Experience necessary?

ghoulghoul Member Posts: 38 ■■□□□□□□□□
I currently work in a help desk as a IT Support Tech II. With the initiative I've shown at work and through getting the recommended certs, my employer has offered me some training to help me transition out of the desk and into systems. The systems recommendation was MCSA server, or VCP5-DV. I will have some training materials purchased for me, and probably a boot camp.

I get to decide which one to go for next, but in my current role I don't have a ton of exposure to either. I occasionally work on servers and those servers are virtual, but that's as far as my experience goes so far. The VMware blueprint strongly suggests 6+ months experience with vSphere... has anyone tackled this thing without previous experience? Is it foolish to try, or should I be going for the MCSA first?


  • astorrsastorrs Member Posts: 3,139 ■■■■■■□□□□
    I would suggest MCSA first. General Windows sysadmin skills are somewhat a prerequisite to virtualization specific training.
  • QHaloQHalo Member Posts: 1,488
    I'd start with MCSA first. If you have zero experience with VMware you're going to want a lab to play with or you're not going to pass the exam. The ICM class is a good first start, but will not get you the full way through VCP. It really depends on how you pickup the material. You won't get a full on job without any experience but passing the exam would probably open the door to a junior position. The issue with lack of experience in virtualization solutions is that there are so many aspects that you have to take into account setting one up and working on one daily. I have about 2 years experience and I still run into stuff all the time. This position was my first design position and the depth of what you need to know I still haven't seen the bottom and the two environments I'm designing are a medium sized business.

    Either way understanding Windows, since that's typically the primary OS virtualized, is a good start. There are fundamentals that are learned there that will be called upon when you go through VCP like DNS, AD and Server configurations. Don't let anything discourage you if you want to do VCP. Just realize that it will take a significant amount of work and effort to pass with no experience. The more you lab, the better you'll do.
  • blargoeblargoe Self-Described Huguenot NC, USAMember Posts: 4,174 ■■■■■■■■■□
    I agree with the others. I don't think you would get much out of VCP training without a basic understanding and at least a little bit of experience working with systems.
    IT guy since 12/00

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  • DigitalZeroOneDigitalZeroOne Member Posts: 234 ■■■□□□□□□□
    I think the VMware training should be first, mainly because it's much easier to get hands-on with Windows, because of virtualization. Also, since VMware requires training from an authorized center, and of course passing of the exam before you can become a VCP, I would take the class before any budget cuts or anything else come up.
  • MiikeBMiikeB Member Posts: 301
    I would go VMWare first personally, it holds better value.

    You can study for the MCSA/MCSE on your own with low cost training materials and videos on your own time. To become VMWare certified you have to attend a one week class that costs $3000, there is no way around it. Your employer sponsoring this certification guarantees you the opportunity to attend this class. I think the fact that you have to attend a one week class is what keeps a lot of people from getting this certification.
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  • QHaloQHalo Member Posts: 1,488
    OP, if your company places any emphasis on you passing the VCP-DV exam after they foot the bill, then I would realize that ICM isn't going to do that for you completely and you're in for some serious studying. I just don't believe that VCP is where a newbie in systems administration/engineering starts their career even if your company is willing to pay for it. There are many other fundamental areas one must have a general grasp of before VCP is worth it. Just my opinion obviously.
  • ghoulghoul Member Posts: 38 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Thanks for the replies. The main reason I was leaning towards VMware first was that it's one out of only two courses available in my area in the next few months. If they were to send me on a server boot camp it would be out of state. Just seemed like perfect timing.

    I'm going to talk to my systems engineer to see what he would recommend.
  • ptilsenptilsen Member Posts: 2,835 ■■■■■■■■■■
    No question, go VCP. Not because it's more value for your time or truly a better cert, but because, as MiikeB points out, it is prohibitively expensive to take on your own. MCSA is maybe $600 with study material and very well geared towards self-study.

    I don't intend on ever getting VCP because I don't want to specialize in VMware and neither my employer nor I will ever pay for it. If they paid for it, I'd do it in a heartbeat.
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  • ghoulghoul Member Posts: 38 ■■□□□□□□□□
    I'm concerned by some of the comments because my study plan for vcp would be a book, videos, and the required course. I don't have money to build a vmlab of my own, many seem to think that's necessary?
  • dave330idave330i Member Posts: 2,091 ■■■■■■■■■■
    ghoul wrote: »
    I'm concerned by some of the comments because my study plan for vcp would be a book, videos, and the required course. I don't have money to build a vmlab of my own, many seem to think that's necessary?

    You can run workstation on newer laptops & PCs. Shouldn't break the bank.
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  • tbgree00tbgree00 Member Posts: 553 ■■■■□□□□□□
    There's also a free trial of workstation you can use to try it out on your PC so you aren't out anything to see how it works for you.
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  • ghoulghoul Member Posts: 38 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Oh okay, I didn't know if workstation would translate completely to the higher level vsphere used in production environments. If I can run workstation on a PC I already own and learn enough for the cert then I'm all in.
  • meadITmeadIT Member Posts: 581 ■■■■□□□□□□
    You won't be learning on Workstation directly. You'll want to install ESXi virtual machines inside of Workstation.
    CERTS: VCDX #110 / VCAP-DCA #500 (v5 & 4) / VCAP-DCD #10(v5 & 4) / VCP 5 & 4 / EMCISA / MCSE 2003 / MCTS: Vista / CCNA / CCENT / Security+ / Network+ / Project+ / CIW Database Design Specialist, Professional, Associate
  • ghoulghoul Member Posts: 38 ■■□□□□□□□□
    If that's all you would need to get a solid foundation, why do a lot of people seem to think you need to build a server with 32gb for 2k±? Just for fun and running as many vms as possible?
  • lsud00dlsud00d Member Posts: 1,571
    Virtual environments involve multiple VM's that interact with each other to mimic real world scenarios, i.e. a DNS server, a SQL box, a web server.

    Each VM requires dedicated RAM. With 16gb I can run 6-7 VM's at once, max. The RAM varies by OS and what you'll be doing with it.

    So, you can run 1 VM with a computer that has 1-2gb RAM, but to get realistic experience you need a beefy box.
  • QHaloQHalo Member Posts: 1,488
    The hard drive you run it all on will crap out before the RAM will. I suggest SSD for all-in-one setups.
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