Systems

How to Become a Hyperconverged Infrastructure Expert

How to Become a Hyperconverged Infrastructure Expert

Hyperconverged infrastructure has become a widely adopted approach to data center architecture. With so many moving parts involved, it can be difficult to keep up with the speed at which everything evolves. Your organization may require you to be up to speed with the latest and greatest technologies, especially when they decide to adopt a brand-new hyperconverged infrastructure. The question then arises, how do you become a hyperconverged infrastructure expert? There are many ways to become an expert, depending on the technology or vendor your organization chooses. While there aren’t many HCI certifications yet, there are many certification tracks you can obtain to make you an HCI expert.

Storage Certifications

There are many great storage options for certification depending on which vendor your organization uses for storage. If you’re already proficient with storage, you’re a step ahead. The storage vendor isn’t nearly as important as the storage technologies and concepts. Storage networking is important and getting trained on its concepts will be helpful in your quest to become an HCI expert.

Networking Certifications

There aren’t many certifications more important than networking. I strongly believe everyone in IT should have at least an entry-level networking certification. Networking is the lifeblood of the data center. Storage networking also exists in the data center and gaining a certification or training in networking will help to build your expert status.

Virtualization Certifications

Building virtual machines has become a daily occurrence, and if you’re in IT, it’s become necessary to understand virtualization technology. Regardless of the virtualization vendor of choice, having a solid foundational knowledge of virtualization will be key in becoming an HCI expert. Most HCI solutions use a specific vendor for their virtualization piece of the puzzle, but some HCI vendors have proprietary hypervisors built in to their products. Find a virtualization vendor with a good certification and training roadmap to gain knowledge of ins and outs of virtualization. When it comes to HCI, you’ll need it.

HCI Training

If you already have a good understanding of all the technologies listed above, you might be better suited to taking a training class or going after an HCI-specific certification. Most HCI vendors offer training on their platforms to bring you and your team up to speed and help build a foundational knowledge base for you. Classes are offered through various authorized training centers worldwide. Some vendors offer HCI certifications—while it’s currently a very small amount, I believe this will change over time. Do a web search for HCI training and see what returns. There are many options to choose from depending on your level of HCI experience thus far.

Hands-on Experience

I saved the best for last, as you can’t get better training than on-the-job training. Learning as you go is the best route to becoming an HCI expert. Granted, certifications help validate your experience, and training helps you dive deeper, but hands-on experience is second-to-none. Making mistakes, learning from your mistakes, and documenting everything you do is the fastest way to becoming an expert in any field in my opinion. Unfortunately, not everyone can learn on the job, as most organizations cannot afford to have a production system go down, or have admins making changes on the fly without a prior change board approval. In this case, find an opportunity to build a sandbox or use an existing one to build things and tear them down, break things, and fix things. Doing this will help you become the HCI expert your organization desperately needs.


Greg is a technologist at heart. He has spent the last 20 years supporting various information technology projects in both the private and public sector. He started his career out as an intelligence analyst in the United States Air Force and is a veteran of both wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Greg spent a couple of years floating around the help desk pool before he worked his way into becoming a network administrator. In 2010 he was first introduced to VMware and quickly fell in love with the virtualization technology. Since 2010, Greg has been blogging, tweeting and podcasting about anything and everything related to virtualization. After a 3-and-a-half-year stint at VMware as a Sr. Consultant, he is back to working independently as a contractor supporting various private and public sector projects.