BackupAcademy: How To Become a Data Protection Expert Without Paying a Single Penny – with Rick Vanover

by Mirek Burnejko

Rick VanoverRick Vanover (vExpert, MCITP, VCP) is a product strategy specialist for Veeam Software based in Columbus, Ohio. Rick is a popular blogger, podcaster and active member of the virtualization community. Rick’s IT experience includes system administration and IT management; with virtualization being the central theme of his career recently. Follow Rick on Twitter @RickVanover or @Veeam.

Today we are here to talk about amazing program called the Backup Academy. Where you learn everything about backup in a virtual environment and pass the Backup Academy Certified Professional certification and… everything for FREE
In this interview you will find:

  • What you can learn with this program?
  • Do you need to be a virtualization expert before you take this training?
  • What other free resources and tools you Veeam has for you?


IT Certification Master: Hello Rick. Tell us something about you and your role in the Backup Academy.

Rick Vanover: My role is to help guide the content that makes up Backup Academy. I work closely with our project management and web technology teams. This is critical as we can deliver a professional product by using Veeam’s resources to manage the content, process and infrastructure related to delivering the content. While Veeam Software has sponsored Backup Academy, it’s important to note that this is a community resource. Specifically, this is a free resource for IT pros new to virtualization and data protection technologies.

ICM: You have only one certification – Backup Academy Certified Professional. Tell us, why we should achieve this certification?

RV: There is only one certification by design. While we cover a broad range of topics, it’s a vehicle to address the basics of both virtualization and data protection. More specific credentials for virtualization and other technologies would naturally be the next step for the typical IT pro that goes through the Backup Academy sessions.

ICM: You also have free training videos for this certification. Why I can learn from them?

RV: The videos are the key to our content. We’ve hand selected a number of experts in the field to talk about technologies in general related to virtualization and data protection. To emphasize our commitment to the virtualization community, effectively no content editing is performed on these videos.

Our goal is to take experts from the field and let them share their insight, in their own words. In fact, the edits are mostly removing mentions of Veeam.

ICM: I see few legends here: David Davis (vExperts, CCIE), Greg Shields (MVP, vExpert), Eric Siebert (vExpert) and everything is for free. Where is the catch?

RV: There is no catch. We put the material out there as a commitment to the virtualization and larger IT community. This is one of many free resources that Veeam provides. Others include the Veeam Community Podcast, our free product program for Veeam ONE, our Home Lab program for free VM backups and V-Index.

To make the virtualization and larger IT communities “work” – it needs to be a two-way street. Veeam is happy to lead and provide to the community with Backup Academy and other programs.

ICM: Do I need to know anything about virtualization before I take your trainings and pass the exam or maybe I need VCP from VMware?

RV: Prior knowledge is good, but not required. The VCP and Microsoft certifications would be a natural next step after Backup Academy.

ICM: Do employers need or will need people with your certification?

RV: We see Backup Academy as a tool that IT Pros can use to easily build their expertise. This can be to advance in their current job and demonstrate initiative to develop their career.

Virtualization and data protection are very hot areas in IT, and the same goes for the job market.

ICM: Do you provide any other benefits for people with the Backup Academy Certified Professional certification?

RV: Our other community initiatives, mentioned earlier, don’t explicitly require Backup Academy certification.

ICM: Do you think we should see more certifications, similar to yours: free trainings with IT Rockstars and a free certification? Maybe this is a good idea for CERTIFICATIONS 2.0?

RV: We’d like to see additional commitment to the virtualization and IT community. At the highest level, Veeam wants everyone to embrace virtualization. Backup Academy is a resource we’ve put out to help everyone get to that point. We are committed to putting new content on the site, and soliciting external presenters to bring in new perspectives. This is important as the technologies related to Microsoft and VMware continue to change.

ICM: Tell us about your plans for the future. Will we see new training materials or certifications?

RV: At this point, we don’t plan on offering an additional certification; but we will keep adding tracks as the technical landscape changes. One example is our newest track on deduplication which is related to data protection trends today to reduce storage requirements. But the IT pro new to these technologies may not know much about deduplication. The goal is that everyone walks away with increased knowledge after going through Backup Academy.

This commitment to keeping the site fresh will continue to make it a valuable resource for IT Pros worldwide.

ICM: Thank you so much. Tell us, where is THE BEST place to start a story with your certification?

RV: The best place to start is BackupAcademy.com. From there, you can start with the content and learn about Microsoft and VMware technologies. Veeam is also an active member of the virtualization community in places such as Twitter. You can follow Veeam on Twitter @Veeam and Backup Academy on Twitter @BckpAcademy. Thank you for this interview with IT Certification Master!

[This is part of the Interviews with Vendors Series]

  • Thanks for this post, Mirek!

    • ICM

      You are welcome. I cannot wait to see more great products and new videos from the Backup Academy.

  • mo

    Thanks for this post! Keep up the good work!

    • ICM

      Thanks Mo.