If you haven’t figured it out yet, virtualization is currently the big deal in IT and will be for the next 10 years – if not forever. Most likely it will remain the standard for as long as computers exist. Virtualization helps to drive costs down and eases administration (for the most part) of the infrastructure. There is a good amount of training materials on virtualization either it be with technology from VMWare, Citrix, or Microsoft. However, most all of the training and software comes at a price. Luckily, all tech companies provide some type of free stuff for IT pros to start their learning plan – which help you to get certified!
Microsoft is first on the list. They are somewhat new to the game with their Hyper-V product line, but they are working on catching up fast. All Microsoft IT shops WILL use Hyper-V because it is supported with Windows Server 2008 (Server 2008 is required in order to run Hyper-V anyways). MS is offering some free online clinics (think virtual classroom training), free e-books, and free trial software of Windows Server 2008. Click here to be brought to the Microsoft Virtualization training portal.
VMWare is next up. VMWare is THE MOST in demand solutions that businesses are looking for, so you had better know it. Some basic administration experience will help, but the VMware Certified Professional credential is what you should strive for. You should start with VMware’s home site, and navigate the community forums hosted by VMware. You can download VMware ESXi 3.5 or 4.0 for free, which will get you acquainted, then move up to the free trials of enterprise edition products.
Last, but not least, Citrix is your final stop. Citrix has been in the virtualization game for almost 20 years so knowing what the company has to offer is critical. One of their products is XenServer, which is free! They also offer Citrix Essentials for Hyper-V for free. Of course, all of their free stuff is actually the gateway to the real enterprise product lines – XenApp and XenDesktop. Citrix has a community portal on their main site as well as an education site dedicated to training, certification, and exam prep for Citrix products.
So, it is time to get your learn on! Get started with the links provided above!