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Scott Drummonds on Virtualization

Value of VMware-related Certifications

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A recent InfoWorld article summarized results of a study by Foote Partners, LLC that analyzed the changing value of IT certifications.  The InfoWorld piece provided some high-level observations that piqued my interest.  One Google search later I found the original report, which included details more relevant to those of us that work with VMware.  Below are highlights from the Foote Partners work that you may find interesting.

The free article published by Foote Partners is a bit of an infomercial.  They provide this summary as a way of advertising their $3000 report.  The $3000 report puts exact value to IT certifications.  The free report that I am summarizing only includes relative values.  Among those relative values, a decrease means the certification yields a smaller premium than the previous year.  A decrease likely means the industry is demanding this skill less or the workforce is over-supplying the skill.

What follows is my summary of “interesting” changes in the value of VMware-related certifications.  I used my own judgment in calling these certifications “VMware-related”.  I include Java certifications, for instance, because of VMware’s Spring acquisition.  I included infrastructure certifications because often VMware administrators also own other areas of the infrastructure.  I do not include a database certification because I do not consider database administration tightly connected to VMware product skills.

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VMware Thin Disks on EMC Virtual Provisioning

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Even before I left VMware for EMC I was being asked to comment on “thin on thin”: the use of VMware thin VMDKs on virtually/thin provisioned storage.  As a VMware employee I recommended VMware’s thin provisioning but referred to storage vendors for their own best practices.

Now, as a member of the storage vendor community, I will answer for EMC. I will do so with detailed text from an outstanding TechBook I recently discovered on EMC’s Powerlink. This paper, Using Symmetrix Storage in VMware vSphere Environments (Version 7), provides incredible detail on the relationship between VMware thin disks and Symmetrix virtual provisioning. Its guidance is clear and simple.

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VCAP Study Group in Asia in February

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In the past couple of years the industry recognized that a single VMware certification–the VMware Certified Professional (VCP) –was not sufficient to encompass the wide range of competencies customers’ VMware teams require. The introduction of the VMware Certified Design Expert (VCDX) recognized the pinnacle of VMware design knowledge. But a wide chasm remained between VCP and VCDX.

Very few customers and partners require the full-time support of a VCDX. Most customers with even a modest VMware environment know the VCP certification does not measure enough design and administration skills. To address this, in 2011 we saw the introduction of the VMware Certified Advanced Professional (VCAP).

As a member of the VMware partner community, I can tell you EMC highly values the VCAP certification for our pre-sales roles.  As a hiring manager, I consider the VCP the minimum proficiency for anyone that will sell into today’s enterprise.  But technical sales experts and evangelists that brandish the VCAP-DCD or VCAP-DCA can engage in deep technical discussions on customers’ virtualization plans.  This is a great asset if you want to work for infrastructure vendors, resellers, or integrators.

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SIOC Alarm FAQ

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In today’s post I want to update and amplify thoughts from an old post on Storage IO Control (SIOC).  VMware customers that are using SIOC may sometimes see the following vCenter alarm:

Non-VI workload detected on the datastore

Or you may see the following warning in the vSphere client:

An external I/O activity is detected on datastore …

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SRM Survey Results

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About six weeks ago I announced a survey to measure the value of VMware’s Site Recovery Manager.  Thirty-seven respondents offered their thoughts on how SRM has changed their disaster recovery process.  The results are not surprising; I already knew customers love SRM.  But they are a stark reminder of the immeasurable value of this product.

The survey results are below with my own observations.  To the impatient I offer the following summary:

  • Only 40% of respondents ran DR tests at least once a year before SRM was installed. 95% of them run DR tests at least once a year with SRM.
  • 73% of respondents were not confident that their pre-SRM DR test would succeed. 95% are confident their DR test will succeed with SRM.
  • 54% of customers before SRM never tested their DR plan.
  • 97% of customers with SRM complete their DR tests in hours.
  • 76% of respondents claimed SRM decreased production downtime during DR tests.

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Microsoft 2.0

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A few months ago I was enjoying fine food and drink with friends when I uttered something I immediately regretted: “I do not feel Microsoft is any longer relevant in the enterprise.”

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Private Data Search

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Every year it becomes more obvious that we are moving to a world based on software-as-a-service. That our high processing desktop and notebook computers will go to the trash heap seems to be a forgone conclusion. Steve Jobs calls this the “post PC era”. Paul Maritz and Steve Herrod followed suit at VMworld 2011 by agreeing with Jobs and further nudging users towards a device-independent model.

But the world is not ready for SaaS yet. There is a key technology that is required by some that will benefit all. I call it private data search.

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Flash Or SSD? (or: Why Interfaces Matter)

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In my three part series on flash I interchangeably used the terms “flash” and “SSD”.  In a recent article on this subject, Steven Foskett on IBM’s Storage Community successfully convinced me that I should stop using these terms interchangeably.  He then suggested that flash would persevere while SSD would not.  I disagree.

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The Flash Storage Revolution: Part III

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In this final installment of the series, I will provide some detail behind flash storage sizing.  My previous entry contained an analytical and theoretical approach to sizing flash in today’s storage.  When I first studied the ideas I introduced in that post, I thought the flash sizing exercise was hopeless.  After all, how are customers to measure data cooling?  How could a storage admin quantify skew?

As it turns out, familiarity with these abstract concepts is not needed to size flash in your environment.  The same principles that Intel and AMD apply in sizing microprocessor cache can be applied to storage.  There are generalizations that will suit the majority of deployments.

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Virtualization Week in Singapore

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Two weeks ago we delivered EMC’s “Virtualization Week”, which was held at the EMC Executive Briefing Center in Singapore. Each quarter we run this event for EMC and VMware customers throughout Asia Pacific. While many of the customers visited to hear the joint EMC and VMware vision, we also hosted VMware’s customers that choose EMC’s competitors for their primary storage.

At this quarter’s V-week we had two honored guest speakers: EMC vSpecialist CTO, Scott Lowe and VMware’s Michael White. Scott led discussions for all the attendees on key technologies from EMC and VMware. We talked View, VPLEX, SRM, vSphere, Isilon, HA, RSA, vShield, and much more. Michael led conversations focused on SRM and View so he could bring back to VMware ideas that shape their future products.

Customers that visit V-week enjoy a full day of deep discussions with experts like Scott and Michael.  We customize the agenda for each attendee to make sure they are getting the information they need to push their virtualization projects forward.  At this quarter’s V-week, we also hosted non-EMC discussions.  These included a book signing for the Singapore VCP club and a full day dedicated to large scale design led by Scott Lowe.

If you are interested in attending a V-week in Singapore please contact me.  We recruit the world’s best speakers and technical experts to lead the discussions most relevant to you.  Depending on your need we’ll talk EMC, VMware, or EMC+VMware.  Either way, you will be our valued guest and we hope to show you some local hospitality.