If you visit Cisco’s Data Center Specialist Certifications page, you’ll see a pretty formidable list of 10 different Cisco Specialist level certifications there, just like this:
Data Center Unified Computing
- Cisco Data Center Unified Computing Design Specialist
- Cisco Data Center Unified Computing Support Specialist
Data Center Networking Infrastructure
- Cisco Data Center Networking Infrastructure Design Specialist
- Cisco Data Center Networking Infrastructure Support Specialist
- Cisco Data Center Networking Sales Specialist
Data Center Application Services
- Data Center Application Services Design Specialist
- Data Center Application Services Support Specialist
Data Center Storage Networking
- Cisco Data Center Storage Networking Design Specialist
- Cisco Data Center Storage Networking Sales Specialist
- Cisco Data Center Storage Networking Support Specialist
If you burrow down deeper into these credentials (all the preceding links are live, because I cut’n’pasted that copy directly from the aforecited Cisco Web page), you’ll find these credentials to be much more open to third party presence, tools, and technologies than some of the more mainline credentials (CCNA, CCNP, and so forth) might initially appear to the untutored eye. But such an impression is not only incorrect, it does Cisco the injustice of thinking them one-sided, partisan, or blind to other players in the marketplace.
Thus, for example, the Unified Computing credentials put strong emphasis on VMware for virtualization, to the point of requiring candidates to earn the VCP (VMware Certified Professional) 3 or 4 (with 5 surely to be added soon, as the VCP 5 exam goes live on August 29, 2011). Other of these specialists certs may not require third-party credentials to play on their learning field, but they certainly all expect candidates to be aware that there’s plenty more than Cisco gear in most modern data centers, and to be ready, willing, and able to work with everything they find there.
Given the rise of the cloud to a pinnacle of important in the IT world, and need to interact with (or even work in) data centers as part and parcel of everyday IT practice, I’m glad to see more credentials emerging that focus on these buzzing hives of Internet and computing activity. These Cisco specialist certs are a good way to dive into this area, especially for those corporations and organizations with big investments in Cisco infrastructure components and technologies.