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Of all the companies discussed here, EMC has possibly the most developed, complex and complete certification program available today. No surprise from the company widely regarded as the number one storage vendor.
Before even starting into one of the 'tracks', candidates must pass the EMC Enterprise Storage Fundamentals Exam, which covers basic storage networking principles along with a healthy dose of EMC product knowledge. After passing that exam, candidates can then pursue one of four tracks namely Operator, Builder, Architect and Instructor.
For each track, there is an Associate and Master Level accreditation, the difference being the level of knowledge required to attain certification. More information on the EMC certification is available on the EMC website.
Unlike the other certification programs discussed here, the Gadzoox certifications for Certified Professional and Certified Technical Professional require that candidates complete training courses rather than take a certification exam. Whether this makes the Gadzoox certs as valuable as others will depend on your personal perspective or that of your current or prospective employer. More information on the certifications can be found at the Gadzoox website.
As IBM's product portfolio includes many other things as well as storage products, it should come as no surprise that their certification offerings are well developed. Current IBM storage related certification offerings include a smattering of storage specific certs such as IBM TotalStorage Networking Solutions and High End Disk Solutions to name just two. Each subject has a single exam associated with it. For more information visit the IBM certification Website.
SAN Director and switch manufacturer McDATA have a detailed outline for their certification program, though at present, only one certification, the McDATA Certified Storage Network Designer is available. In common with many other vendor offerings, the McDATA programs mix a general knowledge of storage networking with a concentration of product related focus. Check out the McDATA Website for the latest developments on the McDATA certs.
Storage solution manufacturer Network Appliance has created a certification program with two distinct tracks designed to focus the candidates attention on Network Appliance products. The two tracks are NetApp Certified Associate (Filer) certification, which requires three exams to be taken before candidates can move on to the NetApp Certified Professional (Filer) cert which requires a further two exams. The same kind of path (with different exams) exists for the NetApp Certified Associate (NetCache) and NetApp Certified Professional (NetCache) certifications. For more information on Network Appliance certification visit the certification homepage on the Network Appliance Website.
Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA)
Being a vendor independent organization, the SNIA is able to offer certification program free of the product orientation that many of the other certifications tracks take. Whether you think is a good or a bad thing depends on your perspective.
Current SNIA offerings include the Fibre Channel Storage Networking Professional, Practitioner, Specialist and Expert. Exams for the first two certifications are currently available, with the others scheduled to follow sometime later this year. The certifications can be taken in any order. The Fibre Channel Storage Networking Professional is, by SNIA's own admission, designed for non-technical personnel. More information can be found at the SNIA Website.
Sun Microsystems Sun's highly developed storage certification program includes three distinct tracks including Sun Certified Data Management Engineer, Sun Certified Backup and Recovery Engineer and Sun Certified Storage Architect. Each certification requires the passing of a single exam, and the certs can be taken in any order. For more information visit the certification section of Sun's Website.
Veritas Announced earlier this year, the VERITAS Certified Professional Program is designed to certify individuals on VERITAS products. According to press information the exams cover VERITAS products and their applications for data protection and high availability, though a search of the VERITAS Website yielded no further information on the programs than that.
In Part Two......
In part two of this article, we'll talk to some industry figures about certifications and get the answer to one very important question. Are certifications worth your time, money and effort? We'll also look at some more factors that you should consider when selecting a certification.