Cisco, EMC, VMware To Offer Co-Branded Cloud, Big Data Training


Cisco, EMC and VMware are joining forces to offer IT training on cloud computing, data center and big data technologies in the form of previously launched courses from their respective training organizations.

Those courses will be bundled at various pricing tiers and offered through each vendor's training portal, the companies confirmed Monday.

Cisco and EMC, which majority-owns VMware, are longtime strategic allies -- there's an entire standalone company, VCE, devoted to technology architecture that converges each of their specialities. But Monday's announcement marks the first time they are offering joint, co-branded training, said Alok Shrivastava, senior director with EMC Education Services.

"Each of us has a sweet spot in the cloud," he said. "This is a natural evolution of our partnerships together, and we're now able to train individuals around these cross-technology components. This is going to be all about having the right skill sets at the right time."

The bundles draw on existing courses from each vendor's respective training portfolio and plots those courses as a learning path.

A System Administrator learning path, for example, includes EMC Cloud Infrastructure and Services, VMware vSphere: Install, Configure, Manage, and Cisco Data Center Unified Computing Implementation (DCUCI), while the Data Center Network Architect learning path requires EMC Cloud Infrastructure and Services, Cisco Data Center Unified Fabric (DCUFD), and Configuring Cisco Nexus Data Center (CCNDC).

Where topics like cloud are concerned, the thought is that rather than train engineers and technical experts in "silos" -- networking here, storage there -- it's more effective to teach those disciplines in terms of how they converge into architectural plays, such as data centers optimized for cloud services.

"We see it as the industry's most complete education solution focused on IT-as-a-service, big data and data analysis," said Anthony Bryant, a director with Learning@Cisco, the networking titan's education arm. "The objective is to provide our customers with the critical skills the need to architect, build and transform these solutions under the cloud."

"This is an unprecedented change happening in the industry right now," added Shrivastava. "As these things evolve and people catch up to them as they're evolving, one of the biggest problems is going to be individuals who have all these skill sets."

The vendors will offer their respective courses as instructor-led training, although select courses will be available for customer onsite instruction, and some EMC courses are available through video instructor-led training or e-learning modules.

The bundled courses are available starting today, with pricing depending on the intensity and depth of the courses required. The bundles start at about $10,000, according to a Cisco spokesperson.

Future course bundles will include security-centric courses, and Cisco, EMC and VMware will also focus on more joint development, the vendors said.

Sign-up and ordering course materials works exactly the same whether the process is started through Cisco, EMC or VMware, and any available discounting also works the same. Customers will still be able to access all of the coursework a la carte, as well.

Revenue from the courses is split between EMC and Cisco, with the vendor whose courses are most involved in a particular bundle receiving the most revenue.

"Because we are partners together, it works almost like a reseller agreement between the two of us," Bryant said. "EMC, for example, receives the revenue if it's primarily EMC courses. The same is true for Cisco."