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At this year’s VMworld Europe event, virtualization pioneer VMware unveiled a next-generation virtual campus to better train and educate partners to help them accelerate sales and boost revenues across the vendor’s extensive portfolio.

Ben Matheson, VMware’s director of marketing, says the move will consolidate all available training, certification and education resources from VMware into one centralized framework, making it easier for partners to access.

Matheson says VMware noticed a striking correlation between the amount of training partners received and certifications and they held and their profitability, and said the new framework, called Partner University, was aimed at helping all partners reap the benefits of education and certification to build highly successful and profitable virtualization practices.

“We found that our most profitable partners, the ones that generated the most revenue were also the ones who’d received the most training, took advantage of our education offerings and held the most certifications,” he says.

VMware Partner University will offer all VMware partners access to the latest, high quality training and education on VMware products, services and solutions to help partners deepen their knowledge on the solutions they’re already selling and expand their knowledge in areas they might not have much experience with, says Matheson.

In this way, Matheson says, partners can broaden not only their knowledge base, but their customer base, in turn driving higher revenues and increased profits.

“Virtualization is such a broad category that impacts so many different markets, including server virtualization, desktop virtualization, disaster recovery,” Matheson says. “The more education and training partners have across these different competencies, the more solutions they can provide to customers in adjacent technologies and markets,” he says.

Matheson says the training and education paths will be based on role, with specific tracks focused on sales training, technical training, and post-sales deployment, among others. He says the offerings will also break down by solution types to provide training and certification on desktop virtualization, server virtualization and disaster recovery, for example.

“There are paths and tracks for all VMware partners, regardless of whether they are a newbie or have been doing this for ten years,” he says. That means that in addition to certifications and accreditations, VMware Partner University will also offer continuing education to partners who already hold certifications or who’ve completed training, Matheson says.

Matheson says that by attaining these certifications and taking time to beef up knowledge on virtualization solutions, VMware’s approximately 22,000 partners are differentiating themselves to customers, which can win more business and increase revenues.

Since access to Partner University portal is free of charge, Matheson says he feels it’s a no-brainer that most of VMware’s partner community will take advantage of.  He adds that while the education and training VMware provides is free, there are fees for certifications provided through third-party testing bodies.

“The ability to access training and education at zero cost means there’s no reason partners shouldn’t take advantage,” he says, even if they have to pay for certifications, it’s still an incredible bargain. “It’s such an easy path to driving business,” he says.

Matheson says Partner University will be available to partners immediately, and that the vendor also will offer in-person training and certification classes at its upcoming PartnerExchange event, scheduled for April 14-16 in Orlando, Florida.

Partners attending the event, Matheson says, will also receive an 80 percent discount on VMware’s next-generalization virtualization course, which normally costs $1500. With the discount, he says, partners will only pay $300, adding another education incentive.

“For VMware, we are really focused on making sure our partners have the knowledge and the training they need to make their virtualization practices successful and profitable,” Matheson says.