EMC To Certify Architects For Cloud, Data Center Expertise

EMC on Monday unveiled two new programs to train and certify customers and solution provider partners as virtualization and cloud computing architects.

The aim of the program is to help customers and solution providers, even those who do not work directly with EMC products, get the skills they need to move from virtualized environments into cloud computing, said Tom Clancy, vice president of EMC educational services.

"We believe that, no matter what type of cloud you implement, whether you do it yourself or with a partner, that the virtual infrastructure is critical," Clancy said. "We are trying to provide those skills to the difference audiences we have."

EMC is introducing two new certification programs for cloud architect and data center architects as part of its EMC Proven Professional Program.

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Clancy said EMC is offering two types of certifications to cloud architects, the people who deliver virtualization and cloud designs in all cloud domains. "Customers are talking about the journey to the cloud," he said. "These will be the key people leading that journey."

The first cloud architect, the EMC CA, builds the virtualized infrastructure that leads to virtual data centers and eventually to cloud infrastructure, Clancy said. "Virtualization design will be critical to building the cloud," he said.

The second cloud architect, the EMC CAe, is for people focusing on IT as a service, Clancy said. "The CAe will take a company's business requirements and place them into the virtualized architectures designed by the EMC CA," he said.

EMC is also offering a number of new data center architect certifications for users and solution providers who work with specific technologies within a virtualized data center.

The first four data center architect, or EMC DCA, certifications are storage networking; backup, recovery, and information availability; information storage security; and storage service management.

Clancy said the DCA certifications will be available to those who are new to these functions, as well as to those who were certified in such technologies in more classic data center environments. More experienced people may be able to test out of the certification courses, he said.

There is overlap between traditional data center certifications and the new EMC DCA offerings, Clancy said. For instance, training for a storage networking EMC DCA includes both general storage networking skills and those skills in virtualized environments. "Such a person could then go into a non-virtualized environment, but would be a stronger person because of the virtualized environment training," he said.

Next: Open To All, Whether Working With EMC Or Not

EMC's new cloud and data center architect programs are open to anyone regardless of whether or not they are an EMC customer or partner, Clancy said. "They can work in any IT environment," he said. "We use EMC, VMware, and Cisco as examples of real products and solutions. This approach helps the industry, and not just EMC." Keith Norbie, vice president of sales at Nexus Information Systems, a Minnetonka, Minn.-based solution provider and EMC partner, said the industry is in the early stages of the rapidly evolving cloud computing market, and that when a company like EMC starts offering certifications, it establishes the credentials for the kind of people customers will look to for help.

While most people first think about storage when considering EMC, the fact is that cloud computing is pervasive across server, storage, networking, applications, security, and a wide range of other technologies, many of which count EMC as a major vendor, Norbie said.

"If you look at EMC services, the company has a very broad-based offering, and not just storage," he said. "And if you look at VMware and RSA, EMC has a lot of experience beyond storage. And you have to acknowledge EMC as movers and shakers in the market."

Two of the EMC DCA certifications, information availability and storage networking, are currently available, with the other two ready by the first quarter of 2011, Clancy said. The EMC CA certification is expected to be available starting in the first quarter of 2011, with the EMC CAe certification expected to be ready in the second quarter, he said. Registration is available starting this month. Clancy declined to offer detailed pricing for the new programs, but did say that costs of the certifications are in line with the prices of other EMC training programs. Actual prices depend on whether students take subscriptions or open courses, he said. EMC welcomes nonEMC partners to take the courses, with the list prices the same for both. However, Clancy said, EMC partners may be eligible for volume discounts.