Training in storage technology is naturally promoted as the path to data storage career success. While not perhaps as firm a guarantee as it used to be, holding a storage certificate of some kind is often required even to be considered as an applicant. And with virtualization adding so much additional complexity, certification in that area is fast becoming a prerequisite for an IT career. A study by Enterprise Strategy Group states that top requirement to enable more widespread use of server virtualization was additional training for IT staff.
“Certifications are a great way to take a step or two up the career ladder, or simply move into an adjacent technology focus area by expanding your skillsets, something that is appealing to most organizations,” said Greg Schulz, an analyst with StorageIO Group.
But which courses should you choose? Here are ten certificates well worth earning.
Knowledge of server virtualization is more and more necessary as the storage and server worlds converge. A good place to begin an education on virtualization is VMware Certified Professional (VCP). This certification covers how to install, manage and deploy VMware vSphere while also accomplishing a whole lot of storage tasks without having to leave the VMware console.
Speaking of convergence, storage and networking are two other areas that are rapidly coming together. The Cisco Data Center Storage Networking Design Specialist covers how to select and integrate storage products from Cisco based on the company’s converged architecture vision. In particular, it trains users on the Cisco MDS 9000 Series Multilayer Directors and Multilayer Fabric Switches, as well as the Cisco NX-OS, Cisco Unified Fabric, Cisco Nexus and Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS).
“Cisco and VMware certification are popular and timely right now,” said Schulz. “And with organizations exploring converged infrastructures technologies, many are realizing staff members who expand their primary and secondary skillsets into adjacent areas become key business enablers.”
This is the most common storage cert out there – understandably considering EMC’s status in the industry. It has been awarded to tens of thousands of customers, partners, employees, industry professionals and college students. EMC breaks its program into several areas.
The EMC Proven Professional certification program has tracks for data science and big data, cloud architect, data center architect, and storage administrator as well as product specific tracks.
Even with the Dell merger, it is likely that EMC certification will survive. After all, Dell doesn’t currently offer much in the way of storage training. So it would make sense to take advantage of the EMC brand and incorporate EMC courses into its overall training lineup.
Those gravitating more towards NetApp should consider becoming a NetApp Certified Data Administrator. This cert and its associated training covers the support, administration and performance management for NetApp storage appliances running NetApp’s Data ONTAP operating system in NFS and CIFS environments. This course trains in continuous data availability, data recovery, snapshots and performance management for NetApp controllers.
This HDS credential is geared to storage managers working within a Hitachi platform covering business continuity, storage administration, replication, virtualization and product specific training.
Brocade’s training lineup encompasses FICON, Fibre Channel (FC) and Ethernet. As the company continues to hold a big share of the switch marketplace, those trained in its technology should be able to find plenty of employment opportunities.
Those working in Oracle/Sun storage environments can take advantage of training available through the Oracle University program. Categories include NAS administration, Pillar Axiom 600 and Tape Storage Administration. Certification is also available for Oracle’s many engineered systems, which always come with a built-in storage component.
IBM offers a huge number of professional certification options. But with the company having a higher profile of late via its Spectrum Storage lineup, its certifications are becoming increasingly valuable. They include courses for midrange and enterprise storage, flash, Storwize, tape and various product-specific programs.
HPE’s lineup is also extensive. The HP ASE program and HP Master ASE program have courses geared towards the design, deployment and management of multi-site storage, remote replication, deduplication, backup/recovery and converged infrastructure.
You don’t only have to go to vendors for storage training. The Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) provides the Storage Networking Certification Program (SNCP). These vendor-neutral, systems-level credentials are designed to complement vendor programs.
The structure of the SNCP has been updated to reflect the advancement and growth of storage networking technologies over the past few years. Storage management, administration and architecture tracks are on offer.