A Bigger World Awaits: Expand Your Horizons with Certification and Nutanix Technology Champions


I’ve always loved learning. If it were up to me, I would be a permanent college student whose only job was to absorb and internalize information. Unfortunately, student life isn’t in my future, as a student income doesn’t pay the bills. But I think I’ve landed the next best thing: a job in IT.

I love working in IT because there’s always more to learn. Things change so quickly that you have to keep up, or you risk becoming obsolete or irrelevant. That reality motivates IT professionals to always up their game.

Things change so quickly in #IT that you have to keep up or you risk becoming obsolete or irrelevant. #NutanixStories

I’ve worked in IT for 21 years, all at the same educational organization. Over two decades in IT, you see a lot of changes, and you also change yourself. I started out supporting infrastructure for one of the main applications at the medical center, gradually moving to focus on infrastructure for the entire enterprise, including the virtualization layer, hardware, and enterprise storage. 

Then, about three years ago, our CTO introduced us to Nutanix. He had previous experience with the platform and brought it into our organization for a proof of concept (POC). The POC went well, and we adopted Nutanix shortly thereafter. What I didn’t know at the time was that this would launch a new phase of my career.

Once I Saw the Benefits, I Wanted to Learn More

Ever since that initial POC, we’ve used Nutanix solutions for a variety of uses: Nutanix AHV as the built-in hypervisor, Nutanix Files for storing Citrix profiles, and Nutanix Life Cycle Manager (LCM) for firmware and other updates. Right now our workloads are primarily VDI, especially since the pandemic made it important for people to easily work remotely, so we have our Nutanix infrastructure serving out a XenDesktop. The response we’ve received from the user base has been overwhelmingly positive, and it’s really cool to have that piece self-contained within the Nutanix infrastructure, without relying on other services. 

Over the years, Nutanix has made it much easier to manage our infrastructure. LCM stands out here, as we can now perform all updates from a single point. That ease of management helps a team of six support a large infrastructure at a very high level. 

We took a learn-as-we-go approach during our adoption. A reseller helped stand up the infrastructure, but after that, we forged ahead without any formal training. Initially, there wasn't a lot as far as the day-to-day maintenance, and we had a local Nutanix systems engineer to rely on whenever questions popped up here and there. It was great that he had our back, but I wanted to dig deeper and figure out more on my own. Our Nutanix adoption sparked my drive to improve my technical skills and fill my knowledge gaps.

The Rewards of Certification

Fortunately, Nutanix makes education easy. They offer free training through Nutanix University, so it felt like a no-brainer to get certified. I now have several certifications, including Nutanix Certified Professional, Nutanix Certified Professional—Data Services, and Nutanix Certified Master—Multicloud Infrastructure.  I was also named a Nutanix Subject Matter Expert. The certification process itself is work—you’re going to have to study hard and get a lot of hands-on experience—but the process is straightforward. Lower-level certifications require an online exam proctored by one of the major exam partners. I encourage everyone to get certified. For all the work you put in, it’s a good investment in your career and you receive tangible recognition that demonstrates your skill. 

The concepts I learned in certification training definitely apply to my day-to-day administration of the infrastructure. The combination of the Enterprise Cloud Administration course and the Nutanix Bible gave me a solid understanding of the Nutanix architecture, for example. This newfound knowledge saved me a ton of time when some end users reported performance problems, because I could easily determine whether something was a Nutanix issue (it wasn’t!). 

Not only can we troubleshoot faster, but we also know that in applying best practices to our environment, anything new is going to work right the first time. Without that deep understanding of Nutanix, I think I would be calling Nutanix support a lot more. Being able to take care of it myself helps save me time, and that’s always a good thing.

Becoming a Nutanix Technology Champion Expanded My World 

Since starting my Nutanix certification, I’ve been named a Nutanix Technology Champion. The NTC program recognizes Nutanix enterprise cloud experts for their ongoing and consistent external contributions to the community and industry. NTCs are advocates and technology ambassadors who influence change with practical advice and bold ideas.

I applied to the program for several reasons. One, I felt it would validate my Nutanix skills and prove I know my stuff. Two, I felt a responsibility to give back to the community and help out other folks where I can. Three, I liked the ability as an NTC to give the company feedback, influence the product, and steer its future road map. I’ve spoken directly with product managers and participated in design sessions, and that kind of access to key personnel is pretty unique.

My entire experience with Nutanix—from certification to being an NTC—has made my world much bigger. Previously, everything used to be centered around my individual environment. Now, it’s global. As an NTC, I have access to the NTC Slack channel, which has exposed me to like-minded IT professionals from across the globe. It’s interesting to talk to these people and learn from their experiences. Whether they’re in a similar industry as me or something completely different, we share a common platform and, often, common hurdles. It’s a very inclusive community of people who want to help one another. You can post a question on there, and nine times out of 10, someone will have dealt with a similar situation. Being able to draw on that global knowledge base has made me a better technician.   

Don’t Wait: Up Your Game

While my organization’s Nutanix workloads are mostly VDI at the moment, we are now rolling out Nutanix for other workloads. We also have future plans for expanding to other Nutanix solutions, such as Nutanix Objects for S3 compatible storage. With Objects, I look forward to the flexibility of being able to move storage around to wherever it makes sense, while keeping a second copy in the cloud for DR purposes. We’re also looking at Nutanix Karbon for Kubernetes. I think it’s only a matter of time before healthcare application vendors distribute software via containers, and Karbon is an easy way to deploy containers faster and more seamlessly. 

By taking the initiative to gain a deeper understanding of the technology you use every day, you become a more interesting person and a more valuable employee. #NutanixStories

It’s easy to rest on your laurels. It’s much harder to put yourself out there and push the boundaries of your comfort zone. With Nutanix, you don’t have to be afraid. Now that I’ve how much extra certification and training has expanded my horizons, I wish I’d jumped onto it years ago. By taking the initiative to up your game and gain a deeper understanding of the technology you use every day, you become a more interesting person and a more valuable employee. 

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