What sort of virtualisation certification should the techie be working towards? And how transferable are the different qualifications - for example, can someone studying for Citrix certification be able to work on VMware products. The question occurred to me when I saw the latest announcement from Citrix about its advanced virtualisation courses.

VMware is not standing still it's also made several announcements on the education front itself and has its own advanced certification coming out some time this summer (although keeping the exact date quiet). Naturally, Microsoft has its own virtualisation certification available - but then, Microsoft has long been an enthusiastic supporter of industry certification.

Like with so many technologies,it's the vendors who are setting the pace. We saw it in LANs where the Novell CNE was the bees knees, in router technology, where the CCNA (and Cisco's more advanced certification holds sway and we're now seeing the same trend in virtualisation. What has happened in the past is that the market leader holds sway and that most people follow their certification. When I did my CCNA, it was the obvious networking course to do as Cisco was the dominant market leader (I can't remember if the likes of 3Com or Bay even had their own qualification, but very few people would have supported it).

So, should we really just be looking at VMware's certificates and ignore everything else? That's the way we've always done it and should virtualisation be any different? It's a game-playing technology and we're already seeing signs that it's not going be all VMware's game. We're seeing installations where organisations are choosing two virtualisation vendors for example, and there are already signs that in the SME space, Microsoft is beginning to find its niche.Is there therefore a case for a more generic certificate or qualification.

What's going to be interesting is to see how the universities are going to cope with this new way of working. We're already at a time when most organisations are moving to virtualisation within their data centre - and it's a trend that's going to increase too. Associated with that is the growing awareness of energy conservation and maximising resources. That's going to be something that impacts on the way that data centres are designed - we've already seen one university course offering greener data managementand I'm sure there'll be more in the future.

At the moment, UK universities have been slow to adopt new technologies - with talks of cuts and maximising of resources, they have other things to worry about, but I'm sure it will come. And how will they cope with the demand for cloud computing, which demands a whole set of additional skills? Some of the old skills will no longer hold in this newer world as employees have to grapple with new demands - but where's the training going to come from?