Data storage strategies, devices and solutions are a vital consideration in today's network computing environments, a fact that has made it one of the largest growth areas of the IT industry. While there is little doubt that the management of these vast data systems requires specialized skills and knowledge, is it enough to require its own certification? Adaptec thinks so.
In an effort to address a possible gap in the certification market, Adaptec recently introduced a new program called the Adaptec Certified Storage Professional (ACSP) RAID. The ACSP RAID is designed primarily to give an in depth understanding of generic RAID implementation, management, troubleshooting and installation skills. As you might expect, Adaptec's products and solutions will play a major role in the curriculum.
Although, obviously, RAID comprises a significant part of the ACSP RAID certification agenda, the program is not restricted to this technology alone. The certification is also designed to address such issues as BIOS and Firmware considerations, SCSI specifications and implementations, fundamental server technologies, and the role that network operating systems play in network storage and disaster prevention and recovery.
The ACSP RAID is certainly not intended or designed for those new to the IT industry. Rather, it is recommended that those interested in pursuing the certification have first-hand experience working in a network storage environment. This fact alone somewhat limits the ACSP RAID's potential market. Adaptec's basic requirements are that candidates have installed, configured, managed and fought (and won) with servers and server hardware related issues. Given these prerequisites, the question then becomes what will these people get from the certification that they have not already picked up on the job? The answer to this question lays not so much in the knowledge gained but in the validation of an individuals skill.
As both companies and individuals have learned, certifications provide a mechanism for validating an individual's skill, a fact that could prove invaluable to resellers, contractors and consultants. Given that Adaptec is unquestionably the world leader, in terms of volume if nothing else, in data storage technology it's not hard to see the potential market for such a specific certification.
The ASCP RAID program fills a unique niche in the certification industry as it's the first to deal exclusively with the implementations and issues of storage solutions. While other programs may include peripheral information on the topic of data storage, the ACSP RAID isolates it, expands it, and take sit to the next level. Knowing this, the ACSP RAID, while perhaps not necessarily being able to stand on its own, provides a solid addition to those currently holding other networking or server hardware certifications. One that comes to mind is the MCSE that provides woefully inadequate coverage of server hardware issues. Even so, those considering pursuing the ACSP RAID should realize that it is by no means a replacement for an MCSE, CNE but rather augments the skills and knowledge gained in those programs.
Individuals intending on becoming ACSP RAID certified should not catch the next bus to the local training centre. Training for the ACSP RAID is currently being offered in just a few select cities, a list of which is located on the Adaptec website. The Adaptec approved course is offered in a five-day format and all courses are instructor led using the latest and greatest Adaptec products which as you might imagine, makes the course a little pricey. Those wanting to receive the best of Adaptec's training will have to part with $2895 USD, almost about the same as it would cost to buy your own RAID array. Candidates will have to pass one exam to become ACSP RAID certified. The exam is offered through Prometric testing for $125 USD.
The long term success of Adaptec's program is sure to be watched with interest by other storage vendors and even some of the more niche solution providers. While some may see the certification bandwagon as an interesting revenue stream, few have the market penetration that Adaptec has achieved. This fact alone may mean that the ACSP RAID will stand alone as one of the few programs that offers such a specialized certification. Whether individuals pursue it in an effort to increase their technical knowledge or as a means to enhance their marketability one thing can be certain; the benefits for increased exposure for Adaptec's products will most likely far outweigh Adaptec's financial benefits directly from the program.
For more information on the ACSP RAID, visit the Adaptec Website