SBM Holds Training Boot Camps

At its first two sessions, SBM trained technicians from 45 solution providers, said Charlie McPherson, vice president of sales and marketing at the Duluth, Ga.-based subsidiary of Arrow Electronics. "We and HP both want resellers to be certified in a timely manner," McPherson said. "We want them to [be able to] represent and sell these products come Aug. 1."

Solution providers must pass five tests to gain HP's StorageWorks certification. Two of the tests have Dec. 31 deadlines. SBM offers all of them in a five-day session that also includes unlimited testing, McPherson said.

The next boot camp will be held July 21-25 in Duluth, and another may follow in August.

Solution providers said the boot camps save them time and money toward earning certifications. "It would have been a complete struggle without the boot camp," said Mark Denslow, vice president of East Coast operations at Pinnacle Group, Stamford, Conn.

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Initially, HP set a June deadline for StorageWorks certification when it unveiled the HP Certified Professional program last November, but the vendor extended the deadline after reviewing the scope of work to be completed as a result of the integrated HP and Compaq certification programs, said Ed Burke, director of advanced technology for the Americas at HP's Enterprise Channels group.

SBM's training sessions are scaled-down versions of the full sessions offered by HP but provide more than enough material to enable attendees to pass the exams, McPherson said. So far, 70 percent of the 161 people who have taken the tests have passed, he said. The testing is done by Prometric, a Baltimore-based subsidiary of The Thompson Corp.

"I actually failed a couple of times, but I was able to review the material and retake the tests," said James VanderMey, vice president of technical operations at Open Systems Technologies, a Grand Rapids, Mich.-based solution provider. "It was a helpful learning experience."