, and maintenance of Active Directory, including GPOs, logon scripts, OU structure

    Job 3

    Required:
    • IAT2 Certification
    • Security+ Certification
    • Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) or higher
    • 5+ years of experience with administering Citrix environments required
    • Citrix certified: Citrix Certified Advanced Administrator (CCAA) or Citrix Certified Administrator (CCA) required
    • Experience with design and implementation within a Citrix environment required
    • Active Directory experience required

    Job 4

    Qualifications:
    • Citrix Certified Enterprise Administrator (CCEA)
    • Microsoft Certifications (such as MCSE, MCSA, MCP, MCTS)
    • Advanced knowledge of Netscaler
    • Advanced technical knowledge and experience Windows server environments
    • Advanced knowledge of security and compliance standards such as SOx and PCI DSS.
    • Working knowledge of virtualization technologies such as VMware, Hyper-V.


    So as you can see, Microsoft Server/AD/GP type skills are usually required to go hand in hand with any type of virtualizaton configuration and management.
  • ajs1976ajs1976 Member Posts: 1,945 ■■■■□□□□□□
    He isn't talking about XenApp and XenDesktop. He is talking about XenServer. If you want to work on XenApp and XenDesktop then the microsoft track is very important because with XenApp you will be working on terminal servers running windows and for XenDesktop it will be mostly Windows VDIs.

    XenServer is comparable to Hyper-V and ESXi, but it never had wide spread adoption.
    Andy

    2020 Goals: 0 of 2 courses complete, 0 of 2 exams complete
  • techfiendtechfiend Member Posts: 1,481 ■■■■□□□□□□
    My experience has been MS certs are much more in demand then cisco. However I really enjoyed ccent training esp subnetting and can't get used to technet's lack of organization, which leaves me on the fence.

    The reason I mention powershell is it's becoming more and more in demand and seems to be where sys admin is heading. It's more of a copy/paste language for me, if I'm expected to remember dozens of switches for every case sensitive command it won't be fun and will be years before I grasp it, if ever.

    I realize XenServer has very low usage but I have seen a few jobs mentioning it a long with vmware but figure to mainly be dealing with the latter, which is fine.

    I just found out I will have at least 6 months, or even a year to decide which path to take. Hopefully I'm working in the field by then which will help me decide as I get more familiarity with microsoft at least. Seems odd help desk is basically a pre-requisite to something almost unrelated, like cisco networking.
    2018 AWS Solutions Architect - Associate (Apr) 2017 VCAP6-DCV Deploy (Oct) 2016 Storage+ (Jan)
    2015 Start WGU (Feb) Net+ (Feb) Sec+ (Mar) Project+ (Apr) Other WGU (Jun) CCENT (Jul) CCNA (Aug) CCNA Security (Aug) MCP 2012 (Sep) MCSA 2012 (Oct) Linux+ (Nov) Capstone/BS (Nov) VCP6-DCV (Dec) ITILF (Dec)
  • ChitownjediChitownjedi Chasing down my dreams. Member Posts: 578 ■■■■■□□□□□
    Thread is right on time.
    As someone who has tried to get into Networking via obtaining (CCENT CCNA CCNA SECURITY and passed CCNP Route) I've found it extremely difficult to find work even as a Jr. network engineer.

    However, since I specialized in M$ before I ventured into obtaining networking knowledge/skills, I've been able to fall into Sr. Desktop Engineering and IT Management positions without much problems at all. (Pretty much have to push them away to try to switch my field.)

    I am currently pursuing (My path changes almost every 6 months now it seems.icon_rolleyes.gif) MCSE Server Infrastructure and MCSE Private Cloud, and then will finish up my CCNP.

    I believe that M$ has been and will continue to be the most stable and the path that allows me the most success, especially when I venture into server side Virtualization and Storage. Branching into Vmware/Citrix after that foundation is what I'm banking on.
  • ChitownjediChitownjedi Chasing down my dreams. Member Posts: 578 ■■■■■□□□□□
    techfiend wrote: »
    The WGU MCSA route is Windows 8/2012. I've looked at some windows 8 examples and it seemed like a lot of start screen, ick, also read on here windows 8 certs aren't very useful, which is understandable with the low adoption rate. Is 2012 more useful?

    To be honest I'd like to stay as far away from powershell as possible. XenServer and ESXi cli seemed to be more like cisco syntax then powershell. Gui wise it also seemed to be more like cisco then windows. Windows gui seems to get more indirect with every version but I can see how hyper-v in 2012 certs would be a great benefit.


    Powershell is what will seperate you from the rest. You may not like it, I however strongly urge you to put a considerable amount of time into it if you plan on being in M$ roles.... automation, automation, automation.
  • techfiendtechfiend Member Posts: 1,481 ■■■■□□□□□□
    I wasn't planning on being in an MS role but being someone just starting out and seeing about 90% MCP, 10% Cisco in mid-level job listings I may not have much of a choice. It's very helpful to hear someone who is at this middle level stage currently and trying to move up.

    I really enjoy automation with windows batch and some bash scripting but those are rather simple and make sense. Powershell is more complex then programming languages in my opinion. For example Get-ADDomainControllerPasswordReplicationPolicy could easily be reduced get-addcprp and it would make a world of difference. I'm shocked ActiveDirectory is abbreviated. In documentation they refer to it as DC and PRP which is what I'd expect the commands to be with documentation using the long names.
    2018 AWS Solutions Architect - Associate (Apr) 2017 VCAP6-DCV Deploy (Oct) 2016 Storage+ (Jan)
    2015 Start WGU (Feb) Net+ (Feb) Sec+ (Mar) Project+ (Apr) Other WGU (Jun) CCENT (Jul) CCNA (Aug) CCNA Security (Aug) MCP 2012 (Sep) MCSA 2012 (Oct) Linux+ (Nov) Capstone/BS (Nov) VCP6-DCV (Dec) ITILF (Dec)
  • ChitownjediChitownjedi Chasing down my dreams. Member Posts: 578 ■■■■■□□□□□
    techfiend wrote: »
    I wasn't planning on being in an MS role but being someone just starting out and seeing about 90% MCP, 10% Cisco in mid-level job listings I may not have much of a choice. It's very helpful to hear someone who is at this middle level stage currently and trying to move up.

    I really enjoy automation with windows batch and some bash scripting but those are rather simple and make sense. Powershell is more complex then programming languages in my opinion. For example Get-ADDomainControllerPasswordReplicationPolicy could easily be reduced get-addcprp and it would make a world of difference. I'm shocked ActiveDirectory is abbreviated. In documentation they refer to it as DC and PRP which is what I'd expect the commands to be with documentation using the long names.

    There are things that powershell can do better..I agree. You can create profiles and alias's to remedy issues with elongated cmdlets and commands if that's in issue. If you decide to learn more, Don Jones Learn powershell in 30 days worth of lunches and his cbt series are fantastic for easing you into the logic.
  • techfiendtechfiend Member Posts: 1,481 ■■■■□□□□□□
    I have ran across that book title a few times on here, must be a great book, I'll look into it if I pursue sys admin.

    A recruiter just contacted me about a 6 month contract with possible extension and perm hire opportunity at a a fortune 500 datacenter for network operations tech. The preliminary interview involved networking for every technical question and I nailed every one. I do have one question though, the hours aren't very good, its 12P-10P 8 days, then 6 days off. For those that work at datacenters are these kind of hours typical?
    2018 AWS Solutions Architect - Associate (Apr) 2017 VCAP6-DCV Deploy (Oct) 2016 Storage+ (Jan)
    2015 Start WGU (Feb) Net+ (Feb) Sec+ (Mar) Project+ (Apr) Other WGU (Jun) CCENT (Jul) CCNA (Aug) CCNA Security (Aug) MCP 2012 (Sep) MCSA 2012 (Oct) Linux+ (Nov) Capstone/BS (Nov) VCP6-DCV (Dec) ITILF (Dec)
  • darkerzdarkerz Member Posts: 431 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Yes. Odd hours are needed to support 24/7 operations. Most maintenance windows, changes, migrations, etc. take place in the dark.
    :twisted:
  • chickenlicken09chickenlicken09 Senior Member Member Posts: 533 ■■■■□□□□□□
    is the vcp5 a difficult exam? how difficult would it be compared to ccna? im thinking it would be a good cert to have.
  • techfiendtechfiend Member Posts: 1,481 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Understandable about the odd hours, I thought starting at noon was a bit early in the day for that type of position. The off hours is something I'd expect but not the long hours which I'm seeing more often around here with big business networking positions. A month ago I saw 3x12 h then 1x4h which isn't quite as bad as 8x10 but still I'd be exhausted near the end of that third day. The 8x10 seems somewhat illegal, is an employer really allowed to work someone 70 hours in a week without overtime?

    I had a position for a little while where I was working 6x10-12h days then 1 day off. I was burned out after 2 weeks of that as were nearly everyone else working there. I guess it takes a special person to do it and it seems there are enough willing to do it or they wouldn't be filling the positions. Hopefully this isn't what the networking field is turning into around here.
    2018 AWS Solutions Architect - Associate (Apr) 2017 VCAP6-DCV Deploy (Oct) 2016 Storage+ (Jan)
    2015 Start WGU (Feb) Net+ (Feb) Sec+ (Mar) Project+ (Apr) Other WGU (Jun) CCENT (Jul) CCNA (Aug) CCNA Security (Aug) MCP 2012 (Sep) MCSA 2012 (Oct) Linux+ (Nov) Capstone/BS (Nov) VCP6-DCV (Dec) ITILF (Dec)
  • TheProfTheProf Users Awaiting Email Confirmation Posts: 331 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Networking, Server (Windows, Linux, Blades, etc), and Storage knowledge is required for the virtualization track (master all three). If I were to chose one, I'd go with MCSE. Knowing Windows server technology is what really helped me to land a Virtualization Architect role. Of course I also have a lot VMware experience (View, vSphere, vCloud, SRM). Don't get me wrong CCNA is a great cert to have, but it is really only network based, you dont do any virtualization related stuff (understanding hypervisor, vm, etc)... Where with MCSE you'll cover Hyper-V, GPOs, Security, Networking, etc... CCNA would then nicely complement your Window Server knowledge.
  • IIIMasterIIIMaster Senior Member Member Posts: 238 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Do all three, in an enterprise environment you will be expose to everything. Im sure you could do MCSE, Cisco, while taking a few esxi courses.
  • techfiendtechfiend Member Posts: 1,481 ■■■■□□□□□□
    MCP would go the sys admin route, which isn't interesting to me. Would it make sense to go CCNA to get into network engineering then getting into vmware?

    I see hyper-v mainly in SMB internal networks. Enterprise/datacenter being mainly vmware and linux servers. Is this correct?
    2018 AWS Solutions Architect - Associate (Apr) 2017 VCAP6-DCV Deploy (Oct) 2016 Storage+ (Jan)
    2015 Start WGU (Feb) Net+ (Feb) Sec+ (Mar) Project+ (Apr) Other WGU (Jun) CCENT (Jul) CCNA (Aug) CCNA Security (Aug) MCP 2012 (Sep) MCSA 2012 (Oct) Linux+ (Nov) Capstone/BS (Nov) VCP6-DCV (Dec) ITILF (Dec)
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