Cisco is revamping its data center certification track for the first time in five years, and it is adding new data analytics training as the networking giant strives to solve business challenges created by the ongoing explosion of data in enterprise networks.
"This sets the path that Cisco partners need to bring value in the data center," said Kent MacDonald, vice president of business development at Long View Systems, a Calgary, Alberta-based Cisco Gold Partner. "Cisco certs have a lot of credibility, especially CCIE, but it has been awhile since they have been revised and we've seen a lot of change in the industry and in the technology, so it's due."
"Data analytics is the next wave of activity in the data center," MacDonald added.
The CCIE, CCNA and CCNP data center certification tracks have been completely revised to focus on streamlining operations through automation, network management, creating policy-driven infrastructure across the data center, and the capability to implement unified computing and advanced virtualization.
"You will still need to know the depth of the data center, but they will also need to have a broader perspective of the emerging technologies – areas like network programmability or how cloud and cloud security impacts the data center," said Tejas Vashi, senior director, product strategy & marketing for Cisco Services. He said Cisco certified engineers will now have the skills to streamline data center operations, implement and manage the newest technologies and enable close ties with cloud and application services teams.
The new data and analytics offerings by Cisco focuses on agile data integration methods that simplify access to information. The streamlined approach allows businesses to pull greater value from growing volumes of data more quickly, without the need for additional resources, according to Vashi.
Cisco's new Integrated Infrastructure for Big Data and Analytics course trains channel partners on how to design scalable, reliable and intelligent data center solutions using Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) for big data and analytics. Additionally, the company's Data Virtualization training provides practical, hands-on skills with the Cisco Data Virtualization Platform, including the Cisco Information Server and Business Directory.
MacDonald said achieving business outcomes by using data analytics in the data center will become critical for channel partners.
"The line of business is now saying, 'I need to be able to drive more value and insights and be more responsive to the market by analyzing all these terabits and gigabytes of storage that we have,'" MacDonald said.
Vashi said the new certifications and data analytics training is going to drive more recurring revenue service opportunities for channel partners.
"All of this allows certified individuals, and those that work within the partner ecosystem, to help their company to implement or drive services – advisory services, implementation, technical services, even how to work with their customers to optimize their networks," said Vashi.