First off thanks for your help with this!
I am hoping you can help me find some information i need. My main focus in my job has been an VMWare Admin (VCP-DCV5 /6) , but i am wanting to expand my knowledge more on other applications that VMWare offers and get more into the automation scene. I have been playing more with vRO lately in order to make some tasks at the office easier to offer some of our other teams that simple ability to deploy based on a certain criteria (information given). This has been great and has so far worked for me, i wanted to take it to the next step and here is where the confusion starts for me. My understanding is that vRA is a beast of its own vs vRO and while some components are used in vRA there is a different mythology to using vRA itself to do things. Things learned should be learned in vRA if you go down this path vs vRO? (Please correct me if i am wrong) as the interfaces and how different components gets called by the API differ? (vRO is the kiddle setup vs VRA being the main meat).
I started to go down the path of just trying the software out to see the big differences but i am currently running into an issue of how VMWare does trials. While for the moment the Enterprise Plus suite is available for trial the vCloud Suite isnt, which has the software i would like to test. I am currently a VMUG advantage member and i have deployed the vCloud Suite Standard version in my personal Ravello cloud / Home Lab for use to try all the various software but i am unable to try vRA. It use to be that VMUG gave you the ability to use vRA but i guess with its complexity it has changed its thinking?
I am more interested in getting into vRA for a career move if its the next logical step into the automation portion of VMWare but i am finding it to be a challenge. Has anyone come across this challenge and is there a solution around having a home lab to get more into automation? So far my experience with vRO has been great meaning that I am learning PowerCLI + JS + Variety of API to learn how to get things working as i would like to, but i would rather go all in an force myself to learn what really needs to be learned in order to get pushing my knowledge forward.
I guess ultimately i am asking for advice on the following:
1) In order to get more into the automation of things vRA is the path to go?
2) How do i get what i need to pursue that path? There is VMUG Advantage and while I like the program and will continue to use it, it is missing the vRA portion.Is there an other academic program out there that allows you to buy the suite at a very deep discount (I am not rich but would be open in order to keep advancing things and hopefully it would come with support?
3) Those that have started down a path like this, how did you begin?
Ultimately i would like to use this as a steeping stone to get my next certification / career move.