VMware Unveils New Partner Virtualization Certifications, Competencies


On Wednesday at the opening of VMware Partner Exchange 2011 in Orlando, Fla., VMware unveiled new virtualization technology specializations, competencies, certifications, and solution enablement toolkits. The goal is to help VARs capture a larger share of the "15X drag" VMware says comes with re-architecting the data center for cloud computing, in which $1 of VMware licensing generates an additional $15 in IT spending.

VMware is launching a three-tier desktop certification to help partners build proficiency in virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) deployments. The first tier, VMware Certified Associate 4-Desktop, is still in beta and will go into effect next month. VMware will launch the more advanced VMware Certified Professional 4 -- Desktop and Certified Advanced Professional -- Desktop tiers at some unspecified point later this year.

Doug Smith, VMware's senior director of global partner strategy and operations, says there's a different architecture that comes into play when partners start working with desktops. "Desktop virtualization is still a data center story because it lives in server room. But it's different because now you're working with a company's desktops and there are different folks being impacted by this change," Smith said in an interview.

VMware also launched a new solution competency called Virtualization of Business Critical Applications, which helps partners get up to speed on the ins-and-outs of migrating line of business apps to virtualized environments. This is the next step for companies that have virtualized file and print servers and dabbled in application virtualization, and Smith said the goal is for partners to evangelize a 100 percent virtualized infrastructure.

Sponsored post

However, as with desktop virtualization, the cultural and management implications involved with changes to business critical applications can be formidable obstacles. That's because companies can grasp the financial benefits of running business critical applications in virtualized environments but they're more concerned with operational issues, according to Smith.

"There's still a consolidation story to be told with business critical apps, but the bigger issues are things like uptime, availability, business continuity and remote access," Smith said.

VMware's vertical market customer base is growing, and VMware's new Academic and Federal Specializations are designed to reward government VARs for their ability to tap into virtualization demand in academic and U.S. Federal government circles.

Meanwhile, after launching a series of solution enablement toolkits last September at VMworld, VMware is following up with seven new ones this week. VMware added a toolkit for virtualization assessments, as well as ones focused on the planning and design of vSphere, View, ThinApp and Site Recovery Manager.

But in terms of being relevant to the broadest swath of VMware channel partners, VMware's new optimization kit for Windows 7 migrations may be the most significant. Smith said in an interview with CRN earlier this week that there's still plenty of lingering pent-up demand for Windows 7.

"We know a lot of customers skipped Vista. They are stuck on XP. And so there is a big opportunity for all of us. The other thing is look at all the new (handheld and tablet) devices coming out," Smith told CRN.

Also Wednesday, VMware said starting in April, its partners’ renewal business will be incorporated into the Partner Rewards quarterly rebate program.

"Renewals are becoming a very large business for us. We invested in a portal for that and partners are very interested in maintaining control of the customer during the renewals process," Smith said.