Learning VMware… where to start on your journey to Virtualization Mastery.

Ok, so I have been asked this question many times as a consultant. This topic often is brought up  when interacting with their customer.

And the answer is what a consultant most often says: “It depends…”

You have to understand what the purpose of the question is.

Meaning who is asking you the question? What is the motivation to ask the question?

Is it for themselves? it is for their direct reports? It is for their management?

Maybe they would like some justification to provide career growth? Maybe they would like to have career growth? Or, often they have this new task called *”virtualization” that now is a Area of Responsibility they have been charged to manage.

*or virtualisation — for other parts of the world 😉 


Anyhow you slice it you cannot avoid Virtualization technologies and the impact is has to you.

There are several aspects of Virtualization and it depends on your job function to determine what is material to you.


There are different areas of concern (aka AOR Areas of Responsibility) that impact your what and how you get things done!

A PC technician. How will Virtualization impact my job? Can I do things easier?

The Business Unit Manager How will this impact my budget?

The System Admin How can I do things more efficiently?

The Storage admin How will I provide storage to this thing call ESX?

The Security Team How are we maintaining compliance with HIPAA? SOX? PCI?


This isn’t a post around the different options for Virtualization and selection of hypervisors. Vendors and mindset of each vendor strategy. Type 1 vs Type 2.


Typically the technician (technical staff member) will want to have a deep depth of understanding, but you cannot have depth without breadth. I know that having a deep understanding of one area of expertise can be beneficial, but what about the next level? How does what you do INTERACT with the other areas. What about what I call INTEGRATION POINTS?

What you do; you will need to do well; exceptionally well! But case in point: What you deploy will require you to understand how it interacts with the IT ecosystem.

ecosystem |ˈekōˌsistəmˈēkō-|

noun Ecology

a biological community of interacting organisms and their physical environment.

• (in general use) a complex network or interconnected system


Since we are not discussing the flora and fauna of our data center or the native plants in the region that provide drought resistance or provide genetic diversity to the seed bank for the area… but I digress.  😉


The complexity of the network, the interconnected system. How does Virtualization add to the picture? Does it impact your consumption of the resources normally provided to you? Yes

Does it impact the Level of Service you can provide to downstream users?  Does it make things easier?

Those are thought provoking questions.

But first where are you in your path to understanding and mastery of virtualization?


There are several areas to gaining mastery of VMWARE virtualization.

Area of Expertise


Data Center Virutalization

End-User Computing – aka EUC or Desktop

Network (NSX) << more on that one later



Okay you have now defined your breadth what about depth?

“A journey of a thousand miles.. starts with one footstep.” There is no short-cut.. but there is a path to guide you.



Advanced Professional


Where to start?

Choose your path!


Data Center Virtualization

End-User Computing


So you want to learn?

Where to really start?

Find some free training from the comfort of (aka home local loop-back) From the comfort of home you can start your journey or if you are in the industry.. accelerate your proficiency today

VMWARE online videos 


FREE self-paced learning online 

Webinars – (Web + seminar) = learning delivered to you! –

“New to the VMware free training library is our ViewPoint Webinar Series where we connect you directly with VMware’s own expert training team, making it easier to take full advantage of VMware® products, from data center virtualization and hybrid cloud to software-defined data center.”

Here is a list of the self-paced learning available for free:

BUT. But …. But I learn by doing!!!

Ok some people are kinetic learners and well learn by doing.

VMWARE Hands On Lab 


And then there is more!!

You can access the documentation for the 2013 HOL labs right here

Ares of study for HOL Labs

SDDC (Software Defined Data Center)


Hybrid Cloud

Partner Solutions


So you want to get certified.. here is a great source to sum things up and review


Study Guides
link – The Official VCP5 Certification Guide (VMware Press)

kindle version – The Official VCP5 Certification Guide (VMware Press)


Essential Reading

link Mastering vSphere 5.5 by Scott Lowe


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