Everyday Virtualization

vSphere Training: Pricey for the Market

For anyone wanting to gain expertise in virtualization, a trip through some sort of VMware technology is a rite of passage. Further, many IT professionals will advance their career stock with training and certification paths for VMware-based virtualization. Right now, VMware has the most advanced network of training and certification for virtualization-at a cost.

It shouldn't be surprising that many IT professionals are considering vSphere training. Recently, as part of the budgeting process, I looked into training offerings for people new to virtualization. The numbers can raise an eyebrow when compared to other offerings for software training.

VMware and its authorized partners typically offer vSphere training in four- or five-day courses; this training is required as part of the vSphere certification process. The four-day courses can cost approximately $750 per training day, or slightly less than $3,000 total. Costs for the five-day courses average around $4,675, or approximately $935 per day in training. The per-day pricing for the latter courses is higher because these are fast-track courses scheduled for 10 hours of training per day. The prices listed for the VMware courses are list prices; discounts may be available through channel partners or promotions. Comparatively, the cost for software training with Cisco and Microsoft for courses of similar length rarely exceeds $600 per day.

In most cases, you can pay for VMware-authorized training with credits, which are a separate transaction from product and support purchases. The VMware Consulting and Training Credits are a way in which organizations can get consulting services as well as training in one lump sum purchase, which may be an attractive way to absorb these costs.

One might argue that VMware and its authorized partners can justify high vSphere training costs because they provide a hands-on experience, which requires that they allocate hardware for the course. The hardware is frequently in a remote location from the training facility and accessible through remote console tools during the course. This is an important accommodation, as online training has become a popular option for VMware courses.

One might also point out that this isn't the priciest training out there. The prices major storage vendors charge for training on hardware storage systems can run even more per day than the cost for hands-on VMware training.

Risk of Flight
VMware training comes with a caveat. Under most situations, individuals who seek the VMware Certified Professional (VCP) certification must take a course. But how many of us know someone who has changed jobs soon after obtaining VCP status? This happens to companies across the board; I've gone through it myself.

Companies make a sizeable commitment to the technology, not just in the cost of the course but also in employee training time. Thus, it makes sense to retain the training investment, keeping the value added in-house. For instance, some organizations will require an employee to stay for a period of time after investing in the employee's training. These programs can make the employee become responsible for the cost of the training course and certification expenses if the employee leaves within a specified period of time. Another possible solution is a co-pay or training course cap, similar to many tuition-reimbursement programs. Although the full-cost burden is harsh, I understand that organizations need to protect their investments.

VMware's pricing adds to that burden, for individuals and companies. VMware continues to carry the perception that it's the most expensive solution, and the cost of training adds to that perception. We're the ones asking management for more money at the end of the day, and we all want that conversation to go well. Should VMware's training costs be more in line with other, similar software-training courses? I think so-how about you?

About the Author

Rick Vanover (Cisco Champion, Microsoft MVP, VMware vExpert) is based in Columbus, Ohio. Vanover's experience includes systems administration and IT management, with virtualization, cloud and storage technologies being the central theme of his career recently. Follow him on Twitter @RickVanover.

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