Today, Cisco is announcing a new comprehensive, job-role-focused training and certification program for its datacenter architecture. It includes a comprehensive Career Certification portfolio consisting of the Cisco CCNA Data Center, CCNP DataCenter and CCIE Data Center, as well as a robust product training portfolio.
"The key message here is that our career certifications now fully embrace the unified datacenter architecture -- unified computing, unified fabric and unified management," said Antonella Corno, product manager for Data Center virtualization and cloud product portfolio at Cisco. "These announcements focus on the first two unified computing and unified fabric. Unified management is cloud-focused and isn't as mature as the others, and so is not ready to receive a full career certification yet."
Corno said that as technology has been evolving to more intelligence in the networks, the industry has discovered that a knowledge gap is growing.
"Those tech trends were responding to specific business challenges, and IT organizations had to rethink the way they leverage the infrastructure, which was leading the industry into new roles and skillsets, and we had to address the gaps that were forming in training," she said.
"Moving to more complex infrastructures needs better trained people to lower the cost of operations, increase the functional excellence of staff and ensure the network evolves with business," Corno added.
The new specialist certifications cover every data center product. Joining CCIE Data Center, which was announced in February 2012, are CCNA Data Center and CCNP Data Center. All see two key pillars of the Unified Cisco Data Center architecture -- Cisco Unified Computing and Cisco Unified Fabric -- addressed across the job roles of design, implementation and troubleshooting.
CCNA Data Center lays the foundation for basic level job roles such as Data Center Networking Administrators that require competence in areas including network and server virtualization and storage and IP networking convergence. Good for three years, the certification requires two exams, one on routing and switching (DCICN), the other on data center technologies (DCICT).
The CCNP Data Center certification is a more advanced certification, aligned specifically to the job role of Data Center Network Designers and professional-level Data Center networking practitioners. It consists of six exams, in Troubleshooting, Implementation and Design, for both Unified Computing Support and Unified Fabric Support. The candidate needs to complete four of them, depending on their specialization.
The certification validates an individual's capabilities, including troubleshooting a virtualized computing environment based on the Cisco Unified Computing System platform focusing on storage and network connectivity, installation, memory, adapter connectivity and booting issues, drivers, BIOS and deploying a virtualized environment.
"The CCNP prerequisites are the CCNA and 3-5 years of experience," Corno said.
While the CCIE exam was announced earlier this year, Cisco is announcing that its written exam is now available, and the lab exam will be available December 10, 2012.
Cisco also announced an expanded product training portfolio for the Cisco Nexus 1000V, 2000/5000, 7000, the Cisco MDS 9000 series and the and Cisco Unified Computing System (Cisco UCS) B and C-Series.
CCNA Data Center and CCNP Data Center exams are now available through Pearson VUE. Training courses are available through Cisco Authorized Learning Partners.