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VMware Announces a Recertify Deadline to its VCP Certification

You are a VMware administrator.  You are a virtualization evangelist.  And you are a proud, lifelong VCP certificate holder, right?  Well, not so fast.  At least not anymore, as of this week.

If you thought you paid your dues (and your classroom training fees) to become a lifelong member of the VMware VCP club, and you hadn't planned to keep up with any of the newer certifications, you may have woken up this morning in a cold sweat only to find out that the nightmare you were having wasn't, in fact, a bad dream after all -- you heard correct, your current VCP certificate now actually has an "expiration date."  And the clock starts as of March 10, 2014.

What exactly does that mean?  And since when did your VCP certification come with a "best if used by MM/DD/YYYY" date?

The quick and dirty of it is this: VMware announced this week that VMware Certified Professionals will have to "recertify" their VCP certification every 2 years.  If you do not upgrade your certification, your VCP status will be revoked.  It's called the Recertification Policy

The company announced that anyone currently holding a VCP certification will need to recertify by March 10, 2015.  For those that plan to obtain a VCP certification AFTER March 10, 2014, the two year clock starts from that point forward, meaning you'll need to recertify within two years from the date of passing your exam. 

There are a couple of caveats to that statement.  Besides taking a newer VCP exam (i.e. VCP3 holders can take and pass a VCP5 exam), there are two other ways to recertify and keep your VCP in good standing:

  1. You can earn a new VCP certification in a different solution track.  For example, if you are a VCP5-Cloud, you could recertify by earning a VCP5-Desktop (VCP5-DT) certification.
  2. You can also advance to the next level by earning a VMware Certified Advanced Professional (VCAP) certification.  For example, if you are a VCP5-DCV you could earn a VCAP5-DCA certification.

The news, as you might imagine, has caused a mixed bag of emotions within the VMware community ecosystem.  Some aren't phased by the new regulations being put in place, treating it as a cost of doing business sort of thing.  Others are taking it personally, and are bothered by the announcement.  Arguments against the recertification process seem fair:

  • VMware is taking away something someone paid for, studied for, passed and earned. 
  • A VCP shouldn't necessarily lose value or get negated when a newer version of vSphere is released.
  • VMware certifications are already numbered, i.e. a VCP earned on vSphere 4.x is a VCP4.  So certified individuals aren't fooling anyone. 
  • If a company is running a newer version of vSphere, and they are looking for a VCP5, that's fine.  But what if someone is still running 4.x?  Do they care if you have a VCP5 if they aren't running it and have no plans to upgrade anytime soon?  
  • Wouldn't a VCP3 certification eventually time itself out anyway?  Shouldn't we let the market dictate its relevance?         
  • And if you have to recertify, perhaps a two year window is too short a time frame.

VMware says “Earning a VCP certification is a great achievement. But staying up to date in the expertise gained and proven by your certification is equally vital. If your skills are not current, your certification loses value.”

I think most VMware administrators would agree with that statement.  However, the problem isn't that your certification loses value... the problem is your certification is being wiped away from the memory banks! 

If you don't update your certification, it will be revoked and VMware says you will lose access to the VCP portal and your right to market yourself as certified, which includes the use of VMware certification logos.  Further, your transcript will reflect that your certification is no longer valid.  Ouch!  Wiped away from the history books with the stroke of a keyboard.

There is a light somewhere in the tunnel, if you want to be a glass half full kind of person.  If you take and pass a newer exam within that two year window, you don't have to pay for and attend another classroom course.  You can simply study, take and pass the exam, and become recertified.  And the new two year clock should keep VMware on a path of coming out with new major releases on a regular two year cycle.  After all, if you have a VCP5 certification and vSphere 6 takes longer than two years to come out, you shouldn't exactly be penalized because there is no new exam to take and pass... right?  

At the end of the day, the VCP certification, like any other vendor certification out there, belongs to the company... in this case, it belongs to VMware.  And as such, the company can do with it as they please.

But even multi-billion dollar companies don't live in a bubble.  If an announced change like this causes mass hysteria and outrage amongst its most vocal community champions, perhaps the virtualization giant will reconsider those changes.  Don't think so?  Remember what I like to call, the VRAM licensing incident?

Are you a current VCP holder?  Can you live with or get behind these changes?  Or, after finding out this new policy, did the temperature of your brain suddenly shoot through the roof causing your head to explode?

I just hope Universities don't get wind of this idea and start revoking degrees after a few years without being asked to return or pass an exam to keep the degree current.  :)

You can find out more information about this new VCP recertification policy here.

Published Tuesday, March 11, 2014 7:49 AM by David Marshall
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