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  • 8/2/2019 3852 Networks Gettingstarted

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    Getting Startedwith Virtualization

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    1

    contents

    This content was adapted from Internet.com'sServerWatch, Enterprise Networking Planet, ITCareer Planet, CIO Update, and Enterprise ITPlanet Web sites. Contributors: Ryan Bass,Lynn Haber, Brian Gardner, Richard Adhikari,and Rafael Hernandez.

    Getting started with Virtualization, An Internet.com Networking eBook.

    2009, Jupitermedia Corp.

    2 For Starters:The VirtualizationPerformance QuandaryRafael Hernandez

    4 The Trouble WithVirtual Disaster Recovery

    Richard Adhikari

    6 Planning Data Protection IntoYour Virtual InfrastructureBrian Gardner

    10 Windows Virtualization:Get Started With Hyper-VRyan Bass

    12 The Growing Importance ofVirtualization CertificationLynn Haber

    Getting Started with Virtualization

    [ ]

    10

    2

    12

    4 6

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    Virtualization can have a huge effect on produc-tivity and cost savings when consolidating wide-ranging workloads, but getting the best per-

    formance out of your software is something else

    entirely. Here are some of the things you'll want tokeep an eye on if you're determined to get the mostout of the technology.

    Software Soft SpotsThose joyous testimonies of aneffortless move to a virtualizedplatform are quite true withmost small-scale projects.There isn't much difficulty inrunning a few operating sys-

    tem images on relatively mod-ern hardware, each machinehandling a few tasks by itslonesome. Things tend to geta whole lot trickier when youscale up the workload.

    Every technology has those tempting "what if" possi-bilities attached to them. Thoughts of quickly migrat-ing everything you and your company have workedhard to build up over the years to newer methods ofdoing things always has pitfalls, even with moremature products in the virtualization category.

    The reality is that not all tasks are well suited to rununder a virtual OS, the usual culprits being softwarethat's highly resource intensive and I/O bound appli-cations, similarly there's software that just doesn't

    want to play nice for whatever reason and is best leftto run on its own machine where it can happily run itscourse.

    Software response time undervirtualization is also a keypoint to consider, if you startloading up a number of sys-tem images, each running afew tasks, things can get a lit-tle hairy. Some software isn'tnecessarily resource intensive

    but requires snappy systemresponse in order to performat its best. So when usersstart leaning on the applica-tion you may find it perform-ing worse than on minimallyspecced hardware.

    The fact of the matter is that there is a performancepenalty with any action carried out on a virtualizedsystem. An action that's inconsequential on a low-power machine can suddenly become burdensome on

    even the most powerful of servers. The prime candi-dates for consolidating are generally low usage, low

    2 Getting Started with Virtualization, An Internet.com Networking eBook. 2009, Jupitermedia Corp.

    Getting Started with Virtualization[ ]

    For Starters: The VirtualizationPerformance Quandary

    By Rafael Hernandez

    Jupiterimages

    The fact of the matter is that there is a performance penaltywith any action carried out on a virtualized system

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    resource intensive applications.

    You're more likely than not to go back to the drawing

    board with quite a few consolidation plans oncethings aren't going smoothly as you hoped.Virtualization overhead can get ugly and it's not goingto be cleared up anytime soon, but you can bet thelarge software and hardware vendors are working onthis very problem.

    On The Hardware FrontAs with any software trend, hardware support tends tolag behind quite a bit. There's not much blame youcan pass on to the vendors since it takes a while toengineer features into their hardware. But the good

    news is that your two favorite chip vendors have youin mind.

    AMD and Intel's rivalry extends to all things; even thehardware accelerated virtualization field isn't safe. Thetwo companies have had some basic hardware assistwith various virtualization tasks in the past few yearsbut it's been a rather weak response to some of theserious shortcomings that CPUs have when handlingthis demanding style of application.

    The two companies have been making strides in order

    to improve on the performance penalty virtualizationcan impose on a system. The x86 instruction sets thecompanies' chips use have a particularly difficult time

    with virtualization as detailed here. Their first andmost logical step is to reduce the effect the hypervi-sor has on a system's performance. AMD's SVM and

    Intel's VT-x have improved how hypervisor emulationand the like behave when accessing system resources.

    Both companies also have another trick up theirsleeves with regards to CPU performance penalties asystem can encounter when managing the memoryrequirements of multiple virtual machines. AMD'sNested Page Tables, found on Quad Core Opteronsand the somewhat similar Intel EPT, soon to be foundon their upcoming "Nehalem" CPUs, have a dramaticeffect on limiting the performance hit on memorypage table access.

    The hardware additions along with inevitable softwaretweaking over time will lead to performance increases(or less of an overall system performance loss) whenrunning virtual machines.

    Current performance penalties incurred by systemsrunning multiple virtual machines can cause quite abit of frustration when you're trying to balance cost-cutting and remove any possible instabilities thatmight arise with loading up a server full of necessaryapplications. Thankfully companies are improving ontheir products in leaps and bounds. In a few years,close to native performance may even become thenorm. I

    3 Getting Started with Virtualization, An Internet.com Networking eBook. 2009, Jupitermedia Corp.

    Getting Started with Virtualization[ ]

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    As enterprises virtualize their data centers to cutcosts and consolidate their servers, they maybe setting themselves for big trouble.

    According to a disaster recovery research report fromSymantec based on surveys of 1,000 IT managers inlarge organizations worldwide, 35 percent of an orga-nization's virtual servers are not included in its disasterrecovery (DR) plans.

    Worse yet, not all virtualservers included in an organi-zation's DR plan will bebacked up. Only 37 percentof respondents to the surveysaid they back up more than

    90 percent of their virtual sys-tems.

    When companies virtualize,they need to overhaul theirbackup and DR plans; thesurvey found that 64 percentof organizations are doing so.

    "That's no surprise, because virtualization has had ahuge impact on the way enterprises do disaster recov-ery," Symantec senior product marketing manager for

    high availability and disaster recovery Dan Lamorenatold InternetNews.com.

    So, why is it virtual servers are being left out of DRplans? Or, if they're included, why aren't they beingbacked up? It's because enterprise IT just does nothave the right tools to back up virtual servers.

    The biggest problem for 44 percent of NorthAmerican respondents was the plethora of differenttools for physical and virtual environments. There are

    so many that IT doesn'tknow what to use and when.

    Another 41 percent com-plained about the lack ofautomated recovery tools.Much of the disaster recov-ery process is manual,

    although VMware has a toolto automate the run book.

    Another 39 percent ofrespondents said the backuptools available are inade-quate.

    Hewlett-Packard, IBM, CA, and smaller vendors suchas ManageIQ, Avocent, and Apani offer tools to man-age both the virtual and physical environments. Andcompanies like Hyperic are bringing out new tools.

    However, virtual server management tools, being rela-tively new, are not as sophisticated as their counter-parts for the physical environment. Also, they have

    4 Getting Started with Virtualization, An Internet.com Networking eBook. 2009, Jupitermedia Corp.

    Getting Started with Virtualization[ ]

    The Trouble With Virtual Disaster Recovery

    By Richard Adhikari

    Jupiterimages

    The biggest problem for 44 percent of North American respondents wasthe plethora of different tools for physical and virtual environments.

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    not been around long enough for users to be familiarwith them. For example, provisioning, or setting up,virtual machines from physical ones and vice versa can

    also be a problem, and tools for this have only recent-ly emerged.

    "Virtualization makes some aspects of backup anddisaster recovery more difficult," Symantec seniorproduct marketing manager for NetBackup Eric Schoutold InternetNews.com. "IT shops are still strugglingwith the steep learning curve."

    Porting over solutions from the physical environmentwon't work, Schou said. "IT shops need to get solu-tions that are finely tuned for virtualization," he

    added.

    DR Isn't So Hot EitherJudging from the results of the survey, IT is still not asfamiliar with DR as it should be. DR testing is a mess.A whopping 30 percent of respondents said their DRtests failed. That's better than the 50 percent failurerate in 2007, but it's still pretty scary.

    For 35 percent of the respondents, the tests failed

    because "people didn't do what they were supposedto do," Lamorena said. This means that much ofrecovery is still a manual process, and companies

    must begin looking at automation, he added.

    Another cause is that tests are not run frequentlyenough. That's because "when you run a test, it dis-rupts employees and customers," Lamorena said. Headded that 20 percent of the respondents said theirrevenue is impacted by DR tests, so "the tests causethe same pain to their customers as if they had a realdisaster."

    Finally, the survey found that top-level executiveinvolvement in DR planning has fallen. "Last year, the

    C-level involvement on disaster recovery committeeswas 55 percent; this year, it's 33 percent," Lamorenasaid. C-level executives are CIOs, CTOs, and CEOs.

    Lamorena finds the reduction in top-level involvementdisturbing because it could lead to more problemswith DR. "That's a huge drop, and we've been think-ing about this day and night," he said. "What's alarm-ing is, companies may be getting a little lax and don'tthink they'll be affected by a disaster." I

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    Getting Started with Virtualization[ ]

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    As an IT manager you've read of all the advan-tages that come with virtualization. The nextstep is to feel comfortable tackling a migration

    to virtual infrastructure and to make sure it is protect-

    ed.

    To begin, it is important tounderstand the things youneed to do to plan a virtualinfrastructure and choosethe appropriate data protec-tion for it. Identifying andselecting the capabilitiesand limitations of data pro-tection within your virtualinfrastructure is one of the

    most critical tasks.

    For simplification, this articlelimits the virtualization plat-form example to VMwareESX. The process is thesame for Microsoft Hyper-V,

    Virtual Iron, and others untilyou get to the end and haveto determine the right implementation.

    What Applications Should I

    Virtualize?With current virtualization technology almost all

    applications can be virtualized. You just have todecide on a reasonable set of applications and thencompile the following information:

    1. Identify characteristics of selected apps under load

    It is absolutely critical that you characterize theseapplications under theirheaviest expected load oryou'll start running out ofresources unexpectedlywhen you implement yourvirtual infrastructure.

    Total memory footprintMemory the application

    uses at peak load? If theapplication "leaks" memory(its memory footprint growseven under constant load)you'll need to allow roomfor that as well.

    Total CPU utilizationHow many CPUs and at

    what percentage used at peak load? Don't forget tonote the type of CPU you used when you did yourmeasurements.

    Total disk space including growth to next budgetcycle

    6 Getting Started with Virtualization, An Internet.com Networking eBook. 2009, Jupitermedia Corp.

    Getting Started with Virtualization[ ]

    Planning Data Protection IntoYour Virtual Infrastructure

    By Brian Gardner

    Jupiterimages

    Identifying and selecting the capabilities and limitations of data protectionwithin your virtual infrastructure is one of the most critical tasks.

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    Network bandwidth utilizationNetwork bandwidth used by this application at peakload. Remember to account for both directions of

    network traffic.

    Storage network throughput (SCSI, FC, iSCSI,NAS) as both input and outputThe same thing you just did for your messaging net-work.

    Disk reads and writesThe disk activity that this application requires atload. There are other disk load parameters that mayneed to be characterized as well, depending on theapplication.

    Memory bus utilization estimate (memory busavailable bandwidth minus four times the total I/O)

    Years of empirical data has upheld this useful rule ofthumb. This can be somewhat difficult to get sinceit is not always easy to identify the memory busspeed of a particular system.

    2. Identify load patterns and recovery requirementsfor virtualized applications

    Is there a window during the day or night when theycould reasonably be shut down and backed up?

    Is there a window during the day or night when thetotal load on the ESX physical server is low enoughthat backups can be performed without negativelyimpacting the running apps? If there is no applica-tion and ESX server available window, you will needto select a proxy backup method.

    Do you need to be able to recover individual fileson a regular basis? If so, you will most likely need torun a backup agent directly within a virtual machine.

    If you've designed and implemented a few data pro-tection architectures, the requirements gatheringprocess was probably quite familiar to you. It doesn'tchange much for virtual infrastructures.

    Once you understand your application and data pro-tection requirements there are some simple decisionsto make:

    Agents in each virtual machine

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    Getting Started with Virtualization[ ]

    Virtualizing your environment is more than simply

    taking a bunch of old servers (possibly laying

    around since the last Boom in the 1990s), and parti-

    tioning them. In most cases it means buying more

    hardware.

    This makes virtualizing pretty much a no-brainer for

    a company starting out or one building a data center

    from the ground up. But most companies don't have

    that kind of cash just sitting around.

    "Don't skimp on hardware," Wes Noonan, Lead

    Technical Analyst at NetIQ, cautions "If you skimp

    on hardware it won't necessarily cost you in capital.

    It will, however, cost you in other ways," he elaborat-

    ed, citing the human toll, personnel issues, and lost

    sales.

    So how to explain the need to invest heavily in hard-

    ware?

    Return on investment is always king when it comes

    to spending, so selling whomever crafts the budget

    on a positive ROI is critical and a good place to

    start. But how to get there, and what if it's not

    enough?

    Quantify, Theodore Ritter, an analyst with

    Nermertes research, told the audience in a session

    titled, "Making the Case: Selling Virtualization

    When ROI Isn't Enough."

    He said that, typically, the majority of enterprises go

    after low-hanging fruit and assume all costs go

    down. This is fine in the beginning, as costs do gen-

    erally go down. It will not, however, work in the long

    term when enterprises go beyond low-performing

    servers and operations.

    Oftentimes, the deployments themselves occur over

    several years. According to Ritter, a typical deploy-

    ment process takes more than two years, and for a

    larger organization, it can be a five to seven year

    time frame. With such projects, you can see the

    continued

    Build a Solid Virtual

    FoundationByAmy Newman

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    This is the simplest decision, since it mirrors what youare already doing with your physical infrastructure.The strengths of this approach:

    Low disruption to existing workflows Easy application backup and recovery File level recovery

    There are two significant weaknesses to this approach: Total cost of backup software agents Need to manage load on ESX server when run-ning backups

    Agent in Hypervisor Service ConsoleThis is pretty simple as well. It only requires a singleRed Hat Linux agent for each ESX server.

    Strengths: Low agent cost High-performance image backup & recovery (onlyworking with vmdk files)

    Weaknesses: Need for some scripting Lack of file level recovery Lack of application awareness

    Proxy backup

    1) VMware Consolidated Backup (VCB)

    VCB gives you the ability to use a Windows proxyhost to backup Windows virtual machines.

    Strengths: Almost entirely eliminates load on virtualmachines and ESX server during backup Enables hot virtual machine backup

    Weaknesses: Lack of non-Windows platform support

    Some recovery limitations VCB license cost

    2) Storage server snapshots

    This approach is quite simple to manage once it isimplemented if you have storage that provides thefunctionality. You can connect another host to thestorage to manage the snapshots for backup andrecovery.

    8 Getting Started with Virtualization, An Internet.com Networking eBook. 2009, Jupitermedia Corp.

    Getting Started with Virtualization[ ]initial benefits quickly, but as you move along into

    production and heavy database apps, the ROI is not

    as clear or as quickly forthcoming.

    Enterprises therefore, must take a long-term view.

    Ritter recommends finding a key metric to measure

    early in the process that takes flexibility and agility

    into account. This way, they become standard track-

    ers and in time can be the basis of a business case.

    Ritter was emphatic about this, noting, "if you don't

    put the metric is place early to measure the return,

    it's going to bite you early."

    There are multiple approaches to measuring this

    way. High availability and disaster recovery, for

    example, are critical issues, and in some cases vir-

    tualization makes it financially feasible for organi-

    zations to set up a failover site, if they couldn't

    before. Benefits such as these should be quantified

    and taken into account.

    Cost reduction is another way to go. One company

    used cost prevention as justification for initial

    investment. Other things to bring up include:

    Shorter maintenance windows

    Some servers, such as Exchange, run better

    when virtualized

    Extend the life cycle of hardware as a virtual

    machine (this is pretty much a no-brainer, as it's

    taking advantage of hardware already in play, and

    most likely already depreciated)

    The ability to start and stop hardware

    Ritter provided one big caveat process and proce-

    dure must keep up with virtualization. Oftentimes,

    he explained, it's not the hardware holding things

    up but the human processes around it.

    At first blush, provisioning goes down from weeks

    to hours. However, most provisioning time organi-

    zation face is outside of the actual virtualizationprocess (e.g., getting the purchase order in and the

    time spent getting it in rack). The process that

    comes before the actual virtualizing must be fixed

    or the true impact of virtualization will not be felt. I

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    Strengths: Simplicity Low application server and ESX server overhead

    Weaknesses: Cost of snapshot enabled storage Complexity of initial deployment (varies widelydepending on implementation)

    What does implementing the right protection solutionin a virtual environment do for you?

    With virtualization you can do things like physicalmachine to virtual machine conversion and, in somecases, you can take advantage of your existing back-up images to migrate to a virtual infrastructure.

    If you plan your data protection, you will never have

    to do a bare metal disaster recovery again since virtu-al storage file systems are simple, single files.Recovering an entire system can be as simple as

    recovering a single file.

    Site disaster recovery can be greatly simplified sinceyou can bring a site up quickly on lower end physicalsystems and add capabilities as needed without inter-rupting operations. You will still need to develop asite disaster recovery plan, but there are many avail-able resources to help you to do so. Clustering virtualmachines with VMware Virtual Infrastructure is mucheasier and less expensive than with physical clusters.

    Virtual appliances can make purchasing, installing,

    configuring, and updating applications much simpler.In some cases they can also help simplify site disasterrecovery. I

    9 Getting Started with Virtualization, An Internet.com Networking eBook. 2009, Jupitermedia Corp.

    Getting Started with Virtualization[ ]

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    T

    he release to manufacturing (RTM) version of Hyper-Vmade its debut in June 2008. This final edition of

    Hyper-V includes security, stability, performance, anduser experience improvements. With such a late start,Microsoft is going to have atough time capturing a sizableportion of the enterprise virtual-ization market, but small- tomedium-size organizations aresure to jump on board theHyper-V train as they slowlybegin to migrate from Server2003 to Server 2008.

    We're going to take a look atwhat to do if you've alreadygot virtual machines (VMs)created in the Hyper-V betaor release candidate environ-ments, and how to get start-ed with Hyper-V if you're abeginner.

    If you've already been tinker-ing with the release candi-date or beta editions of Hyper-V here's what you needto know if you want to continue using those VMs:

    If you are running a VM containing a pre-release ver-sion Windows Server 2008 created with a beta versionof Hyper-V, then you are out of luck and will need to re-create the virtual hard disk file from scratch. If you cre-

    ated a VM containing a finalrelease version of WindowsServer 2008, then follow thesteps here to get it workingin the RTM version of Hyper-

    V. If you created VMs withRC0, all you have to do isshut down the guest OS andmerge any snapshot files. Ifyou've got VMs created withRC1, then you don't have to

    do anything special.

    We've all been barragedwith the benefits of virtual-ization for several years now,but in case you forgot hereare three good reasons togo virtual: server consolida-tion, business continu-ity/disaster recovery, and

    testing/development. Hyper-V makes it so easy there isreally no reason to hold back. Even if you run Hyper-V

    10 Getting Started with Virtualization, An Internet.com Networking eBook. 2009, Jupitermedia Corp.

    Getting Started with Virtualization[ ]

    Windows Virtualization:Get Started With Hyper-V

    By Ryan Bass

    Jupiterimages

    Version Pre-existing VMs Pre-existing Pre-existing

    Saved State Files snapshot files

    Beta See below Not Supported Not Supported

    RC0 Supported Not Supported Not Supported

    RC1 Supported Supported Supported

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    solely for testing and development, it is well worth it.The biggest barrier to getting started with Hyper-V ishardware. Unfortunately, you won't be able to use older

    equipment because Hyper-V requires a 64-bit proces-sor with hardware-assisted virtualization and hardwaredata execution protection.

    Installing Hyper-VIf you've got the right hardware then follow these stepsto get Hyper-V installed:

    1. Setup a Windows Server 2008 x64 server2. If the server software didn't already come with theRTM version of Hyper-V then download and install it.3. Open Server Manager

    4. Click on Roles > Add Roles > Next > Select Hyper-V > Next > Next5. Select an Ethernet adapter to be available for VMs> Next > Install

    To open the Hyper-V Manager click on Start > AllPrograms > Administrative Tools > Hyper-V Manager.To create a new VM click on New from the Actions sidebar and select Virtual Machine. Follow the instructionsin the wizard to create a new VM. The easiest andfastest way to install a new VM is to use an ISO file con-taining the operation system you want to install. This

    option is available on the Install Options page of theNew Virtual Machine Wizard.

    Once you've got your first VM setup you may want tomake a copy of the virtual hard disk file. This will allowyou to setup new VMs in a matter of minutes. Ofcourse, before you make a copy of the virtual hard diskfile you should run sysprep or another utility on the VMto roll the SID on the server. The SID is a unique identi-fier that the server assigns itself when it is first created.Duplicate SIDs will end up biting you in subtle waysand it may not be obvious that the duplicate SID caus-

    es your problem.

    VMs In ProductionIf you're going to be running VMs in production, thenyou will definitely want to take a gander at the differentsettings available for your VM. Some of the moreimportant options include: memory, processor, networkadapter, and automatic start/stop actions. Be sure togive your virtual machine enough memory because youdon't want it to hit the page file on your virtual disk.Processor settings are important because you don'twant a test box or runaway app to hog all the process-ing power away from other production VMs.Depending on the applications you are running, youmay want to install additional physical network

    adapters into the host server and distribute the net-working load among more than one adapter. Finally, it'simportant to tell Hyper-V what to do when the hostoperating system shuts down or starts up.

    One final note: Beware of virtual server sprawl. WithHyper-V (and other server virtualization technologies) itbecomes almost too easy to create new "servers."Remember that there is overhead associated with eachadditional VM that is created. It may need to have ananti-virus client, a backup client, and any otherclients/agents that you install on your servers. It will

    need to be patched each month, and don't forgetabout that pesky OS licensing issue.

    Depending on your version of Windows Server youmay need to purchase additional OS licenses. There is,however, a Microsoft tool that will help to determinehow many OS licenses need to be purchased. WithServer 2008 Datacenter Edition you can have as many

    VMs as you want, Enterprise Edition comes with theability to run four VMs, and Standard Edition requires alicense for each VM. I

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    Any IT professional who's missed the buzz about virtu-alization might as well keep his head in the sand.For the rest of the IT community it's clear that talk

    about enterprise server virtualization adoption isn't amatter of "if," but "when." So the question is whethercertification in virtualization technology is a must-have.

    With vendors like VMware,Citrix, and now Microsoft inthe virtualization certificationgame and the job market forIT professionals with virtual-ization skills sizzling, it wouldappear that many individualswould stand to benefit from

    sinking time and money intothis specialized training. RedHat offers Enterprise Linux

    Virtualization training for RedHat Certified Technicians(RHCT) or individuals withequivalent knowledge.

    What's clear is that there's nodoubt that getting certified in virtualization technologymatters.

    "It just matters to some, not to everyone," saysCushing Anderson, program vice president at IDC.He says that today many IT professionals get on-the-

    job virtualization training. "Organizations aren't trainingin advance of virtualization initiatives," Anderson says.

    Fast-Rising MarketBut where virtualization is relevant to an IT profession-al's career -- such as storage, server management and

    PC management certifica-tion can put them ahead ofthe curve. IDC projects thatby 2011 the market for virtu-alization services will reachabout $12 billion.

    Today, Tom Silver, senior vicepresident at Dice, reports

    about 1,500 open job post-ings out of approximately8,500 posted on the compa-ny's IT job site reference vir-tualization skills a smallpercentage but a fast-grow-ing job area nevertheless, hesays.

    Silver is on the same pageas Anderson when considering a certification in virtual-ization, noting that it depends on an individual's careerpath and where they are on it.

    "If you're looking to get a job or move into a new area,

    12 Getting Started with Virtualization, An Internet.com Networking eBook. 2009, Jupitermedia Corp.

    Getting Started with Virtualization[ ]

    The Growing Importanceof Virtualization Certification

    By Lynn Haber

    What's clear is that there's no doubt that getting certifiedin virtualization technology matters.

    Jupiterimages

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    certification can help. But certifications can be a mixedbag because once you're in the door, employers aren'tas interested in certification versus whether you can do

    the job," says Silver.

    Jason Martin, vice president services at VMware, saysthat people who take the VMware CertifiedProfessional (VCP) training should have some hands-onexperience with virtualization already.

    The vendor reports that it's seeing a shift in demand forits VMware Certified Professional (VCP) on VMwareInfrastructure 3 from the channel community to largeenterprises.

    "It's becoming requisite training for IT staff who willinstall and manage VMware," Martin says.

    In fact, he expects that by year-end more corporate ITprofessionals than channel partners will pursue VCPeducation. The VCP allows IT professionals to demon-strate their virtual infrastructure expertise, according toMartin.

    Microsoft Enters GameThe relatively new VMware Certified Design Expert(VCDX) is a more advanced certification targeting

    design architect of VMware enterprise deployments.Likewise, training such as the Citrix CCA for XenServermatters most to individuals or companies with a directinvestment in the vendor's products.

    Most recently upping the ante for virtualization expertsis Microsoft, with the launch of its new virtualization

    products. The vendor also announced a roadmap forcertified technical specialists in virtualization.

    The vendor will offer four Microsoft CertifiedTechnology Specialist (MCTS) certifications on virtual-ization, two are which are available now: MicrosoftDesktop Optimization Pack, Configuring; and WindowsServer 2008 Applications Infrastructure, Configuring.Available later this year will be: Windows Server 2008

    Virtualization, Configuring; and System Center VirtualMachine Manager, Configuring.

    The four certifications are designed to validate skills onthe features and functionality of key Microsoft technolo-gy areas such as Window Server 2008: Hyper-V; SystemCenter: Virtual Machine Manager; Terminal Service

    Virtualization; and Application Virtualization, accordingto the company.

    Industry experts warn that rather then getting caughtup in the virtualization buzz, individuals should onlyconsider undertaking a certification track if they're inter-ested in managing complex architectures.

    "Virtualization is very technical. So while the technologymay be hot, only pursue it if it's your bliss," saysAnderson. "Otherwise, you'll be a dull employee." I

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    Getting Started with Virtualization[ ]