CA VARs Can Get Discounted SNIA Storage Certification, Training

The program is aimed at getting solution providers' and their customers' engineers certified in SAN technology.

Infinity I/O, a Half Moon Bay, Calif.-based provider of education and certification services for storage networking, will offer discounted training and testing based on SAN standards of the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA), said Ron Collier, area manager of CA's Field Support Group.

CA had initially worked with Infinity I/O to deliver SAN training to more than 100 of his company's internal engineers, Collier said. Based on positive customer feedback to its SNIA-certified engineers, CA proposed such a program to its reseller advisory council, which responded positively, he said.

Under the program, CA's solution providers can get Storage Networking Certified Professional Level 2 certification for its own people, Collier said. In addition, the solution providers can resell such a program to clients looking for such certification, he said.

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CA has worked with Infinity I/O to offer cumulative discounts of up to 25 percent of the cost of getting solution providers' personnel certified, depending on how many partners purchase such training at one time, Collier said.

If purchased at the same time as the testing, solution providers can get discounts of up to 35 percent on certification exam vouchers, he said.

CA will also host the delivery of the training at its own facilities or at outside facilities, Collier said. "We will coordinate the delivery of the training via CA," he said.

Doug Marlin, managing partner at the Independent Technology Group, a La Canada, Calif.-based storage specialist solution provider, said CA's move to get its partners certified will be a real boon to their business.

"Certification is a real image booster," Marlin said. "It also gives customers an expectation of working with an established organization."

The first 75 percent of the SAN sales cycle today is still spent on evangelizing about SANs, and that is a painful part of the process, Marlin said. "Storage is not easy," he said. "It's still the Wild West out there. ... A lot of people are saying the SAN word. Certification will make the users more comfortable."

Because SANs are still new to many client contacts, even in many of the largest companies, solution providers will have to explain the importance of SNIA certification, Marlin said. "During the first sales meeting, if we can introduced two consultants with certification, this is a value-add," he said. "We can turn certification into a differentiator. I've seen some wacky SANs installed in the last year. What rust buckets do some installers get these parts from? They buy parts from the back of a magazine."

CA has a vested interest in getting as many of its solution providers certified because while the company has great storage management software, it has not done a good job of marketing to end users, Marlin said.

"[CA people] are too honest," he said. "They are too soft vs. the competition. But they have very good solutions that work in a number of applications. . . . I don't want them to be dishonest. I just want them to ring the bell and get better known out there."