Cisco added two data-center certifications to its portfolio Nov. 26, allowing those with specialized knowledge of Cisco’s data-center infrastructure to prove it to the world at large.
Details of the Cisco CCNA Data Center and CCNP Data Center certification can be found on the company’s Learning Network Website.
“This is an exciting new space. I will tell you that in all of the career tracks we’re watching, security and data center continue to be the top two trends that are customers are asking for across the board,” Jeanne Beliveau-Dunn, the vice president and general manager for Learning@Cisco, said in a video blog post accompanying the announcement. “Every CIO is looking for great talent in the this area, and is going to be for the next ten years. And the reason, of course, is the huge mass of data, moving across the cloud into the data center.”
Cisco has predicted that data center traffic will top 6.6 zettabytes by 2016—a fourfold increase from 2011.
Cisco already offers a CCIE Data Center certification, technically the company’s most sophisticated certification in the data center space, designed for technology architects and design engineers with seven or more years of experience. The new, basic CCNA data center cert is designed for a data-center network administrator with knowledge of basic Cisco and router and switch applications, plus some product knowledge. The CCNP Data Center certification lists the CCNA cert as a prerequisite. (A comparison of all three certifications (PDF) is available from Cisco.)
Cisco lists the CCNA Data Center cert as an associate-level certification program that is valid for three years. It tests just two skills, introductory exams that cover Cisco data-center networking and technologies.
The CCNP Data Center certification, on the other hand, is a three-year, professional-level certification for technology architects, presales engineers, design engineers, and implementation engineers, covering advanced data center concepts within the areas of unified computing and Cisco’s unified fabric. The engineer must pass four exams: two covering the implementation of Cisco’s unified fabric and unified computing, followed by a choice of either two exams that involve designing for Cisco’s unified fabric and unified computing technologies, or else two others that cover the troubleshooting of both.
Cisco suggests that the CCIE cert is an expert-level cert that is valid for two years, and requires what Cisco deems “expert-level” knowledge of both theoretical best practices as well as real-world skills. The certifications are administered via Pearson Vue, Cisco’s certification partner. Pearson Vue doesn’t appear to have listed the new certifications on its site, however; the new certs are part of the Cisco 640 and 642 series, while Pearson Vue lists only the 650 series as currently available.